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A newcomer's realization on the relative 'importance' of the "label"

Old 01-06-2010, 05:51 AM
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A newcomer's realization on the relative 'importance' of the "label"

Hi all. I have 10 days now and one weekend under my belt. I mention the weekend because I was a binge drinker, and weekends were pretty much a black hole of drinking. Weekdays weren't an issue at all...(unless of course there was a drinking dinner, or happy hour...at which point, Wednesday night looked a whole lot like Friday at 5...). Point is, adding alcohol to my brain was like, forget about it...

As I've been extremely focused on really looking at, to the best of my current ability, the connection between my alcohol consumption, subsequent bad behavior, hang overs and self-recrimination and loathing to the other problem areas of my life, something interesting occurred to me that I wanted to share, as it may help someone else...

For at least the last 10 years, I had admitted to myself that I "probably" had a problem. For at least the last 7 years, I had read a number of books on alcohol addiction desperately trying to answer the question, "Am I an alcoholic or not?" I took all the 'tests', only to fail them all, of course, and then rationalize them away by saying to myself that by those standards, EVERYONE is an alcoholic. I mean, please? "Have you ever regretted your drinking?" Sure! Who hasn't right?

My point is, I got so wrapped up in trying to diagnose myself (or not) with the word, "Alcoholic", and kind of went down an intellectual rat hole trying to answer the question, that I absolutely could not see the forest for the trees. I was focusing on the wrong question. The questions I should've been serioiusly asking myself include: "How is my drinking affecting my relationships? How is it affecting my self-esteem? How is it affecting what I profess to be my priorities? Is it ultimately hurting me, physically and mentally? Is my tolerance much greater than it once was? Is drinking truly 'fun' anymore? Or is it just an hour or two of slamming drinks, and then black out? And if so, how "fun" could that possibly be? Oh, and finally...What the hell am I doing?"

Those would've been the questions, that had I looked at, might've given me pause. But instead, the tiny part of my brain that knew something was very off, that was trying to tell me something, was cunningly squelched by the need to drink, and my mind did all these mental gymnastics over the definition of the word 'alcoholic' - which, clearly we see is all over the place anyway! That was never the point. Doing so allowed me to keep drinking for 7 more years, that I wish I could look back on sober.

I wish I could say that 7-10 years ago, I put the bottle down - but in spite of all the trouble it caused me roughly every 5 days, EVERY 5 DAYS, then another 3 to recover, I kept drinking. I can't beat myself up over it now, but I just feel like making this honest attempt at sobriety has opened my mind up to clearer thinking about the whole thing. It's like my brain has said, "Oh, party's over then? Right...I guess no need to keep the blinders on." And all of these mini-realizations are starting to come up, and I'm sitting here going,

Peace to all.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:02 AM
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Powerful post, humble! In sobriety I've often asked myself the same questions. I knew something was wrong way before I actually did anything about but rationalize, deny and distort the issue. Once I was able to wrap my head and heart around it, I was able to get and stay sober.

Do check out AA. It's a good program. Don't be put off by the 12 Steps. It's just a business plan for recovery.

Rational Recovery works for me too.

I'm so happy you've made this intellectual shift.

Love,

Lenina
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:54 AM
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I agree that the labels are not nearly as important, as seeking support and recovering.

It's not necessary to let our addiction define us.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:59 AM
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A most excellent post, HS, but the battle has just begun. After trudging through the mire of our minds to glean the answer to whether we are alcoholic or not, the path to how we "fix" ourselves becomes the greater challenge. Personally, I have known and accepted my alcoholism for over 20 years now and still struggle for release from its grasp. I have just discovered recently that I have not fully secured the concept that I must never drink under any circumstance. I secretly cling to the notion I like to drink and fear the fact I must let it go. On the surface, I am sober, but deep inside, I wait for the next drink because it has always come. It may have taken several months, but it always came. And when it did, I was safe and secure in the arms of my lover. But each time I gave in to the song of deception by her. And when it was over, I felt alone and ashamed. So I ran back to her.

"Come take me now, tear my soul, steal my best. Wrap me in soft arms, sing again the song, just let me rest." From the lyrics to a song I wrote over a year ago, and even though I wrote the words, sing the words, I continued to not listen. I want to listen now.

I praise you efforts and encourage to look deep for answers. Not to the define your label, but to recognize those elements that are hidden that may inhibit your recovery. I pray yours are not as deep as mine.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:59 AM
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True - I'd rather be defined by my recovery

and the natural emergence of who I truly am as a result of it...!
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:05 AM
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Yes, Creek...I hear that...

