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|02-28-2012, 10:02 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: London, UK
I read out a written Step One to my sponsor about a month ago - answers to a series of questions. I also wrote out a compressed timeline of my drinking/using and am posting it here as an adjunct and to help me find acceptance of Step One for myself. I hope this helps someone.
Any honest, open feedback welcome.
STEP ONE TIMELINE
The first time I drank was at the age of about seven, a glass of wine mixed with water given to me by my French grandfather. I remember thinking that the taste was disgusting and why would anyone want to drink something like that for pleasure?
I was anxious from childhood and believed that I had to be perfect to gain approval. This was the case before I started drinking. My main way of fixing pre-alcohol was bingeing on food and anorexia.
The second time I drank I canít remember what I consumed but I loved the feeling of being out of control. I was at a school party, about 14 years old. I thought I was the centre of attention and everyone was envious of me. It wasnít the taste, which I still couldnít stand, it was the effect I liked. Previously at parties I felt insecure, out of place and as though no one was interested in me. With alcohol in me I felt confident, powerful and unconcerned about what other people thought of me. The next day a close friend told me that people had talked about my behaviour and that I had made a fool of myself and this really irritated me. I thought she was jealous, at the same time I felt ashamed.
The third time I remember drinking was at a high school leaving party. I donít remember what I drank but I blacked out and found out later that I humiliated myself in front of several other students. I remember coming to and passing out over the course of the evening. The bits I can remember are like another person behaving outrageously in a way I never would have otherwise. As above it was the effect I loved despite negative and potentially dangerous consequences.
At the age of fifteen I drank on a weekend, with some other girls. I consumed a bottle of martini and a half a bottle of gin. Initially I drank with the others because alcohol lifted my inhibitions about food and allowed me to eat huge quantities of junk and sugar. But, even though I felt sick from the food and the alcohol, I kept drinking until I fell into a ditch as we were outside. I had to be carried back to my room and was half conscious. I canít remember what happened except that I got alcohol poisoning and had to go to the school sanitorium.
Despite this incident I continued to drink on weekends. Another time I was at the school bar where students were permitted two glasses of wine, beer or martini when they reached sixteen. On my sixteenth birthday I drank sixteen or more martinis and went temporarily blind. I canít remember what happened but I got very sick again. Once I started I just kept going until my body couldnít take it.
Other incidents include: passing out in school toilets and spending quite a Saturday evenings vomiting in toilets. Canít remember how many times this happened. I got the nickname ďGolf ClubĒ because I wore big boots and had skinny legs, and my boots would stick out from under the toilet stall. So it must have happened a number of times. I started to look forward to getting drunk on Saturdays even though the effects on my physical and emotional well-being were very negative. I always felt depressed the next day.
I also got caught once with a bottle of alcohol in the library. I just wanted to sit there with the bottle, alone. Also on a weekend. Once, a school staff member questioned me after Iíd been caught drinking. I told her I had every intention of not drinking as I hated it and felt very remorseful and meant it at the time as I felt ashamed and wanted to do well at school. My desire to achieve high grades gave me the will to not drink during the week when I switched back to starving myself.
Alcohol allowed me to ďbecomeĒ a different person. I felt childish, immature and not part of the in-crowd etc. Alcohol allowed me to behave differently, feel like I was noticed, popular and the centre of attention though I usually ended up humiliating myself.
At college, when I drank, I got drunk. Otherwise what was the point? I usually ended up telling people I loved them or pining for someone unavailable. I also drank at music concerts and remember throwing up and throwing myself around violently to the degree I hurt myself and people were wary of me. I canít remember ever not drinking until I either felt sick or was sick.
In pubs and bars with other students drank at pubs and in bars, mainly cider and Guinness with blackcurrant or sometimes red wine, the taste of which revolted me. While I drank I felt this wave of optimism and warmth but invariably ended up feeling lonely, isolated, hungover and ashamed. Then I would push on with a new resolve to be a success and do well.
