Thursday, March 6, 2014

Turning 40...Past, Present, and what will the Future hold?

*****submitted by katlulu with 3 days

I am turning 40 in one month.  

I own my own business.  I have been with my partner, H, for nearly 10 years; we have no children by choice.  We are both well-educated.  We have created a cozy home, through my endless joy of re-purposing and design.  We cherish our beloved pets.  We are fortunate and do not stress about finances. We have beautiful friendships (only a few true ones), and we have close relationships with our families.  We often say how grateful we are.  Life seems pretty dang swell, no? 

The problem is that:

I am dependent on alcohol.  I abuse it.
I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  I abuse it.
I am dependent on nicotine.  I abuse it.

They all play into a paralyzing, vice-vicious cycle.  They feed each on and off of each other.  I learned and practiced them all together, for the last 25 years.  But first, I think that I want to get sober.

My first taste of alcohol was at a restaurant with my Dad and my stepmother.  I was very young. My Dad ordered a fancy dessert parfait just for me.  It came in a pretty glass dish that sat elegantly, on a white doily.  It was served to me with a long, graceful spoon.  Bright green, creme de menthe, poured over these little perfect scoops of vanilla ice cream.  It was so creamy and minty! And I loved and savored every last milky-green drip and drop, with my special spoon.  That night, my Dad chuckled the whole way home because I was being so funny and hyper.  I loved making him laugh! It became our tradition. 

Fast forward to high school.  My friends and I were bound and determined to be older, so we smoked and drank, experimented with drugs, and had sex.  One time, I woke up after drinking vodka, with a guy on top of me and no recollection.  Freshman summer, I slept with a guy one night, who was a sophomore in college.  The next day, he told me I had left my earrings on his nightstand.  He and his friend came to pick me up.  His friend drove a white van with only a driver and a front passenger seat.  I had to sit on the sophomore's lap. We went back to the friend's house and I remember red flags...I felt nervous being there, as the only girl with two college-aged men.  They opened half-warm cans of Busch pounders, and handed me one.  They wanted to play strip poker with me.  I played, but I felt so humiliated and ashamed.  Finally we were finished, and I just wanted to go home.  But first, the college sophomore pinned me down, and while I said no repeatedly, he assaulted me.  His friend, "wanted some too", and laughed and pounded on the locked door.  But I was only his.  They drove me home, right after.  I had to ride on the sophomore's lap.  I don't remember if I got my earrings back.

In college, I partied regularly.  Lots of beer, shots of liquor, bong hits, cocaine...blackouts.  Many sexual encounters, many I don't remember.  I was thee party queen! The sex goddess! I thought it was fun, the parts that I remember.

By my 30's, I had been married and divorced. I moved to Brooklyn, and worked and schooled in NYC.  One night after a happy hour I fell on some ice, knocked my front teeth out, and broke bones in my face.  Crazy thing is that I didn't realize that my teeth were truly gone, until the morning.

Today, nearly 20 years later, while I've calmed down significantly, red wine is my drug of choice.  I still blackout regularly.  I cringe in the mornings when trying to recollect what I did, or said the night before.  I rebuff plans, so I can stay home and safely drink.  I don't usually make or take calls after 5 o' clock.  I have to eat a chalky antacid before drinking, so my stomach doesn't feel like fire.  I wake in the night, hurting, like I've been poisoned (I have).  I can't sleep, I'm cold, then I'm sweaty-hot.  I lay there, promising myself, begging myself, no more wine.

H got a DUI.  He is recovering, and has hardly drank for the last 8 months.  I love him, and I'm so proud of him.  He has inspired me, but I couldn't stop with him, I couldn't support him the way I wanted to.

Today is my Day 3. My head hurts and it's spinning with anxiousness, my palms are wet, and my pupils are like black saucers. I've tried so many times to get it together.  I am so sick of not living bigger; there is so much more to my person, than this.   And while I so wish that I could finally grasp moderation, I am scared that will never happen.  Should I just try to stick to one or two glasses, just one more time? The thing is, I think I'm finally too tired to try it again.  Tired of the insanity.

I think I am ready for my 40th birthday...sober.  At least I am today.


