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Closet drinker - new member looking for support - long post

Old 01-12-2010, 08:55 AM
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Closet drinker - new member looking for support - long post

Hello everyone - I am a new member as of this morning. I've been a closet drinker for too long now.

The honest answer is I don't know when it exactly started. A little background. I am 41 years old, married for 15 years this April, and the father of two beautiful kids which are fraternal twins.

I wasn't much a drinker in high school until my senior year - and then just weekends really. In college my drinking consumption increased, but I thought it was just 'part of the scene' so to speak. In those years I never drank alone, nor did I hide any additional drinking from anyone else (family/friends). It wasn't difficult for me to go days without alcohol (I don't recall it being difficult anyway - I just have no memory of ever thinking about it being hard).

I got married in 1995 (26 years old) and was doing ok. In fact I'd say during the early years of after college life and early married life my drinking was substantially reduced from my college days. I noticed that my tolerance had decreased and I though it was a good thing.

My wife and I decided to not have kids right away - but began trying when I was 30 (she was 29). It was then that we found out that conceiving a child wouldn't be an easy road for us. We both had issues that contributed to that. Our Fertility doctor immediately suggested IVF (In vitro fertilisation) and we began the process. Our insurance covered 4 cycles and the doctor was confident that it would be successful.

It wasn't. We went through the roller coaster of hope and despair for the next 4 1/2 years. Our insurance ran out and we had to start paying for it out of pocket. My wife wanted to give up after the 4th failed try. I told her we'd keep fighting. She got pregnant on the 5th try and we were very excited. But when the day came for her first ultrasound to detect the heartbeat, none could be heard. We were told that she was going to lose the baby. It was devastating...to say the least. It wasn't until we switched doctors that we finally found success - on our 9th IVF attempt.

Believe it or not, I don't remember hiding my drinking drinking during these years of struggle. It could be that I started towards the end, but I honestly don't remember. But it did start somewhere around that time, or shorlty after the kids were born.

I hid it well, and I'm not an angry or violent person sober or drunk - so no major personality changes made it obvious to anyone as to what I was doing. I think this has been going on for 5-6 years now (best guess) - and steadily getting worse. I've been a good father, but a bad husband...my wife has said the same.

It was almost right after I started hiding my drinking that I knew it was a problem. I told myself I could stop it. I tried several times and obviously failed time and again. I was never really in denial about having a problem - I think I knew it from the start. For me the difficulty in telling people is the shame and guilt involved for what I've done. I've known for a while now that I would need help to fix this problem, but I've been terrified to tell my secret.

I don't wake up and start drinking. I wake up and hate myself for what I drank the night before. I then tell myself that it will stop today. I really believe on some days that this will be the day it ends. But then I slip...I rush to pick up my kids from their after school club so I can drink some before my wife gets home from work an hour later. I also go into my office where I hide the alcohol and take drinks when no one is around. When I'm drinking my troubles are forgotten - until the next morning when it starts all over again.

My wife & I have been going through very difficult times for several years - we haven't been close (despite everything we've been through). There has been no affection nor intimacy. We fight often (sometimes even in front of the kids which I hate). Our relationship has been been pushed to the brink and I told her I was thinking about divorce.

Well yesterday I came to the conclusion that I couldn't make such a major decision if my head wasn't in the right place - if I wasn't a sober person. I found the courage to call my wife at work around 11am and ask for her to come home so I could talk to her. She asked why and I explained that I couldn't tell her over the phone. She came home an hour later and said she was expecting to see my suitcases packed by the front door. They weren't. I told her I was about to drop a bomb on her - and I told her about my problem. I kept thinking that if she caught me in the act, she'd probably never truly believe how strong of a desire I have to stop this lifestyle - I figured the only way she'd believe me is if it came from me.

She was shocked of course - completely overwhelmed. But, to her credit, she took it well and said she would support me and help me fight this. Yesterday was the first full day I've gone without a drink in I don't know how long. It wasn't as hard as I thought since I knew I had help at home now. I told here where I was hiding the drinks, and when I took them when she wasn't looking. I wanted her to know my secrets. I also called my sister and my father and told them my about my problem - they were also very supportive. Both said they were proud of me, though I don't really understand how anyone could be. I'm not feeling like a person anyone should be proud of at all - quite the opposite.

Anyway - sorry for the long first post...I just though background info was necessary. I look forward to hearing any feedback and advice for those that have gone through this (or are going through this at various stages). Thanks for listening...
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:25 AM
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Welcome!!!
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:40 AM
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David you just made a tremendous life changing for the better decision.

