Sunday, December 30, 2012

12/30/12 (Sun) Today, at this moment in time - 150 days

I wrote this to the mmabsers list I am part of in response to the question - What had helped me...

It is so funny how all of us speak the exact same language.  Over and over and over I have read someone else's story and it could have been my own.  I am a teacher, have a house, a masters degree, a husband, two teenage children, tons of friends, work out, do yoga and also live in a micro brew town with a neighborhood full of "brewers." I have struggled for so long. I have had some success followed by epic failure.  All the while having my whole emotional state and mental energy being wrapped up in how much I did or didn't drink or if I was going to drink or how much or what tools I would use.  It was five days of exhausting for a few hours of fun on the weekend. 

I totally get your fear.  I still have it when thinking about the summer.  How am I ever going to go to the all inclusive vacation spot in Punta Cana without drinking?  That is unheard of! Free beer!  All day!  and not drink? That just seems like a waste of money and a terrible vacation!  That is what my addiction is screaming at me, even now when I feel I am doing so positive.

What helped me - you ask?  I think 3 things really helped me. 

1.  This list full of abstainer who really were happy.  Who were just like me - let me repeat LUST LIKE ME - at one time and now are really happy without alcohol.  I had to realize that I am not special in this addiction. I am not able to beat it, I am not stronger than everyone here.  That it really isn't about fighting and being strong - that it is more about giving up, giving in, stopping the fight, realizing that you never really will win against addiction.  It is stronger than me if I give it any power are all.  It's all or nothing.  Maybe not right away, but eventually all or nothing and usually worse.  Kind of like the yo-yo dieter.  Loose 10, gain 20 back.  (By the way I have gone from 133 pound to 120 pounds in 150 days and the only thing I have changed is I quit drinking!) I drank and loved it for 15 years, tried to moderate for 5 and was completely miserable for the last five - living in my own little personal hell.  

2.  I read the Alan Carr book - Easyway to Quit Drinking.  The book really did put things into perspective for me me.  It is just a stupid drug and I am pathetically addicted to it.  It made me feel like I am really no better than someone addicted to heroine.  I would plan parties, come up with excuses just to drink and was miserable when I couldn't have a few on the weekends.  I would put my partying before everyone and everything.  In retrospect it really was very selfish of me.  I was so wrapped up in feeding my addiction that I only hung out with people that would party with me and not judge me. Many of my relationships suffered.  The book is just a black and white explanation of a drug and how you get addicted to it.  It also talks about how alcohol is the only drug that society not only accepts but makes you feel like an outsider if you don't do it.  It's all just so ridiculous.  It really did give me something new to think about.

3.  The pain, suffering and misery of drinking was finally just becoming bigger than the enjoyment I got out of it on the couple of evenings a week I did spend drinking.  My weeks would go like this.  Friday - drink with my friends, have fun, sit in the sun, usually not drink too much (maybe 3 or 4), wake up Saturday a little tired but ok then plan my drinking all day, anxiously wait until 5, create some kind of reason (hanging out with friends, making dinner, putting away groceries (yeah I know stupid excuse), going out to dinner, and then drink - usually too much which for me was enough to have a hangover on Sunday. I would get really upset if I had to go to a family event or go pick up  my kids later because I would have to watch how much I drank.  The parties were usually at my house so I didn't have to drive.   Sunday - be worthless not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually - usually told my family I had a headache or stomach ache - my kids really never did know it was a hangover (they have told me that now). Monday and Tuesday - exhausted (really just withdrawals but didn't recognize that for a long time) - promising next weekend I would take care of myself and do better.  Wednesday - finally feeling better - still pretty sure I would be more careful next weekend, but starting to think about it.  Thursday and Friday - gearing up for the weekend and having a few drinks.  A time to relax, have fun, be with my friends.....It took me a long time - years - to recognize that pattern and how miserable it was making me when I wasn't doing it. Plus - my stop button was getting harder and harder to find. The more I tried to manage my addiction, the harder it fought back. I would win small battles for weeks or months at a time, but I was ultimately losing the war.  I would eventually be that alcoholic that I tried so long to deny if I kept on this path.  Either that or I would have the ultimate nightmare of an accident and dui caused by the poor judgment that alcohol brings. BTW - I am really sorry to hear about your dui - that was actually my biggest fear, because it somehow would have exposed my personal nightmare to the world before I was ready to admit it. 

I know that this was long (maybe more therapeutic for me than helpful to you) and I am by far no expert.  150 days is something to celebrate but certainly does not not mean I am "cured".  I need to be vigilant and stay the course one day at a time (and yes, I am finally starting to understand the meaning of that phrase). in fact last Friday I was just a second away from giving in.  I had that biggest urge at a restaurant we go to that has excellent micro beers, a fantastic menu and a really fun atmosphere. I don't think I have ever been there without drinking.  Perfect place to drink a few, go see a movie and then be ok to drive home :) It is connected to a mall and we were Christmas shopping afterward.  I want a beer sooooooooo bad and I almost, almost gave in.  I was 30 seconds away of being ok, ready to try again, strong enough to manage my intake, having fun, being like everyone else, being that normal drinker I so desperately wanted to be....but I didn't. Everyone else drank, but I did not.  That night I went to bed and tried to pretend that I had and how I would feel.  I would have been so upset at myself, I almost felt like crying just imagining it. Then I felt really proud of myself that I didn't.  All of the many small successes like this are making me finally feel the peace that comes without a stupid drug in my system.  That night I had many dreams about drinking and they were all fun!  Man this addiction is insidious and persistent! 

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you are doing so well, k. My anniversary is on New Years Eve and I actually started having that conversation in my head, "Maybe I'll have just one glass of champagne, make it a tradition, just one, every anniversary." But you know what? I'm not going to have that glass of champagne, because I just told you about it, if I was going to have it, I wouldn't have told anyone.

    Also, I know that I don't really want "a" glass of champagne, I want the whole bottle, and I probably always will. That's our addiction showing its treacherous colors, trying to convince me that "just one" won't hurt.

    Happy New Year, mi amiga!