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Was I ever really that bad?

I am still here, still sober and happy to report that it’s still ok, definitely more positives than negatives, totally worth it. I get passing thoughts of wine here and there but I bat them away. Occasionally, I have a bout of woe is me…not being able to join in the “fun”, but it’s nothing that I have to majorly wrestle with. Time is passing, life is good. Ups and downs nothing eventful. All of this is a result of the commitment to not drinking, knowing there is no room for compromise and the continuing acceptance that it just isn’t right for me anymore. Maybe it’s forever, maybe not…I don’t ponder on that too often.  Instead I keep doing what’s been working for me. Reading about people in recovery, nodding my head, taking the advice. I keep up to date with the blogs I have always read because this reminds me that I am where I need to be. It’s time consuming and I sometimes want to take a break from the thinking about not drinking but I know when I do that…this stops working so well and the doubts and the voice starts to creep back in.

There are a couple of things that on my mind.

The first is ( and this one is dangerous!)…

Was I ever really that bad?

The further I have gotten away from my chaotic drinking life, I am having trouble recalling exactly why I quit. This doesn’t mean that I think it was a hasty decision or an overreaction, just I can’t remember exactly what it was that pushed me far enough to the edge to stop? I have loads of bad memories from the binge drinking nights where I was mortified the next day at my behaviour. I am still disgusted at the nights where there are huge black holes towards the end of the evening where I blacked out. I was often too scared to ask the next day what had happened. I remember the numerous drives to work following a work do, and the feeling of dread at the recount of the evening I would be subjected to when I arrived, or my relief if nothing was mentioned and then I could finally stop feeling the guilt and shame at the unrecalled drunken behaviour.

But, other people that I am surrounded by are still behaving this way? I am not partaking anymore and I am avoiding these evenings like I promised myself I would. But when I hear them reliving the evening with the stories of the wine, the shots, the dancing, the singing, the funny drunken antics, I am filled with worry that perhaps this is normal behaviour, once in a while?? Ok, for me it pretty much guaranteed to end in the drunken, embarrassing way but this is still pretty acceptable behaviour on a night out?

It just makes me feel a bit precious when I say, “oh I don’t want to do that any more” or “I just felt like I’d had enough of overindulging all the time and behaving like someone’s’ drunken auntie, I am getting too old for that”

I feel like a bit of a fraud…in not being totally honest with people. Because I didn’t hit rock bottom as people see it, there must have still been time for me to have saved myself. Time to hit the rewind button on my drinking. Cut down etc, why give up completely, that is so drastic!

Without admitting to them that I have the disease of alcoholism and I think I did a mighty fine job to have realised it and gotten help before it was too late.

The second thing is and this relates to the above…

Do I really need to put so much emphasis on my recovery?

Even calling it recovery makes me feel like a fraud. Like because I didn’t do detox or rehab, I don’t deserve it. I am having a hard time with allowing myself to wallow in it. I know that I need to be kind to myself and expect it from others too, especially my family who sort of get what I am doing. I am trying to protect myself from triggers, situations, people, etc who might make me feel weak or bad and in turn crave a drink to get over upsetting emotions. I am spending time working on myself and doing the things that are good for me and my mind, like running, the gym, reading, meditating.

It’s just that it feels like I am exaggerating the whole situation and this is connected to the whole, if I wasn’t that bad and hadn’t sunk that low, then surely I must need a less intense method of recovery?

It occurs to me that while you might not need the detox etc for the physical addition aspect, the mental side of it seems to require the same amount of intense effort to overcome whether you have a high or low bottom. I am finding that hard to get to grips with and without “coming out” I am not sure, long term, how to keep getting the support that I need or how to stay on track?

It’s not something I am panicked about, it is just something that I need to get my head round.

But for today, all is good. Off to a Summer party and totally not bothered about not drinking. Oh the boredom of worrying if the wine will be decent, will there be enough, is it rude to refill my glass again, where is the host? , let’s go home where I can drink however much I like!

Happy Sunny Sunday


9 thoughts on “Was I ever really that bad?

  1. Sometimes I go through all the things that I did and that happened to me as a result of my crazy blackout drinking, and I shudder. What I don’t do anymore is talk about it, not because I’m in denial, but because it Just Doesn’t Matter. It doesn’t matter to me anymore how bad I got or proving to others or myself how bad I got. What matters to me is that I was using wine as a way to fix and to escape. And, you can be experiencing small consequences or big ones, but at the end of the day, it just seems to me that they’re all sort of bad, you know?

    If anything, you are no longer putting yourself at risk of embarrassment, or giving your stomach and digestion a reason to work overtime–GREAT! That is GREAT. That is AWESOME. If someone else is doing that to themselves, who are you to judge, but also, why not take that moment to go, OK, great, I am not doing that to myself anymore and WHEW, and WOW, how amazing is that?