I can tell you where I discovered that I was not alone. In AA I have found a group of people who had the exact same problem I did, but they did not judge me, they had walked in my shoes, they held out there hand in both help & friendship.

These folks had a solution for life which results in a solution to thier drinking problem and they freely shared what they had done to stay sober one day at a time and to live life on lifes terms.

I can tell you that AA, the program combined with the fellowship saved my butt.

Check out 10 meetings or so to start with.... what do you have to lose? A drinking problem perhaps!
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by David2010 View Post
I don't wake up and start drinking. I wake up and hate myself for what I drank the night before. I then tell myself that it will stop today. I really believe on some days that this will be the day it ends. But then I slip...I rush to pick up my kids from their after school club so I can drink some before my wife gets home from work an hour later. I also go into my office where I hide the alcohol and take drinks when no one is around. When I'm drinking my troubles are forgotten - until the next morning when it starts all over again.

My wife & I have been going through very difficult times for several years - we haven't been close (despite everything we've been through). There has been no affection nor intimacy. We fight often (sometimes even in front of the kids which I hate). Our relationship has been been pushed to the brink and I told her I was thinking about divorce.
Quite a few similarities there between your story and mine. That's one of the first things I learned in recovery, to listen for the similarities rather than the differences, it helped me to identify myself as an alcoholic.

I went in to AA at age 41 also, in 2005. I'd been married for almost 11 years, we had two beautiful kids, a nice home, etc. Sorta like the alcoholic version of the American Dream. But that's where the similarities end. She was having affairs with co-workers, we divorced, I ended up in a small apartment with joint custody of my kids. Gave up my life in favor of the bottle for awhile is the way I see it.

You've still got a shot at saving what you have. What I know from 2/21/05 is that drinking ceased being an option, I couldn't safely drink again no matter what. Recovery is possible, you won't die from not taking another drink, staying clean and sober can give you a life beyond your wildest dreams and expectations. But I won't lie, it's hard work, it takes effort and commitment.

Welcome to SR David, glad you're here and I hope you stick with it and do this deal.

Last edited by Astro; 01-12-2010 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:07 AM
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You just wrote the biography of my life up until 63 days ago. I told my wife, parents, and have started a path to recovery. I highly suggest your check out the nice folks at AA. For without them I would not be sober now 63 days later. Best of luck, and stay with us.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:08 AM
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Hi David, welcome. Recognizing this defect in yourself before it destroys you and/or others is definetly something to be proud of; and like others have said it won't be easy but it is so worthwhile. SR is a great place to just get it all out. Don't drink today and keep posting.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:14 AM
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Welcome to SR David.
my relationship with my wife was in a shambles too until I stopped drinking and reconnected with her.
I didn't hide my drinking but possibly that is one of the reasons that you have disconnected from your wife. It is hard to have intimacy when you are carrying around such a big secret.
Good for you for taking the first step in stopping the madness. I am sure your family life will be much better because of it.
Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:42 AM
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Wow does that sound familier.

I always had a beer in my hand while at home. I used it to hide the stink of vodka and wine that I was chugging when no one was looking. I can't tell you how much better I feel after I found SR and this great group of people.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:55 AM
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Thank you for the words of support...they mean a lot to me.

I'm only on day 2 of this process and it's hard. I didn't sleep well at all last night...and I have no appetite. I choaked down an Ensure shake that someone recommended in the chat room, and bought some multi-vitamins to supplement what I'm missing.

It's just a very baf feeling right now. I'm glad that I took the step I did yesterday but, at the same time, I'm scared.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:58 AM
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for joining SR you've come to the right place. Keep reading and posting. Took me 2 months to find most stuff here and still finding more. Lots of information and some fun stuff too.

I didn't do the AA route but have read the Big Book and other things that have helped me. It gets easier every day. For starters...Just don't drink today.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:02 PM
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Hello David and welcome. You have made a big step by acknowledging your problem and it is great that your family are being supportive. Now you need people to support you who also have a solution. Checking out AA is a good idea. Why not give them a call today.
Keep in touch
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:55 PM
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Hi David

Its great you have the support of your wife, and it's great you're here too
You already know how hard this can be - I don't think we can ever have too much support...

It is hard - but accepting I could not drink 'normally', deciding I would not drink again, and changing my life accordingly has been the best decision of my life.

Three years on, my life is one I could only dream of when I was sitting in my room drinking all day.

More importantly perhaps, I'm much closer to the man I want to be

I hope SR can do for you what it's done for me
Welcome!

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Old 01-13-2010, 08:10 AM
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Thanks again for the words of encouragement and support....they mean a lot.

I'm into day 3 right now...feeling very tired...haven't been sleeping well. I can fall asleep - but I toss and turn and don't think I'm getting any real 'solid' sleep...
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:18 AM
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Congrats on day 3 David.

