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Old 07-10-2014, 06:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello


Hi Everyone. I just want to introduce myself and make my first post so that I can begin to have a more interactive experience on SR...perhaps give something back. I've been reading daily (multiple times per day) since the middle of last month and the SR community has really helped in my quest to get sober. Thank you everyone. Today is day 25.

I started out to write something brief about my background and how I got here, but as I began to do that, I realized that this is something I haven't verbalized - ever. It felt good to write it down...to share. I don't blame you if you don't have the time, or patience, to read the many words below. Just writing them has helped me.

In order to explain myself fully, I have mentioned drinking and doing drugs explicitly below (but will not make a habit of it in future posts). If this is a trigger for you, please stop here.

About me:

I've struggled with addiction since I was about 10 or 12 years old. My earliest memory of using involves being introduced to inhalants by friends of an older sibling during a party that was thrown when our single mother was away. There were several bad actors there, and one thought it would be fun to show a child the joys of huffing gasoline. I proceeded to do it daily for years.

I worked my way through the next decade, or so, binging on whatever I could get my hands on. I smoked pot every day for over a decade. I did speed when I could get my hands on it. Throughout middle school and high school, I consumed hundreds of hits of acid. During high school and slightly thereafter, I went through a particularly dark time. A supervisor of mine at the fast food restaurant where I worked suffered a severe injury in a car accident, and proceeded to work-over doctors for the next few years in order to get excess opiates. She would give me more of these than I could use myself (and I used a lot). During the same time, I started abusing cough medication (a particularly powerful hallucinogen in large doses). Pot and booze were a constant throughout all of this.

While on the opiates and cough medication, I started a downward spiral that I could not stop. My health suffered. I was constantly at risk of being arrested for driving under the influence, driving without insurance, etc. Luckily I was not arrested for any of those things, but I did lose my job. A co-worker noticed my vulnerability and found it to be a great opportunity to set me up for stealing (she was the one stealing - I would never). At one point, my diet was so bad that I was eating a piece of sticky candy one day, and as I began to chew it a large piece of one of my rear molars broke right off.

It was shortly after the broken tooth and the lost job that I decided to turn my life around. I got off the hard stuff and was only smoking pot and drinking alcohol. I realized that, though it had only been a few months prior, there were entire months of my life that I simply did not remember. I got a good factory job and settled into working hard...and playing hard.

I believed that I had my life under control, pot and alcohol were nowhere near as bad as what I had been into, and I was doing well and gaining recognition at my job. But the drinking progressed.. After a year or two, I was blacking out regularly, showing up at work hungover/drunk, etc. Then I got arrested. I was still underage and had been drinking with a friend in the woods about 30 minutes outside of town. We ran out of alcohol and decided to go into town to get more. I was already blacked out. I don't remember driving into town, but ended up at a bar where pitchers of long island iced tea were served. I woke up in jail, bruised and battered from falling down, being dragged around by police, etc.

After that underage violation I decided to shape up even further, I quit drinking for about a month and then tried to moderate. I decided that I needed to go to college. I got my **** together and went. Throughout college, I smoked pot and drank alcohol daily, blacking out weekly. Dabbling in heroin and opiates once again. My ex-girlfriend and I enabled each other's poor behavior and allowed each other to get ever more out of control.

Somehow, through it all, I maintained a 4.0 GPA and graduated at the top of my class in an engineering program at a major university. My girlfriend and I broke up shortly before I earned my Bachelor's degree. I was in the dark depths of alcoholism for some time just after the breakup. I sat around my apartment drinking and not doing much else. I gained at least 50 lbs. I somehow realized that I did not want that and I began to exercise, quit smoking pot, cut back on drinking, and started losing weight. I was feeling pretty good, but not directly addressing my alcoholism. I was focused on weight loss and would often sacrifice food for booze. I also switched to drinking only liquor based on a calorie/unit alcohol rationalization (talk about a sure sign).

I began a PhD program and met a nice woman (my current girlfriend). She is balanced, no problems with addiction, no real exposure to addiction. Still, I carried this secret, this insatiable need to drink. I pulled the standard tricks, secretly ordering my drinks based on their strength, and nothing else. "Eleven percent alcohol beer...how 'crafty' and sophisticated," "Dry red wine...much better than the (weaker) white," oh and I "love the flavor of scotch" Soon, that wasn't good enough, I couldn't get drunk enough by openly drinking a few of the strongest drinks I could find. I elevated my dishonesty to the next level - drinking beer openly and hiding bottles of cheap whiskey, gulping from the vodka she kept in the house (like a normal person does in order to be able to entertain company, etc.). I would replace the bottles, but chances are she noticed the fluctuating levels.