  1. Welcome. In the book Alcoholics Anonymous, we read how it is every alcoholic's desire to learn "moderation." And in the same book it is succinctly illustrated, page after page, how moderate drinking is not an option or remote possibility for the person diagnosed with alcoholism. Many die trying, but its a lost cause.
    So, are you one of us? Alcoholic? Only you can make that conclusion. I can tell you that normal drinkers are able to wake up following an evening where a few drinks are consumed and have no difficulty with remembering the details of the previous night.
    I set out on my sober journey 13 years ago at the age of 40 and by the Grace of God have been led down a path I'd only dreamt about the prior four decades. I write you with conviction when I state that had I not been led into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous just over ten years ago, I would surely be dead today. Undeniable fact...
    Its mind blowing where sobriety has led me, the serenity that surrounds me, the discoveries, FINALLY, about who I am and WHY I'm here. Answered questions that had plagued me for a lifetime. Its been a liberating and empowering journey. You really have come to the right place... all you have to do is acknowledge the hold alcohol has over you and ask for help. I would urge you, however, to ask; white knuckling sober attempts fail, attempting to do this alone is futile. We'll share with you how we did it, what worked for us, then be here to support you along your way.
    I'm a believer that the first step is the hardest.
    Tonight, my prayer is that you'll take that step and find an easier, more gentler way of life. (

  2. Hey katlulu, one of the things that stood out to me in your post was wishing you could "grasp moderation." So, I'm curious as to what are the positives you get from drinking? How is it helping you? I'm wondering why you would still want to drink given what you have shared. I hope you don't feel like I am judging you, I am just curious as to why you would want to keep drinking when it makes you sick. Once we change our thoughts about drinking we can make more empowered choices. I am sober almost 26 years and I have never regretted that choice once. As hurtful as alcohol was to me, when I was drinking, it served it's purpose in my life, it was the only way I knew how to cope with some horrific parts of my past. Once I had other tools, I no longer needed or wanted the alcohol. I had been a heavy smoker also but quit 5 years before I got sober and I had an eating disorder. As my relationship to myself healed, so did my relationship to food. I wish you all the best! You deserve it! Here's to a sober 40th! Peace, Barbara

  3. Moderation was always beyond my grasp because when I forced myself to drink "moderately", I was never satisfied. Ever. Your writing is beautiful and I could relate to a lot of your early days of drinking. Funny to me now how there's a dark flip side to every wild time or what I thought of as a fun adventure. Many things are terribly painful to recall and I wonder why I did some of those things to myself. Thankfully, I don't have to live like that anymore. I'm 40 now too.

  4. Katlulu, I see so much of myself in your writing. I am on day 3 as well, and have tried to moderate in the past and while I was perhaps able to "not get blackout" drunk, I still was exerting a ton of effort to stay in moderation. I have tried to quit before and did pretty good, until I let my guard down and forgot why I wanted to quit in the first place. I am hoping this time will be my last. My thoughts are with you as you embark on this journey.

  5. I read this query in Barbara's reply and while I'm puzzled about it coming from one who has shared your struggles, it is a common question asked by individuals outside looking in. In fact, it is the paradox of this disease. Allow me to explain ....." I am just curious as to why you would want to keep drinking when it makes you sick."
    Without question the active alcoholic is aware, to some extent, of the negative feelings, both emotional and physical, that alcohol cause. . But it stops there. This realization does not get examined because we're in "active addiction" and when we're buried in the depths of our disease the "addict brain" is in charge. The addict mind is calling all the shots. Commenter, Elizabeth writes,, " I have tried to quit before and did pretty good, until I let my guard down and forgot why I wanted to quit in the first place" ... again, her addict brain knew when to pounce. When we let our guard down,, and we will,, that cunning, baffling addict mind that has lie dormant,, surfaces and BAM, we're back at it. Right where we left off, but a few notches lower in terms of negative consequences (but that is another matter)..
    So, the real answer to the question, "why?" is really very simple.
    Because I'm an alcoholic.
    That is why I used to remain on the preverbal wheel of madness. Plain and simple.

  6. Hi Katlulu,
    After many failed attempts at sobriety -- promising myself that "this is my last drink", taking an alternate route home so I didn't pass a liquor store, going to intensive outpatient treatment, trying to attend AA meetings, I caved in and asked for help. This DISEASE, as I have to remind myself, wants us dead. It wants us as a captive audience and is hopeful that it will track us down and convince us that we're not really that bad, that we can "moderate", that we don't need help. Trust me when I say -- you cannot do this alone and for us, there is no such thing as moderation.

    I just returned from an intensive inpatient program and today have 39 days sober. I still feel scared and alone and anxious. But I remain vigilant and hopeful. And HOPEFUL is my daily dose of serenity. I have let my guard down and people in. When I feel the least bit anxious, I let someone know. I have a great new therapist who is a recovering addict herself. I have surrounded myself with people, places and things that will increase my chances at staying sober for one more day. And coming from me -- a self-proclaimed control freak -- this is big. I've made a conscious decision to not drink today. Of all the AA slogans, one day at a time truly resonates with me.