I also smoked pot now and again and got paranoid. Mainly to fit in and be part of a group I thought were cool. I remember being hungover from alcohol and pot when I went for my BA college interview.
When I didnít drink I binged on food, overworked and obsessed about people.
After I finished my BA degree I decided to move to America to do my MA. I stopped drinking and smoking and started doing a lot of exercise to lose weight. I decided that I would start a new life in the US. The thing thatís starting to click for me now is that (I believe) I knew in my heart where alcohol could take me even though I couldnít admit at that time that it was a problem for me. I was so scared of being out of control that I just stopped.
Also, my first job, ironically, was in a pub but I never drank there. The weird thing is that I deeply resented the drunken customers and don't know how to make sense of this.
In the US I switched to anorexia, compulsive exercise, overspending and overworking. I didnít really think about alcohol but I now believe I was terrified of it and, as above, couldnít admit this to myself. I constantly felt not-good-enough, lonely, unhappy and disconnected and felt I had to work extra hard.
Between 1994 and 1999 I sometimes drank, rarely though, mainly at parties or social events. When I did I always got drunk.
In 1999 I was prescribed diazepam and became dependent on it. I also went through a period of daily pot smoking and started getting attacks of paranoia and bad panic so I stopped. This gave me a good reason, I thought, to keep using diazepam. I had no job, wasnít doing anything related to my college degrees and spent days hanging out with a friend, smoking pot and doing nothing. I was often out of money. When I had it I spent it and when I didnít I borrowed money or was bailed out. I had the attitude that if I just tried harder I would achieve what I wanted.
I met my now ex-partner, an addict, and started using amphetamines, more diazepam and GHB with him. As he was a heavier user than me I told myself he was the problem, not me. Also, my dealers were him and various psychiatrists. So I reasoned that as I didnít seek out street dealers or use street drugs there was no way I could be an addict.
My mental health deteriorated quite rapidly on drugs and due to the lifestyle I was living. I ended up alone in a flat, rarely going out except to sometimes walk my dog. I used to stay up all night watching TV in a state of severe paranoia, scared to go outside except at sometimes night. My hygiene suffered, I only associated with other addicts and lost all my friends, to whom I lied constantly. I stopped using stimulants and kept on with diazepam. I put on a lot of weight and binged on food. I refused to see my family and lied to them on the phone, telling them I was fine. I turned the ringer on my phone off so I wouldn't haver to answer it.
In 2003 I started exercising and dieting again. I decided I had to leave the US and that I was going to make a clean break, put the past behind me. For about a year all I did was exercise and diet.
At the end of 2004 I returned to the UK and spent 2 years doing everything but drink and use drugs. I applied for various MA programmes, got in and then decided not to go. Moved out, had a fight with my landlord and ended up with nowhere to stay. I had cut myself off from friends because I felt too ashamed to tell them the truth about my life.
In 2006 I sought help for my eating disorder in the relevant 12 step programme. I now know that I had an undiagnosed mental illness and, in 5 years of attending various fellowships but not AA apart from the odd meeting I became more and more mentally unwell. When I did go to AA meetings I felt told myself I couldnít be an alcoholic as I hadnít consumed alcohol for so long and didnít crave it. And because I wasn't a severe enough alcoholic. I remember that my second eating disorder sponsor, also a recovering alcoholic/addict, suggested that I attend AA as, in her opinion, I qualified. I didnít agree with her and had a fear of AA so I didnít take her suggestion.
At one point, later on, I started attending Al-Anon meetings and noticed that when I left the meetings I felt like a drink. I remember leaving one meeting around Christmas time and seeing a vat of mulled wine Ė there was some kind of unrelated event going on. I still recall that vat and how much I wanted to taste the wine but I didnít because although (I told myself) I wasnít an alcoholic, it would affect my eating disorder recovery negatively.
