Sir Higgins sure liked the long weekend. He was not happy that we returned to work. This is “the look” of “Schnauz-tude” (for those who don’t know, Schnauzers have attitude…I call it Schnauz-tude). This is Higgins’ certified Class A STINK EYE! He gave me this dirty look as I was getting ready to leave for work this morning.
“You’re really never going to drink again? Not even one beer or a glass of wine with dinner?”
If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a thousand times lately. I keep hearing this from everyone. I always thought that recognizing your own problem was the hardest part. Not in my case. Isn’t it usually the family who does an intervention on the alcoholic? Not in my circles…I think I’m going to have to do an intervention on my friends and some of my family!
(Not my mom and dad of course…they have been pleading with me for years to quit drinking…needless to say, they are in FULL support of my indefinite sobriety!)
And my BIL was totally cool with it…his reply was “well, at least we know we’ll always have a designated driver when you’re around” (hmm, gee thanks…I mean, I’m happy to keep you safe, but really??) Don’t get me wrong, I have an awesome, very handsome BIL who would never say anything to be unkind. He is really sweet and a great husband to my SIL. I think he was just speaking “off the cuff”. I probably would have thought the same thing! Sober? Awesome, someone to drive us around! Yup, I know that’s what I would have thought.
How can someone other than you decide whether or not you have an addiction? I don’t need a six pack or even a single beer to get myself started in the morning, but I also don’t see any hour as “too early” to start drinking…after all, that’s why some genius mixologist invented the Mimosa and the Bloody Mary. It’s part of an amazing weekend breakfast….that for me turns into an all day drinking binge.
How can I get them to understand that their suggestion that I just have a glass of wine with dinner is not a viable solution for my situation. If I open a bottle of wine, even with good intentions to only have “a glass with dinner”, it just doesn’t end there. I drink the whole bottle.
It’s been hard enough to come to terms with my own addiction. Now I have to convince others that I DON’T need to drink any more. I have tried and tried to identify a proper definition of addiction in order to determine whether or not I have a problem. The result of my search is this….There is no simple definition. There is no cut and dry explanation of alcoholism.
What is an alcoholic supposed to look like? Others who have identified themselves as an alcoholic…did you have similar habits to mine? Did my pal from Bitten and Bound drink like I did or is her story completely different? Was she the “textbook drunk”? Am I the “textbook drunk”? What is the “textbook drunk”? Is there a “textbook drunk”?
This is what I know:
- I know that nine times out of ten when I “just have a glass of wine with dinner”, I usually end up drinking the bottle and then I look for more.
- I know that most often when I drink, I drink #1. To Intoxication, #2. To Blackout, AND #3. Lose all control of how much I consume.
- I know that once the “switch is turned on”, it doesn’t turn off until my body starts shutting down….aka I pass out.
- I know that I can’t just sit with that lovely buzzed feeling. As soon as I get a little bit of a head change, I just want to keep drinking more and more….until I pass out.
- I know that I can’t appreciate a cheese plate with crackers and fresh fruit without a bottle of wine. My thought is “what would be the point?” My mom and I just discussed this recently and she was so sad for me at the thought of such a thing. She can’t understand where I am coming from because she doesn’t share my struggle.
- I don’t know how to REALLY have FUN without a drink in my hand.
- The other day, I was listening to some music that I really love and enjoy and the thought crossed my mind how much MORE I would enjoy the music if I had a buzz. Music sounds better, nature is more beautiful, sporting events are more fun, conversations are more stimulating, you get to have silly times with friends….everything in life is more enjoyable while I’m drinking.
- I know that I drank my “imaginary Mimosa” the other morning at brunch with my family. I still think about it, I still dream about it. I still have a love affair with it. I don’t think I ever WON’T have those feelings about alcohol.
- I know that if the restaurant we were at the other morning had $2 Mimosa’s, I would have already set my mind to spending $10 before I had a single sip…..and then I’d probably decide I could get away with another Mimosa or two after that. Did I mention I sometimes like a splash of vodka in my Mimosa? Just for that extra kick.
- I know that my answer to a rough, stressful day is a few drinks….which turns into many drinks.
