In the garden of eden, something awful has grown (my story)

Old 04-20-2015, 08:19 PM
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In the garden of eden, something awful has grown (my story)

Greets all

Hard to believe I have ended up joining these forums and I am writing here. It has now been eight days since I touched alcohol. I am a 42 year old male, with (I think) a slightly different story in how I got to this point.

I was extremely anti-alcohol when I was a young adult, I had never tried it, disdained those who over-indulged. I would joke that I was preserving a perfect liver for donation in case I met an untimely end. I was heckled by friends about it, in particular one friend (a heavy drinker) who badgered me endlessly for eight years to try it. Even buying me drinks which I refused to touch.

Eventually at the age of 27 I relented, and for the next more than 10 years I would drink seldomly and lightly, basically only when out with friends, or playing PC games online with them. I would get a bottle of vodka from the duty free, and that might last me 6 months.

Eventually I had a fiancee, and now three children of my own. We also had another personal tragedy where we lost twins prematurely.

Eventually by the age of 38 or so, when work life and family life became full of stresses and responsibilities, I would find it enjoyable to unwind after work by playing a game (offline or online with friends) and have a drink with it. This was up until about 2011. At this point I would guess I would have about 6-8 standard drinks a week (including weekends). Alcohol has never caused any significant behavioural changes for me, I do not make ill advised decisions, or get angry, or irritable, generally just more relaxed (and sometimes sleepy) - my partner agrees with this.

At some point I considered the cost of this too high financially, and being a person of curious and scientific bent, I became very curious about how alcohol is created. This grew into trying my hand at home distilling, and I became very successful at it, with friends and family exclaiming my home-made whiskey was excellent. I created a significant store of it, and with the financial cost of the alcohol largely minimised, this is where I believe I started to drink significantly more. Not all at once, but it crept up on me, increasing over time, where one drink in a night became two, or three, and being distilled alcohol the proof was drastically high.

In hindsight a number of physical afflictions started to give me trouble which I should have been more alarmed by. Weight gain for one, exhaustion, stomach ulcers, a facial tic if I did not drink for a few days, and a general feeling of malaise in my abdomen.

I got into a habit of always having a few drinks when playing games on my computer (the crazy part of this being habitual is that even at social gatherings these days, I tend to not drink at all, just ginger beer, so alot of my friends think I rarely drink - most of my family and even my employer believe I rarely drink). After a few years of this, I realized I was probably drinking the equivalent of 3-4 standard drinks per night on weeknights, and maybe double that on fridays and saturdays. I generally avoid drinking on sundays, to be fresh for a return to work.

Recently I had a blood test for another medical issue, and I was told by my doctor that the test highlighted that I had very alarming results for my liver function, and she suggested we needed to talk about my alcohol consumption. I brushed this off, but my partner did not (I was there with her and my three children).

A week or so later, my partner confronted me about this. This confrontation did not go well, because I did not consider I had a problem, especially given that most of my life has been little to no alcohol consumption, barring the last half decade or so. Not like the long-term drinkers who have drank for decades. While I am not the sort of person who shouts, or verbally abuses during arguments, I did strongly debate and deny the issue to my partner. Eventually she became quite upset, and delivered an odd sort of ultimatum. She said that with the drinking and associated weight gain, I had taken on two serious morbidities, and she believed I was headed for a crippling health issue very soon (such as a cardiac arrest, stroke, or serious liver or kidney failure), maybe within a year, and if that happened she would not be responsible for caring for me should I require an on-going carer.

I was very hurt by this, and it remained an unavoidable rift between us for the next few weeks. However I have thought of what the doctor said, and what she said almost every day since then, and slowly I have come to the conclusion that both of them are right. I do have a problem, it is a serious one, and if I do not do something about it, I will die early and leave her and the children without my support.

So now it has been eight days since I made that decision. I had only intended to go for about a week, and then limit intake to just a drink or two on weekends, but the more I read this site, and others like it, the more I wonder if I really have the willpower to limit intake. I begin to believe I only have the will to make one of two choices, to drink, or not to drink. So now its been eight days, and I have decided not to drink at all, for at least a month, longer if possible - maybe its a time limit I'll keep pushing away until it becomes forever. It has not been easy, the second through fourth day in particular were nasty, I had awful sleep issues, a bad facial tic, abdominal cramping, nausea, awful sweating, headaches, constipation, and a feeling that something dreadful was going to happen to me. Over time though this has changed, to where I now have periods of feeling absolutely awful physically, then other periods of feeling incredibly euphoric and like I am glowing with health - I think this is my body healing itself. But it has gotten easier now (though I still seem to have odd stab of pain where my kidneys would be) and I have found the urge to resist drinking is getting easier, though sometimes it still inserts itself into my thought sentences in a sly manner. For example I may be thinking, 'I'll mow the lawns after lunch, then sit down and play a game for a while afterwards <AND HAVE A DRINK>' - the last bit being where it slyly inserts itself. When I catch this happening in my thoughts, I clamp down hard on the thought, and remember why I am doing this - for my family, and for myself.

