Day 14 – Real Alcoholics

I’m feeling a little better than yesterday, but I was in a low place for most of today.  Not an “I need to drink” place, but more of a greyish, quiet but not reflective, limbo kind of place.  I stayed inside for too long this morning, then lethargy kicked in and motivation dipped to non-existing.  I finally roused myself to go to my favorite class at the gym, and lo and behold, my outlook improved!  I guess all those articles about exercise being the best mood lifter are true.  But today was a work from home day and I just didn’t give myself enough structure today.

I’m still reflecting on the book, “Drinking: A Love Story”.  Another passage that I marked is:

“But alcoholics are masters of denial, and I managed to keep whatever worries I harbored about my own drinking nicely compartmentalized, stashed away on the same shelf in my cubicle where I kept my growing collection of books about addiction.  So, I drink a little too much; it’s not really a problem.  I said that to myself often, and I meant it.  Real alcoholics drank themselves straight out of jobs: they got loaded at lunch and never came back to the office; they were so hungover they couldn’t get to work in the first place; they stashed gin in their desks and received repeated warnings about their failing job performance, and they were finally fired.  I wasn’t like that, not in the least.”

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to use the term “alcoholic” to refer to myself.  I think “dysfunctional” and even “abusive” are accurate terms to describe my relationship with alcohol.  But the literature that’s out there seems to indicate that alcoholics will always want a drink no matter how long they have abstained from it; that they are always in recovery.  I don’t want to accept that as my future.  I want to get to a place where I can clearly articulate what alcohol was to me and why I needed it for a time and then be able to clearly articulate why I don’t need it or want it anymore.
But I’m not at either of these places yet.  This grey area right now is hard to accept because it is so unknown.  I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic, I don’t know if I’m ready to stop drinking forever, I don’t know what I’ll do when I reach Day 31 and August is over.  I don’t know how I feel about my future with alcohol, if I want it or not.  I miss it sometimes and I wish I didn’t, but that’s the truth.  I don’t want to be in denial, but I’m not sure if I am.

There have been two very significant (romantic) relationships in my adult life and lots of others that were nice at the time but didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.  Sometimes I find myself wondering if I’ll ever find someone as great as “he” was, I remember how he loved me, the trips we took, cooking together, staying with each other for weeks on end.   I might even wonder if the relationship should be rekindled.  But then, I purposely make myself recall why we broke up, some of the not so good things that went on and what a mess it would have been had we pursued the relationship.  I don’t do this so I’ll think badly of him, I just need to remind myself that it wouldn’t have worked out and we would have broken up eventually no matter what.

This is kind of where I am with alcohol right now.  I can imagine myself having a glass of wine at dinner or a drink at the end of the day.  I can romanticize it and only see the good side of alcohol.  Then a thought or image pops into my mind of the times I’ve had to apologize to people for getting too drunk and ruining an evening or crashing at their place when they really didn’t want me to.  The times when I opened the refrigerator hoping that there was something left in the second bottle of wine and realizing that I put it back empty or almost empty and that the headache from that will last most of the day.  I could easily make a list of 100 mistakes I’ve made and bad feelings that have accompanied my drinking.  Yet I still entertain the thought of drinking again.

This is the kind of internal dialogue that goes on with me that makes me think I might need to consider a support group or specific alcohol counseling.  And that sucks.  I don’t want to envision myself getting traditional support for this because that might mean the problem is bigger than I would like for it to be.  That might mean that I can’t do this on my own and through accountability blogging.  And right now, I realize that I can’t really worry about that at this moment.  Right now, I got through today, I am making the effort to be honest and reflective, and I truly hope that this effort of not drinking, educating myself, reading, researching and reaching out through blogging will have the results that I thought it could.


11 thoughts on “Day 14 – Real Alcoholics

  1. I share how uncomfortable you are with the term alcoholic. It has such dire connotations. Unlike say ex- smoker. I was not a have a drink first thing in the morning to stop shaking kind of drinkers. I was a if I’m going to have a drink I’m going to have a lot more than I need to kind, and in the end it was also a lot more than I really wanted to. I realize my consumption of alcohol was problematic, and could see the trajectory of where it ends up, but I wouldn’t classify myself as an under the bridge brown paper bag of vino guy. But I saw the possibility of it like I could see the drop off a tall building and if it helps me to have a label I’m okay with that. Any shame I might feel is compensated for by the pride in having made a decision to improve myself, and the support of others both in the physical and virtual worlds.

    I went to an AA meeting this morning. I don’t feel in any compromised or dismissed by it, but physically supported. I’m not in any pattern yet as to when or how often I go, everyone to their own.

    I don’t trust my mind enough to not be fooled by the false romance of drinking. I’ve done six months Sober before and I regret “easing” back into it. The idea that a break lowers your tolerance appears correct for only shortest of time before your back at worst. Well that was my xperience anyways. Take care, Paul.

  2. you might need more support, you might not. you’re asking questions and that’s a good thing. i think we all struggle in the first days, because it’s all so new, and there’s just so much to think about, to consider, to plan for. i promise it does gets easier. you’ll read a few books (like jason vale) and you’ll blog and read and comment, and maybe you’ll do a meeting (in person or online). and in a few more days, some of hazy grayness will start to lift. it’s like a little car, rolling downhill, that gathers momentum as it goes. But if you stop the car too soon (by giving up, by having just one drink), then you never get to experience the momentum it can gather with time, and you’ll just get to experience (repeatedly) the ‘starting over part’. which we agree, stinks. it doesn’t take very long to feel better and to have a clearer head. and you don’t want to do this part again. for sure! so just keep being honest, and feel your way through they grayness. i think you’re doing great.

  3. It seems for some people calling themselves an alcoholic is what they need to do to change. I dont call myself an alcoholic as I did keep my life under control (and the term “alcoholic” for me means that your life has been taken over by alcohol) . But drinking was a problem in my life and I am happy to admit to alcohol addiction. Semantics perhaps, i think we all find our own way on this one and whatever works is fine. I agree with Belle above it gets easier. At first its all overwhelming. I was not quite sure what I was doing in the early days – giving up forever or not. Now I like to believe its forever, but when I start to question that, then I say to myself I can reconsider all of this on my first anniversary. Thats far enough off to make the issue a non issue for the moment, but does allow me an “out” when “forever” feels too long. I am hoping that after a year there is no debate. Just stay with it for the moment. Keep your promise to yourself and give yourself a date in the future to requestion things. I think the worst we can do (and I know it can happen so easily) is to make a rash impulsive decsion to drink on the spur of the moment.

  4. Thank you for recommending the book. I got it a couple of days ago and I’m amazed at how much of me I see in her story. Great posts. I’ve just caught up! You are doing so well on your journey of self discovery. It’s amazing what we see when our mind is sober and able to really think and really feel
    Take care

    • Hi Jen, Yes, this book was the first one I read. I cried through a lot of it, but I needed the honesty in it and it was scary but good to realize how much I identified with the author. I’ve been reading your blog (I have problems leaving comments that I’m trying to figure out). But, I’m checking on you every day, along with everyone else! Keep reading books and blogs and be honest with yourself – its really hard work and most people in your everyday life have no idea how hard you are working right now. Just keep going. -Suzy

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