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Memories of the liquor store cashier

Old 08-18-2015, 11:00 AM
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I've just got back from the supermarket, logged in to SR and found this post. Really strange as while shopping I was really really pleased that I had nothing in my trolley to be ashamed of. Great those days are gone!
xx
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:03 PM
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It varied how much I cared what they thought. Plus we also brewed our own as well as bought in. I was buying for two heavy drinkers though. In fact I got really strong from the amount of booze I carried home.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:37 PM
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Such a fascinating thread. I had my preferred bar here in my little village, where everyone goes and everyone drinks quite a bit. But I started to get very embarrassed about the number of glasses of wine I was ordering so I'd sometimes leave and go to another gas station that also had a little bar. It is scruffy and disgusting and I hate it, but at least I could stop in and say "ah, just a long day, thought I'd treat myself to a glass of wine" only I was 5 or 6 deep at that point. I would also go to my preferred bar, have a couple and then get a bottle to go. I would speak to the bartender and tell them I was going to a dinner and they were serving light fish/grilled steak/salmon/spicy vegetarian, what would you recommend? I don't know how it is in other countries, but in Italy, anytime you purchase a gift they will elaborately wrap it for you free of charge. So I would say "oh, I'm off to a dinner party, could you wrap this a gift?" and they would go through the whole process of wrapping the bottle in custom paper, getting out a beautiful wine bag, putting a nice embossed sticker on the bag to close it, an elaborate bow and maybe some flowers to dress it up. An entire, annoying, nerve wracking 5 minute process and also a total waste of resources as I would just drive straight home, hating myself for spending way more than I wanted for my ruse (let's face it, the cheapest bottle would have done), and unwrap the "gift" myself and go at it. I'd then hide all the paper and bows and bags so if my boyfriend came over he wouldn't' ask what it was all about.
I also, and this is something I am deeply ashamed of, but feel I need to own up to as I begin to think about my step 4 of AA, began to lie to the bar about my consumption. At most of the local bars in my area, especially where they know you, they just serve you what you want and then when you are done you go and say "I need to pay for 4 glasses of wine" or whatever you had. I have always, always been fiercely honest. My integrity as a person has been extremely important to me. But I got to the point where I was so embarrassed that I would knock off a glass or two of my total when I went to pay. Not because I didn't want to pay, or couldn't' pay, but because I was too ashamed to admit how much I had consumed. Actually, I don't know what to do about that, I am suffering from extreme guilt at the thought of stealing. It doesn't' add up to much, but even €3 is too much, I hate that I have done that.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Meraviglioso View Post
My integrity as a person has been extremely important to me. But I got to the point where I was so embarrassed that I would knock off a glass or two of my total when I went to pay. Not because I didn't want to pay, or couldn't' pay, but because I was too ashamed to admit how much I had consumed. Actually, I don't know what to do about that, I am suffering from extreme guilt at the thought of stealing. It doesn't' add up to much, but even 3 is too much, I hate that I have done that.
I can totally empathize with you and understand why you would feel guilty. Im currently dealing with my own demons right now and know how guilt can tear you apart.

Now that you have been sober for awhile, do you think you could go back to the bar and offer to pay for the wine you didn't pay for in the past?

Maybe you don't have to be completely honest about it, maybe stop in and say, "I am so sorry I forgot to pay for something the other day and I want to make sure to pay you."
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by newhope01 View Post
I can totally empathize with you and understand why you would feel guilty. Im currently dealing with my own demons right now and know how guilt can tear you apart.

Now that you have been sober for awhile, do you think you could go back to the bar and offer to pay for the wine you didn't pay for in the past?

