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Need some help with Step One

Old 07-24-2016, 02:34 PM
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Need some help with Step One

Hi everyone,
Sometimes when I drank, I did not drink everything in the house. There were times when, although I drank too much, there was still beer in the fridge and I didn't want any more.
When I read the description in the Big Book, or listen to the description from the Joe and Charlie tapes, they seem to say that an alcoholic, once they start, always drink til they pass out or get arrested or sick.
It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc. But my mind keeps going back to this, Am I an alcoholic if I can sometimes stop before I pass out?
Maybe women are different?
I look forward to reading your thoughts. I'm off to a much needed meeting!
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:45 PM
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Hi Karen-
Today, my sponsor and I had our usual Sun meeting. One part of our conversation came up about this- whether or not someone is a real alcoholic (see BB p 21, 1st full pgh).

A guy I work with was the reason we got on this topic: he goes to meetings but he hasn't admitted - he does not think- he is an alcoholic. I definitely think he is, all based on what HE has shared with me. He knows I am in AA and I share my ESH with him; not my place to preach, advise, or counsel - just listen and respond with my experiences. Yesterday, we're talking and at an appropriate point, I asked if he was still drinking (he has shared with me that it's down to x a week, or y a day, and such) and he said "not really, just when my wife buys it. She's in charge of the purchases and I drink then. We had wine the other night. But she's like, a twice a year drinker." Hmm.

This to me is one version of ....
I only drink beer, so I'm not a real alcoholic.
I don't always pass out, so I'm not a real alcoholic.
I haven't lost my job! I haven't had a DUI . . . I'm not a real alcoholic.

You get the idea.

My sponsor said to me that the questions to ask are these: Are you ever unable to stop, when you want to? Can you stay stopped? (another question would be do you lose control?). These questions go to intent, and ability.

Not everyone gets blackouts; not everyone drinks every day or in the morning. Not everyone - put in not every alcoholic there - drinks the same way, though there are many common behaviors and habits.

I think you answered your own question by saying : "It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc. But my mind keeps going back to this..." Most of us would call it the AV - Alcoholic Voice- that you are hearing. You can choose to listen to it tell you that you are not a real alcoholic because [ whatever ] or you can accept that you are. Not easy, but necessary to recovery.

Once the question arises - can I drink like everyone else - well, it's a pretty sure bet that you're an alcoholic.

Getting caught up in the whys and wherefores....can keep you drinking, and certainly keep you from really - REALLY- admitting Step One.

Good luck to you. I hope you find other folks to talk to in meetings, or different mtgs to go to, that help you explore what a real alcoholic is and see if you are one.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenOskie View Post
Hi everyone,
Sometimes when I drank, I did not drink everything in the house. There were times when, although I drank too much, there was still beer in the fridge and I didn't want any more.
When I read the description in the Big Book, or listen to the description from the Joe and Charlie tapes, they seem to say that an alcoholic, once they start, always drink til they pass out or get arrested or sick.
It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc. But my mind keeps going back to this, Am I an alcoholic if I can sometimes stop before I pass out?
Maybe women are different?
I look forward to reading your thoughts. I'm off to a much needed meeting!
It took me a while to admit I was an alcoholic, because my experiences were different. I had a high bottom regarding the alcohol but a low bottom spiritually.

Drinking is "surface". If you don't identify with the surface stuff like the passing out, black outs, DUIs, jail, divorce, job loss, go deeper and identify with the emotional pain, unmanageability in your life and thinking, guilt/remorse/shame, and all the fears, depression, and anxiety that you used alcohol for to give you relief from.

Try to identify with the pain, vs comparing with what is different.

It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc. But my mind keeps going back to this, Am I an alcoholic if I can sometimes stop before I pass out?
If you're writing that "it's crazy", I'd guess you are one of us, but only you can decide if you are an alcoholic or not.

If you're writing that "I know I can't drink normally", that sounds alcoholic to me.

"Drinking makes me sick and takes away my life"....yet when you swear it off you still drink, that sounds alcoholic to me.

"I crave it even though it hurts me" - doesn't sound like sane behavior to me, and sounds like what I and many others experienced

"But my mind keeps going back to this, Am I an alcoholic if I can sometimes stop before I pass out?" No where does it say the requirement to being an alcoholic is that you pass out.

