Thursday, January 26, 2012

33 Years of Drinking

***Submitted by Anonymous

33 Years…..

Thirty three years—that’s how long I have been drinking to escape from my feelings.  I never drank for fun.  I never drank to be more social.  I had a problem from the first glass of wine. I drank to escape obsessive compulsive disorder, extreme social anxiety, low self esteem, perfectionism, guilt, and on and on and on.  I never sought help for this drinking; I just let the voices in my head beat me up, panic about my health, and then beat me up some more.

During this time, I was able to function in the real world quite well.  I got several advanced degrees; found a wonderful job where, despite my opinion of my work, they love me; divorced the wrong husband and found the right one; contributed to the raising of two absolutely wonderful young women; and found a wonderful spiritual home.

Of course, the whole time I was living two separate lives—the fake one where I did what real people do with their lives and the real one where I worried, obsessed, beat myself up, and drank.  Both of these lives were miserable.  This is the point where you think I’m going to tell you that I quit drinking and my life is wonderful now…..well sort of.

I first sought help for the psychiatric disorders.  I received medication and finally found a really good psychiatrist that I can work with.  But of course, I never told him about the drinking.  I never told anyone (but my husband…sort of) that I was drinking and that I was worried about it.  I didn’t tell my doctor; I didn’t tell my priest;  I didn’t tell my best friends.  No one even seemed to notice or worry about it.  No one ever said a word to me about my drinking.  Because of the medications, I became less obsessive and less anxious but I was still living two miserable lives because of the secret drinking and I had the added worry of drinking with the medications.  What was I doing to myself!

Sixty days ago today, I decided to stop drinking.  I was tired of two lives.  I was tired of the guilt and worry.  I didn’t go to AA, I didn’t go to rehab.  I read myself through the sixty days.  I have read every book by a recovering addict I could get my hands on.  I have a read a few books about how to quit drinking but I did not like them as much.  I have also read every blog I could find.  I found that reading these stories helped me understand that I was not alone, I was not unique, and that sobriety was possible. I also prayed.  I asked Christ to let my sobriety bring me closer to him.

In that sixty days, I have seen some wonderful, wonderful changes in my life.  I feel like my two worlds are slowly coming together because I do not have quite as much to hide in my public world.  It is nice to go to work and not have to hide a hangover.  It is nice to not have to hide my drinking in private or public.  It is nice to not have to worry about how much there is to drink, getting enough, not seeming drunk.  It is also really wonderful to have a clean kitchen at night, be able to read a book at night, and wake up feeling okay in the mornings.

So, my life is wonderful now and that is the end of the story….wrong.  What I now realize is that my really hard work is just beginning.

You see, I don’t want to drink again.  I don’t want to live two lives any more.  I want one life where I really live all the time.  In order to do that I began seeing a therapist last week and I finally told the truth.  I had seen therapists before about the obsessive-compulsive disorder, about my divorce, about my anxiety, but never about the drinking.  

So I finally told the truth.  It was hard and after I left that session I was extremely anxious.  The cat was out of the bag.  I had asked for help with the thing that was the center of my hidden life.  I was not sure that I could go back.  Maybe I would just cancel our next appointment and keep working on this on my own.  Maybe I didn’t need to bring drinking into my public life.

I called the therapist and told her about my anxiety after our first meeting.  She was very kind.  She encouraged me to come one more time and talk with her about what we could do to make the session tolerable for me.  So, once again I told the truth.   As my second appointment approached, I was not sure I was comfortable with all this truth.

We met today.  I told the truth.

At the end of the session she asked me what would happen if my secret became public.  I could not answer that.  I do not know what I am so afraid of.  But, I am not as anxious after this session.   I have made another appointment.  So, tonight as I soberly cook dinner, watch TV, read, and interact with my family, I feel  hopeful that it will be possible to live  a life with no secrets and in which I am fully and comfortably present.

I am grateful for this forum to tell my story and ask for your prayers and positive thoughts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Feet On The Path

***Submitted by Lynne

So I've been attending AA meetings for like three months now.

I've been going... and then picking up pretty much every night.

In the last two weeks, I've felt a change.  I want to have what they have.  I hear their stories, and I see myself.  I'm used to drinking every day.  Last week, I made it for three days before the weekend... then I screwed it up.  Then last was my last drink... I made it until today.  And now I picked up again.   I'm a single mother of three.... and I'm proud to say I am actually doing a good job, considering I have a problem.  I have triggers.  I have to get past my triggers.  Routine is obviously important to me.  To the point where I've created triggers.  I've had to change how I get home from work.  What I do when I get home.  Etc.  Tonight was a routine I haven't had to do in a while, and I've failed the challenge.  (taking my son to meet his father)

I meet these wonderful ladies in AA, and I've got their numbers.  I'm going to call them this weekend.  I realize I need to actually reach out and trust.  I'm used to just dealing on my own and isolating.  Isolating really works for me - like all alcoholics.  It allows me to shut the world out and fuck up.  Then I don't have to face anyone... but eventually have to face myself... There is where the problem starts.  I realize through AA that isolating is not a good thing.

I used to think I was strong.  I used to think I could handle this "issue."  Obviously, I'm not able to.  I don't have many girlfriends.  This is a foreign thing to me.

Asking for help.  Asking for help from fellow women...  beautiful women, actually.  I feel honored to be in this group.  I am lucky, and God is trying to tell me something.  Isn't there a song about that?  hahahaha....   sigh...   I am feeling happy and scared about the fact that I now feel humbled.