I apologize for the ramble, I just felt I needed to get it out of my system, because apart from my partner (who is pleased with my sobriety so far), I really have no one to discuss this with, and feel like I am struggling with it alone.

Regards K
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:28 PM
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Welcome, Kuhr!

Something that I needed to realize about alcoholism is that I must work daily on staying sober. This is a permanent condition, and a can never think that this is something that is behind me.

There is no need to struggle alone. SoberRecovery is an important resource for me, and I hope to see you posting often. It works if you work it!
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:45 PM
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K, thanks for posting. You are indeed like many of us here with similar habits. You will get great support from this site.

I am five days away from 90 days sober. I have two kids a concerned wife also. I know that my health has suffered since my alcohol consumption increased in my late 30's. I am 40 now.

Only you can tell if you have a problem. One thing I will say is this. Putting a time limit on it doesn't help you. 85 days in and I feel like I deserve a drink for my fortitude and had an especially tough time this weekend while my wife was 'bored because she was drinking alone'. I look at my kids and think of what I am sacrificing to feel good (also known as getting high). That has been enough to keep me sober.

Congrats on coming here. I wish you the best of luck from here on.

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Old 04-20-2015, 08:54 PM
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Welcome Kuhr and thanks for sharing your story. Many of us took different paths to get here, but we all share the exact same affliction. Alcohol took over my life completely around the same age as you are now. The good news is that you can get your life back, and I hope we can help you do just that.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:09 AM
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Welcome to SR Kuhr - glad to have you with us

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Old 04-21-2015, 06:42 AM
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Welcome Kuhr
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:51 AM
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It's wonderful to have you here!
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:33 AM
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Hi Kuhr

what an interesting and well written account - thanks a lot. Circumstantially, you drink in the exact opposite way to me - I only do it out and about socially and never quietly at home. However, the bit about how drinking slyly inserts itself into your plans is identical to my own experience! (and that of many others here, I think!)

Sounds like you are doing a truly great job so far and you seem to be a good and clear thinker too. Keep at it!

Sounds like you have a great excuse not to mow the lawn too - nice work (joke!!!)

Best wishes and thanks for sharing

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Old 04-21-2015, 09:02 AM
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Welcome to the SR family, Kuhr. It is great to have you here with us.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:40 AM
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Welcome to the Forum Kuhr!!
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:59 PM
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Thank you to everyone for their support, it is actually a big help just to be able to share all of this with non judgemental people of like mind, I do not want to discuss it with family, friends, my doctor or others because the last thing I want is the 'alcoholic' icon above my head every time someone I know looks at me.

I have now made it two weeks, though last night was difficult, as I played a co-op game with a friend online, and he was intoxicated. But ice green tea came through for me again, filling that psychological need to have a drink near to hand.

As I mentioned, for the last few years I was home distilling my own spirits (technically not legal here in Australia, but unlike the U.S it is ignored by the authorities unless you do something stupid like sell it). One of the things I did before choosing to abstain was ensure my stock ran out, so I would have no easy-to-hand temptation, the thought being if I had to make the effort to go out and buy it, it would give my conscience time to reconsider doing it.

However a few days ago while shopping with my family, my partner (who rarely drinks, just a glass of red wine twice a month or so with dinner) came out of a nearby liquor store with a bottle of bourbon. I asked what it was for, and she said she thought I might like it.

This to me is very odd, since she knows I am making a big effort to abstain, and she is in fact the one who confronted me over drinking which turned into a very ugly and hurtful disagreement for the both of us. I could not fathom why she would so adamantly confront me over consuming alcohol, then over a week after I stopped drinking, buy some more for me.

I finally had a talk to her about it last night - it was bothering me that every time open the cupboard, I see it on the bottom shelf - she told me she was proud of my effort, and felt bad about our argument, and her pressure to stop, and said all she had wanted to do was get me to commit to reduce how much I drank, not completely deprive me of it, and she felt guilty.

I explained to her that although her confronting me was a catalyst, I chose to completely abstain myself, it was my decision and I take responsibility for it. She is relieved, and has secured the bourbon somewhere I am unaware of.

Just a point of interest, my partner's vice is weed (something I personally abhor, have never tried, and hate the smell of). She apparently used it before we met, then not at all for 10 years we are together, then started it up again the last two years or so. I thought it was harmless, until two or three times a week became three times a night, and her pressuring me to solicit the assistance of a family member to get it, when her usual supplier could not. Probably two months before she confronted me about alcohol, I confronted her about her dramatic increase in weed use. I am not a wowser, or against recreational weed use, but there is a point where it becomes a problem, like alcohol. Although that was also a nasty argument, she has dramatically decreased use back to twice a week (friday and saturday night). I half suspect my confrontation with her problem emboldened her to confront me with mine. While at the time both of these confrontations felt devastating and harmful to our relationship, I now feel that sometimes no matter how much it hurts, or how much it we all want to maintain harmony with our partners, sometimes it is more beneficial in the long run to upset the peace now, to ensure the harmony later.

Anyway, sorry about the rambling Reading other threads, I see others grapple with similar issues.
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