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Old 12-17-2010, 07:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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newbie professional closet drinker here


OK folks, lets say I am in a very visible professional occupation, with a teetotaling lovely christian wife, and happy family and I am a public official who drank heavily albeit secretly. I fought this nearly forever. I have no DUIs, Never missed work and am completely functional in all visbile aspects of my life, career and family. I have no complaints there. My drinking began with a few beers several times a week, to almost daily, a six pack of beer nearly each night for 8 years.

I took up running to fill the time I spent drinking. It helped, cut the offending behavior to 3-4 times at most per week, even finished marathons.

Now suffering with a farm related back injury. I can not run. I am limited physically, which has led me to drink again almost daily. Some nights its back pain, other nights its boredom. Dont want to do that.

I can force myself not to drink for days straight. I am not the type who drinks one drink without control and dont know what happens next.

Worse, I am a fully functional alcoholic, albeit secret. When my family is home, I do not drink.

I want to stop.

In the course of surgery for my back, a CT/MRI shows fatty liver. Yes, I know whats that's from. No liver or health problems, but no discipline to stop my drinking, 6-7 beers, on good weeks, twice a week, on the majority of bad weeks, up to 5 nights a week. This is no good.

I went to a counseler, paid for by my professional association. They said I'm not an alcoholic, but a binge drinker on the way to alcoholisim. I may be an alcholic albeit fully functional at present.

I know about AA, went there in my teen years and quit for 20 years. Fearfull of going there now. I am an elected official. I am very visible.

I'd be happy to take antibuse or any pill as this sucks. You know that. My health is fine, but my doctor thinks counseling is all encompassing. As I said, fearfull of going there.

So here I am. Hoping and working toward the new year.


God bless
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello Closeteddrinker,


Did I ever say, "sure, I'm going to drink all weekend and black out the entire time?" No. Alcoholism will catch up with all of us eventually. If you're an alcoholic and a functional one that basically means you haven't had your crash yet. It would come, if not for your intervention.

So glad you saw the insanity before the fall. If alcohol is a part of your life you can live without then live without it! Don't make it a major issue as alcoholics do. Walk away and don't look back. Tell us how life is without the booze.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi ClosetDrinker
Welcome to SR.

I used to be pretty visible too, as a musician - not famous, but recognized around my hometown.

I didn't want my problem to be public either, but doing nothing about it meant it soon was.

I hope you decide to do something

D
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As per being a public figure and getting "exposed" in AA.

Seriously, are a cadre of drunk idiots, that is AA, really going to do more damage to your reputation than a slew of continued drinking?

Personally, I'd feel more in control of my sober reputation.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome Closet Drinker..This is an incredible site for support. When I decided to throw in the alcoholic towel I started reading everything I could get my hands on about addiction..and joined here. That binging leads to everyday drinking in so fast you don't even know what hit you. I can't pinpoint when it happened..it just did. I guess I just focus on all the negative aspects. I read alot on liver failure..I scared myself into sobriety..Good luck. I wish you the best!
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to our recovery family.

You seem to be averse to counseling. May I ask why? I see an addiction counselor once a week and it's been very helpful to me in all aspects of my life.

Whatever way you choose, I hope you can get and stay sober. Living sober is so rewarding.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, this is to be a start of something, can't say its nothing. What did you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Hi ClosetDrinker

I didn't want my problem to be public either, but doing nothing about it meant it soon was.

I hope you decide to do something

D
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I went to a counseler, paid for by my professional association. They said I'm not an alcoholic, but a binge drinker on the way to alcoholisim. I may be an alcholic albeit fully functional at present.

I know about AA, went there in my teen years and quit for 20 years. Fearfull of going there now. I am an elected official. I am very visible.

I'd be happy to take antibuse or any pill as this sucks. You know that. My health is fine, but my doctor thinks counseling is all encompassing. As I said, fearfull of going there.
So just a little rant, what is this whole binge drinker but not an alcoholic thing? I guess your counselor has some credentials, but why make this distinction? Is it supposed to change your approach to the problem? And what are the bases for these terms anyway? The only official terms I'm familiar with in the US are alcohol abuse v. alcohol dependence. I just worry that sometimes people get told stuff like this and feel like their problem is not that big of a deal. It doesn't sound like that's you, though, so good.

