Day 13 – Drinking: A love story

I have several passages marked in this book, “Drinking: A Love Story“.  I read it before I started this blog, it was the first “alcohol story” I encountered and I was shocked at some of the ways that I identified and connected to the author’s experience.  My first connection was this:

These are utterly typical examples: strong, smart, capable people who kept drinking – who put off looking at the dozens of intangible ways alcohol was affecting their lives – precisely because they were strong, smart, and capable.  In retrospect, a lot of the alcoholics I know are amazed at how much they accomplished in spite of themselves, how effectively they constructed and then hid behind facades of good health and productivity.  At the the time, they just got through.  Just hunkered down and worked and got through the days.

When I first read this, I had to stop for a moment because it was surreal to have someone else summarize my own experience.  I thought about all the life that was happening around me and to me, in spite of all I was doing to not live it.  From the moment I started reading this book I knew I had to at least try to stop drinking.  I knew that was the only way I could find out how big the problem was.  Reading this made me begin to reflect on how much time I’ve spent drinking and how much time and effort drinking takes up.  And I wondered why life felt like such a struggle?  I had never been able to take the problem of alcohol away from my self and begin to examine it in a more objective way.  Reading about the experience of others has helped me to do that but it is also very scary to see myself reflected in these experiences.  Sometimes I’m reminded of all the worry, guilt, anxiety, regret, inadequacy, avoidance and overall depression that I’ve experienced over the past 18 years and its hard to stomach those memories and feelings.

If I round the numbers, I began drinking when I was 16.  We, or I thought it was “we” at the time, drank to get drunk.  I drank like that through college and throughout my 20s.  I began to drink daily, heavily and alone about 6 years ago.  I’m 34 now.  34-16= 18.  I feel sick.  18 years.  18 years of abusing alcohol and the bad experiences that have accompanied the drinking.  Remember the movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”?  They have their memories erased because they are too painful to deal with.  Right now, I might have to seriously consider that option if it was presented to me as a little pill.  Right now, I think that may be the hardest part of all this…how hard it is to move forward when the past is still so fresh.  The past is only 13 days old for me today.  I need it to be further away.


8 thoughts on “Day 13 – Drinking: A love story

  1. Your doing really well. I managed to put another six years on before I’ve pulled up this last time. The term “functioning alcoholic” is so ironic. I’ll have to check out the book, thanks for the tip and take care, Paul.

  2. Lovely post. i have not read the book but read a book by her friend Gail Caldwell called “lets take the long way home” about their friendship and her sad early death from lung cancer. The book you metioned was refrred to in it quite a bit. Must get it.
    Yes I find I am almost grieiving at times for “wasting” so much of my life. But then I tell myself how grateful I am to have stopped drinking now. Some people never do. xx

    • Yes, and some people never try to quit. Even though today was mostly going through the motions of not drinking, I know my effort is sincere and I need to try and be more open to whatever is happening within me.

  3. you’re in a car traveling along the highway, and the only direction to travel is ‘away’ from the past. don’t look through the rear view mirror too much. face forward and look out. (facing backwards always makes me carsick anyway.) the past delivered you to the magic place where you decided to stop. imagine if you hadn’t stopped. it’s like you had a new birthday 13 days ago. and now the future is this amazing gift you get to discover, create, explore, design with intention… super exciting 🙂

  4. *I knew I had to at least try to stop drinking.  I knew that was the only way I could find out how big the problem was.
    Doesnt this statement seem so true. Ive only been sober a few more days than you but seeing things and feeling things that I never sAw or felt has made me realize that yes, my problem was huge. I really didn’t think I was that bad. I managed my home, my children, my career…but now I know that I was just “chugging” through.
    I sit back and think about all the empties I had to return to the beer store, case after case sitting in my garage. I’m not sure why that’s on my mind but yuck!
    I feel like I could manage much better now and I, like you, can’t wait for the past to be further away!

    • Thank you Jen. Thanks for reading and commenting and I’ll be visiting your blog soon!
      I can identify with the empties, there have been times when I took out my recycling in a couple of bags so that all the bottles wouldn’t be clinking together…I really don’t want that secrecy and shame to be a part of my future.

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