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Trying to Stop after Ten Years of Binge Drinking

Old 06-23-2009, 09:10 PM
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Trying to Stop after Ten Years of Binge Drinking

I posted this a day ago on another network, but felt that sharing it with additional people may provide additional support

This feels a little awkward for me, and I'm not entirely sure if this is an appropriate place for me or not. I discovered the site a few weeks ago, but was hesitant to join because at this point in time I haven't had any life altering situations like so many other people have been brave enough to share. I have been flying very close to the flame, but have also been very lucky in the sense that I haven't really been burned all that badly.

I have been a binge drinker since I began college about ten years ago. It wasn't that alarming to that many people at the time because it's typical for college students to abuse substances, but I still drank more than just about anyone else I knew, so even by college standards I was drinking a lot. I was confronted a time or two by friends, but other than that no one was overly concerned. In fact the opposite was true. I was actually respected for being able to drink so much. That encouraged me to do it even more.

After I graduated I continued to drink heavily on the weekends and spend time with a lot of the same people. I am very shy by nature and don't always feel comfortable in social settings, but I was never nearly as uncomfortable when I was drinking. I also wasn't a "bad" drunk. I wasn't violent, I wasn't sloppy or confrontational. I was just a drinker, and because I wasn't "bad" no one ever said anything to me. During the week I would oftentimes stay up late drinking and although I'd be hung over I'd never miss work, so no one on that front ever said anything.

In the past couple of years, it hasn't been uncommon for me to drink heavily (and sometimes alone), and then go through a feeling of strong remorse the next day. I know that I have an addictive personality in general, and that's especially true when it comes to drinking. I never have an uncontrollable craving for alcohol, and have been able to quit for days and weeks at a time without craving it, but what I do go through is that I'm the kind of person that wants my fifth drink a lot more than I want my first, and I want my tenth drink a lot more than I want my fifth, and....you get the idea.

Three weeks ago I was in an accident. While leaving a bar that a friend of mine had actually been thrown out of, I backed into another car, scratched their bumper, and smashed mine. It's obvious to me now that I shouldn't have been driving at all. I left a note on the car with my contact information, and drove home anyway. This is another problem I have. I ALWAYS think that I'm better and more sober than what I actually am, and I'll put myself in a situation that has potentially disastrous consequences because of it, and then go through a deep feeling of remorse the next day once I come down to Earth.

I did the same thing yesterday. I was at a sports bar with a friend and had been drinking heavily for most of the day. I was very tired by the end of the day and drove myself home. At the time I would have sworn that I was alright, but I know now that I was not. Again, as I have many times in the past, I felt remorseful. I began searching the internet, took a survey on another website about my drinking and answered all the questions truthfully. It said (and I don't know how it talleys this, but I have no real reason to question it) that I had a serious drinking problem and that 95% of Americans drink less than I do.

I've dumped out all the alcohol that I had in my apartment and have been going over and over past experiences I've had with alcohol in my head. I cannot believe I've never been arrested. I cannot believe I've never had a DUI. I cannot believe I've never had an accident. I cannot believe I've never ruined or altered someone else's life or even my own life. I work in higher education in intercollegiate athletics (I'm not a coach and I'm not famous) and a big time incident involving alcohol could cost me my job and make it nearly impossible to get another one in the same field. The more I think about it, the more it scares me and the more it rattles my cage. It's like I've been playing Russian Roulette with the number of times I've put myself in a situation that could turn out horribly bad.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share. As I said earlier, I don't know how much I can contribute to the community here, but at the very least I think writing this out has helped me.

peace,

Ortho
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:24 PM
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I'm also a binge drinker. I also have never hit one of those proverbial "bottoms". I feel blessed that am addressing my problem before I have caused any permanent damage to myself or others.

You're in the right place. There's a lot of support from a lot of people that are going through the same thing.

Welcome!
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:29 PM
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Hiya Ortho

I started as a binge drinker too, gradually drinking during the week, and then daily. I was very careful for most of my drinking career but the last two years I lost control...I had a lot of things happen I had held out as 'not yets'.....and I didn't care.