Maybe you don't have to be completely honest about it, maybe stop in and say, "I am so sorry I forgot to pay for something the other day and I want to make sure to pay you."
Thank you new hope. I have done that, stopping by the next day and saying that I think I forgot to pay for something, but they always say "oh no, don't worry, you paid" and when I say "uh, but I think I may have had one more glass" they say "ah, whatever, don't worry, I'm sure you paid"

I think they do this because I have, always been decisively honest. I often get a half pack of cigarettes when I visit. In the end I say that I need to pay for the pack and whatever wine and they have almost always forgotten and hand over a new pack of cigarettes and I say (always) "no, I have already received the cigarettes, I just need to pay" I also often offer to pay for drinks of my friends, I double check that I have paid appropriately, etc. These have just been relatively recent lies that have only happened a time or two. I am not sure what to do. I KNOW I lied. There is no black out or forgetting or mistake on my part or their part. I legitimately LIED. I feel horrendous. A glass of wine is just 3, we are talking a total of 9, 12, 15 MAX, but even if it were .01 I would still feel the same. I LIED. I lied for no other reason than I was embarrassed to admit how much I drank.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:37 PM
  # 126 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Meraviglioso View Post
I am not sure what to do. I KNOW I lied. There is no black out or forgetting or mistake on my part or their part. I legitimately LIED. I feel horrendous. A glass of wine is just 3, we are talking a total of 9, 12, 15 MAX, but even if it were .01 I would still feel the same. I LIED. I lied for no other reason than I was embarrassed to admit how much I drank.
Can you be completely honest with them? Could you say what you said to me here on SR and let them know you are in recovery and this part of making amends for past transgressions?

It sounds to me that you are more upset about the lying rather than the money. Otherwise, I know it's not customary to tip in Italy, but I would just tip the amount back to them.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:11 PM
  # 127 (permalink)  
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It's weird. On my last stint which lasted about nine months, I was so boldfaced. I didn't care. I never bothered to get something else. I figured there was no way to hide it when I was buying at 7 in the morning. I sort of adopted a go-ahead-and-challenge me attitude. Was I embarrassed? of course. But I like anger take over. I wanted that stuff and I wanted it soon, especially toward the end when I began shaking and really needed to get it down. Geez. After one sip in the lot, I was "fine" again.

I also did risky things in terms of integrity. I'm wondering if people know. Thankfully, I only did this twice, but I helped myself to a few sips at friends' home bars. Ugh. Imagine if they would have walked in. I was so blasted, who knows if they were passing by. On most occasions, I would bring some with me like all the other people here. I can't count how many half pints and pints I threw out in gas stations, restaurants, and bowling alleys in the pad dispenser. I'm sure the cleaning personnel see a lot of this.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:10 PM
  # 128 (permalink)  
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Very interesting and powerful thread, very empowering for many who have been sober for a while to look back at what used to be a part of the daily routine, I wonder how many of us who are currently in early stages of recovery (like myself) know it hasn't been long since doing this and probably still have liquor store employees (or dealers) that know them well and will use this story to help empower their recovery, I know I will. Its crazy how much my thinking has changed recently, I have felt a lot of embarrasment from my past activities honestly but from that has stemmed empowerment that makes me never want to be there again. My poison of choice was always opiates but I know the feeling of driving to my dealer the minute he was good thinking the couple miles I drove was way way too long and fantasizing about getting the first pill to take away the sweats and churning stomach and hell of withdrawal. It may be a different addiction but more is similar than not.
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Old 08-19-2015, 01:21 AM
  # 129 (permalink)  
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I read this entire thread on my phone after going to bed.

Thank you so much to the OP, for your beautifully written post and everyone who has bumped and shared,

Awake and sober ( day 74 now ) I still feel a little uneasy.

I feel like I have met Scrooges' ghost and been shown Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future - Except everyday was Christmas day for me.

I never got as far as buying it in the morning, but had reached the stage of nipping wine in the morning - often I would mumble " Merry Christmas", or "Happy Birthday " to myself, while subconsciously declaring myself a bohemian, or artist or anything but what I was ( am ) - an addict.

The hiding, the planning, the pre-fuelling ahead of social occasions, nailing whatever I could after social occasions, rotating purchases and all sorts of BS when dealing with cashiers.

What I'm really saying here is that one of the major reasons I used to continue my drinking was " I'm not as bad as X " , where X was anyone I could identify in the bottle store queue - or friends of friends who were obviously struggling with alcohol and had started to let their guard slip - or any public figure or anyone in the news whom booze l had in its grasp.

I think if I had read this 74 days ago, when I came here, I would have read a few posts with interest and then moved on assuming it did not relate to me.

