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Old 10-05-2009, 09:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Could I be normal? Please respond.


Hey everybody. Posting a long topic on your first post is always annoying, but to be honest I'm just here to get some feedback on this one situation, and I'd really appreciate any you could give me.

A little background is in order, so here's the short version. I started drinking and drugging regularly when I was a Junior in high school, though I had experimented before that with alcohol and weed. Throughout high school I had the normal array of rebellion, angst, lack of self-esteem, and daddy issues, but for the most part I had a lot of fun partying and enjoying the comraderie that goes along with those first stages of drinking and drugging.

I moved after high school and started going to college, and things took your basic downhill swerve as responsibilities started piling up, grades started plummeting, and I began to drink and use constantly to escape all of it. After a couple of years I hit a low point of binge drinking (usually every weekend or every other one) and using speed, cocaine, shrooms, weed, and whatever else I could get my grubby little fingers on.

After an ultimatum from my parents to either accept their gift of a free ride to rehab or get cut off completely, I went to rehab. I got into the AA thing for 6 months, and then after going off to college once again and once again failing to be responsible, I went into a state of relapse for another 6 months.

Needless to say I got found out and through little fault of my own I went back to AA, this time eventually finding my place. I got a sponser and went through the 12 steps at a good pace...not speeding through them by any means, but not procrastinating either. I started chairing meetings and doing service work. I was going to at least one meeting a day, rarely going more than two without one. At one year sober I was the alternate GSR, and at two I was the full time GSR. Keep in mind it's not a large group by any means, but it's not tiny either, and I got the chance to do a lot of cool things with bigger picture AA. I went to area meetings and conventions, spoke at groups, yada yada yada. I was 21 at the time.

Now, I'm 25 and have almost five years totally clean and sober. After the first few years, my AA participation started to decline, at first going to meetings once a week, and eventually dropping down to making appearances every now and then. In the meanwhile, I was taking what AA had taught me and taking it out into the real world. I met a girl, fell in love, got married, and had a baby, though not necessarilly in that order. I learned how to work 40+ hours a week and not be late once. I learned how to do my part around the house, and how to maintain a working and loving relationship. Through my 1.5 year old daughter, I've learned to love like I never knew possible.

And now the question I'm faced with is this: am I really an alcoholic/addict?

After my life threatening first bout with drugs and alcohol I was left as a shell of something that could have been, and though I was young, most everybody around me had absolutely zero hope for my recovery. The addicted me wasn't a long time in the making, but it came on hard and all but killed me, especially when I found speed. The specifics of my story wouldn't make anyone that's been around the block flinch, but to me and my family it was too much to bare.

Since then, however, just about everything has changed. I've grown into a responsible, reasonable, reasonably decent (if extremely flawed) guy that does his best to be a good husband and father. Since getting sober this time I've also grown into a rather large fear that any drop of alcohol will turn me into some foaming-mouth beast that would ravage anything in it's path. Well, not fear maybe, but more of an understanding, an engrained knowledge that AA taught me. For a while it was what I needed in order to survive, but now I wonder if that's really the truth.

I've started to question that truth, and truth be told, I really think I could handle responsible drinking. I work 40 hours a week at a government-run call center (plus all the overtime they offer), and believe you me it sure would be nice to be able to come home to a cold beer, and maybe one more in the evening. And it would be nice to have four or five (literally speaking here) every once in a while over the course of an evening when the kid's at her grandma's and the wife and I are out with some friends. Hell, it would also be nice to smoke a joint every once in a while. Not that I would want to buy any just because I don't like the idea of keeping it in my house, but if it's around and I'm in a safe situation at a time when I don't have any pending responsibilities, it'd be nice to smoke a spliff and chill out.

Throughout everything I've never thought there's anything wrong with people that can do any of the above, I just didn't think it would ever be in the cards for me...but after I started to question some of those things that I've forced down my own throat for so long (and for good reason, at the time), I just wonder if I'm one of those that's "grown out of" addiction. I know that sounds stupid, and I always groaned when people would say things like that before, but thinking outside of the realm of my typical AA ways, I think it might apply to me. I really don't think I'd have any problem drinking responsibly and keeping my sanity, spiritual life, and way of living.

