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Functioning alcoholism such a bad thing?

Old 05-31-2011, 09:31 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I know i'm just a guy in my mid 20s talking to a guy that's 50...but...

I was taking celexa at 40 mg/day and drinking a TON

It really screwed me up and I wish I never had mixed the two. Life may seem more boring being sober, but is it really? For every hour of "fun" i had while i was drunk would count for 3 or four hours of sleep and non fun (hangovers, anxiety, etc). The anti depressants really exacerbated this.

If you decide to ween off (and it sounds like it may be time), make sure your doctor knows about it so they can help you.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:44 PM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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I functioned well too, and didn't get slurry speech, blackouts, stumbling, brushes with the law, anger venting or bad behavior while drinking from dawn to 12 PM. I started like you, only on weekends and after work occasionally to every night after work to needing it to go to sleep then progressively until I found I was putting shots in my first cup of coffee in the morning.

Sure I never drank and drove. And my tolerance was so high that keeping my mild buzz of comfort took 2 to four beers or drinks an hour.

My grown kids thought I was fine and were a bit taken aback when I told them I was checking in for Detox and rehab. At our first dinners with the kids and G'kids my boys were uncomfortable drinking in front of me.

I drank all day and night and was very well functioning. But those three packs of smokes and more than 20 plus drinks a day started taking a heavy toll on me physically as well as emotionally. I was not depressive and didn't start drinking before 5 until I retired and then I started at noon. Then for the last year from dawn on.

I can't believe I came out of it healthy at 59. Liver is great as is blood pressure and no cholesterol issues. I take only a nexium for reflux and no painkillers or other drugs.

I could not believe that after realizing decades ago I was hooked on smokes, that I again rationalized my way to another addiction to alcohol which I could not quit alone!

If my resume consists of only I am an alcoholic who can't put it down but I am high functioning and can do my job acceptably I guess since I am hung over most of the time, well, I might find myself depressed too.

Here are some of the one-liners I wrote here and for AA along the way to my now 8 months of sobriety. Maybe some of my observations might strike a chord.

"All this time I thought I was an alcoholic. But in fact I never had a problem with drinking; I only had a problem with stopping."

"I can tell you that being human and alive is easier than maintaining that image of perfection, that we all see through when another does it, but think is working when we do."

"Have I made it? Can I declare that this soon in my recovery? Hell yes! I made it today, and when all is said and done, more was done than said."

"Life doesn't get any easier with time, sobriety does."

"I did everything I could to make it. And I am quite frankly surprised at how much of a non-event it is for everybody other than me."

"It is funny how we look to find another who drinks more than us or more often to justify that we are OK."

"I haven't lost drinking, I have gained sobriety."

I keep my writing from here and excerpt some to my sobriety file as one liners.

It is my journal if you will, where I can look back and remember how I felt. I am amazed when I read the functioning alcoholic posts, the “am I an alcoholic?” posts, the rationalizations and denial posts. But I am not amazed that people could fall for that. I am amazed that I did all of those and were it not for the writing and keeping my journal I would not believe I was all of those at one point or another, and cannot get in touch with those feelings anymore. That is what amazes me. How completely we can heal, and easily forget when we were up the river called De Nile!

Whatever you do, just wait one year before you drink again and make that decision then. As an alcoholic we manage to put off quitting for years and rationalized all kinds of reasons we were "different" than the others. So putting off drinking again as too much effort should be second nature to us right? It takes different lengths of time for each. I am now so over drinking and don't want one ever again. An Ice cold coke on a hot summer day sure tastes better than a beer, any day of the week.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:58 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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I do believe in the functioning alcoholic. I know a couple of them and for years I was one of them. On the face of it happy family, I was fit and healthy -- even able to run a marathon in under four hours with a cracking hangover! (It annoys me to think what I could have done sober now.) But from personal experience the drinking does get worse and the cracks start to show -- first with family and then everyone else starts to get a look in. It becomes shameful, even with regard to those who clearly don't judge you. I wanted better from myself and could not believe I had let my life go down this path. Not every alcoholic, in my view, will end up on the streets or dead. But will we be able to hold up our head... really... and say we gave our life a fair shot? Not me. I don't want to be chained to a bottle of wine, vodka or beer for the rest of my life.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:05 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Well...I don't understand the term functioning alcoholic. To me, it is an oxymoron.
I could not function on alcohol, I missed out on life, I didn't show up, wasn't there, and I am now just referring to the mental aspect of it. Sure, I was there physically...functioning....walking...moving my arms and legs. Saying the things that I was required to say so that people would think I was there. But my brain, heart and soul were absent.

The physical? Eeeooow. Having a hammering hangover at 9PM and trying to make an important presentation to 20+ people, my hands are shaking so hard I can't adjust the focus dial on the overhead projector and I am wondering if the pancake makeup I used to try and hide puffy-red-face is actually working ....is that "functioning"?

Or...living with the obsession. Was that functioning? Nep, not really. I tried that ride at the carnival also. "Control" it. Sure, I could keep it down to a couple of beers and mini-wine between the hours of 7 and 9PM. But...I found myself thinking about alcohol all day when I did that. My mind was imprisoned by my cravings: all I thought about, repeatedly during the day, was: when, what, how, where...will I drink. It was insane, I felt insane.

On the other hand, maybe you are not an alcoholic. It's easy to find out if you are or are not. If you can just walk away from that next drink and not crave more, then maybe you are just a heavy drinker. There is a suggestion in the big book of AA: walk into a bar and then stop after a beer or two. Can it be done? The alcoholic will not be able to stop at one drink: drinking the first drink will set up the disease reaction of wanting more, and more, and more. This chain reaction does not happen to normal people. I watch my husband drink, sometimes a lot, but, he has this ability to just say: "oh, I don't want anymore". I cannot say that as an alcoholic. I can be totally horizontal, dizzy and nearly passing out, but I will want another drink. That is not normal.

I am pushing 60 now, so I know how you feel. I sometimes wonder: what is the point of staying sober now? Well, I answer that question every day because I am living like I've never lived before. I am amazed at the opportunities that are tossed at me every day in multiples. Was I shown opportunities when I drank? Yes, absolutely: but I never noticed them, I was in a blur. I was blind. I never saw opportunities, chances to be happy and joyful because I was hell bent on being miserable. That IS a form of blindness.

I was an unhappy drunk. If you are taking anti-depressants then maybe you have issues with being happy. I know a lot of people in AA who quit drinking and then realized how depressed they were and were subscribed anti-depressants and became 100% better, and still use antidepressants as part of their recovery from alcohol. I would suggest that you work with your doctor regarding your anti-depressants because maybe they are not working as long as you drink? I know I am bordering on med advice here, so I will re-iterate: talk to your doc about both your drinking and your meds....
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:36 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AllLiesAndJest View Post
AmericanGirl ('love your avatar, by the way!) - thank you for the practical tips, especially focusing on day-time social events. That's very helpful. I will also cling to your reassurance that abstention gets easier over time.
Your postscript verse made me weep. Pathetic or what?!
Not at all, it is really an emotional time right now for you! Glad the ideas helped . . . for me it was really important to focus on the concrete as well as the abstract when figuring out how to live without drinking.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:12 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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The bloody point is that there is a life for you full of joy and contentment. It's a sober life, and you deserve it.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:24 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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I know some people are high successful at being drunk and living on the edge etc. I am not one of those people.
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