T Nation

Alcoholics?


#1

I am an alcoholic. I have known this for years but have never admitted the fact or decided to do anything about it until today. It has nothing to do with New Year's resolutions, today is just the day I have decided to face it.

I can't control myself around alcohol. It began as a method to cope with depression, but now that I am no longer depressed, the habit is still there. I'm not the worst case, but I really feel like alcohol controls my life, causes me to do stupid things, affects my relationships and affects my relationship with God. I have tried the "cut back" method a million times, but I am finally at the point where it is time to take responsibility for my actions.

I am wondering if there are any recovering alcoholics here, and if so, do you have any advice for me? Thanks.


#2

JP,

Your strength is phenomenal.
I haven't struggled with alcoholism, myself. But I have struggled against the backhand of drug/alcohol abusive loved one.

She truly conquered her addiction just a few years back - and that same propensity to drink has been oh so mildly present in myself, as well. It's for this reason that I abstain entirely from drinking.

I absolutely support and admire you for vocalizing this - and assure you that support will come from everywhere.
Be strong, you're doing great.


#3

Umm not a recovering alcoholic but congrats on your revalation. That's great that you havecome to terms with your problem. The advice I would give is to build a good support network to help back you up. I'm sure everyone here will be happy to help.

Good luck to you.


#4

YOU controll your life, YOU controll your relationships. Realizing that is important. No one put a gun to your head and made you drink, have they? This is an issue of self controll.
With that said, i do wish you well in your endeavor.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1545723&dopt=Abstract


#5

I grew up with an alcoholic parent and eventually realized that I had a genetic predisposition to alcohol sensitivity. I have alcoholism on both sides of my family and as a result do not "drink well". So I don't drink; period. Haven't for a very long time.

It took me awhile to learn this lesson (and it was a hard one), but it has made a huge difference in my life. I don't have to worry now about how I will behave when I go to parties or events where alcohol is served (and neither does my husband). I don't have to worry about embarassing myself, my husband or other family members or friends. I actually get invited back now. It has given me a tremendous amount of freedom and I don't miss drinking at all.

I'm gonna tell it like it is and it may seem a little harsh:

JP, this can be an important turning point in not only your life, but your husbands and your childrens. My memories of my mother are almost all tainted by her drunk episodes. I never wanted her to visit because there would always be "an incident". Back in 1991 when she and my father were visiting, she got drunk at a restaurant one night and caused a scene. I was furious. She died of a heart attack the next day, and I was grief stricken for years. I never got to know her because the alcohol was always in the way. I don't think you want your children remembering you that way, because it will only get worse, not better as you get older. Yes, I know you feel cheated because other folks can drink and not have these problems, but that is something you will just have to live with.

You will have to quit and never look back. Not a drop. No fake beer or wine either, because then you are just pretending to drink. Tell people straight out you don't drink when they offer you one, that way they won't try to talk you into it. Let your family and friends know, so they can be your support group. If you don't get it out of your life, it will control your life and eventually ruin your life.

Trust me when I tell you, you will be much, much happier for it. Your training will improve and so will your motivation.

It's taken a lot of guts for you to start this thread and I admire you for it. Print it out and put it on your mirror so you don't forget why you feel this way today. Because tomorrow the beast may be calling you and trying to tear down your defenses.

Be strong - take control of your life.

Gojira


#6

My suggestion is to seek out a cognitive-behaviral therapist and accept that you ARE in control of your behaviors and actions.

If you don't have insurance you might pay for a few sessions out of pocket. This may be all you need
to get started.

If you're an obsessive person, find something healthy to obsess about. Try taking an art class or start a hobby you always wanted to try.

Get a different hair cut, listen to different music, find new friends who don't drink.

PS: Alcohol plus You = Estrogen & Less Testosterone


#7

Good luck on your goal. However, it is extremely rare for an alcoholic to diagnose themselves with being an alcoholic. Being an alcoholic is a very severe condition. There are also different levels of addiction...some are what's called "binge drinkers" which is different from being an alcoholic.

On any note, good luck and I wish you well!


#8

I have been in recovery for a little over 6 years. Proir to that I tried a few ways that didn't work very well for very long.
Get a good strong support group. People you can call and talk to when you start to become your own worst enemy.
The only place I've been able to get what I need to stay sober is A.A.
If you do that, try to remain Honest, Open minded, and Willing.