    Yesterday I found out my car needed $2400 worth of work. A few hours later I discovered a pool of water around my hot water heater. I'm waiting for the plumber to come replace it -- a mere $1,100. And, I am currently unemployed and in the final phase of divorce. I tell you this to illustrate one thing which is that today would be the perfect day to drink ( I LOVE Sierra Nevada!) but I choose not to. I want to but I won't. I can't. It's that simple and that complicated all in one.

    Katlulu - you can do this. You can choose to not drink for the next 5 minutes. You can call someone. You can go to an AA meeting. Unfortunately, it's on you to make that decision. Once you turn your will over and admit you are powerless, this amazing thing happens. People you never knew surround you and protect you. You just have to be willing.

    I wish a sober birthday for you. I don't know you but I do know that everyone deserves peace. Take a deep breath and don't drink -- at least for the next 5 minutes.

    Best of luck and as they say in the rooms "KEEP COMING BACK. IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT."


  7. No Reservation
    We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again:
    "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic."
    Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever.
    If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind,
    nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
    - Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 33

    Thought to Ponder . . .
    If we want to quit drinking, we are going to have to quit drinking.

    THIS really pissed me off, what'd ya mean, if I want to quit drinking, I have to quit drinking??? Not rocket science; but a truth I fought til .... I surrendered the drink. MIRACLE. One day time contentment slowly comes as I learned to live life on life's terms.... easier to understand, accept and "keep the surrender" now that I am five years further down the road. Best wishes .... and prayers; I hope for you serenity and a sober birthday

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. Many, if not all of us, can relate to your words. The good news is the anxiousness will pass and peacefulness will replace it. It is a joy to wake up and not worry about what you did or said last night or to plan your life around drinking. It is nice that you have a partner who has understands, just hang in there, my birthday was two days ago and although we were in a restaurant surrounded by people ordering alcohol, I was happy to be at a table with my beautiful daughter and drinking iced tea. I never thought I would say this, but life is so much better without alcohol! If we can do it, you can too!

  9. All the comments above resonate with me, too. Moderation doesn't work for me either. There is an all or nothing switch in my brain-as long as I stay away I am fine-one sip, literally, and all my alcoholic neurons fire-I toasted one night and the wine barely touched my mouth and all the sudden it was like a gun going off in my head. I never touched it again-not even for communion. Even the smell of liquor i enough to set me off so thankfully my husband doesn't drink either so it's never in the house.

    You can do it, stay strong, sleep a lot, drink tons and tons of water, showers help me to distract myself, call a friend, bake a pie from scratch, clean the bathroom, read a blog, write in your journal or draw a picture of the feelings...

  10. Hi Katlulu - try the UK based soberistas website, on there you will find many others going through exactly the scenario you describe. You will get a lot of support. The very best of luck to you, nearly a month without for me x

  11. Get off that elevator that is only going DOWN. Get off now with the rest of us - while you still can get off. It will be ok. You can do this. So many others have done this already. Major leap of faith. Scary as hell. Go for it.

  12. I'll never forget those first few days of sobriety. I don't know what was more painful; the physical withdrawals or the sheer panic. I had gotten to the point that I knew I couldn't live with it anymore but had no idea how I would ever live without it. For me alcohol had been my "solution" to the being in my own skin. I'm now almost 11 years sober. It hasn't always been fun or easy but I do promise you it is worth it. I highly suggest you find a sponsor. Someone that has something you want...that something you can't really even put your finger on maybe. Then do what they suggest. It is beautiful and peaceful on the other side...My thoughts, energies and prayers go out to you. You're not alone

  13. Thanks for sharing katlulu. For myself, wanting to drink in moderation makes perfect sense. I am in my early 30s, at uni, and having drinks is one of the most common ways people socialise. If you don't drink, you can still have something non-alcoholic at the tavern, but when others want to continue on afterwards, it does leave you out of the picture. I can't go to a pub or club for long at all if I'm not drinking - without alcohol it's all so boring and depressing at the same time! Unless I'm getting drunk I hate yelling to be heard! So I have tried to just drink in moderation many times, and on many occasions I have had just one or two drinks and gone home. And I have felt really good about that. Because I was able to 'fit in' without getting drunk. But really, at the end of the day, did I enjoy myself? Not that much. I feel like there's so much more to life. And while in the short term not drinking may result in some feelings of 'missing out', not seeming all that popular, you've got to think about the future. Does sobriety have a brighter future for you than drinking? I know it does for me!! It's still challenging, esp. telling friends that you're not going out tonight because you've given up drinking. How will they react? Well, I think for us with dependency issues, we've just got to have absolute conviction and know what is best for us and GO WITH IT. Stay firm with the choice to not drink if you know that's what your conscience is telling you to do. In time you will reap the rewards of that choice. It's the best thing you can do for yourself and for those who care about you.