With all of that said, I think I'm going to try and do some controlled drinking. I was thinking of getting a 6 pack, seeing how long it lasts me, and seeing what it does to me. The big book says for people on the fence to do pretty much that, except I live in a dry county (no bars) and would rather feel things out in the comfort of my own house, in front of my family, with nothing to hide.

And if you're thinking of asking, my wife and I had a good long talk about it. She's never been much into AA stuff, but from everything that I've told her previously, she's obviously a bit sketchy on the idea, but she didn't break out into tears or anything. It would take some time, but assuming I can drink like a normal person, I think things would coalesce. And she did like the idea of being able to have a few drinks with me (she'll have a couple every great now and then, but doesn't keep it around the house or do it with any regularity).

I have no desire whatsoever to get drunk. The most I can comfortably think of enjoying is a good little buzz in the company of good friends, and anything past that sounds horrible.

What are your thoughts? Do I sound misguided, like someone that's fooled himself to such a degree that it even sounds kind of good to you? With all of my AA training and experience I don't think there's any way that I couldn't doubt my thinking with something like this, but honestly, I just really don't think I'd have a problem drinking normally...and I would think that I'm a good enough place with myself and with God that I could be honest with myself and my wife if the whole 6 pack experiment doesn't go so well, or if later on things start to take a more sinister turn. I don't mean that to say that I take the insanity of real addiction lightly...I just don't know if it still applies to me.

What advice would you give me for my proposed experiment? Really, anything would be helpful.

Thank you for reading -

On The Fence.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Just going to be unfront with love here ok.. Normal people don't come posting on these boards. I commend you for having an open mind.

I didn't know for sure until I read AA's Big Book. Heck I was 22 when I got sober, I mean I really liked that buzz.. 18 years later I understand what you are asking FOR SURE, but I always come back to when I was drinking, what was my pattern. Why do I relate to AA so much.

My wife had 12 years sober and now just 48 days. She just wanted to be normal with her friends at girls night. We let up on meetings with 2 kids, house etc. We almost lost it all.

Is the desire to drink worth everything? And who in their right mind would take a chance? Oh Yea. Me drinking!
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It doesn't sound good to me - it could undo all the good work.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NormieJoe View Post
I've grown into a responsible, reasonable, reasonably decent (if extremely flawed) guy that does his best to be a good husband and father.
Maybe that's a result of your sobriety rather than in spite of it.

Your life now is either evidence that you were always normal, or that you got the promises of recovery. It's 50/50 split odds, except for the fact that you once did "everything you could get your grubby fingers" on. So, I'll put down $1 for and $2 against. Of course, that's a bit unfair, because you're betting with what sounds like a very loving wife and kid.

My gut tells me that the level of thought you've given this puts the chilled six-pack roughly in the on-deck circle. In the end, only you can know for sure. Having gotten sober so young, you might not ever shake the need to run it up the pole. If you do, let us know how it goes.

I don't mean that to sound like a veiled negative expectation. Truly, only God knows how your decision will turn out. But do consider what's on the line. I've caught in passing that other recovery methods use a cost-benefit analysis as part of their methodology. This might be a good time to do one.

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome Normie Joe

The fact is - none of us know whether you're an addict in recovery or just a young kid who went off the rails and who grew up.

You're gonna do what you want to and you'll deal with the consequences.

I don't know why after 5 years you still think the best way to relax is a cold beer, or that the odd joint is fine for chilling out.

Are you sure it's not stress you should be focusing on here?

I drank enough booze and smoked enough weed to know where I'd end up - and I've just realised I'm actually grateful for that.