I've never been a religious person.  But I do feel the presence of something greater than me, giving me love and hope.... and the most patience.  I know I'm going to get there.  And I'm building the bridges I need to in order to do it.  So I was sober since last Sunday, but   screwed up tonight.

I know I need to make the call to my people in AA.... but I'm struggling to make the call when I need to.    I need to make these calls at the right times... Before I screw up.  They are there to help me.  I'm just scared and embarrassed to make the calls.  I don't even know why.  I know that if I call them, they will feel honored that I trust them in their sobriety to help me.

But I'm in a place of so much shame.  So much fear.  Wow..... I have issues :)  

I'm happy that I'm on my journey... knowing it's going to be a long one.

But my feet are on the path, and I know it will be the most important journey of my life.

Since Lynne first submitted this post, she has also sent me this update:    I've been sober now for 16 days.  I've found a sponsor through the AA group I've been attending, and I'm feeling very good about myself and the journey I'm on.  One day at a time, right?  But I made it through Christmas and New Year's with sobriety for the first time in a long time.  A long, long time :)   I'm learning I can face life and some of the stressful stuff without having to dive into the bottle.  I don't want to abuse myself any longer when I'm faced with the tough stuff.  I used to think it helped me cope, but I always feel worse about myself for having done that to my spirit.  I also liked to use it to reward myself... for having worked hard that day, or accomplished stuff at home, or did a good job as a Mom.  But my reward now is having had a wonderful sleep and getting up in the morning feeling refreshed and not having a puffy face with bags around my eyes :)  Like they say, the rewards of being sober is simply that - feeling good and healthy, rather than hungover and sick.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From Your Friend

***Submitted by Anonymous

I love you.

I always will.

We have been friends since high school and I want us to be friends for the rest of our lives. And I want the rest of our lives to be healthy and happy and long.

 I’m worried about you. I don’t say anything because I don’t want to wreck our friendship and I don’t know how you’d react. But when you can’t remember the funny things we talked about on a Friday night because you drank too much, it makes me sad.

I want to be able to make memories with you, and not lose them to a blackout. When you have to review the pictures in your phone to see what we did over the weekend, I worry about you. And I worry more when it doesn’t seem to worry you. Or your husband. Or your mother. Or our other friends.

When you finally come out with me one town over, you can’t drink as much since you have farther to drive home. So far, you’ve made an excuse each time about why you have to leave early. At first I thought you were uncomfortable in a new place, then I realized you were uncomfortable not being able to drink as much as you want.

It’s hard to be friends with someone who has to have everything on their terms, which always involve drinking. When you called and asked me to pick you up those times before we went out, you said it was because your night vision wasn’t good, and the brakes in your car were bad. It took me some time to realize that you just wanted a designated driver so you could drink more.

When you finally left the bar that one night after you did those things, the men I always thought of as heavy drinkers were talking about your excessive drinking and accompanying behavior. They said to me “it’s nice that you have all your faculties about you.” It made me sad that that was something to be complimented. And I wished that we could spend time together where you did not have to leave in a crumpled heap with people giving each other the nervous, sad smile as you stumble out behind your husband.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know how to have an intervention. Do people even have those?

I just love you.

And want a long happy healthy friendship with you. But it’s becoming more and more difficult.

I love you. And I will love you if you stop drinking.

And I will still hang out with you outside of the bar and without wine and do fun things with you if you stop drinking.

We all still will.


 Your friend.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just Starting Out

***Submitted by Anonymous 

This is my first contribution—my first tell all.

I am a mother of 3, great kids. I don’t think I am an alcoholic because I don’t always need a drink.

It’s just when I start I don’t stop, I’ll drink until all the booze in the house is gone and then beg my BF to get me more. I’ll drink beer, wine and vodka…I don’t care what I mix it with.I’ve spent the last 2 weeks blacking out every night.

But I get up in the morning feeling like sh*t and go to work. They love me at work, I do my job and I do it well.I don’t drink during the day, don’t even want one. Most mornings I swear off alcohol totally. Today I am 2 days w/o a drink..and don’t plan on drinking for a while, plus there is none in the house.

New Year is coming up this weekend. I plan on being the designated driver. My BF drinks, he is a beer drinker…the 2 of us are a fine pair. He doesn’t black out like I do, as he is not on meds like I am. He’s had 3 DUI, and is currently in the court system dealing with his latest one. He may lose his license for 3 years—ugh.

I read all these blogs, I commend everyone. I read it every day—it is my therapy. Everyone seems to have an excuse as to why they are or have become an alcoholic…I can’t answer that question. I don’t have to drink—I chose too. I just cant stop.

If I drink after a 3rd---the stoppers are out. There are times I have control to stop—there are times I don’t. My parents are not alcoholics, but my dad has had some issues with it. My sister is definitely one, my little sister is not.

I don’t know where to begin. I’ve looked into AA meetings in my area—but I am scared. Not to being judged but to be told I will never be able to drink again. I ask myself if that is that big of a deal—I cant even answer that. But I hate how I feel the next day, I hate how I don’t remember the evenings.

I hate how it is when I am drunk it is the only time we have sex. I hate the weight gain. Guess I gotta find the good part about not drinking—that I will wake up with out swollen eyes, swollen fingers, memory loss, the looks from my kids, that I can go outside and run a few miles (I used to run marathons and be a gym rat), That I will save the $12 a day (a bottle a night). Our restaurant bill will be less than $100 b/c there will not be the 4 glasses of wine at $8 apiece.

I know there is a better side---I am not ready to give it all up---but I may just have to…What do you all think???