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Old 10-04-2012, 01:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hitting a soft bottom and contemplating change


Hello!

I am new to SR, and I am a problem drinker. Although I do not drink often (once every other week) I have noticed that when I do, my behavior is quite reckless. I have trouble stopping. Sometimes I can, but other times, no.

I am in my late 20s and feel like I have hit a soft bottom. About once a month, I have trouble stopping once I start drinking, black out, and behave recklessly until passing out. I have done things that have jeopardized my marriage, my safety, my friendships, job, and relationships while drinking. It is like I am a zombie with no off switch. I just keep drinking and drinking. I have been quite aware of this behavior and lack of control for about 5 years, yet despite "setting limits" and "trying harder," I still occasionally have episodes.

I have discussed this with a few confidants, all of whom have different opinions (who of course shared them). Some feel as though I am overreacting and simply "act like everyone my age" and that I am not "alcoholic enough" to consider abstaining from alcohol completely.

Others suggest things will only get worse if I do not take action.

I do not like having no control over my body and my drinking at times, and even though I haven't done anything quite "life-ruining" yet, I don't want to wait around for that. I don't like the regret and self loathing that accompanies my waking up the next day after a night of binging.

I do not crave alcohol; however, giving it up completely does scare me. I feel as though I would lose a lot of friends and activities over this decision. Weddings, parties, vacations -- all involve alcohol with my current circle of friends. I obsess over it.

I know that everyone has different experiences and situations. Any advice for me as I consider a change from someone that has gone through a similar situation?

With respect,

LeftLucy
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to agree from what you said, things could get worse if you don't gain control. Some people are just born with a 'craving mechanism'...sometimes (in my case) alcohol triggered it. Once I started I could not stop...& I hit a hard bottom. I came close to death a few times, and finally realized I HAD to stop...or possibly die. This is a good place to start. I also go to AA meetings. You would be surprised that there are others out there like you, you are not different to alone for that matter. I wish I would have stopped when I was your age. I went through a lot of pain over the years and now live sober.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi and Welcome,

I think you know how you feel and what you need to do. Getting opinions from others isn't really useful because you know the feeling of losing control and what happens. And, yes, stopping drinking is a big step and requires changes of friends/activities, etc. However, the work involved is so worth the feeling of peace. I blacked out numerous times and it's the most scary thing ever. There are chunks of my life that I have absolutely zero recollection of.

I'm glad you found us.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for your post, Lucy. I wouldn't listen to others who say your drinking habits are "normal" for someone of your age. You are concerned for yourself most likely because there is reason to be. Also, people who don't have a problem with alcohol certainly aren't going to understand your situation. Take a step back from drinking for awhile. Since you say you don't drink often (once every other week), why not try abstaining for, say, one month or more and see how you feel and think? Speaking from experience (I'm 45 days sober) I can honestly tell you that the obsessing over drinking that used to consume me is competely gone and it is a HUGE weight off my shoulders. Good luck to you.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. You are right. I know what to do, and I agree about needing to gain control. I guess by seeking other opinions, I was hoping for some magic easy fix.

As you can see from my join date vs my first post date (today) I have been heavily contemplating sobriety for awhile. It just feels so scary to much such a big change that and would affect many aspects of my life and my relationships.

I am quite embarrassed by this. I feel like many people would be shocked to know this about me (I hide it quite well from acquaintances; really, only my husband knows the truth).

Funny though, if friend came to me with a similar problem, I would tell them no need to be embarrassed and would support their decisions completely.

I am happy to have found this forum.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Lucy

I think imagining that we will lose friends and won't be able to do/enjoy certain things if we quit drinking is our addictive voice talking. In my limited sober time I have actually enjoyed social occasions much more because I am not focused on the alcohol or worried how much I am going to drink and if I'm going to do something stupid. And I am actually gaining friends now because I am not shutting myself up at home drinking

The whole concept that we have to be an alcoholic to stop drinking is a pretty ridiculous one to me. You don't have to drink. And you certainly don't have to be an alcoholic to stop. I read a very inspiring blog from a teetotaller once which I felt cleared this one up quite nicely. Maybe leave out the alcoholic question for now and just stop drinking.