I think you've made a great move to start doing something about it before you got the point I and many others got to.

Welcome to SR
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:47 PM
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The best part of posting is that it is helping you!!! I found this site about two weeks ago, and never imagined how much help it would be, both reading and posting.
It seems the remorse you are feeling may be steming from the truth....the honesty and good in you is sending out a message to the you who may enjoy drinking a bit too much. Drinking has a way of just becoming a normal part of life somehow, and this is how we tend to see it as time passes---as normal. I too have been lucky in many ways, and the situations I've put myself in with the poor decision making while drinking. My only advice to you is to at least stop drinking for a couple weeks....you will be amazed at how your thinking and total frame of mind will change. This way you can try and make decisions about your future with clear and honest judgement. In my experience, I was so used to being drunk, hungover, feeling horrible about myself---that it become "normal" to me, and I suffered and wasted so many precious years of my life. Maybe you are just too used to this lifestyle??
There are no quick easy answers, but at least you are making an effort to make changes in your life!! Good luck Keep reading and posting, you will be surprised how much it helps, and how much you may discover about yourself
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:28 AM
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I think it is commendable that you are seeking something different. I was a real bad drinker I was in show business and traveled alot.

You probably need to seek some kind of Medical assistance while detoxing getting clean from alcohol could be hard on the bod
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:51 AM
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I cannot believe I've never been arrested. I cannot believe I've never had a DUI. I cannot believe I've never had an accident. I cannot believe I've never ruined or altered someone else's life or even my own life.
YET!

Ortho welcome to SR, I was like you for quit a few years, if you are an alcoholic like I am then I can tell you that as long as an alcoholic drinks their alcoholism never gets better, nor does it stablize, it always gets worse!

I went from being a binge drinker to being a daily/maintenance drinker, to becoming physically addicted to alcohol.

Why not check out some AA meetings, trust me there are plenty of binge drinkers in AA that have been happily sober for many years thanks to AA.

Why experience the yets if you do not have to.
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:09 AM
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Welcome to SR.

You can choose to wait for a catastrophic event to occur as a result of your drinking.

Or... you can avoid a catastrophic event by addressing the problem.

Read over what you wrote and ask yourself where it all appears to be headed.

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Old 06-24-2009, 05:25 AM
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Welcome to SR, Ortho.

I think you can contribute a lot. Stick around if you like.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:29 AM
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Welcome Ortho. I certainly see myself in your post. Though the cliches can be tiresome, that doesn't make them untrue. "Alcoholism is a progressive disease" is one I never paid any attention to, until I saw it proven out in my own life. I went from sipping a few to 24/7 100 proof vodka drinking, where I couldn't even get through the night without reaching for a few sips because I'd shake so badly. If we keep playing with it, there'll be no end to the devastation & havoc.

One thing I can promise - you do not need that poison the way you think you do. The first few months off it for me were the most difficult. I was looking at the road ahead as a very long and somber journey. I was filled with resentment. Instead, I've found hope and joy again - emotions that I'd lost years ago - always thinking I'd find them at the bottom of a bottle.

You're already armed with a wealth of knowledge about yourself and this disease. So many never get it. I know two personally who spent their last days still trying to moderate and control their intake. Livers shot, minds turned to mush. This will not be us!
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:20 AM
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I too can see So-much of myself in what you are saying. I am 23 years old and attend AA meetings 3 times a week now. I too am a very heavy binge-drinker, always have been always will be.

When it comes to alcohol this ain't never gonna change. The very nature of the chemical and it's affect means it's impossible to change it which is why it makes it sooooo deadly and illusive. That intitial 'feel-good buzz' luring you into drinking more, and then the loss of willpower and judgement means your sure gonna keep drinking more and more!! why wouldn't you? you feel so chilled, relaxed and contented lets keep making these feelings better and better. Next thing you know your waking up the next morning wondering wtf has happened and wondering how you've ended up in this state again. Repeat cycle over and over again apart from the things that are happening during those hours you can't remember are getting more and more extreme and potential dangerous.
This is the point where I would reach for a can of beer and find to my horror that I must have drank them and cannot remember drinking them! To get more wasted? Hooked line and sinker. This is where I go get a couple of tins of Super-strenghth lager to nip the anxiety/paranoia in the bud and as soon as that hits it's funny how I the thoughts of being an alcoholic quickly evaporate.

