Am I an alcoholic? I have asked myself this question so many times. Googled it, taken the many tests, even asked my husband…
For many years I have satisfied myself with the answer that I am not. Because…
- I don’t drink in the mornings
- I don’t drink every day
- Sometimes I set limits and I stick to them
- I don’t drink hard booze
- I don’t look like a drunk
- I hold down a good job
- Someone would have told me by now if I was that bad
- I passed the liver function tests at the doctors (even if they didn’t know what they were supposed to be looking for!)
So, each time I would breathe a huge sigh of relief and continue with my drinking, safe in the knowledge that if something was very wrong…then I would know, or someone would have told me?
I’d listen to the voice inside my head telling me that I was doing no harm and reminding me that I could be good next week, when the holidays were over, or the deadline had passed or my mood would lift, or the kids would behave better, or we had more money, or a nicer house, or when I was slimmer! I always had the plan that when life got easier, I would stop drinking heavily and everything would finally be perfect.
Occasionally, I would listen to the other voice. The one that would say, you are drinking too much, you are dependent on it, it’s not normal to feel like this, you are obsessing over alcohol all of the time. If booze held the answers to all my problems then why did I feel like shit most of the time. Why did I spend most of the time feeling hungover, guilty, remorseful, panicky, ashamed, weak and defeated.
I tried cutting down, cutting back, changing drinks, making rules, setting boundaries. Nothing ever really changed for any longer than a couple of weeks. I stopped a few times for a number of weeks, another time for a couple of months. I convinced myself that I could do it. I am a smart, successful woman, I set goals in other areas and I always reach them. I don’t let people down, I am a high achiever. High functioning, oh yes, that was me and I was bloody exhausted.
Boredom and my old friend denial got to me after a time and as I had never admitted my problem to anyone really, everyone was quite pleased to see the party girl in me return to form. It didn’t take long for the old ways to creep back in. The battle with my constant inner dialogue was back too. I read this quote online and it got to me…
“I knew that I could keep drinking for the rest of my life. And it’s not that I would die, exactly; it’s that I would die inside.”
Online I watched the sober community support each other and gain momentum in their numbers. I lurked for a while, finally emailing Belle at http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.wordpress.com and asked if it would be ok to email her for some support. I grabbed the sober hand of friendship that she offered me and held onto it like a lifeline. Team 100 followed very soon after that and I signed up, gathering up all the tools and advice that were being offered to me along the way.
I NEVER thought that I would email a complete stranger like my life depended on it. It is one of the BEST decisions I have ever made! I NEVER thought I would write a blog. I just know that I get so much from the sober blogs that I read online. It gives me comfort that I am not alone and that there are lots of other “normal” people like me who are scared and sitting in the darkness of their own lives, with this dirty little secret, afraid to ask for help because they are so full of shame and confusion at how they ended up here?!
It’s been 49 days since my last drink and I am writing this blog to stay accountable to myself and others. I am doing it because I don’t want to forget how I got here. Being sober is the most important thing in my life right now and I will do whatever it takes to stay that way.