Monday, November 12, 2012

On The Brink - But What Will Life Be Like Without Alcohol?

***Submitted by Anonymous

I’ve been drinking for 26 years, and I’m only 38.  

That is so scary to me.  Scary, but not sobering.

I am getting close to quitting, but the closer I get, the more I realize that there are things I need to fix along with my addiction. 

I’m exhausted, depressed, and anxious – maybe I’m not doing a good job at work but they aren’t telling me, maybe my husband thinks I’m fat and wishes he was with someone thinner, maybe my friends think I’m needy and flaky, maybe we’ll lose the house, maybe I’ll get caught in a lie, maybe one of the kids will get hurt – or worse. 

This is the running dialogue in my head.  And the only thing that guarantees to shut it up is a glass of wine – or several – when the kids go to bed.  I look forward to it.  It’s my reward.  I just wish I didn’t need it.  I wish it didn’t make my stomach fat, give me a hangover, and make me forgetful.  

I wish I had a normal relationship with it.  But I don’t even know what that looks like.

I remember dipping into the liquor cabinet one night while I was babysitting.  I got so drunk that I was throwing up in the sink right before they came home.  I could barely stand up straight.  Somehow, I convinced them that I was just sick, but I don’t think the mother was fooled.  Right before I walked out the door, she asked “Have you been drinking?”  

The shame – it’s the same shame I still feel.  Oddly, I was back babysitting for them the next week.  Or at least, that’s how I remember it.

Actually, I don’t remember much anymore.  

It’s the most obvious sign of the damage I’m doing to myself – there is much that I don’t remember anymore.  

Childhood memories, names of other parents in my sons’ classes, reminders to pick things up from the store, what my 2-year old looked as a baby – all gone.  

If I think about it – and I don’t, purposefully – I panic. 

I’ve read so much about this problem, looked at so many different “cures”, gone to meetings, gotten the acupuncture, talked to the counselors.   

Only recently have I started to understand what the “urge” actually feels like – which is to say, I have started to realize that there is something in my brain telling me to drink. 

Last week, I managed to stay sober for several days.  I didn’t bring red wine into the house, I didn’t pick up a little pick-me-up on the train home, and I didn’t go out after work with friends, or by myself.   

I noticed that I was bored at night, irritable.  I noticed that, when I got my husband to drink with me, we relaxed and talked.  When we don’t drink, it’s mundane – am I traveling this week?  Who’s getting the boys after work?  When is the cleaning woman coming? 

So I started to sneak the drinking.  First, after work on the way home.  Then one night, I went out to buy groceries and popped into the local bar and downed three glasses of sauvignon blanc.  It went downhill from there.

Also, drinking makes me not be angry, disappointed, anxious, bored.  How do I replace drinking and get these benefits?  Is there medication that erasing the urges, and also makes me thinner?  

I want this to be easier.   

But I also know – because lately, I’m really feeling this – I also know that I will feel better when I stop.  

That I will feel triumphant.  

That I will get back that powerful female I used to be.  

And I’m starting to want that more and more.  


  1. Just so you know, I am in the very same spot. I could have written this myself. Right down to the age - I am 38, too. I hear everything your saying loud and clear. If it were easier, I 'd quit too. But I dont. I want to, but not really really want to. You know? And the harm its Its quite insane, actually. So thats it. Thats all. I just wanted to say I hear you and I understand and I hope and wish for you to have strength.

  2. I'm sober. A year back. Also started at 12. It is scary. It is sometimes hard. And it so so worth it. I was trapped for 20 years and now I am free. You close one door when you get sober and open every other. You do not have to live this way anymore, there is a choice. xoxoxoxox

  3. Your last line is the kicker. When you want that powerful female more than the alcohol, the world will be yours. And you can do it. Many have, many more will. Join us. It is hard at first, I agree, but you will find activities to replace drinking and your brain will form new synapses to take the place of the ones that drive you to the wine bottle.

    We're here to help. Email me if you want. my first name at LMI dot net. I have time to write you. I have been there and it is a very scary place. I tell you there is another side out here and you can find it if you want to.

    Here, take my hand, we'll jump together. I'll keep you on your feet for now; that's what community is for. Right, community ?~!

  4. Couldn't agree more, Lynda! I was 37 when i surrendered having been drinking for 25 years, not alcoholicly all the time. i surrounded myself with strong women who guided me on the path to serenity and peace within. I would not have believed it if i were not living it right now. But it can happen to you once you decide to take all the power that the bottle has over you back under your control. Try living your life, not the bottle's. It's a life second to none as they say....happy to be of service!!