As for the other stuff, I'm pretty new to not drinking, so I'm not an expert. It seems like lots of folks here don't attend meetings and do well. Also, there are anonymous online sources for meetings where you wouldn't have to worry about your reputation. I guess none of us likely know if attending AA locally would harm your career. But yeah, as pointed out above, having a future problem due to your drinking would be worse for your career. So if you research/try other options, and feel like you really need AA, you should probably go to those meetings.

About medications, it wouldn't be wrong to talk to another doctor, perhaps someone with lots of experience with addiction, about them. A psychiatrist would probably be your best bet for that.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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SR is great - and it is something...I've used it regularly since 2007 (daily, virtually) and it's helped me turn my life around.

But I didn't actually do anything until it was too late. I got here after my last drink.
I kept putting things off - there was always a 'damn good reason' why I couldn't see my doctor, or check out a recovery group, or go see a counsellor.

I wish I had now. I see now, for me, the main things standing in my way were pride and fear.

Several mini strokes later, I've found my determination not to go back there and SR has been enough

I hope whatever you decide to do, whether it's SR, or SR and something else, will be enough for you too

D
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Please don't consider Antabuse without your doctors ok.
It can damage the liver....
Are you taking pain med's for your back?

Welcome to SR.....
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Welcome Closetdrinker.

I'm not a medical professional, but I'd say a six pack every night is more than binge drinking. Only you can decide if you're an alcoholic, and since you are here, looking for answers you obviously want to do something about it.

Can you look for another doctor, maybe one geared toward addictions?

As for the exercise, it sounds like running was helping you to not drink. Can you replace it with something you are able to do such as yoga or walking?

If you feel like meetings would benefit you, don't hesitate to go. You are worried about being recognized which is understandable. Maybe try a meeting the next town over where you may not be recognized? Honestly, maybe you wouldn't be recognized at all. There are only a handful of elected officials in my area that I would recognize if they were standing in front of me--and that's mostly because we just had an election! Then again I get most of my news from the radio rather than TV... just a thought.

You say you haven't had any legal issues or marriage issues. You left out the YET. If you keep down this path, you will eventually. Better to stop now before the YET can happen.

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Welcome CD - It's great to see people such as yourself looking seriously at their alcohol intake before something bad happens. I was a closet drinker, too, and kept putting off quitting, but didn't like the way I lived at all.

I found out that I had nothing to fear by getting sober and everything to gain. It takes some time, but it's wonderful to feel free from the compulsion to drink.

Keep reading and posting - there's a lot of people here who really understand and can offer support.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I can force myself not to drink for days straight.
What happens when you do that... force yourself to not drink... does your life get better, are you happier? .... or .... do you become restless, irritable and discontent? .... Do you find yourself obsessing about drinking... when you are finally alone again? ... Thinking about those beers you stashed away somewhere so no one would know?

I am a high profile individual in a small town... I'm not an elected official, though I was one once... so yea, I get it.... I'm AA, and sometimes I run into people who I know, but most of the time they are there for the same reason I am... but unlike you I am not currently an elected official... so I have no direct experience to share.

It's not clear from your posts... Are you going to get another opinion? Do you really need one? You were attending AA before, 20 years ago... Are you alcoholic? ... It's self diagnosed.... I feel very strongly, and have good reason to believe, that only a well trained in alcoholism, preferably recovered, counselor is qualified to help you... especially if you've ruled out other support, like AA.

Maybe get a Big Book, keep posting here, and, well... quit drinking. Oh, and are you really fully functioning? If so, what are you doing here ...

Welcome to SR. It is a fine place to base some, a lot, or, for some people, all of your recovery. Keep posting, let us get to know you better... Check out the 12 step support section if you want to start, again, step work.