Whatever you decide I hope you'll make the right decision

Good luck
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome Joe. I was in the same place as you so many times. I had it all figured out...over and over and over again. Each time telling myself that I knew how to do it now, I can control it. Wrong! Each time it controlled me...even when I didn't want to acknowledge it. With close to 6yrs clean time, I've come to accept that one is too many, and a thousand is never enough. Please talk to some people from AA or any other type of recovery group, someone you trust, or in front of a meeting, and ask them how they feel about it since they know your recovery and you better than we do.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You've been concerned enough about your drinking/drugging to be sober for five years why start using again? I understand you'd like to 'chill out' because I do some 'chilling' myself but heres the thing, I wasn't concerned enough to stay clean for five years. The fact that you were/are rings warning bells to me. I wouldn't bother. Just my opinion
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NormieJoe View Post
After a couple of years I hit a low point of binge drinking (usually every weekend or every other one) and using speed, cocaine, shrooms, weed, and whatever else I could get my grubby little fingers on.
then

Quote:
Now, I'm 25 and have almost five years totally clean and sober.
and now

Quote:
I've started to question that truth, and truth be told, I really think I could handle responsible drinking.
It's your funeral.

Let me put it this way: I've got three years sobriety from pot, ecstacy, coke, and shrooms. I live in place where drugs are especially easy to get and pot is virtually legal.

I would love to smoke a bowl or two.

And I know that the moment I go flat, I will want more. I know it.

Not to be too cheesy, but there's a great line in The Matrix. Trinity says, "You've been down that road before, Neo. You know exactly where it leads."

Well, NormieJoe, you've been down that road.

Do you want to take a chance on going back there?

--Outvoid--
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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This case contains a powerful lesson. most of us have believed thatif we remained sober for a long stretch, we could therafter drink normally.but here is a man who at 25 years found he was just where he was when he was 21. we have seen the truth demonstrated again and again; "once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. !!

why on earth would you take the chance ?.

no one can declare you an alcoholic, only you, truly know the answer to this. just remember though, the main part of this illness centres in your mind.
so sooner or later your mind will tell you a lie and without AA, you will believe the lie.
go back to meetings and remind your self of where you came from and the suffering others go through. if you still want to go out and get a six pack, you can.

god bless you on whatever decission you make.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I honestly don't see the point of your proposed six-pack experiment. What do you expect to happen? On what basis? An instantaneous conversion into the Incredible Hulk if you have a problem with alcohol and a happy drunk if you're normal? If that's your rough measure, then I am certain you will come out with the latter conclusion.

That was the problem with anti-drug education in the 80s ... that "one joint" or "one snort" would send you to an instant death like Len Bias. So, many smoked a blunt, bong, or took a snort ... found out the the "dire warnings" were ******** and went on to become recreational users. And, of course, some became addicts. (personal aside: I had plenty of chances to do pot, coke and speed when I was in high school but the only reason I did not was my then-goal for military/government service. Alcohol was my sole vice.)

Your six-pack experiment won't prove anything except provide a false sense of confidence. If you want to "make it real", then start with a six-pack a day or more for an extended period like a month or two. If you have a problem with alcohol, you'll probably figure it out a few months down the road... however, with a family - and kids to boot - are they really that worthless that you'd risk something like that?
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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NormieJoe do you recall what it says in the Big Book about what is the obsession of every alcoholic?

Are you a gambler? That 6 pack may be the equivelant of putting it ALL, you, wife, & kids on the PASS line! Keep in mind that the odds favor the house.

I will share this, we have a gentleman in our area that I have to assume was thinking long and hard along the same lines as you, except he had 22 years of sobriety to put on the line along with a marriage, business, kids, home, he put it all out there for the chance that maybe he could drink like a gentleman ofter 22 years sober and a darn fine life.

Look I do not know all the details, I do know he quit going to meetings, he quit calling his sponsor and he quit speaking with his sponsee's........ WHo knows he may have rolled the dice with a 6 pack and he won!!!! So then maybe he let it ride, he rolled the dice again. Like I said I am not sure if he lost on the first roll of the dice or the 10th, but he did lose!!!!

In less then 3 months he got 2 DUIs and would have had a 3rd but the cop cut him some slack since he totaled a beautiful scoot...... I have no idea if he is dead, in jail, sober or drunk today, no one in the rooms knows where he is at.