It is spot on how alcoholism is a progressive disease and I can totally see that over the 7 years of my regular drinking Binges (the last 2 have been mentally wrestling about my drinking) I used to be out in town 'socialising' every weekend without fail however right before I decided enough is enough I was finding myselof having to drink alone on park benches because I couldn't stand the anxiety caused by me being a drunk in front of people and consequently be labelled as a drunk but I have been banned from drinking in the house but I couldn;'t see how I weren't gonna be able to have my regular binges. Can you see how this was causing me so much stress and hopelessness for the future?

I can tell you it is a weight off my mind since I have been attending AA meetings and saying 'Im Neomarxist and Im an Alcoholic'
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:37 AM
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I was a binge drinker too, until I started binge drinking almost every day.

I didn't reach any of those "yets", but I almost destroyed my life, and certainly would have had I continued drinking. A lot of people die before they reach any 'yet'.

I'm glad you're here, Welcome!!

PS... if you decide to keep drinking PLEASE for everyone else's sake don't drive.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:29 AM
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Welcome to the community.
i hope that you keep coming back.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:43 AM
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Welcome Ortho,

You will get alot of advice and help here. I can relate to so much of your story. I think I am very lucky also to have avoided those bottoms. When my drinking career ended 11 months ago I was far enough down for me. I truly believe that one of those not yets would have happened to me. Good luck and keep posting.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Ortho View Post
I know that I have an addictive personality in general, and that's especially true when it comes to drinking. I never have an uncontrollable craving for alcohol, and have been able to quit for days and weeks at a time without craving it, but what I do go through is that I'm the kind of person that wants my fifth drink a lot more than I want my first, and I want my tenth drink a lot more than I want my fifth, and....you get the idea.
Sounds like me, I can go a few weeks now too (I have actually gone from a daily drinker to binge drinking), but once I start the craving is huge and I just drink to oblivion....it last 4-5 days. Then I can go a few weeks without wanting to drink and then do it again, even though after each binge I really, really do not want to do it again.

I am sharing this because I believe I am just as alcoholic as the daily drinker....maybe you are too, that is for you to decide, but is does sound to me like you may be an alcoholic of the binge type.

It is just as dangerous and as serious a form of alcoholism as the guy who drinks daily, waking up and gulping spirits before getting out of bed.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:13 PM
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Some people don't believe they're an Alcoholic until they are a Skid Row Bum eating out of a Dumpster and have lost everything. Do you really want to get to that point before you decide to put a stop to it? There are virtually no downsides to not drinking.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:09 PM
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Thanks to all that replied!!! Reading this and talking about it has definitely helped.

I originally wrote this on a Monday, but didn't register and post it here until yesterday, so I'm on my third day of not drinking.

Due to the kind of work that I do (academic services in intercollegiate athletics) things are kind of slow in the summers due to fewer students in classes and fewer sports in season. That means shorter hours, and more people going to happy hour. On Tuesday (yesterday) I said that I wasn't going with them and that I was trying to quit. Some chuckled, but for the most part it got no noticeable response. Part of me wonders about the social aspect. To most of the people I work with, alcohol is not viewed in a negative context, and most of them are responsible drinkers. I think it is safe to say that none of them are anywhere close to being as irresponsible as I am. With that in mind, I believe I'm going to miss the social aspect just as much as I miss the innebriation aspect. What am I going to do with my friends or with my time if I'm not drinking??