  5. I could have written this too. I was 12, I was babysitting with my best friend and we both threw up in the sink. It was awful and we couldn't wait to do it again. I don' know when it happened, when I became an alcoholic, but I did. Even though I knew that somewhere in the back of my mind, quitting was never an option for me. I'm not a quitter! I could not imagine not drinking so I tried to control it and boy did I fail at that.

    I was 41 when I finally gave in and said I needed help. I was scared, confused, depressed. I felt like I was losing my best friend. BUT, when I finally admitted and accepted that I was am alcoholic a huge weight lifted off of me. It wasn't easy in the beginning, but I can tell you my life is pretty amazing today. I remember thinking the same thing as you, "What the hell am I going to do with myself? Life is going to be soooo boring." Well, I can tell you, it's not. My life is so full now I barely have any free time. All those things I thought I needed my wine to get me through are so much easier without the wine. If you told me that 2 years ago I never would have believed you, but it's true.

    So my advice to you...give yourself a chance, get to know the real you. You may just find that you like yourself. Keep going to meetings and listen and when you're ready, ask for help. I think you'll be amazed to see how many people will be right there to help you. I wish you the best.

  6. Giving up any addiction is scary but losing ourselves is scarier. You can give it up and you can always go back, the choice is always yours. You owe it to yourself to give it a try. Being sober 24 years has given me the opportunity to get to know myself and do things I never would have done if I were still drinking. I get to experience pure joy and aliveness which is soooooooooooo much better than any high from alcohol. Keep sharing your thoughts and feelings and reach out for help... Whenever I'm scared, I hold that scared little girl in me with love and compassion and ask her what she wants me to do...

  7. I never thought I would say that I don't miss drinking, but 99% of the time I don't! I was in your place 3 years ago and it is true, that when you stop, you are free. Free to make plans that you don't have to cancel because you are hungover, free to remember everything you said the previous night in your conversations and free to do all the things you have wanted to do, but were too tired, anxious and hungover to do. GIve it a try for a month and see what can happen for you, you don't have anything to lose and everything to gain....good luck!

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  9. I can see myself in a lot of what you wrote. The obsession to drink-opening the fridge for a cold drink after work before putting my purse down. I knew it was an obsession even though I didn't want to admit it. I agree with Amanda when I admitted I was an alcoholic it felt like a cinderblock had been lifted off my shoulder.

    I shuddered when I read this "That I will get back that powerful female I used to be". I said the same thing. With booze it wasn't possible in my life. Being sober 8 months is LIVING and that powerful woman is re-emerging better than ever.. Sober is good - I can remember more in the past year than I can 10.
    There is help. Sit in a meeting (AA) you don't have to talk you can just listen. There are women there who know what you are going through, where you have been, etc. They will listen. And you can listen and may see some of your self in them. That was a huge relief for me. I seriously thought I was going insane.

    Reach out. It can get better, literally one day at a day :-). I thought it was bs at first. But the more I focused on ONE day vs the future (which cant be controlled) and the past (which we cant change) it did get better not to say it didn't suck or hurt but it sucked less everyday day.

    .erblock was lifted off my shoulder!

  10. I remember feeling and doing the same things you write about. And I thought sobriety would be boring. I came to realize that the "excitement" of drinking was all an illusion I created to allow myself to keep drinking. Drinking by myself at home in my 40's was not exhilarating, but I believed it was or it could be if I kept trying. Drinking past our drinking prime sucks.

  11. There are so many of us who were/are just like you. We are... we know. We know so well everything you describe. If you really want to stop .. really actually want to stop .. and really actually believe that change is possible, then I believe you can do it. You have the strength inside of you. All you have to do is Jump! It's crazy. It's hard. It's unbelievably fascinating and revealing. It's tricky. It's raw. It's sober living baby and we are living sober. Jump in xxxx

  12. Totally been there, not wanting to quit because right now its your friend, but it's a nasty backstabbing friend. I was depressed, anxious, forgetting things..just like you. I'm sure you know this but when you drink you are depressing your brain, then when you're hungover or not drinking your brain is fighting to get back to normacy and over shoots the mark...making you anxious.
    Quitting is hard. I'm almost a year, but I have to tell you I'm not nearly as depressed, anxious as I used to be. I do have to work on my mental health also, but one thing at a time.
    I lost myself and I think you have too.