Sunday, February 4, 2018

My love hate 33 year relationship with alcohol 2/4/18

I know I shouldn't live in the past and over analyze but looking at my history with alcohol really does help me put into perspective how long I have been fighting this. I am going to read this post the next time I want to drink to remind myself of the misery it has caused me.

1985-2003 (age 17-35) - Drank and loved it - 18 years
Drank only on the weekends - but drank a lot. Party girl of the group. Party planner/hostess. Super social, happy, thought I was awesome! Super disciplined about working out, only drinking on the weekends. Got a bachelors degree, maters degree, new house, new cars, had two beautiful children, moved into a fantastic family neighborhood full of parent drinkers just like me. Had hangovers but they went away quickly. Sometimes embarrassed myself, but we all did. No guilt or shame or struggle around alcohol. My kids were both under 10 years old so didn't think my weekend neighborhood partying was effecting them. They just got to play with all their friends every weekend while we drank. Life was amazing!

2003-2010 (age 35-42) - Drank but started noticing I had a problem - 7 years
Hangovers started getting increasingly worse. This is actually what made me start looking at my drinking...how much and how often.  I was getting tired of wasted days on the couch telling my kids I had the flu or trying to drag myself to commitments I had made feeling miserable because of drinking the night before. I still wanted it all, but the hangovers were just getting worse and worse.  I tried to cut back, to drink less but was really struggling so I started searching around on the internet.

April 2010 - December 2011 - Drank but started realizing I had a problem - 1 year 8 months
This period was when I started to look at my drinking.
Blogging, reading, really paying attention to my inability to control my alcohol assumption and asking myself some really tough questions about addiction. Still a secret.. Only I knew of the struggles I was going through. This time included the following milestones.
  • April 2010 - I found Moderation Management - This was a support group full of people just like me that struggled to control alcohol.  I was amazed at how own personal struggle was not unique. These people felt the exact same way. So I bought the book, followed the rules, counted all my drinks and really tried to find my stop button on the weekends either by not drinking 3 days in a row or not having more than 3 drinks. 
  • June 7, 2011 - Started my blog - was posting constantly to the support group and found that writing about my struggles helped me work through it and keep track of how I was doing. I wanted to keep a journal but NO ONE knew of my struggles with alcohol and I was terrified they would find my written words so I started my secret cyber journal that no one could find. I was living in my own little hell at this point of trying to control this drug that I have now (barely) admitted to (only) myself is a problem. But I started being accountable - at least to myself - by keeping track.
Here is an example of my obsession with counting and keeping track:

Binge is anything over 3
Apr 2010 - 9 binges - unsuccessful 21 day abs attempt
May 2010 - 5 binges - 16 abs days 
June 2010 - complete WTF - didn't even count or care
July 2010 - 14 binges - 9 abs
Aug 2010 - 11 binges - unsuccessful 14 day abs attempt
Sept 2010 - 10 binges - 2 unsuccessful 5 day abs attempts
Oct 2010 - 9 binges - 3 unsuccessful abs attempts 
Nov 2010 - 8 binges - 4 unsuccessful abs attempts 
Dec 2010 - 8 binges -  4 unsuccessful abs attempts 


New year - New ME!! (that is what I wanted)

Jan 2011 - 0 binges (tried the whole month - failed at day 13) - 18 day abs
Feb 2011 - 5 binges
Mar 2011 - 7 binges
Apr 2011 - 5 binges 
May 2011 - 6 binges 
June 2011 - 6 binge 
July 2011 - 9 binges 
Aug 2011 - 5 binges  - 2 unsuccessful 26 day abs attempt - abs for 14 day stretch 
Sept 2011 - 7 binge  -  61 unsuccessful 25 day abs attempts 
Oct 2011 - 4 binge -  25 abs days (separated by binges)
Nov 2011 - 5 binges -  unsuccessful 17 day abs attempt - 19 days abs
Dec 2011 - 4 binges - 20 abs days

Average of 5-6 binge days per month for 2010
Average # of days between binges - 10 days (usually 6-8 days - duh!! every weekend) - 2011
16 unsuccessful abs attempts (between 4 days and 30 days) - 2 successful 4 day attempts
  • August 2011 - Found mmabsers- 17 months after I found Moderation Management and had been failing miserably at trying to live by all of the "moderation" rules, I ran across a post from a subgroup of Moderation Management called mmabsers. This was a group of people who, just like me, had tried in vane to control alcohol and had decided to give it up and were actually happy?!?!? I was dumbfounded. First of all - give up alcohol? Impossible! How does a person even want to do that unless you are the proverbial rock bottom drunk which I certainly was not. Why would you want to never drink again? And how the hell were they happy?!?!?! I just couldn't fathom in my wildest dreams how that could even be possible. They must have been way worse than me when they stopped. They must have lost everything and not had any choice. I was honestly in a state of confusion. Then I started listening to them from the shadows. Many of them weren't any worse than me or were only a short distance from my near future. They just decided to stop the struggle to live without a stupid drug they were addicted to. I was baffled by this idea, but somewhere deep down it took root. Could this be me? Could I be this happy without it? I really doubted it but the thought (hope I guess) remained.

