Cutting through denial

Old 04-06-2017, 03:25 PM
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Cutting through denial

So...Wasn't sure what to call this thread or wether to set a poll up.

Basically ... I continued to drink at least 10 years past the point where I should have known there was a problem.

I drank for 2 years after knowing there definitely was a problem.

I then made a serious attempt at Sobriety...knowing that drinking was no longer an option.

But even then I had the lingering thought that whole I definitely had a problem...and was probably better not drinking...I wouldn't quite see myself as an alcoholic. Still couldn't quite see the cause of motmst of my problems as alcohol itself.

I had been sober for about 12 months and calling myself an "alcoholic" before something changed again and I became entirely comfortable with the idea that I was an alcoholic, the same as anyone else in the meetings I attended or on this board for example. One way I see this is that even after quitting there was some work to be done in completely cutting through my own denial and seeing my situation for what it was.

Curious as to what the experience of other was or is.

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Old 04-06-2017, 03:54 PM
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Hi, paulokes, thanks for your thoughts. I think that time brings clarity. When we are in full blown addiction, that's really all we can see. The getting of alcohol, drinking it, getting more, keeping it hidden from friends and family, functioning though not feeling well or healthy.
When we can take a step back from the crazy train, we become willing to own our part.
My own opinion only:, I have a bit of an issue with the term "alcoholic." To me it's stigmatizing, negative, and doesn't convey the complexities of our dependent condition.
When I attended AA, I cringed inside when people would say that they were so-and-so and an alcoholic. Eventually, I would share my name only, leaving off the alcoholic part.
I guess I prefer "alcohol-dependent." Because to me it implies a condition that can and does change, as so many of us now non-drinkers can attest.
I know that, to many, it's tomato-tomahto. A drinking problem is a drinking problem, no matter what you call it.
This just me talking. Peace.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:44 PM
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There is problem drinking, where stopping drinking fixes the problem, then there is alcoholism, where stopping drinking just seems to bring it out.

In the last year or two of my drinking I learned about what it means to be alcoholic. Part of that was the only known relief was to be found through complete abstinence. I don't want to be an alcoholic. On the other hand hard, or problem drinkers can stop or moderate with a good enough reason. I desperately wanted to be one of those, and, failing that, I wanted to be labelled with a particular mental condition which would excuse my behaviour and allow me to go on drinking.

I suppose that is a good example of the strength of denial. I would rather be a certified lunatic than an alcoholic who cannot drink, ever.

In spite of the mounting pile of evidence in front of me, plus the input from family, friends, employers, community, and even while locked up in the nut farm, I could not connect the dots. I think it is a form of psychosis, an inability to see the truth of my situation.

My situation became so bad, that I began to break through the psychosis, and tried to stop or moderate, and found I could not. Eventually, very near the end of end stage alcoholism, I called AA. Sick as a dog, badly hungover, this is what I said.
" My name is Mike, and I think I might have a drinking problem." Still not ready to make a full admission. A few hours later after some time with a recovered alcoholic, I had a much clearer picture. He seemed to be able to reach through the denial, or what was left of it, and won my confidence.

I am glad I didn't get my wish about being a lunatic, or hard drinker. Most of my hard drinking friends are dead now, proving you don't have to be an alcoholic for alcohol to damage your health.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:50 PM
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I'm not sure denial is the right word for me.

I knew for well over a decade that my substance abuse was a problem but I rationalised it various ways -
  • if you had a life like mine,
  • I work hard so I play hard,
  • everyone I know drinks like this...

yadda yadda yadda

The basic thing holding me back was fear.

I wanted to be able to drink as much as I wanted and have absolutely no negative consequences. That part could be classed as denial of reality lol.

I didn't want to change my life or be different...and that fear kept me tapped there until the last possible moment I could have gotten out alive.

Scary stuff.

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Old 04-06-2017, 07:54 PM
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I can relate to this SO MUCH. I am 45 days sober, and before that 2 months sober. Just realized over the last year or so that I really had a problem. I really still don't know if I'm an alcoholic. I still choke when I say I am out loud. But whether I'm an alcoholic or a problem drinker doesn't really matter. I can never have alcohol again... it's no longer an option for me.
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