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hard drinker/high bottom

Old 12-02-2009, 04:54 PM
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hard drinker/high bottom

Hi, I'm about 60 or so days sober. I've been going to a lot of meetings and I have a sponsor and I'm working the steps. I'm on 2. However, i've been having some doubts lately.

At my worst, I was maybe drinking 3 nights a week socially maybe 5-8 drinks per. I seldom drank alone, every once in a while by myself. I've blacked out a number of times before, or at least browned out a bunch of times.

I feel I clearly am either a high bottom or a hard drinker. I've been doubting my alcoholism, though. I have stopped on my own but I always convince myself I don't have a problem. I know I have social anxiety issues that cause me to drink in social situations and I'm working on that issue.

I like AA and I think it's been really good for me spiritually. I'm worried that if I'm just a hard drinker, that I might actually cause harm to low bottom alcoholics if I try to help once I get through the steps. I know the only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. I want to stop and this program has been helping me do that.

Does anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:09 PM
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As you said, the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking...however if you decide you are not an alchoholic, you are still a friend of many alchoholics and alanon practices the same spiritual principles.

"High bottom" drunks have a connection with other "high bottom" drunks coming into AA....our experiences benifit others, but perhaps not everyone...

I didn't see my alchoholism clearly the first 9 months after I found AA...it took time for me to see how my drinking really was....

Anyways...just some food for thought...glad you posted
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
however if you decide you are not an alchoholic, you are still a friend of many alchoholics and alanon practices the same spiritual principles.
I'm not sure if this is what you meant but this helped a lot. I didn't even think that if I decide i'm not an alcoholic that I can still do alanon. That is a relief. I know I need a spiritual solution, I'm just worried about fitting into the right group.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:40 PM
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Hi Shawn -

First, Congrats on 60 days! That is great.

It actually took me 6 months of sobriety before I finished Step 1 and admitted that I was indeed powerless over alcohol and that I was an alcoholic.

I can't tell you whether you are alcoholic or not, but I love this simple test that I read about. It is from Caroline Knapp's book Drinking: A Love Story. I won't get it exactly right, but the message will be the same.

If you aren't an alcoholic, then stop drinking ... and you won't care. Non alcoholics do not find themselves awake at 2am wonding whether they are alcoholics.

So, based on your experiences, you might ask youself:
- Do non-alcoholics feel the need to join AA and SR?
- Do non-alcoholics experience black-outs (or brown-outs)?
- Do non-alcoholics crave alcohol and wonder how they will ever live without it?
- Do non-alcoholics create distinctions like "high-bottom" or "low-bottom" to self-justfy why drinking is ok?

I live with a normie (e.g. non-alcoholic). She will open a bottle of wine, have one glass, not even finish that glass, and then not touch the bottle again until it turns to vinegar.

If it were me, I would: (a) finish her unfinished glass and (b) finish the bottle before the night was even half-done (and I don't even like wine).

My point is that what you are feeling is normal (for an alcoholic). The little voices in our heads start to tell us that "hey, I wasn't really THAT bad. So, I probably over-reacted. I'm probably not an alcoholic."

All this does is lead to you justifying why you should be allowed to drink.

Only you can decide whether you are or not, but frankly, who cares?

Why do you really need alcohol?

Read the posts in the Friends and Families section of SR. Read about the people who were sober for many years and then took a drink and were drunk for the past few years.

One thing to remember is that alcohol is our solution to our underlying problems.

My problems were stress, anxiety, wanting to control everything, etc. So, using my sobriety, I have been able to work on those things -- and as a result, I don't feel the need to drink (to cover them up).

And the best part, I don't have to commit to not drinking for the rest of my life.

I am just deciding not to drink today. Tomorrow, I will re-evaluate.

Keep working on your recovery. Keep posting. Talk to your sponsor and keep going to AA.

And don't worry about us, you won't do any damage to us. We are responsible for our own actions and there is nothing that anyone can say that will drive me to drink.

Only I can drive me to drink.

Take care
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:09 PM
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Hi Shawn. Welcome to SR.

High Bottom Alcoholic or Hard Drinker? A frequently visited controversy here at SR. A question I have wrestled with myself. I didn't have anything close to serenity regarding that issue in terms of my own drinking at 60 days... How could I, my alcoholism lies to me. It tells me I'm not.

I absolutely understand your question... How can you help another alcoholic through the 12 steps if you are not an alcoholic yourself? You probably can't if you are not alcoholic, nor should you try. But why worry about that now? You are on step 2 and still have doubts.... you need to worry about yourself right now.... not someone else.

Take your own spiritual journey through this question and the steps.

I like AA very much myself. There is a 12 step support section where it's all about AA and the steps. Come on over if you are so inclined!

Welcome

Mark
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:25 PM
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Hi Shawn
Welcome to SR

D
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:10 AM
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Hi Shawn. I'm an alcoholic and I also have social anxiety issues. I wasn't that bad. I didn't drink everyday but more like you, 3 nights a week give or take. My physicality wouldn't allow me to drink everyday. I got very sick from it and had to recover in order to drink again. And again. And again. And again!
I've been exactly where you are and can totally relate to what you ask about being an alcoholic or a hard drinker.

In the end, it doesn't really matter. Sure, it's more justifiable to drink if you're "only" an hard drinker, but it's not gonna solve the problems that alcohol has given you. And I can almost guarantee you that the social anxiety will get better if you give recovery a try. For me it's been fantastic to join AA and begin to work on the steps. For me, my social anxiety and my alcoholism are very related to one another.
I deluded myself to think that I needed to drink in order to be cool or whatever, but all in all I was such a mess and not cool at all.

I understand that it's frightening to realize that you can't drink to help you with the anxiety but I have a feeling that in the long run, it will help you tremendously to not drink.

In the end it's up to you to decide. Could be you're only a hard drinker, but remember that you came here for a reason. I've never heard of anyone who's gone to AA only to find out that he/she was exaggerating. I'm sure there are people out there "doing that", but I'm pretty sure they're in denial as well.

Sorry if I sound harsh. I hope you can use something that has been said here.

The best of luck to you, mate!
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