Look in the mirror my friend, ask your self honestly "Would a normal person with my track record be thinking like this or an alcoholic?"

Ask yourself honestly "Why is even a 6 pack so important?"

No matter what I say or any one else says, you are going to do what you want to do...... or is it what the beast wants you to do?

Cunning, baffling, & powerful.

Hey maybe you are not an alcoholic!!! How many of the folks you drank and drugged with in school wound up in rehab? Would you suggest to them if they had gone to rehab and stayed clean and sober for a number of years "Hey dude, forget the past, you may not have a problem, have a drink or maybe we do do a bowl or 2."
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:49 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Are you gonna want to stop when the alcohol from them six cold beers is coarsing through your veins? I know there is no way on this planet that anyone or anything would be able to stop me going to get more! Then when they wear off you will be planning the next feeling of being drunk again and before you know it you are back to where you started again wondering WTF has happened and why after 5 years did I think I would be any different.

I know for this man then the thought of stopping after a six pack would be torture... I would rather not bother drinking at all and not put myself and loved-ones through the pain of watching me turn into the active alcoholic that I swore I would never become again.

It's your life mate but I suggest would you have everything that you have now if you had continued to drink/take drugs? Why is that? Is that because maybe you are an alcoholic/addict?

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Old 10-06-2009, 04:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It's your life and your decision, but if it were mine, I wouldn't take the chance of flushing five productive sober years down the toilet. I've relapsed enough to know that I can't drink responsibly. Maybe you can, I only know I cannot.

As to whether or not you're an alcoholic, only you can decide that. I do think there's a lot of meaning to the fact that you're five years sober and posting on a recovery site asking for input as to drinking again. That says a lot to me...
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Normie, I actually fear that I will one day be in the position that you are in. I hope that along the way I see enough stories through others and their experiences that I'm able to make the right decision. From what I have seen so far, the results have all been very much the same.

As another said, you're going to do what you're going to do. However, if you find yourself back where you were 5 years ago, are you going to have the strength to pull yourself out?

Good luck with that...........as they say.
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Normie I want to thank you for sharing what you have shared with us, I only have 3 years sober right now, I pray that if I ever get to thinking like you are now that I will be able to look back at what I & others have posted today and what I have heard others share in the rooms pulls me back from the insanity that leads to that first drink.

It took me 40 years to finally figure out that it is the first drink that gets me drunk and not the last one.
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I've started to question that truth, and truth be told, I really think I could handle responsible drinking.
I do believe you have answered your own question already by simply posting it on SR.
You just needed confirming what you already knew. Time does make us forget what it was like. You've had some good advise on here. Maybe you should talk again to your wife, just because she didn't break down in tears, doesn't mean she agrees with your proposed experiment. Hope you make the right decision for yourself and your family.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:27 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Your life sounds full and happy right now, why even take a chance? You have more to lose than your sobriety, self respect and everything else that goes with it. You have a family now, they love and need you to be the best Dad and Husband you can be. Do you really want to drink bad enough to take a chance and lose it all? If the answer is yes, you have answered your own question. It wouldn't be worth it to me, no drink is good enough for me to risk losing everything I have.....AGAIN! I say again because I did it before, I am not going to chance it again, just to make life "a little better". IMHO

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Old 10-06-2009, 06:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Normie,

There's really nothing in your post and your description that indicates one way or the other. I think it's good that you are questioning it. It sounds to me (meaning just my opinion, take it or leave it) like IF you are alcoholic, you don't really have a 1st Step experience.

You can try drinking (scary) and see how you respond, OR you can go back to the Big Book and study the Dr.'s Opinion and first 3 chapters.

I personally can't imagine being around AA for 5 years and not knowing the facts about myself. Find out the facts. Because if you are alcoholic, you are a ticking time bomb without those facts.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:40 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I met a guy at Aa a good few years back. He'd been sober 25 years and gone out again some time past.
It didn't work for him.
He's got another few years under his belt again now. He's well into his 80s.
I last saw him when I was last at Aa and he still always told the story to us younger ones who were getting the idea of trying a little controlled drinking.
It's never a good idea. x
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