Friday, June 28, 2013

How Do I Stop This Cycle?

*** Submitted by Anonymous

A friend mentioned to me that she loved your site and had donated to your cause.  She has been a part of AA for two years and has trying to get me to tag along with her, but I never thought I had the need. I just spent an hour over your website and was very moved.

I have refused to consider myself an alcoholic.  Because I have gone days, weeks, months, even years without drinking.  I was a social drinker during college and didn't drink at all when my children were younger except for the occasional Christmas party or gathering for a birthday. 

As my children got older, I started going out more with family and friends, having drinks with dinner, etc.  Eventually this turned into happy hour once a week with no children, drinks with dinner, occasional parties at our home. 

Over the past four years, its been Thursday night happy hour until 10 p.m., Friday night out late, Saturday bbq's and start drinking at five, and Sunday is "I'm getting ready to go back to work tomorrow so I'll just have some wine at home while I cook and clean."  The last six months I feel like its escalated even beyond that -- drinking on a Tuesday night because I had a rough day at work, drinking at a business lunch because someone offers, etc. 

I cannot count the number of times that I've woken up hung over.  The number of times that I wake up and I'm not sure how I got home, then l look outside and see my own car in the driveway.  The times that I will remember something I did or said a few days after the fact and cringe with embarrassment. 

Two things this past week made me pause and think that I really had to quit bottom feeding and get control of my life again.  One - we were at a wedding with many mutual friends.  I had a great time but the end of the evening is hazy.  I saw the same friends this past weekend and one girl made the comment that her mom wanted to know "who that girl is who is always drunk" (me)......nice.  The other was the fact that I ran into a teacher from my daughters school at the bar I frequent and she seemed quite uncomfortable with my level of drinking, and offered to drive me home.  I thanked her but refused and left when she got up to go find her husband.   I saw her today dropping my daughter off at school and felt mortified. 

Am I a functioning alcoholic?  I don't know. 

If so, I am functioning on a very low level in comparison to years past.  I used to do so much more for my kids, my home, even my job.  I am covering all my bases - no one misses school, everyone eats, the laundry is done and no one at work is the wiser.  I have been married twenty years, and though alcohol has caused us fights and cost us money, my husband is supportive of me and takes care of me.  He doesn't mind if I drink, just doesn't want me to drink too much.  What he doesn't understand is I am beginning to think anything is too much when every night turns into a haze of regret.  I regret my kids knowing I drink and thinking this lifestyle is ok.  I regret the time I haven't spent with them and they have been alone, even though they are teenagers now.  I regret my beautiful home being unorganized and dirty. 

I tell myself I deserve it because I work so hard every week - I go to the gym every day, I am a Zumba instructor twice a week, I have a full time management job and have to travel at times.  But I also tell myself I deserve more.

My question is this:  How do I stop this cycle?  I will go without Sunday through Thursday afternoon, then I will receive half a dozen calls for happy hour from various people.  I say I won't go but I usually cave.  My husband does not have a problem with drinking and can have a few and go home, so he thinks I should be able to do the same.

In the past few months, I've put reminders on my phone Thursday through Sunday with various sayings about being strong, saying no, etc.  But in the end it gets me.  I've thought about telling my friends I have a real problem and not to ask me out, but I am embarrassed to do so.  I've thought about telling my relatives not to buy me alcohol as a gift (people bring bottles of wine and liquor over all the time when we bbq) but again, it seems like I should be able to control myself.  I will go 10-14 days with excuses - telling people I am sick, telling them the kids are sick, telling them I have to work early, etc.....and then the cycle will start again.

I am wondering if completely removing myself from my environment for a week or so would help.  Some type of therapy, rehab, even just a vacation by myself with no alcohol.  I could afford to take a week to to do that or possibly even ten days.  Has anyone had any luck with that?

I went to AA.  I hated it.  Honestly.  I saw the good in the people, but I was extremely uncomfortable and I am not at all a religious person and I do not believe a higher power controls my destiny, I believe that I do. 

16 comments:

  1. I think your idea about a vacation of no drinking is a really good idea. I've done that myself but it rarely works for me cuz I associate vacation with drinking. And when I go several days or even weeks without drinking I tend to want to reward myself with a real bender... So obviously I'm not one to give advice! Just know that I totally relate to all that you're writing here and I too wish I could be strong enough to Just Say No...

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  2. Your words hit home more than you can imagine. I wish I had words of advice because I am struggling just like you. Please know that you are NOT alone. And you should do whatever it takes to raise yourself back up. I also shun AA so if that doesn't work for you, try another path. I know this is hard for us...but be SELFISH and do what YOU need to do. Hugs.