  14. First of all, I want to say thankyou for sharing your story and your thoughts.
    I can relate to so much of what you have said.
    I'm wishing you all the best on your road to sobriety.

  15. Hi there, katlulu ~ I came across your post today. I happen to be going on day #3 and was wondering how you're doing. I'm your age and we have several things in common - aside from abusing alcohol, nicotine and food. If you would like to share - or perhaps "pen pal", if you will, send me a note.

  16. Concentrate on recovery and watch the miracles happen. I am sober over twenty years and I could not do it without A.A. I have stopped smoking ,drugging and gambling also. No I am not a saint. I know this much however, I cannot do this without help. The first step says 'We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol ; that our lives had become unmanageable. Which tells me I can't do this on my own. Good Luck with your recovery.

    Check out this recovery blog also loads of helpful recovery stuff:


  17. Hello,
    What a powerful post. I really identified with it. I turned 40 three years ago and felt very similar. I remember feeling something similar when I was 30 too-- like okay, its time to get serious and grow up. Of course it didnt' happen and here I am at 43 finally making it happen. Katlulu, I hope you are doing well. I'm child-free also, living with my fiance who I have been with for 6 years, who has been my drinking buddy. Its a really tough transition but it is doable. Many have done it successfully and I believe you and I can too. Stay strong!

  18. I made my first stab at quitting when I was 40. At 41 I got it right and have been sober for the past 3 years and 5 months. You are honest and tough. If you want to get sober, you will.
    Try to remember this, asking for help is like selling stock. You want to sell stock before it crashes and you want to ask for help before it is too late.

    1. I really want to sell my stock before it crashes. Thank you for putting it in that way. We are the same age. It is time for me to be sober. I am going to my first AA meeting today. Thank you for your words, Mark.

  19. Over 2 months without posting, good thing no one's depending on you for inspiration or camaraderie. Can you taste the sarcasm? A girl needs her blog!!

    1. Sarcasm = the tearing and ripping of flesh .... WOW ... I don't know about you but I'm counting on a higher power than a blogger for inspiration and camaraderie. Check your facts and have compassion for your fellows ... maybe the writer of the blog has been taking care of herself for a specific reason like her health. Just saying ... the self centeredness of your remark set me off. Sorry!!! PS: Did you notice the list of sober blogs to the right of your comment?????? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

  20. Even if the price is high. At least an alcoholic or abuser has learned the truth about alcohol. The world is still filled with disillusioned people who think alcohol is a sign of sophistication and key to happiness. Pranks on them..

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  21. Please read this book, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    43 years old and now sober for 1 year, I recently read this book when I was tempted to drink again. I can conclude that I now have no desire in the slightest to drink an ADDICTIVE POISON of destruction! Life is so much better when your head is clear. It took me a few weeks to clean my body and a few months to clean my mind. I feel like I am reborn, healthier body, healthier mind and much wealthier now I don't have to spend money on something that was slowly killing me.

    I am in no way affiliated with amazon or any other book seller or the author, just an ex-drunk wanting to help :)

    1. I agree, a very good book.

  22. Dr. Olorun Oduduwa I love to be on your testimonial page to spread my happiness. Your hard work and effort is greatly appreciated especially from me. My boy-friend is back home. We are back together. He pick me up from my station today. I haven't saw him in 6 month. I wasted so much time with other spell casters and should have stuck with you originally. You are a truly gifted spell caster and I just wanted to take the time to show how you and tell the world how grateful I am"thanks to Dr. Olorun, contact him if need his help on how to bring back your lost husband or boyfriend to your heart again on;

    1. I am sorry and so very confused. Rozai I am grateful that you shared but I am a little confused with regard to your story/statement. Was this loss of a person in your life due to an addiction of some kind? Did this doctor help you through a detox or just help in restoring a relationship. Completely lost as to your paragraph, Simply Black

  23. My dear friend,
    How hard it can be to admit to a defeat when outwardly everything seems so perfect. Every sentence you wrote cries out for an end to this nightmare. First - it is a disease that can only be arrested but never cured. You are responsible as to how you deal with it. To never have a drink again and to admit to having a problem is the first and most important step. Reach out to anyone and everyone in the field of detox and sobriety. The answers and guidance may not suit you at this moment, but stopping the drinking is what must be done. I have never been able to moderate my usage in any way, shape or form. Even if it means in- patient treatment to start. You are so well written and educated that it is hard to believe that you are powerless over anything and especially booze. Guess what my friend you are addicted and share in the company of a lot of highly intelligent people. There is no need to continue suffering and most assuredly suffering alone. You are not alone. I pray you are able to come to a decision and begin to live once again. God Bless, Simply Black

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