In my mind, and now on “paper”, I consider myself to be an alcoholic. Maybe a step back from “full-on alcoholic”. I have never not been able to survive a day without it in my system. I’ve never woken up in the morning and taken a swig out of a bottle to get me through ’til breakfast. I didn’t lose a job because of an addiction to booze. My kids have never seen me off balance or slurring words. All that may be true. That guy isn’t me. But I do believe it can get the best of me and will again if I don’t continue to keep it in check.
I have wanted to write on this topic since I first began the blog but it is extremely personal and secretive. It’s scary to think about expressing something that has felt like a coffin I couldn’t get out of it, as it’s lowered slowly into a grave. Yet this is a topic I am well versed in so, as a fine wine goes down smooth, so will these thoughts flow onto the page.
As an adolescent, I vowed never to drink. My father, his father, as well as my grandfather on my mother’s side were all alcoholics, and I wanted to go a different path. But then youth happened, and I got blackout drunk at age 16, passing out in my own vomit. Lesson learned? I wish. From about 18 through until this current year, at age 38, not more than a few days went by without me putting the drink to my lips. And I didn’t even care for the first ten years. It was fun, and my body and my mind loved the sweet buzz.
Age at 28, I began going back to church and something in me said, “It’s time to quit drinking”. And for the record, I never got drunk. My version of drinking consisted of a 6 pack of beer, or a few glasses of rum. The buzz would come and I would take it a bit further, but never (save the very first time) get hammered drunk. Anyway, from age 28 through until I would say the age of 37, each time I chose to drink, I’d tell myself (and quite often audibly) “This is the last time”.
I lied to myself like that for nearly ten years. I lied to family members, saying I had quit drinking. I even nitpicked at some of their alcohol consuming tendencies, as though I was somehow better. As though I had walked away. I lied to an incredibly important girlfriend, saying that I had ceased drinking years ago. I lied to my son. I would hide it or try my best to be secretive about it.
More than half the fun of it was removed for those 9 years, what with all the guilt and deception. And I wasn’t an idiot. I saw how it consumed money, and how horrible it is for my body and the sabotage that would take place as I worked out often and tried to eat healthy. Every time I drank, I’d eat a good thousand plus calories of junk before passing out, then feeling dragged out the next day, I would eat fast food. It stole my creativity. It robbed me of decent sleep. The only “good” it was doing me was that escape, and that buzz that I had grown so addicted to.
This last year or so? I drank more than ever, and I also quit deceiving myself. I stopped saying this is it. I let my son know I drank, feeling that it would help in some way, and I think ultimately it did. But I was drinking 5 to 6 nights a week, especially near the end, right before I moved. It got to the point where it was ABNORMAL for me to NOT drink. It was weird and so wonderful to have a sober night’s sleep once in a while. I was bloated and wasting so much money, it was ridiculous.
A few sentences ago, I referenced to “near the end”. I knew that I needed help. I read the Alcoholics Anonymous book and debated attending a class or two. I knew I wasn’t an alcoholic in my minds “traditional” sense but I knew it was now bigger than me. I wanted out but I was a slave. I hated it, yet I loved it. It made no sense whatsoever, to accept all those cons because of one pro.
Well, the end did come. It has been just over a month now since the move and since I consumed alcohol and I don’t plan on reverting back to the old stupid behaviours. Coming here, I gave up a lot including freedom as I knew it, but what lived and breathed in my version of freedom was a nasty addiction that was probably literally taking years off of me.
I feel clear now, and that’s something I would always yearn for in all my foggy moments. I have more drive, creativity, money and I no longer live amidst a sea of lies, to the ones that mattered most to me. It really can be done. I think the journey and the escape (to freedom) is different for anyone who finds themselves caught, stuck, addicted. It was a shocker for me and a wake up, all the while knowing that no one was forcing this on me. I didn’t need it. I just kept digging a hole and deeper I went, when all I had to do was literally just say no. Powerful, we are.
Nick30 July 2014 12:14
Firstly, I believe that the definition of an alcoholic is societal. What you described there would be considered normal in Europe, potentially almost teetotal in Germany and England.
Secondly, there was probably something going on in your life that caused you to drink, something you may not have been consciously aware of. Now that you have changed situations, the need has suddenly disappeared.
Julia5 August 2014 03:19
While I am very glad that you are successfully working on yourself and have found the strength to be honest about it with yourself and others, I have to admit that I mostly write this comment to call bullshit on Nick’s. It is in no way normal in Europe, Germany or England. As a European I do not appreciate false assumptions like this.
Keep it up, Kris 😉 Proud of you.