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One Year "Birthday" and More Questions than Answers



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One Year "Birthday" and More Questions than Answers

Old 07-23-2013, 09:49 PM
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One Year "Birthday" and More Questions than Answers

Last summer I woke up to my continued state of hungover at age 26. I had been a closet drinker for 2-3 years at that point, coming home from work and chugging down beers as if I needed them to survive. Usually 10-12 a night which meant the frequent and embarrassing trips to the beer distributor, wondering if I had already been there earlier in the week. The three or four that I cycled to all knew me by name and all knew what I liked. I just handed over the credit card, loaded up the beer and went home to unload my feelings. For some reason it was always the worst day: stupid bossman, or some sort of argument, any justification I could give myself to drink, and drink I would until I would eventually pass out and wake up for work the next day.

This particular morning however, would be different, the one that pulled my life into a different direction. While driving to visit family, hungover, I found myself in a complete state of anxiety. Driving up the highway confident I was dying.....dizzy, unable to breathe, crying for no reason. It took me three hours that day to make a 45 minute trip as I had to keep pulling off the road to get a a hold of myself. Later that night, with relatives, I couldn't sleep and had the same thoughts of panic...chest beating, numbness, the constant thought that these were my final breaths. An ER stay, thousands of dollars in tests, and the doctors found nothing wrong....but I knew what was wrong, my secret drinking had finally caught up with me.

I vowed that day never to drink again, but I was serious this time. I never wanted to feel the way that I did with the panic and the misery and the self-loathing that came with it. Through the first month or two the anxiety stayed with me....random thoughts of panic which not surprisingly lead to me wondering if it even was the alcohol that caused the problem in the first place. It may not have been, but I believe that God's messages are clear. 2 months turned to six and I had never been prouder of myself. Instead of wondering how I could go one day without drinking a half year ago, I wondered how I had even managed to drink my life away in the first place.

Cut to nine months and its finally my birthday (a dreaded day for a non drinker), but I decided, perhaps against better judgment, that I could have two beers to go with my birthday baseball tailgate. And that's all I had, just two. Ever since that's all any of my social drinking has been. A special event every few months? I have two drinks and always remember to drive myself so that I have the excuse to stay "sober".

But I do wonder....is this normal? I've spent the good portion of the year reading all of your posts and the excellent advice and conversations which are truly a blessing (Thank You). Unfortunately, everyone's response is different. Some admit they are never able to handle the pressure of social drinking for fear they will fall off the wagon. Others have tried casual drinking like I have, and ended up back down the rabbit hole to daily drinking. But am I only setting myself up for failure? So far the need to be designated driver for myself has been successful. One drink, a little buzz, fun with friends/family on special occasions and then a drive back to my dry apartment.

I don't have a negative view of alcohol, and I am happy to see my friends enjoy and have a good time. I have a negative view of what I did with alcohol and the ramifications. 2-3 years of a lost social life and a world that revolved around only me, and my desire to drink. And now recently, a daily low dose blood pressure medication for my continued slightly elevated (130-40/90) readings. Did the alcohol cause that? Maybe. Maybe it's my diet, maybe its just stress, maybe because I'm still overweight? Still so many questions.

I have learned a few things in the past year though, the most important being that I am incredibly blessed. And that I am so thankful for my scary "near-death" wakeup call which was a message sent only to me to get life back under control. I get to live life and find purpose and have meaningful relationships all without having to self medicate with alcohol. Unfortunately I've found I am stressed, more emotional, more vulnerable than I was when I drank, which at times is disappointing. And sometimes having that nice quiet apartment to yourself is just a little too lonely. But at least there is comfort in knowing that these are "real" reactions to my life, and I'm not suppressing them each night with half a case.

Thank you all again for your messages of support and advice for each other which is so nice to read on a lonely night once in a while. I think I need to soul search and figure out how to redefine my life in regards to alcohol. Will I always find it this dark "demon", or will I be able to enjoy a couple drinks once in a while without the shame, guilt, and worry that I still have? Still more questions than answers.....but I think I'm still passing the test.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:20 PM
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Lots of folks are able to stop/moderate/drink socially for relatively long stretches of time, often in the service of proving to ourselves that we are not alcoholics. People who don't have problems with alcohol rarely feel the need to put this to the test. That you're concerned about your drinking doesn't necessarily mean you're an alcoholic, but it does mean that you're taking your problems seriously.

If it's only one or two beers every now and then, why not just see what it's like for you to not drink at all? If not, your own experiment will provide the answers you seek.
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:29 AM
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sorry, wrong post!!
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:11 AM
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"But am I only setting myself up for failure?" In my experience YES. I needed to accept the fact that I cannot drink alcohol in safety PERIOD. Perhaps if I were to be found in the desert with only beer to support my life I'd drink it. Is it so important that we will sacrifice so much for it? we can start with self respect, loss of family, job, all financial security and perhaps ending up as a nonfunctioning street person with brain damages beyond repair along with ending up looking up at the grass roots as so many have. I'd run the other way in a heartbeat. BE WELL
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