December 26, 2011 to March 17, 2012 - First attempt at long term sobriety -  87 days sober
I quit because I really wanted to see if I could and what it felt like.
This time was my first attempt at longer than a weekend once I started to realize I had a problem.  I was so proud of going 87 days. This was my first sober Christmas Day, New Year's Eve (I seriously never thought that would happen) and birthday in 25 years. All the sober feeling were so new and weird. I was on the pink cloud like a baby soberiesta.

I drank again because I thought I was cured.
I felt so proud of myself for abstaining for longer than I ever thought I could. I could go back to moderating.  If I had a serious problem I wouldn't have been able to stop. I didn't look at trying again as failure.

April 2012 - August 2012 - Drank but knew I might have a problem - 5 months
Eventually returning to hangovers, depression, exhaustion, obsession, insomnia and anxiety.
During this period I did well in the beginning but by June was really starting to notice a problem. I was even starting to drink during the week, which really concerned me. I couldn't say no to myself and I was having a hard time stopping at two or three once I started. I was also starting to research the role alcohol played in causing depression, anxiety and insomnia. I started to wonder if alcohol could be causing me to be so unhappy all the time. I was also noticing that my dreaded hangovers were becoming more of a four day event. The hangovers and anxiety were steadily increasing. I was becoming confused and baffled at the fact that I wasn't able to control it.

August 1, 2012 - April 14, 2013 - 255 days sober 
I quit because my drinking patterns were really starting to scare me.
Especially after a family trip to the mountains as shown in this post Total Fail from August 2012. My drinking was increasingly becoming out of control and I was scared. I did not want to be like this.

I drank again bc I caved to a craving. 
I wanted wine with my sister at a nice restaurant. It was spring and I was super scared of a sober summer. I had an overwhelming craving/anxiety attack that I gave in to. I battled myself in that restaurant for at least 20 minutes - like I felt like I ws sweating and shaking with anxiety. It ws a kind of out of body experience. I couldn't even hear or focus on the conversation around me because I was seriously fighting a war in my head. Should? Shouldn't I? You've been doing so well.  It will be ok. You can moderate, Just do it! Don't do it! I did it. I did well moderating for a while but eventually found myself with back in the familiar place of drinking to much, too many weekends in a row, having hangovers and being depressed, exhausted, obsessed, anxious and unhappy.

April 2013 - January 2015 - Drank and tried desperately to control the problem- 1 year 9 mon
Only posted 7 times which means I was probably not doing very well. I tend to just disappear from my blog when I on't want to face reality. This time included the post Disastrous Holiday from January 2014. I was so done and didn't even make it 30 days.

This time period also included one of my darkest two week period in August 2014 as shown in this post Struggling.I was just ending a summer of over drinking culminating with a 13 day vacation with my sister at a house she was at in another state. I was drinking (including sneaking) everyday and having unbearable anxiety/hot flashes/panic attacks/insomnia/heart palpitation in the night just to get up and do it again the next day.  This might have been the closest time that I say myself becoming the vision of what an alcoholic is in my brain. Sure I had drank like this for 4 or 5 days in the past (vacation in Punta Cana or on a house boat in Lake Powell) but this was different. This was desperate, by myself, hiding drinking. And I was exhausted when I got home. I was done. But didn't last more than 30 days. How could I be so sure I was done time and time again and still fail. Really becoming frustrated and just beating myself feeling like a total failure.

January 1, 2015 - March  6, 2015 -  64 days sober 
I quit because ... well just read this post...January 6, 2015 
Wow! I had forgotten how bad it was! How quickly I forget how bad it always gets.  I need to read this post the next time I have a craving. I was so desperate to end this debilitating mental battle in my head that I was constantly losing.

I drank again bc I felt isolated, depressed and felt sorry for myself.
I couldn't hang out and drink on the weekends.  I think I was pissed that I couldn't successfully moderate - that I hadn't tried hard enough. When I gave in (bc it was sunny, it was spring and the neighbors were calling me),  I was like, "Screw it...this sucks...I will try harder to moderate." 

March 2015 -June 2017 -Drank and again tried desperately to control the problem -2 yrs 2 mon
Eventually returning to hangovers, depression, exhaustion, obsession, insomnia and anxiety.
When I looked at my posts from this 50 month period, it is full of miserable suffering, trying and trying and trying to moderate and always failing and feeling terrible including a disastrous trip to Vegas 12/2015. Tried using naltrexone to take the joy out of drinking to see if that would help me moderate. Post after post after post of hellacious hangovers, broken promises to myself, misery and endless struggles to control an addiction.