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Old 12-17-2010, 09:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I feel like my last post was a little too heavy on the questions, like I was all in your face. That's not how I meant it to sound and it's too late to change it... I guess I just wanted to widen our discussion... Sometimes on an internet forum it's hard to make it read the way I meant it.

Welcome, please keep posting!
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Please don't consider Antabuse without your doctors ok.
It can damage the liver....
Are you taking pain med's for your back?

Welcome to SR.....
No, I'm not taking pain meds. Didn't want to up the anti so to speak. The pain meds they prescribe are heavy narcotic. I dont want to make any problem worse.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Not heavy on the questions. I tend to fill up idle time with beer, I have more idle time now cause my back injury. 2x per week was probably not a big problem, 5 to 6 times per week is. I know that. I also know how 2x per week, leads to 5x per week, just like one or two drinks a night leads to 3 or 4, then 5 or 6. Thankfully there are only 6 in a pack. I don't buy 12 packs.

Running did help, and its easy, just go out and do it. I cant run anymore. I'm thankfull I can walk. I have no complaints.

I'd like to try swiming, but that's more problematic, not as easy as just putting on sneakers and leaving the door. Maybe a new routine. Maybe something else. Any other exercisers out there?

Today will be day 1. I will continue to post.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:49 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hey, what struck me was how you can "force" yourself to not drink... It's not so much the quantity, ya know?

I was also struck by your previous history in AA... care to go into that a little?

And of course, since you are posting here, you must have some worries...
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:04 AM   #18 (permalink)
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<I> Hey, what struck me was how you can "force" yourself to not drink... It's not so much the quantity, ya know? </I>

If I stay busy, I dont think about it much. So I would just force myself to stay busy, work, go to the gym, tire myself out, eat dinner, watch the news on Tivo, pack it in and go to bed. Its the early evening idle hours that were tempting.

<I> I was also struck by your previous history in AA... care to go into that a little?</I>

In my late teens I suffered real bad depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. I used to drink to shut down the thoughts. I entered AA for about 6-8 months, once the depression lifted, I didn't feel like drinking. Stayed mostly dry for 20 years, slowly fell off the wagon onto moderation, which after 8-10 years or so, turned into abuse.

I have none of those former thoughts about depression. Really, nothing to complain about, house is paid, kids are grown, marriage is fine, nothing to be sad about, but I know drinking 6 beers a night most of the week is not good. Probably my mind harkens back to those AA days, when I was drinking straight scotch. So here I am. Time to change my life again. Thanks for asking.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:13 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hello, I wish there was something I could tell you to ease your mind about being publicly exposed. The name of the organization is Alcoholics ANONYMOUS. Ive been active for 20 some years. In all that time I have never heard of anyone in my city of 300,000 being "outed". We have collage professors, doctors, shrinks, priests, and yes elected officials. Most meetings are held at churches, nice safe place to be seen at !?. I don't know how many times over the years I've run into people I've known well on the outside at meetings. It's always the same, a big laugh and something to the effect of "boy, they will let anybody in here wont they". So don't be surprised if you run into your boss, minister, the Mayer ! Or even one of your kids friends.
You will see a sign somewhere that says "What happens here-whats said here, stays here" and everyone abides by that.

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Old 12-18-2010, 10:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Many of us think about getting recovered from alcoholism, but not cured... I get where you are coming from... with your injured back, time on your hands, kids grown... could you sink into active alcoholism again? I got the feeling that with all that you force yourself to do, to not drink, that you don't ever get the opportunity to really look at this thing, and get rigorously honest with yourself... Although your posts suggest that you are now doing that.... Awesome!! We are here to help.

Some feel that alcoholism is situational. Get rid of whatever led to the drinking and problem is gone. My own thoughts are that there will always be another problem I also get ya about the grown kids, that has been a tough transition for me and really sped up my decline into active addiction and alcoholism.

Do you feel that you are powerless over alcohol?

Well, anyway, welcome to SR, it is an awesome place, look around... there is always someone here who will be able to relate to your experience.

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