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Old 07-08-2010, 01:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Nipping it in the bud


It took me a long time to decide to do this, mostly because I didn't know whether or not I needed to do this.

I didn't drink much before my mid-20s. But over the last 10 years (I'm 34), my drinking has increased bit by bit. Now a typical week might involve one to three glasses of wine with a friend after work or at a social event, two or three nights a week. Another night I might drink a bottle by myself at home (I live alone) because I'm bored, or have decided I've had a hard day. And another night might be a big night out, where I'll have anywhere from four to ten glasses of wine.

I know this is well over the healthy limit for a woman. For the last three months I've been consciously moderating my alcohol intake. What this has meant is four or five alcohol free days a week, with one or two days of one or two glasses, and one big night. It's these binges that bother me most. Even though I haven't suffered any extreme consequences (never had a DUI, never not known how I got home or done anything critically embarrassing, or gotten hurt, or ended up anywhere stupid), I've done my share of things I consider regrettable... stupid conversations only half-remembered; ending up in bed with people I probably shouldn't have ended up in bed with; taking sick days because I was too hungover to face work (admittedly it was a job I hated, so it was a convenient excuse).

Part of the reason I've found it hard to decide to quit has been that I can have just one or two (even though I usually want more), paired with the lack of extreme consequences. But as I've read here several times, the right question is: How bad do I want it to get? I figure the point at which I Googled 'How to quit drinking' is probably the point where I should have started to follow through. I've thought about doing this for over a year, and a couple of times have taken from two-four weeks off the booze. At those times I felt really good, but it was hard to face the idea of never drinking again.

Right now I'm on six days (declared my independence from alcohol on Independence Day, even though I'm not in the US!). Had a friend over tonight, to whom I would normally offer a glass of wine, but instead offered tea. I have a couple of parties on Saturday night that I think will be hard work, but I've decided to tell people I'm not drinking because I'm taking painkillers for a temporary condition (which is true, but they're not ones that are contraindicted against alcohol).

I know my biggest trap will be telling myself I'm 'not that bad' and that moderation is possible. But I also know that if I allow myself to have one or two sometimes, I will also allow myself to have nine or ten sometimes. What am I saying? Sometimes? Every week is what I mean.

Anyway. Hi, y'all.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Larkspur

It took me nearly 15 years to actually do something about my problem so you're streets ahead of me

this is a great community - you'll find a lot of support here - especially in that later 'was I really that bad' stage we all seem to hit

good to have you with us!
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome Lark.

Was nice to meet you in chat too. Lots of good advice here and wonderful people to share your journey with.

I look forward to being a part of your journey
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Larkspur! Welcome to SR and congratulations on declaring your independence! This really hit home with me:
Quote:
I also know that if I allow myself to have one or two sometimes, I will also allow myself to have nine or ten sometimes.
I was about your age when I started to think I might have a problem - I was starting to drink daily (looking forward those a few beers/glasses of wine each night). When special occasions came up, I would always overdo it. It was like giving myself permission to drink as much as I wanted, and believe me, I did! I was often the last one to leave the party. Part of that was that I had small children and rarely got to go out, so I figured I had "earned" these times, even if I ended passing out on someone's couch, driving home drunk, or feeling miserable the next day.

When I look back, it's easy to see that I always wanted just one more, no matter how many I had.

You're smart to think about your drinking now. The crazy thing about alcoholism is that the longer we drink, the lower our standards become for saying "I'm really not THAT bad." I thought I'd never take a morning drink until, one day, I did.

Anyway, take it a day at a time and don't think about "never drinking again" right now. Just work on getting through day 7. We're behind you all the way!:ghug3
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Very similar

I, too, used to be able to have one or two glasses and then stop. But it escalated. I was drinking a bottle of wine almost every night. I had no consequences to speak of: I have a good job, some extra sick days, but nothing to jeopardize my work, I have a home, no DUIs, no legal issues, a great family. But I knew I was abusing alcohol. (I don't like the work Alcoholic, and recently read that it is not even a medical diagnosis anymore - the term used now is "alcohol dependence." And I definitely have that - I depended on wine when I was happy to celebrate; sad to commiserate; angry or broken hearted to numb; drank when bored. Any excuse, I was dependent.

If you are asking the questions, what does it matter the label? I am healthier without alcohol. I remember my night before. I feel better the next day. Yes, it is a struggle, but I will remain alcohol free, because it is terrible for me to be dependent on it,

Best,
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsoul View Post
The crazy thing about alcoholism is that the longer we drink, the lower our standards become for saying "I'm really not THAT bad." I thought I'd never take a morning drink until, one day, I did.
One thing that actually helped me make a decision to quit was coming here and reading all the threads from newcomers talking about how much they drink, and wondering whether they really have a problem.

I don't know if I am allowed to say this, 'cause it could come across as judgmental, but there were a lot of threads where people were drinking amounts I found alarmingly large, a lot more than me, but - just like me, had a job, and no severe problems, and weren't drinking during the day - so they kept wondering 'Does this make me an alcoholic'? I kept thinking, 'I don't know, but it seems obvious you have a big problem, so does it matter?!' I think I've realised denial starts early and can last a really long time.

Quote:
Anyway, take it a day at a time and don't think about "never drinking again" right now. Just work on getting through day 7. We're behind you all the way!:ghug3
Thank you, this seems like a really good community.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nancylee View Post
I don't like the work Alcoholic, and recently read that it is not even a medical diagnosis anymore - the term used now is "alcohol dependence." And I definitely have that - I depended on wine when I was happy to celebrate; sad to commiserate; angry or broken hearted to numb; drank when bored. Any excuse, I was dependent.
Yes, this is how I feel. I don't know whether I'm ready to embrace the word 'alcoholic', but I have definitely depended on alcohol at times, and it's a problem for me.

I think one of the hardest things will be convincing other people (who don't have a full picture of how much I drink) that it is a sufficient problem for me to quit drinking totally.

PS. Is that a Basenji?
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You sound exacly like you're at the stage i was at at your age and I can only say one thing:

It just gets worse!

There seem to be a lot of people (many women) who are coming on SR at the moment who like you and me have developed a big dependence on wine. (I liked Nancy's definition).
Somehow the fact we weren't drinking anything else made us doubt whether we had a problem or not.
I remember once listening to a talk about addiction to teenagers and the person said that when you are addicted/dependent just the thought of having that drink or drug will start that high. Well that was certainly me. I would be thinking about that glass/bottle of wine all day at work.

Oh and as for ending up in bed with people you shouldn't have because you were drinking, how about marrying someone you shouldn't have because of it?

Congratulations on doing something about this situation before you do anyuthing too stupid!
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