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  3. I know this cycle all too well, because just 4 months ago I was living it. I am sorry you are in this pain. I know meetings sounds terrible and when I first started going it felt like a nightmare, but I think the worse nightmare was blacked out nights, not being able to stop when it was time to go and honestly the more time sober I can see crealy of the wreckage I have caused.

    I know a higher power sounds scary and it is. I know admitting you are an alcoholic sounds scary and it is. I also know I am willing to do anything to be sober, are you? You deserve to live a happy life without alcohol controlling it.

    Just keeping reaching out and asking for help. Try going to a meeting and finding a person you like and asking them what they did to stay sober. Treatment.worked for me.It May work for you! Good luck Love and light to you!

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  4. I was in your position. My life started spiraling out of control. I had to get a grip. I hit rock bottom and got sober. I have always believed in God so it wasn't a problem for me to turn it over to Him. Try a women's meeting or connect with some ladies on the BFB. If you message me privately, I will be happy to talk to you :) Linda 7/2/11

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  5. Wow. I heard so much of my story in yours:

    "I am covering all my bases - no one misses school, everyone eats, the laundry is done and no one at work is the wiser. ...alcohol has caused us fights and cost us money, my husband is supportive of me and takes care of me. He doesn't mind if I drink, just doesn't want me to drink too much."

    This was me too, except my alcoholism eventually progressed to the point where I was drinking daily and at the end, I could NOT go one day without drinking. That's the thing. This is a progressive condition. It gets worse, never better. I hate that it's like that, but my life proved it to be true.

    Here's the good news. You don't have to do it anymore. I don't either. There IS a solution. There IS HOPE. If you want to get sober, you can. God knows, if I can, anyone can. It was very difficult in the beginning because I wanted to rationalize, justify, and over-analyze EVERYTHING. But when I realized all I had to do was just not pick up a drink for a day, I did it. I was just so worn out and weary from all the fighting in my head.

    Would you be open to joining a private online community that can give you some support to get your started? You will find some warm, caring, wonderful people who really get it. You may see your story in our stories.

    If you are able to go to treatment, go. I loved it, even though I was shaking like a leaf, ashamed, and humiliated when I got there. They were so kind and loving to me and really helped me develop the tools I needed to live my life sober. I went back to drinking (my choice) a couple of months later and after a 4 year, very dark, secretive relapse, made my way back to sobriety and have been sober now for 5 years. Today, I can live my life without the thought of a drink a great majority of the time. Pretty stunning for "that girl who's drunk all the time", which is how I viewed myself.

    Recovery is there for you too. There is plenty of hope to go around. Just reach out and grab it.

    Prayers and blessings to you. xoxo

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  6. Your story is a very familiar one..have you read "Best Kept Secret"? If you are a mom who is spiraling out of control I would highly recommend it.

    There are a lot of alternatives to an AA meeting. My program is Women for Sobriety but there is SMART, Rational Recovery...any number of others. Do a little recon and see which one matches your life philosophy best..that's what you will have the best chance of sticking with and we give ourselves a better chance of long term sobriety if we have a support group.

    A 'sober' vacation? LOL (laughing WITH you not at you...swear) You can (and will) do all kinds of things to try and prove to yourself that you are not an alcoholic. We all did :) As a sister addict my wish for you is that you accept it sooner than later so that you can move on with your life. You will be amazed at how free and joyful sober life is!

    Blessings to you~

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  7. I too did not want to believe that I couldn't control my drinking but, boy howdy, after I got sober so much became clear. I too was the "drunk girl" and I blacked out so every time I drank I did shit that I was ashamed of and embarrassed by and scared of. That's why I drank - for that release of thinking that blacking out brings. It was hard. I didn't do meetings and I immersed myself in other pursuits like walking, reading and crafty stuff. I also slept A LOT to avoid the times of day that were worst triggers and I used sleep need as an excuse to avoid people that encouraged me to "just have one". Well, hell, if I could just have one I would. But there is no ONE in LyndaLand.

    Email me for encouragement if you want-Lynda at LMI dot net

    You can do it, I have faith in you and your ability to just say what you need to to save yourself. My friends were astounded but pleasantly surprised-they knew long before I did that quitting was the only answer. Perhaps your friends know too they just are uncertain how to broach it with you. Maybe asking for a different kind of dinner bbq contribution than liquor--desserts, side dishes, lemonade, tea, fruit punches, jello with fresh fruit.... would help them to help you. I bet they are willing and able to assist you on this new path. Maybe even some will join you-how cool would that be for the group and for your kids...

    Holding you up to the Universal Healing Power.

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  8. I do not believe a higher power controls my destiny, I believe that I do.

    This quote shows the power of denial ... the higher power that controls your life today .... is .... ALCOHOL.

    However, there IS a solution. I hope you find yours. Tonight I pray for you ... the still suffering ... and THANK YOU for keeping ME sober !