For all my really great insightful moments, I know that I too will flirt with the concept of being "able" to drink. It's already gone through my mind! Like, maybe this summer, maybe next year, etc. What a slippery slope it is....and my god, what a strong siren song. I mean, to actually think, maybe in a YEAR from this moment, I could drink like a normal person? I intellectually know I can't. But dealing with that inevitable pull, the self-deception that is sure to come, that will be tough. I can't even think about it too much at this point, because it freaks me out!
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:06 AM
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I did the same stuff you did. All the reading and research. All the figuring out whether or not I'm an alcoholic. Do I have the "signs" of an alcoholic. But all I had to do was look at my history to really know the answer. I know from first hand esperience that I am an alcoholic. I really didn't need to read all that stuff. The amount I was drinking was enough for me to know. The crappy mornings were enough for me to form an answer to my question. The money that I threw away on all that alcohol was a sure sign that I was unbalanced in my drinking. The only solution for me was to stop. Seems like you've reached the same conclusion. Congratulations and welcome to SR.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:09 AM
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Now that you know and can see all this you have no reason to drink anymore and you can remain sober:-)

If you drink again you know that intellectualising your problem doesn't help and you cannot stop drinking by yourself in which case seek external help, like AA where there are alcoholics (drunks, problem drinkers) who do remain sober and don't have to drink again. A sane person, if they attempted to stop drinking and could not, would seek the help/knowledge/advice/suggestions of a person with a similar pattern of drinking who had found a solution and emulate what they did to achieve sobriety.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:14 AM
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The day I decided I had taken my last drink, the word alcoholic wasn't even present for the party. The final straw for me was when I realized I had absolutely NO control over my drinking. That pi$$ed me off real bad. simultaneously, I realized booze was not my friend. To be under the control of the enemy was not acceptable.

I surrender to my powerlessness, and began to search for ways of regaining my life. Labels don't bother me, but for today you can call me sober. Welcome
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:59 AM
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I also spent too many years over anyalizing the situation. What I finally came up with is the label doesn't matter to me. Addict, alcoholic, pothead, mentally ill, these are all words that could be used to describe me. None of them really matter. The fact is, I have a problem. The only thing that matters is, what am I going to do about that problem? Once I finally got to that point, things became a lot easier. Take care
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:18 AM
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Bravo, well said, Tyler! You have captured it in just a few sentences. Bravo!
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:48 PM
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Great Post Humblestudent!!!!!

It's ironic really that people who get all intellectual about the fact that they clearly have 'issues' with drinking too much or whatever are just playing into the alclholic minds hands! Hook, line and sinker!

All of this intellectual, analytical b*llshit of trying to prove that you ain't an alclholic or whatever term you want to use just gives many more years of drinking alcohol!! Glad that you've finally seen the light man. Live in the reality, who gives a f*ck why or whether your like that bloke lying on the park bench who society has programmed you to be all high and mighty about and "better" than.

An alcoholic will die from their alclholism if they continue to play with fire and drink. May not directly but ultimately it will kill them, maybe not physically but mentally and emotionally. i can only speak for this alclholic but I know it would kill me.

For me admitting and openly talking about myself as an alcoholic is fundamental for me remianing sober ODAAT. I keeps me grounded and reminds me of what I am and that to take a drink for me is not like it is for 95% of people as they ain't like me. And you know what? I'm proud and glad of that. Sure it's hard at times but it makes me what I am and has given me a whole new purpose and direction in my life.


peace and love
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:06 PM
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Good posts Humble and the rest. I can relate and it gives me pause for thought and a reason to believe
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:07 PM
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Wow Humble,

What a great post and you've gotten some great responses to boot!

I came to the same crossroads - I've never had the shakes, drank in the morning, blacked-out, yadda yadda - you know the drill. I used all those reasons to convince myself I didn't have a problem. I finally figured out that even though alcohol wasn't necessarily causing any major problems, it was certainly preventing my growth physically, mentally, and spiritually...and that's a major problem.

I, like many, was scared to quit for fear of being without alcohol and my sense of courage. But now I am scared to drink again for fear of losing my sense of self-confidence, happiness, and well being.

Thanks for the thread.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:18 PM
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one more time


Just when you let your guard down and think you can, well that one word explains it all..insanity.,repeating the same act, over and over, and expecting a different outcome...never happens. Now i'm depressed beyond friggin belief.but a try to keep a smile on my face.
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:34 PM
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onestoomany, keep a smile on your face. If you have fallen get back up. From the posts I have read we are not in this thing alone.

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe,no less than the trees and the stars;you have a right to be here"...Desiderata
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for a great post HS

Welcome to SR onestoomany and geojag

D
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