On the Fence

Old 03-25-2010, 10:38 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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Location: Windsor, Ohio
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On the Fence

I don't even know where to begin. I was just sitting at my desk this morning thinking about why I drink on the weekends. In fact I had 4 beers yesterday and it was Wednesday. Something about the spring warmer sunny weather here in Ohio this week makes you want to celebrate.
Anyway I work at a place where we have had 3 layoffs as well as a 10% pay cut in the last year. Now I have twice the responsibilites for less pay and am behind in our bills at home. To say the least I am a little stressed out!
I dont like to use the stress as an excuse to drink but over the last year I have stepped it up a little.
Normally I will drink on a Friday or Saturday night and on Sunday when football is on. I'm a die hard Cleveland Browns Fan and that in itself will drive you to drink Ha! Ha!
But seriously I started thinking if drinking with my friends is becoming more important than my family. I have a 16 year old daughter and a 14 year old son who get A's and B's in school and always hit the merit or honor roll. I am real proud of them both and do tell them that. My wife is a saint. She is the kind of gal that will come out and hang with the guys in the garage and have a beer or two while the games on. She usually does not over do it in fact I guess you could say shes actually a social drinker. She doesent mind if I go over to a friends house on the weekend for a while as long as I am careful and call if I need a ride home.
Me on the other hand. I start out drinking to be social and 90% of the time I dont stop till its the end of the night. I usually dont get sloppy drunk. I've had enough practice considering I started drinking when I was 16 and I am now 44. I did however have my share of emarrassing moments along the way. I was in the Navy and remember passing out in the gutter in Marsaille(not sure of the spelling) France with vomit all over my uniform at the age of 19. It was pretty much balls to the wall back then. I also remember drinking tons of Jim Beam and coke after I got out of the Navy and waking up one night in an ambulance strapped down cause I went into a siezure and pulled my pillow so tight against my face it made me pass out. My dad found me not breathing and had to give me mouth to mouth. I woke up but was disoriented and they had to strap me down. After that they put me on dilantin for seizures. I was on that for about 8 years and would drink from time to time but not as heavy as before.
Now I just drink with a few friends mostly on the weekends. It's just my way of relaxing or so I tell myself.
My concern is when Im drinking with buddies lately I am starting to think about things like could I be spending more quality time with my kids. I am having a hard time with this and my question is does this mean I have a problem? Has anyone else here been through this? I do spend time with my kids and wife but feel like when I am drinking that they kinda get pushed to the side.
My friends are the kind of people who would give you the shirt off thier backs. They know my kids and have watched them grow up with there kids. It just doesent seem as fun anymore and that I think is putting me on the fence about quitting. Dont get me wrong after a couple of beers I am still ready to rock but afterwards I feel guilty.
Any comments would be appreciated.

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Old 03-25-2010, 11:53 AM
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Welcome to SR Jerry. I guess you are asking if you have a drinking problem or not. Only you can know the answer to that one. I will tell you how I knew I had a problem though. I KNEW when I had one drink there was more to follow. I always would make sure there was enough in the house for when I wanted to have some. Its not whether you drink in the morning or if you drink every day or if you drive and drink. My standard is if its a struggle to stop drinking after you have 1 beverage then you probably have a problem.

I can go back to my teens when I first started to drink and I remember that I would not think of stopping at one drink. I can go back to my 20s and I remember that I would not think of stopping at one. I can go back to my 30s and the same thing. I eventually drank every day, but I didn't start until 4 or 5 pm every day. I also would have classified myself as the "functional" drinker. I never lost time at work and in fact I found a job that had employed young people that liked to party every day.

Alcoholism is progressive. I am 43, soon to be 44 and I don't want to progress anymore. I have been sober 2 years this May God willing and because I found this internet site. These people, new and old, have helped me stay sober. I FINALLY wanted to be sober more then I wanted to drink. Drinking was old hat and I've had enough for a small village.

Keep reading and see if you can identify. Look for the similarities. My mistake in my 20s was my preconceived ideas of what an alcoholic is and so when I was in AA I was doing everything to see the differences and not the similarities. I, unfortunately, drank many more years because of that mistake.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:03 PM
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afterwards I feel guilty.

I used to feel guilty after drinking too, then my alcoholism got so bad so quickly that I was drinking all day every day and felt guilty all the time. I think maybe guilt is that "still small voice" inside you that's screaming to be heard.