Glad you're here x
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I suggest you look at your options. You can change nothing and accept that your behavior may be embarrassing and reckless when drinking, you can stop drinking or you can try to moderate your drinking. It sounds like the last option hasn't worked very well for you? It usually doesn't, I'm sorry to say.
What do you think? We really can't answer that for you. But I wish you the best in what you do decide!
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Lucy ~ I understand where you are coming from, especially the part about being embarrassed. Guess what? The beauty of this whole thing is that you don't have to explain yourself to ANYONE! You can be sober and if people ask why you aren't drinking, you can say anything you want, or nothing at all! There is NO REQUIREMENT for you to confess to anyone your issues with alcohol. When I first heard this from someone here on these forums, I was soooo relieved! I was certain by quiting drinking I would have to go around wearing a sandwich board explaining my situation. That vision alone was scary enough to make me want to KEEP drinking so that I wouldn't have to tell anyone what I was going through. Once I realized that I didn't owe ANYONE (except myself) a reason for quitting, it was much easier for me to stop. Sorry for all the capitalized letters, but I feel very strongly about this.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You nailed that one. It is funny - the notion of not telling people why I am not drinking DOES make me what to keep drinking. Just to avoid that situation! How silly.

Moderation has not worked consistently for the last five years. I fear my only option may be to stop completely.

I haven't drank yet this month, so I believe I can start with a Sober October.

Thanks again for all of the replies so far. It is very nice to have somewhere to go.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good for you, Lucy! There is a thread for folks who have gotten sober in October (you probably already know this). I belong to the August one and I find it wonderful to be with people who have the same amount of sobriety time that I do. It's really great to be able to bounce ideas off people who are in the same place as you are. So glad you are here! I suspect your husband will be pleased, too.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have been sober for 3 years and was always searching for the defination of the alcoholic. Our paterns, quanities, ages, and a million other factors are differant. I have heard a lot of definations but none of them fit everyone. I have finally found one that seems to fit everyone (at least so far)

My Defination:

Some one who continues to drink despite repeated negative consequences. Normal people stop doing things that hurt, alcoholics just keep doing them thinking it will be differant this time.

Read the big book online "The chapter to the alcoholic" and the "Doctors opinion" They are short but if you see yourself you may wish to read more.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you. I will check out that October thread.

That is a very interesting definition and one that really hits home. Thanks again for sharing.

Yes the hubs will be quite happy. He just wants me to be happy with myself and my actions no matter what.

I will being heading out soon for dinner with an acquaintance and then to a family member's house. This will likely be this first time I will publicly refuse a drink in front of a friend that will be expecting me to drink or might ask about it. My biggest fear is that moment.

A bit nervous. But you are right- I owe no explanations. I don't mind the actual refusal. It's the conversation around it that I am dreading (if it even occurs).

I'll let you all know how it goes. I am currently feeling a bit angry (at no one in particular) that drinking is a problem for me but not others. I know this anger is irrational because everyone has different problems and life is not fair.One of my problems just happens to be with alcohol.

Thanks again for reading and replying. I will return.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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LeftLucy I can definitely relate. I too was consulting friends and I had some tell me that I'm not an alcoholic because I go through a week spree and then cut it out for a few days, and others told me that I had a massive problem and needed serious help. They didn't know the true me inside when I am alone and they also were not suitable to answer a question that I could only answer for myself. You know how you feel when you wake up and realize you were out of control yet again. I have had many of those days. When it gets to that point it is time to make some changes. The true friends will remain if they really want what's best for you. As for weddings, parties, vacations and such? You'll get to a point when you realize you are having WAY more fun than the drunk ones are and on top of that, it's a fun time that you will remember, so I'd call it double-fun! Laugh like them, loud and hardy, it actually makes you feel great! Dance like them, tell jokes, make yourself the life of the party. I did that once at a birthday party and it felt great! Most of all, keep posting on SR whether you feel good or bad. There's always someone on here to rejoice with you and also to encourage you when you are feeling inclined to take a drink. Welcome!
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I agree with what everyone has said.you 'll probably also find that most people don't notice or aren't even bothered that you aren't drinking-we notice it much much more than anyone else
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftLucy View Post
I will being heading out soon for dinner with an acquaintance and then to a family member's house. This will likely be this first time I will publicly refuse a drink in front of a friend that will be expecting me to drink or might ask about it. My biggest fear is that moment.