I can't remember the page but there's a section in the big book that discusses if you put it in you and your body says "give me more" and you swear it off but you do it again, you're probably an alcoholic. Can someone help me out with the page? That should help you.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:45 PM
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Read the first 43 pages of the big book. Also focus on the doctor's opinion.
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:08 PM
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Thanks so much for your responses, they help a lot!
I definitely can't stay stopped. There always comes a time when there is nothing I want in the world more than a drink. A couple of months ago, on the way home from work after being without a drink for about a week, I was fighting the urge, and had to admit to myself that if someone offered me a million dollars not to drink that night, I would be hard pressed to make the choice. No one did, I drank, and it took me days of agony to get stopped again.
What gets me is the descriptions, such as the one in the big book, where they say something like 'An alcoholic is never tipsy, they are always more or less insanely drunk' That is not me.
I drank enough that when I was drinking, I was always sick the next day. Sick all morning from the night before, and sick all afternoon from not getting a drink soon enough. But it was the exception for me to be "insanely drunk".
I use to have blackouts a lot, but in the last year I don't think I did. Or maybe I had just gotten use to them and they didn't register as much. Plus, since I only drink alone, I may not have paid attention to them, because I wasn't worried I had done something stupid since only me and the dog would know about it.
I got so that I would always wake up, or 'come to' at about 3 in the morning, not wanting a drink but sick and thirsty and nauseated.
I do know I'm an alcoholic. I'm just worried I could be wrong because I don't fit the descriptions.
I talked with a couple of people standing outside waiting for the meeting tonight. One was a high school student, he had a hard time with it too, because of being so young, but spent a couple of months in treatment and they helped him overcome it.
The other was a young woman who had a hard time with it because she hadn't lost anything, was very 'high functioning'. She said she kept relapsing at first, too, but wouldn't give up and it finally stuck and she has over a year.
I'm sorry if my incessant posting is bothering anyone. I am trying really hard, but need some guidance and input and you guys are my biggest support right now.
Thank you!!!
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:10 PM
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high functioning is a stage, not a type of alcoholic.

alcoholism is progressive. all those "not yets" just haven't happened, yet.

You've got a good first step going on. What do you think of The Doctor's Opinion?
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:04 AM
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Hi Sugarbear. I read the doctor's opinion over again last night and this morning. I get from it that there are different types of alcoholics, and that all alcoholics need a Higher Power to keep them sober. I identify with all the different types, but I think the psychopath description fits me best. Yikes! I don't think I'm a psychopath, but I do have the 'over remorseful, going on the wagon for keeps, making resolutions but never a decision'. That's what I'm trying to do once and for all right now, make a decision. Now I see how I have to have step one 100 percent. That, I think, is what has been missing.
So, my drinking may not be just like every other alcoholic, but that's because none of us are just alike, we are all a bit different in different ways.
I have the 'phenomina of craving', the absence of a mental defense against picking up the first drink. That's an alcoholic.
I also read page 43 with an eye to letting it help me with this. From that, I get that I am hopeless apart from Divine help.
I truly appreciate your help.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:16 AM
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I got worried about the 'psychopath' term and looked it up. I am not a psychopath, the psychologists descriptions don't fit me at all. But, the description in the big book does. Apparently, at least from what I read this morning, the term was used more loosely in Dr. Silkworth's time.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:33 AM
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"It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc"

remember, the 1st step doesn't say
admitted we were alcoholics.....
its says admitted we were powerless over alcohol...

which reads like you've admitted youre powerless- once you have a drink you cant stop.
also reads like you've admitted your life is unmanageable.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenOskie View Post
I got worried about the 'psychopath' term and looked it up. I am not a psychopath, the psychologists descriptions don't fit me at all. But, the description in the big book does. Apparently, at least from what I read this morning, the term was used more loosely in Dr. Silkworth's time.
in your big book, go to the story section titled,"they stopped in time."
read the intro to that section.
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Old 07-25-2016, 04:39 AM
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for some reason I cant edit my posts, so gotta add one more reply:
the big book says something about women getting in horrible condition quicker than men.

welp, took a minute and found it:

To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. This is particularly true of women. Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years. Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if called alcoholics, are astonished at their inability to stop.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:27 AM
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Hi Karen, sometimes I can be a bit shocked at the stories in the BB too, and I think to myself that I was never that bad either.....
But all I have to do is remember one of the countless times that I went out intending to just have one ...and ended up in a blackout. Or the last hangover I had where I literally wanted to kill myself.
I don't get too hung up on the specifics- I was powerless and my life was unmanageable......and since I quit drinking things have only looked up. They aren't perfect but they are much better than they were.
Hugs.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:38 AM
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I got hung up on having to say that at every meeting, even though I definitely identify as an alcoholic...so I get what you're saying about the "label" (I think.)

