You Want The Truth? You Can’t Handle The Truth.

People don’t talk about Alcoholism. At least most people I know. Like them, I did not understand what it really is.

Being an “alcoholic” was long (and for some still is) thought to be a moral failing — a character flaw or lack of willpower.Β Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D

Alcoholism is a substance-use disorder in which the sufferer has problems managing how much alcohol they drink and their lives as a result. While there is always room for moral decisions, an alcoholic’s body reacts to alcoholic much like it would to a substance or chemical it is allergic to. It is a definitive and progressive chain of reactions which occur.

The Truth about my drinking:

I never drank every day. I drank as frequently as several days per week and as infrequently as once per month. Usually when I hung out with friends: after work at our regular watering holes, at clubs, at parties, at barbecues, at exhibitions, family events. Sometimes I would have one or two drinks and other times I’d have several. Sometimes I’d have only wine or I would consume different types of alcohol if I felt like it. Usually I’d go home tipsy, or a little more than tipsy. I’d say that once a month I’d drive home drunk enough to not remember driving home. Once every few months I’d binge drink and not remember hours of the night before. Every year or so I’d have a major episode where I would become a holy terror: Lashing out at friends, crying, screaming, rebelling, embarrassing loved ones and making a grand nuisance of myself. It is a wonder that so many people still love me.

What happens to me when I drink:

That feeling of euphoria I get when the first drink enters my blood stream is one that I cannot explain. I love it. I love the numbness, the high, the rush. My mind knows that that feeling will never be matched but my body says I need one more anyway. My body begins to crave another and another. Depending on my emotional and spiritual state either my mind or my body will win that night.

The Truth about Me:

I am always going to be one drink away from being drunk. I have to accept that this is my reality. I can make as many deals with myself to just have one drink when I go out, or stop all alcohol by a designated time that night, but the truth will always be that I am one drink away from being drunk.

Phoenix

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29 comments

  1. I really identify so much with all this: the frequency, how drinking made me feel, etc. For so long I denied not having a problem because sometimes I could stop at one. Or three. πŸ˜‰ But my really bad nights were so unpredictable, and the need for more was always there.

  2. Congrats on your ongoing sobriety. You are putting it out there early on and making it public. I respect that. I finished rehab and was sober for two years before I could accept this was permanent. You closed the loopholes. Great. I look forward to your progress.

    1. You know… You seem to grasp a very important point: folks not in recovery don’t really get it. But that’s OK. They don’t need to… they can just be your friends and family and you can find your support from others.

      1. Seems to be working for me so far. πŸ™‚ But I expect when I get further along in recovery I’ll become less reactive to people’s preconceptions and opinions about alcoholism and recovery.

  3. I think society put such negative imagery and connotations on the words addiction and alcoholic as well as alcoholism it is often hard to overcome. I am still newly sober and I am most certainly not shouting my problems from the rooftops. Only a select few people know the real truth. I find the people who understand the best are in those rooms. I hope someday to be that comfortable, not there yet.

  4. This post really spoke to me. My experience is exactly the same. Especially how that very first drink feels – euphoria. That is the part I never wanted to let go, because I don’t know how to replace it.

    I have spent years trying to moderate, then feeling remorse and shame when I can’t. I can’t count the number of horrible hangovers, next day apologies, fears of what I said or did, decisions to quit that were reversed the next evening and so on.

    But I finally accept that this is not a moral failing or a lack of discipline. It is a substance use disorder. I have an uncontrollable reaction when I drink. Instead of feeling like I am depriving myself by quitting, I finally see quitting as taking care of myself.

    I am 47 days into sobriety now, and it feels different this time. I have made it this far before, only to talk myself into that elusive moderation idea at two or three months. But this time I have made a mental shift. I see quitting as a medical necessity.

    Thank you for your blog. You write beautifully and I really relate to so much you say!

    1. Thank you LAC. I understand exactly what you mean.
      Congratulations on your journey. I read your last post and want to read more.
      I have so much I’d like to comment on your blog which I will do later as I am late for work.
      Hope you are well.

  5. This. All of this. It’s exactly why I quit. I think I always thought that being an alcoholic meant drinking from dusk to dawn and having physical withdrawals. It wasn’t until I was hiding my drinking, drinking twice what I meant to or completely embarrassing myself and hurting people that I finally admitted that I had a serious problem.

    And “one drink away from being drunk”…SO true. I can’t count the number of times I only “meant” to have one drink or the times I was going to start just drinking on the weekends. How well I lie to myself and how well I prove to myself what I liar I really am…

    1. Were. You are holding yourself accountable which is important. The most important thing, however, is not to judge yourself too harshly, and forgive yourself. The healing has begun.

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