In the last couple of months, I began just drinking from pints of cheap whiskey with her in the other room. I might open a beer in order have an excuse for the smell of my breath, but I would "secretly" be downing large amounts of whiskey just down the hall from her. I started blacking out on week nights, getting mean, hurting her (not physically, but emotionally), going to work (training academic colleagues) drunk and hung-over. It was one morning after one of these weeknight blackouts that I woke up terrified of what I had said or done, too anxious to bare. I got up at 5am before she woke up and left the house. I went to my office and started to search online for help. That is when I found SR.

I have not had a drink since. I have begun to work out again, daily. I'm losing weight, gaining muscle and feeling energized. I no longer have to deal with the guilt and shame of hiding my drinking from the person I love. But this is a long story...a long struggle.. and I know that there is every possibility that if I am not careful I could find myself adding to it in an "I'm back" post next year, or the year after...

One thing about my newfound sobriety that I am dissatisfied with is that I have not been able to bring myself to have an open discussion with her about all of this. I'm not exactly sure what is holding me back. She must have noticed the change, but hasn't brought it up herself either.

Right now I'm taking it one day at a time, but with no intention of drinking again. I cannot moderate. I am an alcoholic.

Thank you for reading this.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lostinthetrees, thank you for that post, and congratulations on 25 days and changing course!
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your tale. I am happy to hear that you have found inspiration and support here, and I'm so glad that you are now interactive as well. Welcome!

Congratulations on your sobriety! Do you have a wider support network of people who understand what you're dealing with?
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, Lostinthetrees, that is an amazing and most brutally honest post I've read in awhile. I have teens so the thought of them starting out like you did is heart wrenching. The point where we start hiding the stuff from our loved ones is what really got me. I have 3 bottles of empty wine that I just found after unpacking from a recent move--all packed into weird places. I would have a glass or two openly but have the bottle in a hidden spot for pick-me-ups throughout the evening so it didn't look like I was drinking much. The humility and shame of hiding the bottles with fear that they'd be discovered was overwhelming. My spouse never said a thing although I would have preferred he would have called me on it vs helping me keep the secret. I guess it was also too shameful for him. Stay strong and keep coming here. I am a lurker more often than poster but it helps me to come to this website at least twice a day.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome, lostinthetrees! Good to have you here. On level your story is very sad but it's our story, most of us have been in that spot. I regret the decades wasted being drunk all the time but at least now I'm sober.

What are you doing to help you stay sober? For me AVRT is all I've needed to stay sober for the last 20 months.

One thing I noticed after booze being my whole life for 25 years was that I needed to create a new life, something to fill in the void left by alcohol. In AA I think they call that "spirituality" but for me it was just finding out what my life would be about now.

Again, glad you found us!
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You haven't got to the solution yet. A story consists of what is what like (what you just did), what happened (the solution), and what it is like today.

Its time to get to the solution part

I have a feeling "what it is like today"... will be the best part. At 25 days you should have a sponsor and be at least working your inventory. Don't waste time. The solution is important.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Forum Lostinthetrees!! Great to have you here!!
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi lostinthetrees - I was actully gutted to come to the end of your post - you have a fantastic writing style! I hope you post lots and lots more
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your story. I can totally relate to the increasing dishonesty in hiding your drinks. I had so many methods of doing this. But my husband knew even if he didn't confront me about it. I was sober for 6 years then I drank again. My alcoholism and behaviour just got worse! It took me nearly five years to get to today where I'm just over 2 months sober.

I used to want my husband to really understand during that lengthy period of sobriety. I somehow believed it was his duty to listen to all my thoughts and feelings about being an alcoholic.

I picked up a drink again after someone very close died. I had gone back to uni 1 year before she died. Somehow I managed to complete a 4 year degree while I was drinking.

This time my recovery is different. Better. This recovery is about me. It is not about me judging my husband for drinking at home on the weekends and trying to stop him. It is not about me trying to make him understand what alcoholism is like. This is about me learning to live a good, healthy and productive life and appreciating my loving husband and wonderful children. Stick with it - sobriety is a really good way to live. I can do anything except drink or take a mind altering substance!
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Congrats on 25 days! And thank you for sharing your story. Like many here, I see parts of myself in your experience. Being here makes me feel less alone because I know the crazy things I did for alcohol is something only other addicts can truly understand.