Since I missed Father's Day, I'm out of town visiting my parents. I want to tell them that I'm trying to quit and why, but am not sure if I should just yet. Both my parents drink, and I consider them to be very responsible with alcohol. In saying that, I don't htink they have any idea how irresponsible I have been on dozens upon dozens of occassions. Like I said before, I was good at hiding the warning signs....even from myself. It just seems to me that it's a lot easier to talk about an irresponsible past once it's a little further in the past. I don't know if that makes any sense or not. I do want to tell them, but I don't want to tell them until after I've been off the binge for more than just a few days.

To top things off, the first thing I receive from my parents when I walk through the door is....a beer stein. They saw it at a flea market with my name on it and thought I would like it. Does God have a wicked sense of humor or what??

Anyway, the upside for now is that it's far easier to not drink here than it is to not drink other places. I've told several friends that I'm trying to quit and the reasons why, and most have been supportive. I'm approaching the end of day three and have not experienced any cravings, but as I said before the cravings weren't my problem. The stopping once I'd started was my problem.

Thanks again for listening and responding. If nothing else it gives me something to focus on, and the more I have to focus on that doesn't involve drinking, the better. I am committed to this. One of the things about me is that I do have a competitive spirit, and I can apply that when I face situaitons that will tempt me to drink.

Day three is almost in the books.

THANK YOU ALL!!

Ortho
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:18 PM
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Hi Ortho and Welcome,

I'm glad you are here seeking support.

Good for you for having three sober days!

Early sobriety involves a lot of changes, and they are often difficult changes. You ask what you will do with your friends or your time if you are not drinking. I can tell you what worked for me. I had to remove a couple of people from my life, people who were toxic to me. That opened me up to new people coming into my life. I started walking, a lot, every day. I began to do volunteer work and I met some great people and made several really good friends.

When I stopped drinking, it was a very personal decision and I told no one. I had made promises in the past and broken them, so I was quiet.

Stopping drinking is the beginning and that is when the hard work begins. You will find lots of support here.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:02 PM
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Hey Ortho, I have appreciated your posts.

I too am a binge drinker. I have been wrestling with the idea of quitting altogether for a while, and have gotten serious about it during the past several months.

I have recognized 3 fundamental aspects of my relationship with alcohol. The first is my desire to get drunk. I like to get drunk here and there; sometimes once in a week, sometimes once in a month; but I like to get drunk, and in a solitary way.

The second is I like to socialize in the presence of alcohol. I've had many good communal experiences drinking with friends, and drinking has been an integral part of my social culture. I rarely have gotten intoxicated in social situations.

Third: I have adopted "slightly reckless - moderate/heavy drinker...but mostly responsible" as part of my self-image. I romanticized this and grew fond of it.

Of the three aspects, the desire to get drunk seems to be the easiest to give up. Not allowing myself alcohol, I find that this desire fades easily. The other 2 confound me. I do not like giving up the social drinking; and the "drinker-image" is ingrained. But through experience and experimentation, I have learned that the 3 seem to come as a package deal for me. I seem to be unable to keep only one without the other 2.

And so I am now on a path of sobriety. But for me, the knowledge that the 1 social drink will not immediately lead to the binge sometimes makes it difficult for my sick brain to understand the dangers of my condition.

I very much appreciate reading the posts from other binge drinkers, and your candor. It is all very helpful for me. Thank you; I hope you find good help on this forum as well.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:14 PM
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Hello Ortho,
Welcome!
You said: "because at this point in time I haven't had any life altering situations like so many other people have been brave enough to share."
And
TommyK said: "You can choose to wait for a catastrophic event to occur as a result of your drinking.

Or... you can avoid a catastrophic event by addressing the problem."
Please address this problem.
From one binge drinker to another,please, please, avoid the catastrophic future events that drinking will cause.
5 years ago this month I hit my bottom, when I when to work drunk, was reported to my license board and lost my license for a year and had to work very hard to get it back.
Everyone in one form or another will have a bottom from abusing alcohol. It will come. Each one is different than the other and everyone suffers. Mine could of been worst, I could of taken a live. For that, I'm so grateful.
Stick around, much love and support here.
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