By January 2011 I had retrained, gotten jobs and left them, been homeless and alienated most people I knew in 12 step programmes. I ended up in a job way beneath my skill level and started, for the first time, obsessing about vodka and painkillers. Nearly every day I thought about sneaking vodka into work and having it during my lunch break but I was scared of being fired and, still, the thought of admitting to myself that I was powerless over alcohol terrified me. I had no friends and used to sit alone in my flat with my dog obsessing about vodka and feeling increasingly suicidal, that there was no hope left. I also spent hours in my head, obsessing, ďam I an alcoholic or am I not an alcoholic?Ē
Two weeks before I went to a secondary rehab I took an overdose of painkillers and kept taking them for two-three days. I then decided that either I would go back to my old lifestyle or commit suicide as I couldnít go on. I went to find an old associate who could get me cocaine but couldnít locate him.
At the rehab they told me I was an alcoholic and gave me the Big Book. I really wanted to get it but I wasnít quite ready yet. I kept trying to will myself to surrender and got lost in this painful obsession of ďAm I or am I not an alcoholic?Ē. The counselors told me I had no mental health issues other than being an addict/alcoholic which I did not believe. About 2 months in I went out to buy vodka and pills and found the shops shut. As I had loaned someone money earlier in the day I couldnít afford to buy a larger bottle from another shop so just went back to the rehab and told them what I had done. A few weeks later I discharged myself and started drinking the same day.
This turned into a three month binge of pretty much daily vodka drinking, some of the time I was going to AA meetings, drinking before and after. I started drinking in the morning, hiding alcohol in my parentsí house, and turning on the radio to hide the sound of me unscrewing the vodka bottle caps (I bought 20cl or 350cl bottles as I could keep them in my purse). Also drinking on street benches, before and after going to the gym and walking around late at night in London. I was mired in guilt and shame about having ďfailedĒ at rehab.
A key worker at my local drug and alcohol service gave me a drink diary. When I got 100cl of vodka per day the fear of drinking any less was so overwhelming that I just went back to more. By this time I was genuinely suicidal. I couldnít sleep at night Ė the alcohol would knock me out then I would wake up in the middle of the night. I started to get pins and needles in my feet and the peripheral neuropathy that is a legacy of my eating disorder got worse. Once, at the gym, someone said loudly that someone stank of urine. Canít be sure but Iím pretty sure it was me as I was sweating out alcohol and ureic acid.
I found a sponsor and got about 12 days sober. I was so scared in meetings that I wouldnít get it and was being dishonest that I stopped going and relapsed. When I did share I would feel suicidal afterwards. I ended up taking an overdose of vodka and painkillers on Xmas Eve and went to the A and E department of my local hospital.
A few weeks later, by now, having been linked into mental health services, I was given a diagnosis, which was a huge relief to me as I now had official proof of what I suspected Ė that I am dual diagnosis.
In AA I felt like a fraud, that I wasnít a bad enough alcoholic and that I was too constitutionally incapable of being honest to get it.
About a week after the overdose I read out a written step one to my sponsor; answers to a series of questions about my consumption of alcohol and chemicals. She suggested I was still fighting surrender and that I stay with Step One for a while.
Thanks for reading
|02-28-2012, 10:15 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Brighton, UK
Blog Entries: 33
You are amazing. It took so much to put all of that out - I'll bet ot was scary enough seeing it written down, let alone making it public. I'm glad you've been given a diagnosis that helps and makes sense to you. Lovely to meet you - stay safe and enjoy the spring. Xxxx
|The Following User Says Thank You to stillsleeping For This Useful Post:|| |
|03-04-2012, 11:48 AM||#3 (permalink)|
a friend you haven't met you
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Beginnersville, Sobriety
In AA I felt like a fraud, that I wasnít a bad enough alcoholic and that I was too constitutionally incapable of being honest to get it.
Stay strong and stay honest.
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