    Carry on, Carrie, sober unicorn parade COMIN’ THROUGH! xxx

  2. I get what you’re saying. Unlike some of the bars in town, there really isn’t a drink minimum here. It’s not how low we sink or how bad it gets or how many DUI’s and stuff we have that determines our “alcoholicness”. We are if we see that we are. And we know when we are. The signs are there and we can relate to other alcoholics. But in relating, we don’t need to be comparing. That’s dangerous stuff there. I know because I used to compare my bottom to others and I often lost in the drama dept. But that’s not what it’s about at all. And you are aware of that.

    I just wrote about a guy who I work with who I sense doesn’t feel that he sunk low enough. he only drinks beer. Still has the family. No lost income. No major consequences. just drinks every single day, hides bottles, plans sprees, drinks secretly, etc. But I am sure in his heart, he doesn’t think he’s truly an alcoholic, even though we met at a meeting. Difference is that he is unaware. You are aware. Makes a big difference.

    You’re not a fraud, and I think you know that at some deep level. Believe me, detox isn’t fun. At all. Worst experience of my life. Wouldn’t want my worst enemy there. Treatment was fine, and I needed it badly, but it’s not entirely fun either, even though it saved my life. All the other things you hear and read about may sound interesting, but are painful things.

    Why do we feel that we must flame out big time to be redeemed? If you catch cancer right at the onset and they fix it with a tiny snip, are you less of a cancer victim than the person who has mid or late stage cancer and has major surgery and needs long term care and rehab to get back on their feet?

    Great post – lots to chew on 🙂

    And you’re at where you need to be, as they say.


  3. Hi Carrie,

    You alreay have two great comments here, but I thought I’d pass along a good reminder I read on a blog (I forget which). Alsholism is a progressive disease, the elevator only goes one way – down. Don’t wait till you hit some mythical rock bottom to start recovery, because you may not survive the impact. Congrats on 100+ days, thats awesome.

  4. Are you me? Seriously..? I could have written this word for word. Calling it recovery and feeling like a fraud – so true. But no no no no lets not worry about those ‘how bad were we’ details.. we choose now for good reasons to live every single moment, good or bad, without ever reaching for a brain bending liquid. That’s sober living and that’s wonderful. Great post, I do so enjoy your writing xxxx

  5. Ditto what Mrs. D said. You are me! I felt that way for a long time. In my heart I knew I was that bad but when I saw others still whooping it up on a regular basis I would think…is this normal? Am I overreacting?

    Then I realized that I only had to look at my life and what alcohol was doing to it and it really didn’t matter what everyone else was doing, how much they were drinking or how often. It only mattered what I was doing.

    What I was doing was drinking too much. Period.

    THEN I realized that maybe all those other people whooping it up also had a problem. I have no idea what’s going on in their heads. Maybe they have regret, guilt, etc.

    Such a great blog. So glad I found it!


  6. I agree with Mrs D – I really felt like I could have written this post! I like what Paul said about the cancer comparison … it’s like being overweight. You don’t have to wait until you’re morbidly obese to do something about it. I am thinking about writing down some of my bad drinking experiences (perhaps not on my blog – they are pretty boring and repetitive) but I think it might be good to have them in black and white so I don’t forget why I quit. xx

  7. Oh lord. Ditto what Mrs D said. I could have written this word-for-word also. It’s insanity though really because what does it matter if we were “that bad” when we were “bad enough” – for us – that it caused us enough angst to be here writing a sobriety blog? I mean, seriously, if it wasn’t really a problem for us the very IDEA of being here would just be ludicrous. That we are probably says it all really.

    I was going to ask if you’d read DDG’s recent post on this topic, ‘Am I really an alcoholic’, which really nailed it for me, but then saw you’d commented on it too. As I said to her, in so many ways, the definition… IT DOESN’T MATTER. I really like her comments about “drinking alcoholically” rather than the “being alcoholics”. I definitely drank alcoholically and compulsively. I drank too much, too often, and it caused me problems and made me feel like crap. And I feel so much better for not drinking even when it feels hard. Isn’t that enough?

    Remember when we swapped stories via email about our bad memories of drinking? If it helps I’m happy to do that anytime. I still have to call those up for myself on a regular basis because I know that it’s when I start forgetting why I’m not drinking, and wondering if I was just making too big a deal of it all, that’s when I’m in danger of drinking again. And the result is always the same in the end: crappy. No, I might not be getting arrested or drinking vodka at 9am or some of the cliched stereotypes of an “alcoholic” but I drink too much, too often, too compulsively and it makes me do stupid things and feel like crap and that’s enough to know it IS a problem. The exact order of magnitude is less important.

    You are doing great hon. Just keep going. And email me anytime. 🙂

  8. Wow. This post is exactly where I am right now. Keep up the good work. If you had too many blackouts to count, then it’s never worth it to go back. Yes we were that bad.

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