Good Luck and God bless ya.


#9

Read "Rational Recovery" and "The Small Book", both by Jack Trimpey.

Also check out the writings of Albert Ellis.

Whatever you do, stay the fuck away from AA.

Good luck. This is a tough fucking endeavour, but take it from me: it's worth it.


#10

I don't understand everyone's beef with AA. People are getting together and helping each other take control of something that is destroying their lives. Where is the harm in this?

JPBear, I also would like to tell you how much I admire you for starting this thread. That takes a lot of courage.

I was once a very heavy drinker, to the point of getting arrested a bunch of times because of it. I had to go to AA meetings and other group counseling, along with some other classes. I will tell you that it probably saved my life just getting in there and seeing where alcoholism can lead you.

Many people in those meetings have drank their life away and you'll realize even more that you do'nt want to end up like that. Also, just gaining some more knowledge about alcohol will help out a great deal. Going to these meetings will help you think a lot more about your drinking and help you view things from a much clearer perspective.

I was lucky enough to have all this happen to me at a young age and have, hopefully, a lot of life ahead of me. I am not an alcoholic. But because I went to those meetings and classes, I realized how much drinking and other shit that I was doing was ruining my life, so I was able to take control of it. Perhaps that's all you need.

I can tell you that a support system is critical to you helping yourself. If you look around you, your current friends might not be all that supportive and might even be more like parasites if they don't give a damn about your drinking.

The thing that helped me was realizing who my true friends were (those that supported me, and didn't support me just as a drinking buddy) and avoiding the others.

There comes a time when pride must be set aside (and you seemed to have reached that point since you posted this thread) so that you can see your true self and where you're headed. You've taken a good step in the right direction and I wish you the best. Hope this helps and once again, I applaud you for your courage.


#11

Thank you everyone for the stories and advice.

Gojira - thank you especially for sharing your story with me. That means a lot to me.

There seems to be some different opinions about what it means to be an alcoholic. I'm not really sure what the difference between that and a binge drinker is.

I drink every day, even if I'm alone, as much as I can get my hands on. I cover up the amount I'm drinking, hide alcohol, and often drink myself to the point of blacking out. I also think about alcohol and my next drink almost constantly. It calls me. However, I had no problem not drinking at all during my pregnancy. So I don't know what this behavior qualifies as.


#12

That is an interesting thing that I've observed over and over. I've seen women become pregnant and drop everything- smoking, drinking, heroine, crack, you know- everything. Not long after though, they end up comming back in full relapse. My understand is that it has a lot to do with the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, along with a deep desire to protect their child.

From what you have described about your desire to drink, you sound prety well qualified.

So what's next?


#13

Have you ever read "A Million Little Pieces" ? .. Read that, I think it may change you.. Good luck and stay strong. It's tough, but just by starting this thread, it shows you have courage to be able to conquer this.


#14

Hey man, I commend you as well, Grab Life by the Balls!

I have had a few friends who have realized they are in the same boat as you, and am sure I will have more as the journey of my life goes on. From what I've seen though, AA has NOT helped a single person I know. It has turned quite a few on to God (not necessarily a bad thing) though. The only thing that can really help you is yourself, and those who really care about you.

If nothing else, you know you have a community here at T-Nation that you can always 'vent' to. Congrats on taking control, we all wish you all the best.


#15

I have been clean and sober since May 3, 2003. I am and alcoholic and addict. Not using is the most difficult thing I am faced with every day. I hit my "bottom" on May 2, 2003 and went to my first AA meeting on the 3rd. I went to about 3 AA meetings a week for about a year. I never got into it.

I struggled with finding my Higher Power but I found it eventually. I use that Higher Power and many of the things I learned in AA every day. I do not officially work the steps though. My therapist has been sober for 22 years and is sort of like my sponsor and would love if I took AA on full time and committed. I haven't done that.

I know it is there and I am welcome there anytime. I recommend finding a therapist who is familiar with addiction issues. I also highly recommend going to an AA meeting immediately and keep going. Go to one every day if you can. From your description of your relationship with alcohol, I believe you are an alcoholic.

No one can tell you you are an alcoholic but you. Most people are not "diagnosed" as alcoholic. You decide. I read "Million Little Pieces" recently and it was excellent. I would also recommend the book, "Drinking: A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp. Go to AA and get a copy of "The Big Book" and read it. Listen to the speakers.