People think it is a lack of willpower. People think that I can just have one drink, I just choose not to. Don’t they remember what it was like to be around me when I was drinking? I wasn’t a mean drunk. I wasn’t an argumentative drunk. I was a very loving drunk. I knew no strangers, I was the epitome of “social butterfly”. I was impulsive, I was the life of the party, I was FUN!
As I am writing this, my mister informs me that I have it all backwards….he sheds some enlightenment into what it was like to deal with “the social butterfly”, the impulsive one, the “life of the party”. It turns out, I was “the life of the party” in my own mind and the only person that was having FUN was me. As I would go around to random strangers, greeting them, spreading my cheery spirit around, my mister would be going behind me, apologizing to the nice people for this drunken idiot he was with. (“Drunken idiot”….those are my words, not his.)
I once went out on a first date with a guy on Wine Night. Well, he quickly learned THAT was a HUGE mistake….and that was the last date. He dropped me off at my house and never called again. Who could blame him, I was a raging alcoholic! He was a nice guy with a great job, looking for someone to date. Clearly I was NOT in the same place in my life.
One reason that it has been so hard for me to determine if I am truly that word (alcoholic, said in whispers of course) is because in college it is what everyone else did too. At what point did everyone else become responsible? I must have been drunk when that happened.
When I entered the “real world”, I discovered Happy Hour with co workers! They would have their “after work drinks”, talk shop, and they knew when it was time to end the after work gathering. They went home at the end of happy hour and then came to work refreshed the next day. When I went to happy hour, I would have my “after work bottle of wine”. At some point, all of my coworkers would wrap it up and go home, being all “responsible” and stuff while I was planning which bar I would visit next. “I was just getting started, y’all! Where’s the party at?” My philosophy was “guys, you just got me started, you can’t leave me hanging like this!” Even if I had to stay at the bar by myself I would….there’s always someone at the bar who is willing to talk to you. (Wow, as I read this even I think that’s really sad!) Unfortunately I would report to work the next morning, having a few hours of sleep and a shower (if I was lucky), reeking of booze, looking and feeling GREEN. Remember Mr. Yuk? Yeah, I felt like him! A LOT! Trust me, not many employers will tolerate you puking into the garbage can under your desk. (Yes, I did that….it had been a Tequila kind of night.)
There is a new girl in our office and she’s already asked if we go out for drinks together after work as a group. I said no, but what I really wanted to say was No, and BE GLAD! She has come to learn of my story and still asks…“You can’t even have just one drink??”
One of the reasons I have loved the latest book I’ve been reading (Unwasted by Sacha Z. Scoblic) is because I can relate so well to her and her feelings of “Now What?” when she entered into sobriety. I can identify with her story of meeting someone new, a potential new friend who says “let’s go out for drinks sometime”….because that happened to me just recently. You have to tell them you don’t drink, but in the very next breath, you feel the need to say “but I’m still fun!” so they won’t completely write you off. Even I think people who don’t drink are bores-ville.
The truth is, I am SAVING them from meeting this other girl that lurks within me, just waiting for the first glimpse of alcohol to let her out. People who haven’t met the drunk me don’t know what they are NOT missing out on!
Now, dear friends and faithful readers….YOU be the judge….do I have a problem? Am I an addict? Do I need to stay away from this legal and very addicting drug that has full capability and intention to ruin lives?
……I think I already know the answer to that question. I just hope that I can find the support I truly need from those I care about.
My mom asked me today if I think I am going to need help or some sort of treatment program after my Scram comes off to help me stay sober. Her question irritated me and I said no…..but how do I know? What will a treatment program do for me at this stage? I won’t be going through detox, I’ve been sober for 135 days. I suppose I may need some support to STAY sober once my Scram comes off. After what I have just told you, I hardly think I should need more convincing that it is time to draw a definitive line for my drinking habit. It’s not “one with dinner” and that’s it. It is a cut and dry situation (pardon the pun). I CAN’T DRINK. EVER.
When all of this started, I thought the outcome would be simply to not drink and drive ever again. For me, the experience has been even more life changing and certainly enlightening. I obviously have issues with addiction.
“Really? You can’t even have just one drink?” Can I expect this question for as long as I choose to maintain sobriety? Will they ever understand? Will I ever just be Britton, the girl we like to hang out with, who has a cute sense of humor and oh by the way she doesn’t drink…but she’s still fun, buy her a Shirley Temple!!