A bit nervous. But you are right- I owe no explanations. I don't mind the actual refusal. It's the conversation around it that I am dreading (if it even occurs).
When you refuse a drink, don't be surprised if your friend shrugs his/her shoulders and says, "OK!" You'll be fine. I have faith in you and the situation!
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Welcome Lucy! I too felt like things were out of control and I'm a lot older than you are. Good for you for catching it early before it wrecks your life (and chances are it will if you give it long enough). I didn't hit any rock bottom either, but don't want to. I don't want a life or career threatening episode to confirm that I have a problem with drinking, I already know that. Sounds like you have the right attitude to make a great start.

Treat yourself like you'd treat a friend. Real friends will understand and support you. Drinking buddies will try to undermine your progress, but even they eventually come around. You really don't have to make a big deal about it-you can just say you're taking a break from drinking for a bit. You can tell yourself "just for today, maybe another time" if quitting for good is a scary concept (it becomes less scary over time). Glad you found SR
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Alcoholism is a progressive disease. I can look back on my career and it only got worse. The cool thing is we can stop the down hill slide by simply not drinking (easier said than done)

I take my hat off to anyone that can catch problem drinking before it turns into full blown alcoholism. My life was not a pretty picture at the end. A life I would not wish on my worst enemy.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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great advice here - welcome to SR Lucy

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Old 10-04-2012, 05:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftLucy View Post
Hello!

I am new to SR, and I am a problem drinker. Although I do not drink often (once every other week) I have noticed that when I do, my behavior is quite reckless. I have trouble stopping. Sometimes I can, but other times, no.

I am in my late 20s and feel like I have hit a soft bottom. About once a month, I have trouble stopping once I start drinking, black out, and behave recklessly until passing out. I have done things that have jeopardized my marriage, my safety, my friendships, job, and relationships while drinking. It is like I am a zombie with no off switch. I just keep drinking and drinking. I have been quite aware of this behavior and lack of control for about 5 years, yet despite "setting limits" and "trying harder," I still occasionally have episodes.

I have discussed this with a few confidants, all of whom have different opinions (who of course shared them). Some feel as though I am overreacting and simply "act like everyone my age" and that I am not "alcoholic enough" to consider abstaining from alcohol completely.

Others suggest things will only get worse if I do not take action.

I do not like having no control over my body and my drinking at times, and even though I haven't done anything quite "life-ruining" yet, I don't want to wait around for that. I don't like the regret and self loathing that accompanies my waking up the next day after a night of binging.

I do not crave alcohol; however, giving it up completely does scare me. I feel as though I would lose a lot of friends and activities over this decision. Weddings, parties, vacations -- all involve alcohol with my current circle of friends. I obsess over it.

I know that everyone has different experiences and situations. Any advice for me as I consider a change from someone that has gone through a similar situation?

With respect,

LeftLucy
Hi LeftLucy. This could describe me in my 20s. Fastforward 21 years and I am on day one of quitting. WIth many many blackouts and regrets.

I wish I had come looking for help at your age. Glad you are here with us. Stick around.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Welcome Lucy -

Good to have you with us! It feels a bit strange at first to be sober when we attend all those special occasions, but after you do it a few times, it's actually quite enjoyable! I have a lot of friends who drink, too. Only one asked me why I wasn't drinking (because I kept turning down what he was offering me) and I told him I just got tired of feeling like crap the next day.

When I have to go to a party, I often get a club soda and lime (with a dash of cranberry - it's quite refreshing!). No one really knows whether I'm drinking or not. I usually leave when the social drinkers do (instead of staying for the drunkfest)...... It's really nice driving home with no worries.

I felt angry at first, too, and scared to think about never drinking again. But now that I'm sober and see all the pain caused by alcohol in society (and in my life as well), I feel good, even proud, that I'm not drinking anymore.
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