You will be shocked at how much you will have in common with them. It is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your loved ones. It took me a long time to learn that it is a strength to reach out and get help, not a weakness.


#16

I find that amazing because AA has help alot of people I know remain sober for alot of years. My sponser has 16 years, his sponser has 21 years, and I have 5 1/2 years. But the 12 steps don't work for them, so they don't work for anyone, eh?


#17

JP, as someone already said, that behavior definitely qualifies you as an alcoholic.

This whole "just take control of your life" thing that you're getting here is fucking useless. If that was going to work for you, it would have already.

For alcoholics, drinking is not about a lack of will power. Many functioning alcoholics get drunk as hell all the time and still go to work every day, never skipping a beat. Now that's willpower. I've seen alcoholism and other addictions too many times and it's destroyed some very strong willed people. This willpower bullshit is coming from people that have never been there. They have no idea.

No one has given you a real answer as to why AA doesn't work, they've just said it doesn't. If you're compulsively drinking the way you described, you seriously need outside help. Please, get it now. Whatever it takes.


#18

JP, as already stated, I think it's a maternal instinct to stop drinking when you're pregnant. I think you answered about 7/10 of the 'Are you an alcoholic?' questions. And according to the test, a score of ONE makes you an alcoholic.

I'd hope that the argument over whether AA works or not, could be spun to another thread. It's already going on in a thread in the vixen forum, anyhow.

Admitting to yourself, and your family and friends is a huge step in your 'recovery'. Once you have done that, you become accountable to them, as well as yourself. I went to my doctor one day, told him I was an alcoholic, and came home and told my roomates and friends the same thing. Of course they already knew, ( I could score a perfect 10/10 on the quiz ) since I drank to blackout and passout pretty much every day. While still holding a 12 hour 4 on 4 off job.

You will find that very quickly after you have quit drinking, that life seems a helluva lot better. That's not to say that life will all of a sudden become a huge joy, and everything all of a sudden turns out all right. I actually thought that when I quit drinking, everything was going to be SO much brighter, and was a little disapointed when it didn't turn out that way. But, it DID turn my life around. I am happy now, in a way that I could never be when I was a drunk.

I probably did things in a bit of an unorthodox fashion when I quit drinking, but it worked for me. I don't use the term alcoholic for myself, often ( although, that IS what I AM ). I prefer something more along the lines of, 'retired drunk'.

Now that you have decided to DO something about it. Pick something and DO it. If you can stop drinking NOW, then do it, and seek help immediately.

Once again, I really hope the arguments over whether AA works or not, can stop in this thread. It's not going to help JP any. She gets the idea. Some people LOVE it, some HATE it.

If I could do it, and all these other guys can do it, YOU CAN DO IT.

\|/ 3Toes


#19

You absolutelely owe it to yourself to at least google and check out "Rational Recovery". I pissed around with the whole support group idea for years. Every single person involved in the 12 step group recovery that I was acquainted with has continued to drink heavily while I have remained completely abstinent, effortlessly, without taking it one miserable day at a time B.S.

If AA or other group oriented type support groups work for you, great, but at least check it out. There is another way and it is far superior in too many ways to list. I bumped into one of my piers from my previous AA association and he said "Wow man, you're the only one out of the whole group that actually quit drinking".

Rational Recovery is the T-man way to go and you will know what I mean if you check it out. Good luck! Recognizing that something has gotten out of hand means you're already more than half way there.


#20

I'm recovering myself, but not fully sober. After the wife gave the ultimatum, I decided to do something.

I drank every day when I got home from work (6pack of the thick stuff) and be out by 10pm. On weekends I'd kill a 12 pack starting at about 10am after my first meal...most of the time. It was a reflex to open the fridge, drive to the store after work, the whole ritual. I was always drunk when at home, and when I was doing that, I was not there for my family.

I used to hide my hard liquor in my 4 wheeler in the garage, drink alone, and to the point I'd hardly ever eat since I was so full of beer.

I have not totally stopped drinking, but realized I can break the mold, and I drink socially only now, maybe a couple days a month, but when I do, it does not harm my children and family likr it used to. I've decided to recognize the beast and control it, not really kill it. In the last year I've proved to myself I can go weeks without a single drink.

I'll eventually totally stop completely, but for now at least I've removed 90% of my alcoholic tendancies.

Thanks for being strong enough to share, it deserves my response, that's for sure.