From what I've seen, social drinkers, TRUE social drinkers who don't have a problem, don't feel guilty about it. Guilt is your conscience yelling at you to listen up! If it's making you feel bad, or taking you away from your family, it ain't worth it! Give it up; you'll have more money, more time, and way less guilt... not to mention the trouble you'll avoid.

I'm from Ohio too, and the nice weather IS cause to celebrate - just not by making yourself feel bad in any way. Stay sober and there's more to enjoy.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:22 PM
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Just curious, are you drinking more then your friends?
I used to have friends say, they were concerned over how many I was putting away.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:01 PM
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Reading this I really feel for your kids.. I grew up in an alcoholic home.. and I was VERY aware (and ultimately resentful) of the time I lost with people I cared about. In my opinion, and it's certainly not shared by everyone.. the fact that you're HERE indicates you know you've got some sort of problem. The fact that you're drinking and feeling bad about it, EVER, indicates a problem. The fact that you know this is hurting the relationship you could be having with your wife and kids if you had more time with them, and still want to drink, indicates to me that there's a problem. However, that's just my opinion.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:25 PM
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Welcome jbrest! Great to meet you. Thanks for an honest post. I felt so much relief when I found this place and could talk about my problems. No one else in my life really understood.

I'm older than you, & in my 40's I was still able to control my drinking to some extent. It was still something I only did on weekends. Fast forward 10 yrs. and I was drinking 24/7, always had something in my system because I'd shake if I didn't. You said "it just doesn't seem as fun anymore". Pay attention to that thought! That was my thinking many years ago - if only I'd paid more attention. My answer was to increase the volume I drank. My tolerance was huge. Trying to recapture the old fun & excitement, I nearly lost my life. It was time for me to grow up, but I didn't realize how I had stunted my emotional growth by numbing myself. I wanted life to be one big, carefree party. I don't know why I had such a problem with reality.

You have a strong family unit behind you, and alot to be proud of. Be glad you haven't ruined your marriage or lost your job, like many of us have. Congratuations on desiring a change in your life. You can do this!
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:59 PM
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JB, I don't have the experience as a husband or father, but it seems like you know the answer to your own question or pondering when it comes to ways to spend your time. It sounds like your conscience is talking. There will (fortunately or unfortunately) always be another case of beer around, unless Prohibition comes back, but there won't ever be another graduation from high school and all those things that would normally sound important to you about your kids growing up.

For me, it was more than relaxing, it was a daily requirement to drink, so that there was a sufficient buzz there. Didn't matter what it was making me look like. The social aspect to drinking was over about 8 years ago, and the private usage was gradually taking over.

Do you think you want to give it a try to go without for a while and see what happens? I don't think you should beat yourself up, but maybe keep looking at the situation, like you are doing (??).
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:27 AM
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First I would like to thank all of you for your honest comments! I am glad I found this site and am able to talk to people who understand. I sure can't talk to many of my friends (drinking buddies) as they would just say "Hey dude you dont drink all the time so don't worry about it." As we get wasted on a Saturday night".
In fact right now in the back of my head there is this little voice saying "Hey the Buckeyes are playing tonight! It's Friday and we can all throw back some cold ones and root them on!"
It's easy knowing what you should do but so damn hard to make yourself do it.
About 8 years ago I got a DUI and lost my license for 6 months. During that time I had random alchohol screening so I quit for the whole 6 months. It was during Browns season so it was real difficult to do but I still did it. Seems like I need a little of that will power now.

I want to change believe me. I also grew up in a home where my dad would stop by the bar on the way home from work and not show up till 8 or 9 in the evening. He would sometimes fight with my mom about it and it did get physical. I remember hitting him when I was about 7 or 8 and telling him "You leave my mom alone!!" He pretty much quit drinking on his own about 5 years later but he was about 58 by then. After that he mellowed out and we started having a somewhat decent relationship.
I dont want to let it get that far. My daughter is older than I was when my dad quit. The fact that I'm 44 and he was 58 means that I could continue this until I have grandchildren and then who knows what shape I'd be in.

I dont think it is going to happen over night but I hope now that I found this site It will be eaisier. With good people like you guys to talk to maybe I can shake this demon at some point.

Thanks Again!
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:30 AM
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My friends and I are about at the same level.
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