Now, just ten short weeks sober, it seems more relevant than anything I have read on SR. This life certainly awaits me if I drink again.

Drinking again would not be taking a (bohemian, devil-may-care) risk with my future it would be engaging in certain self-destruction.


So if you are reading this early in your recovery, and are like me ( hefty binges - some quite prolonged and spectacular from age 18-40, but at the end down to a [self-declared] 'sensible' six-eight bottles of wine a week, all at home ) - and perhaps consider that some of this may not relate to you....

... stay sober, keep sober, and see how the nature of our addiction is revealed to us as those sober days rack up.

I'm the same as everyone else here.

I'm going to bookmark this thread and look back on it when I am one year sober. Hopefully I will smile at my own comments here, with a little more peace, serenity and self-knowledge.

Thank you SR.

Fradley

PS here is a moment I have just recalled while typing this:

I was out with my new- born baby daughter, maybe 9 days old in the car. It was 5.45pm, 15 mins before the bottle store close. This was my choice.:

Should I take her into the grubby bottle store and queue up for booze with everyone else on a Friday night ?

Or leave her in the car and hope the queue would be short ( which it never was ) ?

Mercifully, I did neither. I drove home and had to eke out whatever booze was in the house.

I was so grumpy and genuinely resentful of my baby.
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:18 AM
  # 130 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GS123 View Post
Very interesting and powerful thread, very empowering for many who have been sober for a while to look back at what used to be a part of the daily routine, I wonder how many of us who are currently in early stages of recovery (like myself) know it hasn't been long since doing this and probably still have liquor store employees (or dealers) that know them well and will use this story to help empower their recovery, I know I will. Its crazy how much my thinking has changed recently, I have felt a lot of embarrasment from my past activities honestly but from that has stemmed empowerment that makes me never want to be there again.
I completely agree, its such a good and inspiring post.

I know one thing for certain and that is that I NEVER EVER want to go into my local off licence ever again. Now every week I dont go there (or anywhere else) is a week I will be proud of thanks to this thread.

I won't miss the feeling of anxiety walking in and seeing the same girl at the counter and wondering if this is the day she will cut me off or is judging me. I won't miss feeling like I need to justify my purchase at the till!
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:39 AM
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If I am honest I have had local shops I pretended we were having company over for. Had one I didn't care where I was buying drinks all the time. I have been at the supermarket checkout being asked if I was having a party. I rationalized this last one as it was for two people not just one. I mainly traveled to different shops depending on where was open and how much what I was after cost at which one. I have gone out for more drink when already drunk more times than I would care to think of. They are always the worst. Chatting to the cashier trying to seem sober and friendly. So obviously drunk and of course so obviously intending to get more drunk. How pathetic I must have looked. How often being out on my own late in the evening in that state was a real danger. My ex had a drink problem and yet there were times I snuck out hoping he wouldn't notice to get more for me. He had had a problem long before we met and I used to despair about it. I used to drag the hidden empty vodka bottles out from hiding and leave them on his desk to confront him. To say I know. I did not understand why he kept doing it. Yet fast forward and here I was trying to drink more than I would let even him know. It is funny how the longer I am here at SR and sober the deeper I can see my problem was and the further back I can see it going. Yes I didn't understand him on the Vodka and yes I did not drink at all during that period. If I really think though I can pull out stories that show a clear danger and a pattern in my behavior before this time. It was just firmly locked in denial, especially as I didn't drink then. I wasn't drinking for him as the Dr. had advised it would make his anxiety worse. I quit instantly cause it was to help someone I did love at the time. figured it was easier for him to not drink if I didn't either. I would be lying if I did not confess that in the past before this time, hidden deep inside, there were already memories of promising to quit. Already memories of heading out drunk and needing more. Already times I was in danger and in a state. Already memories of us fighting over the last bit of wine in the bottle. I guess this has gone on a tangent so I will leave it there. IT is interesting what one train of thought will raise.