What do you think is holding you back from telling your girlfriend? I can understand the hesitation (I would feel the same way in the same situation), but I think there is something there you can look at a little more closely.

Anyway, I'm glad you found SR and decided to participate. I think it's a place all of us can be completely open and honest about what we're going through, and sometimes it helps just to get it out and feel understood.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to read and reply. As many have pointed out, I am not alone in my experience - we all share parts of each other's stories. It helps to share with those who can truly understand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobertaurus View Post
Do you have a wider support network of people who understand what you're dealing with?
Good question, Sobertaurus. Unfortunately, the answer is no. So far I have been going it alone. You make a good point that a support network is important, and the support I get from reading here on SR fills that role to some extent. Recently, I have had most of my friends from grad school graduate and move away, so it is basically just my girlfriend and I. One positive is that I don't have to negotiate too many social settings where there is alcohol (though I have negotiated a few, with success). Hopefully, I will come into a sober crowd, as my sober life progresses.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MythOfSisyphus View Post
I regret the decades wasted being drunk all the time but at least now I'm sober. What are you doing to help you stay sober? For me AVRT is all I've needed to stay sober for the last 20 months.
I, too, have been struggling with regret and remorse for all of the time (my life) that I have wasted. I could have done so much more to develop myself spirtually and emotionally. It's tough catching up on that stuff when you're 30, but here we go. As far as plans and programs, I am going to start looking at the resources here and elsewhere to see if there is a (secular) approach that suits me. Thanks for asking!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HOWman View Post
Its time to get to the solution part
Thanks, HOWman. You are right... As many on SR have said - alcohol was not really the problem, it was a terribly poor attempt at covering up the real issues.


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Originally Posted by Mairie View Post
Hi lostinthetrees - I was actully gutted to come to the end of your post - you have a fantastic writing style! I hope you post lots and lots more
Mairie - that is very kind of you to say. Thank you. I only wish I had a little less material


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlcoholFree66 View Post
Somehow I managed to complete a 4 year degree while I was drinking.
Thanks, AlcoholFree66 and congrats on 2 months sober! That's amazing. My best attempts recently have been on the order of a week, or so. Something feels different this time. I think it is the fact that I've accepted that I cannot drink, or do drugs. I feel ok with that now. Isn't it amazing what we got through while drinking (degrees, etc.). It was exhausting though, no? I often wonder how much more I could have accomplished with a clear head.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NightsWatch View Post
What do you think is holding you back from telling your girlfriend? I can understand the hesitation (I would feel the same way in the same situation), but I think there is something there you can look at a little more closely.
Nightswatch - thank you for your comments. I have felt alone in my addiction for a long time, just the chance that someone will truly understand where I've been makes the act of recounting my experiences therapeutic. I know that many here relate on some level. Thank you, also, for your important question. It is one that has popped into my mind as well. I have a few theories, but they deserve a little more time to incubate before I put them out there (and act on them to improve myself).


Thanks, again, everyone. I truly appreciate your support.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What an amazing first post.

So, in the midst of all of your self-destructive behavior you managed to pull a 4.0 GPA (in engineering, no less), and pursue a PhD? I wonder if you have any idea how many achievements await you if you are able to stay sober. I mean, really.

Please post often. I can't wait to hear how this turns out. I will be thinking good thoughts for you.

Good luck. And welcome to SR.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you for your kind words firstymer. I will be sure to keep posting!
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Bit late but welcome to SR lostinthetrees

D
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstymer View Post
What an amazing first post.

So, in the midst of all of your self-destructive behavior you managed to pull a 4.0 GPA (in engineering, no less), and pursue a PhD? I wonder if you have any idea how many achievements await you if you are able to stay sober. I mean, really.

Please post often. I can't wait to hear how this turns out. I will be thinking good thoughts for you.

Good luck. And welcome to SR.
Welcome Lostinthetrees,

I can certainly echo Firstymer on your achievements while drinking. What we all can do sober can be Mindboggling! If only we truly try.

Congrats on 25 days and keep accruing them. I look forward to seeing you celebrate more milestones.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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WOW! Thanks for sharing. Your last couple sentences gave me goosebumps bc YOU get it! That realization saved your life. You're almost at a month. KEEP GOING! There is a whole nother life out there and you are on your way to finding/living it! Good luck on this marvellous journey.
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