So what actions are you taking to maintain your sobriety?

There is a saying in recovery that "The same man will drink again", another saying is "Change I must, or die I will!".
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:31 AM
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david 2010
i can only speek for myself but im on day 17 had bad sleep for about 10 days
been sleeping for a week now aprox sober
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by clifty2 View Post
Hi David
I am new here also and live in Ireland. I think you have made the most courageous step. I can relate very closely to your style of drinking. The only difference between us is that I haven't divulged my secret honestly to my family as I am afraid of "failing". The fear factor is very real for me. The thought of embarking on a life without ever taking another drink really scares me as I used it as an anasethetic for so many life events!! I have a 10yr old and also have 7 yr old twins (albeit non-identical). Well done to you David and I wish you every success on your journey. The chat forum here can be very useful when you are struggling. There is something very reassuring to know that we are not alone!! Take care
Hi clifty -

I know all about the fear of failure when it comes to this issue. What helped me take the step to 'come clean' was just that - fear of failure. I knew I'd fail if I kept it to myself. My twins are also 7 years old (today is actually their birthday).

And you'll be surprised (and happy) to learn that once you find the courage to tell your secret - it gives you even more courage. I've felt more courage with every person I've told so far (5 people so far - more to come). I can honestly say that I haven't had a real 'craving' yet, but I know they will come. But because it was a secret that is now out in the open, I have people to turn to to help me get through those times when they happen.

I will pray that you find the courage to take the step I did. You will feel happier than you have in a long time when you do. That much I know for certain. Good luck to you!
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tazman53 View Post
Congrats on day 3 David.

So what actions are you taking to maintain your sobriety?

There is a saying in recovery that "The same man will drink again", another saying is "Change I must, or die I will!".
I am seeing a new doctor today (never really had a regular one - just saw my kid's doctor if I ever got a bad sinus infection, etc). I'm going for a complete physical and I'm going to tell him about my issue.

I told the therapist I just recently started seeing about my problem as well - that was over the phone - but I'm seeing her again tomorrow.

I've looked into AA meetings in my area - but I don't think I'll be able to get to one until this Fri night....

I've also called my dad or my sister at the time of day that I would normally start drinking (5-6pm)...I think there's something to be said of replacing a bad habit with a good one...

I'm also going to come here often and read posts and share what's going on - I think this site is invaluable...and I'm very thankful for it. I found this site about a couple months ago and read it for a few days. It helped a little at the time - but I began to think that as long as my secret was still a secret, I wasn't really helping myself...
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:58 AM
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Hi David,

That's great that you have taken some positive action steps towards your recovery.

Replacing that old habit is a very good strategy as well.

Enjoy their birthdays today knowing you can give them their your full attention rather than having your mind on getting your next drink and only being there in body rather than mind.
It's my son's birthday tomorrow and I am looking forward to doing the same
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:42 PM
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I'm glad to hear you will try some meetings and therapy. I found when I got sober that my entire thought process was crooked, and it took other "saner" people to help me begin to right it=)
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:32 AM
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I went to get my physical yesterday and found out the following...

I told my doctor everything...held back nothing. He checked my eyes and abdomen very carefully and had blood tests taken.

When I got off my back on the table he said "I'm confident you haven't done any major damage to your liver". I was shocked that he could be so confident from such an exam so I asked if he was sure - and why he was so confident.

He said he was feeling for my liver under my rib cage and he was tapping on it. He explained that as he tapped my liver it emerged 8cm out (whatever that means) and that it was well within the 'normal' range. I'm not sure I understood exactly what he was describing but I gathered that if the live doesn't emerge at all, or not far enough, there may be scar tissue (Cirrhosis). He said he'd be 100% sure after the blood test come back today, but he was very confident that I didn't do any damage that couldn't be reversed.

He also said the skina around the liver would show clear signs of blood vessel damage if there was liver damage - and he found no evidence of that at all. He also said I had no signs of jaundice - which I guess is another sign of poosible liver problems.

I told him I was worried about what I was doing to my stomach - and that I had been taking Prilosec OTC twice a day for the last couple years. I was worried because the package says you shouldn't take more than 1 per day and not longer than 2 weeks. He said it's completely safe to take for very long periods of time - and that I was basically just taking the prescription strength. He said I was saving my stomach and esophagus by taking it while drinking. He said to cut back to one since I stopped drinking (which I already had)...and that after a few more weeks I may not need it at all.

I'm still worried that the test may show something bad - but I was encouraged by his early news. He also said my blood pressure was good - 130/70

Happy to be on day 4
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