Last edited by DitzyDandelion; 08-19-2015 at 03:42 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DitzyDandelion View Post
I have gone out for more drink when already drunk more times than I would care to think of. They are always the worst. Chatting to the cashier trying to seem sober and friendly. So obviously drunk and of course so obviously intending to get more drunk. How pathetic I must have looked. How often being out on my own late in the evening in that state was a real danger. Already memories of heading out drunk and needing more. Already times I was in danger and in a state.
All of this. ALL of it.
This has been my life.

Thank you for your share.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:05 PM
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the last store I went to was bike riding distance....didn't want to drive the car so I was the looser riding the bike although it was a nice one....with the bag wrapped around my wrist...really sad....so I tell the counter person you wont see me again going to rehab...crickets.......well 3 months later buying a pint and he says....so your back with a smile.....brought back bad memories....and hope I never go back to that again...if I do never to that store...haha...funny but really sad
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Old 09-12-2016, 11:44 AM
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Re-upping what I find to be one of the most sobering, interesting posts on this site.

Recently I went into a bodega which, in my new neighborhood, I'd go for an extra 2 cans of 10% beer just to make sure I was nice and drunk - the counter guys always talked smack to me about getting the beers. They thought it was funny. I was in there the other day getting juice and the paper instead.
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:23 PM
  # 135 (permalink)  
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I just finished reading this entire thread for the first time. I'm only six days sober (this time around), but two comments from my local liquor store cashiers have always stuck in my head and have helped me to stop. The first one was "See you again soon!" The other was about 15 minutes before closing on a Saturday (liquor stores are closed on Sunday where I live). I walked in and the cashier smiled and said "I was beginning to wonder if I'd see you here tonight!" She was being friendly, but I was mortified. After both incidents, I switched stores briefly, but was too lazy to keep that up long. The plan now is for that feeling to never be an issue again.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:47 PM
  # 136 (permalink)  
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Same thing, I would rotate stores. But my biggest problem was I work in a small town and used to buy beer at stores during lunch. I always had a fear of running into somebody I knew or a co worker and them seeing me buying beer at noon. A few times it did happen and I made some excuse about it being for after work. To be safe I would drive to the next town over to buy. The clerks knew me too. All the stories on this thread I can relate to. Even buying beer at 7 am, and the clerk knowing I was not waiting to drink it. The stories go on, but you get the idea. It was sad, and at one point I was drinking at 6 am, and had to be at work at 8. I hope those days are gone, but it is one day at a time for me. Thanks SR! I'm over 200 days now. This site is a big help.
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:06 PM
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I did most of my heavy drinking in bars, not at home, so I didn't have to rotate.
But I do recall some icky times going out to meet friends when already drunk. I remember the harried time I had trying to make myself look presentable and "not drunk" and the disaster I'd leave in my closet/ bathroom. And once I even recall writing a little acronym on my hand "SLK" - "stay low key" as a reminder to myself to not get out of hand, and how I had to rack my brain the next morning in a fog remembering what the F I did that for. (Of course that night I was anything but "low key".) I chatted up neighbors and was overly gregarious - I thought I was charming but I probably came off looking like I was off my rocker.
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:16 PM
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I remember the shifts were 8 to 2 and 2 to 10. This way I could plan around those shifts so I wouldn't buy from the same person two days in a row. I knew what days they worked too.
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Old 09-12-2016, 11:18 PM
  # 139 (permalink)  
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Had literally thought I was the only one that rotated stores.
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Old 09-13-2016, 05:04 AM
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This really is a fantastic thread. Really compelling reading. So much to identify with.

Yes, the rotated stores, I knew all the closing times too, and the 24 hour ones if I needed more. Brushing my teeth and spraying on perfume if I went out to get more when I'd already been drinking, didn't want to smell like a wino, after all...! At one place, the staff knew me and would yell out my "usual" wine label as I walked in the store, once one of them recognised me way across town when he'd moved stores and I popped in unexpectedly. He remembered my favourite bottle.

I happen to have moved cities a lot for work. In every city I lived, I always befriended the staff at the wine store. At one place in London, they would offer me what they were drinking every Friday, and we would have a chinwag by the fire. It became a tradition, the start to my weekend.

In another place, another city, I got asked out separately by two different guys who worked there on different nights.

I moved again recently, and I walk past the bottle shops and smile to myself. I'll never be a regular there, thank God.
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