June 21, 2017 - October 29, 2017 - 134 days sober
I quit because I was just sick of it. 
I didn't have a hangover but was just sick of how alcohol was robbing me of joy. I decided while I was on a walk on a beautiful trail in Juneau with my family and all I could think about was where we were going to lunch, trying to manipulate the decision so it was somewhere I could drink. I just realized I couldn't relax and have fun without it anymore and it was keeping me from enjoying things that I used to love because it just made me somewhat depressed all the time (even without a hangover).

I drank again because I caved to a craving. 
My sister just bought a new house with a great back deck that I longingly wanted to sit on, in the sun, and drink wine. I was sad that that would never happen.  In a split second I just said  "I'm having a glass of wine" (in a kind on "damnit" sort of way). It was a kind of rebellious feeling toward everyone who had a "are you sure?" look on their faces and towards myself. Kind of - this is stupid, you aren't that bad. It will be fine. I didn't even battle with myself, I just got a glass of wine as quickly as I could before I changed my mind.


October 2017 - December 2017 - Drinking and knowing I shouldn't - 2 months
Eventually returning to hangovers, depression, exhaustion, obsession, insomnia and anxiety.

December 29, 2017 - 37 days and counting (hopefully forever) (age 50 btw)
I quit because I can not longer enjoy my life without it.
I gave in and surrendered to the fact that I CAN NOT be a normal drinker. I have been fighting this for too long. I give up...I give in...I will try something different. I wasn't going to drink on our vacation to the mountains and I didn't the first coupe of days. Then I did. I told myself I wouldn't drink bc the next day was my daughters birthday was the next day. She doesn't drink and is so proud of me when I don't. And I drank. I couldn't even be sober that one day for her birthday. I didn't drink too much or get drunk but I still drank when I told myself I wouldn't. I just realized it is just too hard to fight it. I will never win. I will have faith in everyone who says sobriety is better, and try it for one year.

Well there it is..my love/hate relationship with my drug of choice...the almighty, powerful alcohol.
I really am done letting it have power over me...I will regain my power.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It helps me realize that there really isn’t any point in going back to drinking. Just a whole lot of misery. And maybe it does take at least a year to fully adjust to a sober life. My longest time sober was just under six months. I’m on day 40 today. Maybe my goal should be a fully sober 2018.

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    1. I am on day 38 so close to you. I have promised myself one year sober just to give it a chance and see. If I regret the decision in a year, I can always drink again, right? I hope not, but it helps it feel less permanent which makes it easier in the moment.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am only on day 15 so it's early days for me.

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    1. Early days are better than no days, right :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing this story. It is very helpful to me. I hope you can start to feel the happiness and joy of sobriety and that it takes over your life. I hope for the same thing for me! Day 91 here.

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    1. That is my hope - for me - for you - for anyone struggling - that we can all figure out how to live happily without this drug.

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  4. I also want to thank for sharing. I see lots of my experiences in your posts. I did not blog so it's much easier to not remember the darkest times. But my demons were always there and I didn't realize it.
    Reading your posts seem to me that when you start drinking again after stopping, it's because you want to. Me also.
    I finally had to stop when the pain of drinking finally became greater than the pain of not drinking.
    I told (mostly) the truth to my doctor. He preach some low dosage antidepressants for me and said limit myself to 2 drinks per day. As if!
    I never took pills before but with the pills and binging on Allen Carr and Jason Vale books and the perverse blogs (including YOURS) I am now on day 77.
    Peace and strength to you.
    George.
    P.S. My blog is retired from drinking.com

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    1. It is sooo hard to remember the dark times. It's like my addiction has one of those pens from Men in Black that make you forget. That is the most confusing part of the addiction for me...how I can just forget how miserable it makes me and want to drink again. I agree - drinking sucks...sober sucks...but this time I am trying to see all the positives in being sober....trying to just settle into this new life and give it some time because I'm pretty sure all of those dark times I discovered in the post are worse than sobriety will ever be.

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  5. Sorry! prescribed not preach
    And soberverse not perverse. Stupid autocorrect. Thanks.

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  6. Addiction is the strongest form of denial there is.
    I know I tried to pretend everything was fine for a long time. But inside I knew. And that inner debate just crushed me.
    I also needed to try an antidepressant hen I first got sober and I expect I will take it for the rest of my life. It has helped me in ways that go far beyond alcohol. It has helped me understand myself and stay out of the pit of depression.

    You know you are on the right path. Just keep taking it one day at a time.hugs
    Anne

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    1. Thanks for always listening, Anne :)

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  7. Fifty is a great age to quit and 37 days is fantastic! The first 100 days are the worst in my opinion, then there are a few down days mixed in there but it gets better. By 6 months or so you will feel great! One foot in front of the other.

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    1. Thanks for giving me the "6 month" timeline. I know everyone is different, but it is nice to know when someone else really turned the corner. Something to look forward to.

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