If drinking is a problem, stopping is the solution. Don't die trying to justify not fitting a label that is self-diagnosed in the beginning anyway. I know I tried to find any and all reasons why I could continue to drink on occasion. Complete abstinence is so much better and so much easier, regardless of whether or not I identify publicly as an alcoholic.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:43 PM
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Thanks so much everyone. This all helped a lot. I think I've got step one. I never paid attention to the part in the big book about women before, and reading all of this while relating it to the first step made a big difference.
Now, on to two!
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Old 07-25-2016, 03:19 PM
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Hi Karen,I might as well share my 1st step
I just cannot control my drinking once I start

I have the physical allergy Silkworth wrote about.

once I do get stopped,I can`t stay stopped.I read chapter 3 and I see where it gives me examples of how those people can`t manage the thoughts that come before a drink successfully enough to stay sober.
That happened to me so many times I can`t count them.

I drank too much,too often,and when I quit I couldn`t stay quit.
Powerless means I will drink again someday and if I am unable to manage the thoughts before a drink to keep me from drinking,then I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable.Insanity is what I call the examples in chapter 3
I can`t manage my mind or body once I start drinking
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:10 PM
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Karen,

i rarely got "insanely drunk".
i got quietly and desperately drunk to about the same place most nights.

but i lost the power of choice, which is something the BB mentions. this is what makes me an alcoholic as outlined in the BB and AA paradigm.
i lost the power of choice not over the second or third or fifth drink, but about the first drink.
i drank when i had committed and decided not to. i couldn't not drink, at times.
the first one.

that was the insane part.
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Old 07-26-2016, 11:40 PM
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From memory I think that insanely drunk term comes in the section where the book talks about the different types of drinker, and attempts to pin down the characteristics of the real alcoholic. I think it says that the real alcoholic may once have been a moderate drinker, or a hard drinker, but at some point crossed a line.

Being a progressive illness, being insanely drunk may not yet have happened to an individual, but it will happen if that person continues to drink.

Insane drunken behaviour was not part of my initial drinking, it came later.

I lost the power of choice in drink, and I never got it back. What I got instead is described in the tenth step promises, around page 85. They start "we have ceased fighting..." The best kept secret in AA.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenOskie View Post
Hi everyone,
Sometimes when I drank, I did not drink everything in the house. There were times when, although I drank too much, there was still beer in the fridge and I didn't want any more.
When I read the description in the Big Book, or listen to the description from the Joe and Charlie tapes, they seem to say that an alcoholic, once they start, always drink til they pass out or get arrested or sick.
It's crazy, because I know I can't drink normally, that drinking makes me sick and takes away my life, that I crave it even though it hurts me, etc. But my mind keeps going back to this, Am I an alcoholic if I can sometimes stop before I pass out?
Maybe women are different?
I look forward to reading your thoughts. I'm off to a much needed meeting!
You pretty much stated what it means to be addicted to alcohol in your post. Passing out has nothing to do with it. You don't drink because it makes you pass out.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:09 AM
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the 1st 164 pages of the BB are based on low bottom drunks, Bill was close to a wet brain and DR Bob was one binge away from death these were 2 late stage alcoholics.
I have been going too meetings for 25 years and rarely have I seen late stage alcoholics in meetings, heck most of us would not have been allowed in early AA meetings, it is up to us as individuals to determine if we are alcoholic, can you stop when you start, do you obsess about alcohol are you defenseless against the 1st drink etc etc.
Get into a good recovery program and give sobriety a chance with a clear head you can figure it out.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:14 AM
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Karen along with AA check out Smart Recovery web site they have free work sheets for recovery and many tools for recovery in there tool box section
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