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  9. I can relate to your story in many ways. I have not had a drink in 7 mos. (longest period of time since pregnancy). What is working this time? I stopped going to AA meetings. Cult-like, perhaps. I know it works for lots of people, and more power to them. It was not working for me. The God thing. Have you looked at Women for Sobriety? It has been helpful for me. Look at their website.

    My kids are young adults and I worry about the role model I have been for them. I can't really talk about my drinking with them - yet. It is still too recent, but I will. Happy hours? Can you go, enjoy the company and food and order a soda? Fruit juice? What is helpful for me is to have something enjoyable to drink. I have always been a bloody mary fan - I order them virgin but still get the spiciness and all the vegtables. Whatever works, but most people don't even notice. And then you can be the sober one to drive home.

    Share what you want to with people. Some say the more people know the more accountablity you will face. If that works, tell everyone. I have kept the sobriety thing with very few. I have even answered the question of why I was drinking water instead of a beer with "watching calories". Whatever works is the right path. No one here will judge you.

    Good luck. Stay strong. email me or others if it would be helpful. We read this blog because we need sobriety support. We are on a common journey.

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  10. I believed for many years that I didn't have a problem -- that i just liked to have a really good time which equated to basically blacking out and going on auto-pilot. Unfortunately, something tragic happened to me during a drinking episode (but could have been ALOT worse) that finally forced me to realize that i did have a problem and on my own I could not fix it! That was almost two years ago and I can tell you that while at times being sober can be "boring" it is infinitely better than living in the cycle of quitting, going on a bender, coming to filled with remorse and guilt. Not having to worry about what i did, what i said, how i got home, hangovers, etc. is absolutely liberating. I went into treatment at a sober-living house and then read, read, and read books about recovery and people in recovery. I know that you say that you do not believe in God but i promise you if you will read the Big Book, you will be amazed and how much you can relate to it. It is basically a step by step guide to living life fully and without resentment and guilt and remorse -- it is about so much more than "not drinking". It really is about changing your perception of life and those around you. I really, really hope for your sake and that of your family's that you reach out and get the help you need before you have to suffer a major consequence that you can't get out of. I am 37 years old and i can honestly say that i have never felt better physically and mentally since embracing a new life without alcohol and with a new perception.

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  11. AA didn't resonate with me either. I am not powerless. I have been a member of Women for sobriety for,over 4 years, and I love the philosophy there. Why don't ou come join us?
    Nancy

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    1. Once I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and its effect on my brain & life, I gradually started taking back my ability to live my life and exercise my will in more appropriate ways. For a long time alcohol was my Higher Power. It was just pride that kept me from being honest about it. In recovery I have discovered confidence, determination and commitment I have never known before, and thanks to AA I am training for my THIRD marathon as a sober woman.

      Admitting and accepting I was powerless over alcohol has turned out to be the most empowering thing I have ever done for myself. Just my perspective. Thanks for letting me share it here.

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  12. I'd like to say "ditto" to so many of the women above. AA is NOT the only way. One size does NOT fit all. For women for whom it works, that is such a blessing for them. However, it does NOT work for all, by any stretch of the imagination. Do read "Her Best Kept Secret" as recommended above. I also recommend Sober for Good by Anne M. Fletcher and her most recent book about the rehab industry in the U.S. Absolutely, look into WFS, SMART Recovery, etc. and consider seeing a drug/alcohol counselor, but only one who is knowledgeable enough to realize that there are many roads to recovery. I wish you the best in your journey.

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  13. In terms of admitting powerlessness -- I went to AA a few times and it wasn't a helpful construct for me, although I met some lovely and supportive women there. Scouted around online and found the Women for Sobriety program, which I like more. It is also abstinence-based. After much thought I've decided that some of the "powerless" thing makes sense to me, but in my own case, instead of admitting complete powerlessness and asking a Higher Power to heal me, my feeling is "I have some power, but I need help from others for it to be enough." In that way I am honest with myself about the seriousness of my problem (like you, I had a "high bottom" -- the bare minimum was getting done with my house, job, kids, etc. -- but I could really feel myself accelerating and I was frightened of where I felt I was heading) but also empowered to say, "I am strong and I CAN do this -- WITH HELP." Another thing WFS is helping me with is feeling worthy of a better life. A lot of women with drinking problems also have self-esteem problems and this is a vicious cycle. It has been for me. WFS helps me with that.

    Whatever you need to do, I hope you will value yourself and your life enough to do it. I can hear in your letter that you're unhappy and frightened. You don't have to be. Even 3 weeks into sobriety I can say it is hard but it feels so good both physically and emotionally. I had forgotten I could feel good -- and free from shame. You deserve the same! Good luck!

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