My hidden crutch

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One of my biggest things I hate to admit is that I have a drinking problem. I feel ridiculous even writing it out right now. I'm 25 years old, which is prime drinking age, you would think... but considering the facts, I've been drinking on most of the days in my last five or six years, and even at 17 or 18 I had some times where I would keep vodka around at night.

One time I hit a rock bottom and got in a short police chase, getting myself a DUI and a high list of expenses. That was almost three years ago, when I was 23. I said "that's it," and stopped drinking for a couple weeks, during which time I don't quite recall how I felt - probably a little off.

The night I got a DUI I had decided to stop hustling trees, which provided the expendable income that I used on... whatever. It was never an issue to just throw down some of that expendable money on drinks.

Before my DUI, I drank socially more often, out and about, driving afterwards. After, I've seemed to preferred drinking in the comfortability of my home. Either way, the bar's supply never cut it, and I would always have some available for my personal consumption whenever I "needed." (i.e. "felt like it" )

I haven't always been able to say that it's just a choice I like to make. I quit selling, so the money wasn't always plentiful, and, last winter, for example, I reverted to Steel Reserve beers and cheap liquors to sate my taste for the buzz. The money comes in at a trickle for me in the winter... well, not anymore, as I have revived my expendable source of income within the past year...

However, over the last year-and-a-half especially, my drinking has been a bit of a hidden crutch in my life. I like doing anything that I can do while drinking; i.e. golf, woodland walks, hanging at home, get-togethers with friends, even going to the bar on a rare occasion. Besides that, I am in work or school - and I found that last semester, I drank a 90-proof nip or two before many classes... or over the summer, I'd work my day labor job, drink a nip or two, get ready and go to my night job. Then at the on-the-computer part of my night job I'd sling a few back over the course of some hours... get out, drive home, and drink on the way there, then finish the night off passing out at home. Wake up in the morning with a half-empty this or that, or a full nip, even-- down that, then head off to work again. on Saturday mornings, I work very early, and go on-air at a radio station. I'd even drink a nip before sun-up on my way in, and another nip midway through the show. Often I would drink three nips when getting off of that shift, go home, and take a nap.

With the onset of cold weather, I kept a beer and a nip in the car to drink right after getting off my day job. My drinking goes hand-in-hand with tobacco smoking as well. I would drink a nip before entering a shopping center, because shopping is better that way... I would drink on lunch break here and there... I would excuse myself, like, damn - living this routine of day-in and day-out working two jobs/going to school, AND suffering heartbreak..? A man's gotta put it down somehow.

And the She who broke my heart came back to me less than a year ago--That all fell through again, probably partly because I can't get a hold on my substance intake. She came back to me again within the last couple of months, and has said she will stick with me while I give it a try going without alcohol. I went five days on my own without before she came back - no withdrawals, just hard to sleep and a gnawing sensation in the back of my head, like... "why aren't you drinking something right now? That's your habit!"

She doesn't know the extent of my habit. She's the only woman I've ever loved as my own, and I've already died 1000 deaths losing her before... I really wouldn't want to lose her again. I already wanted to make changes in my life before she came back in it, and I still feel like I'm on my own in making these changes... she once said, years ago when she wasn't even 21 yet: "If you can't be strong for you, you can't be strong for us." So I've always felt on my own with handling my own issues.

I slept at her place the Monday night - was supposed to be my first night without drinking - but had two nips on reserve that I drank in solitude after she fell asleep. I didn't sleep much. Woke up, bought nips, drank, took a long nap... drank a little that night and a beer the next night, on the low. Didn't drink at all Wednesday but smoked weed that night, and now on Thursday - she might want me to come over, but I'm concerned things might be complicated by my hidden demons.

I have often drank to rid myself of feelings, and noticed I became sensitive on the phone with her last night. Ended the phone convo, but smoothed it over with a couple texts. She also doesn't know I smoke tobacco again.

She was also daily marijuana-smoker since high school years, and recently showed me she was able to go two weeks without it. I'm very proud of her. I want to be proud of myself, too, and have her be proud of me. I've picked excersing back up, but I can tell that with all things considered, putting down the drinks will not be the easiest feat.

The last thing I want to do is be overly-sensitive and over-thinking, or anxious, or secretly wanting a drink or even a smoke of tobacco. The last thing I want is restless sleep or inability to doze off because I haven't had a drink. But I can't keep up the lifestyle, it's false. Perpetual habit has turned a desire into a need over time.

I'm even considering going to an AA meeting tonight after class, instead of going to my girl's house. I don't expect she'd understand though. I don't even understand much myself... how underlying issues might come to the surface and how I will handle them... beats me.

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Well, you have to want to give it up or at least cut it down to where it is social drinking only. I don't think smoking weed helps and long term this will damage you, not your body, but your brain, which then makes it even harder to be compos mentos about situations.

    If you want to calm the drinking down, go see your GP for a detox.

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  • Posted

    Like other people who have difficulty with alcohol, you have a physical illness which is causing you to drink in an out-of-control way. Have a read about 'The Sinclair Method' either in this forum or by Googling it. That is an effective medical treatment witrh a very high success rate. Reading about it will also help you understand why you do what you do.
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  • Posted

    Bourgeman -

    Thank you for posting that. The way you chronicled your troubles here will help not only you, it will help others that carry such a burden.

    I'm going to second what Paul has said. While a percentage of the population can simply force themselves to abstain from alcohol and make that stick without relapsing, the lion's share abstain, then relapse over and over again. Often, each relapse sees them drinking even more than they did before, with the damage to themselves and those around them growing each time. This condition points to a disorder that doesn't respond to willpower, logic, reason or prayer. There is, however, a medical method for dealing with it that has a success rate in the high double digits. You can read about it in an article that's right here on Patient. 

    https://patient.info/health/sinclair-method-for-alcohol-use-disorder

    That you're looking to address this at this time in your life rather than decades down the road is a huge advantage. While you're gathering the information you need to remedy this disorder, consider keeping a drinks diary, where you record the number of standard drinks you consume every day. Your observation about smoking and drinking demonstrates the kind of mindfulness that will help you in your effort. Try this: When you go out for a smoke, leave your drink inside and see if that doesn't put a bit of a dent in your consumption. 

    I've used the method outlined in the above link to counter a 30 year habit of daily drinking. Since starting a couple of weeks ago, I've dropped from 12 units a day to about 5. That number may go up some, but will mainly go down as the months pass. Already the first pint that was usually gone in 20 minutes now lasts at least 2 hours without much conscious effort on my part, just a bit of mindfulness to speed things along. I'm part of a discussion group of others that use this method and we have a saying: "No white-knuckling allowed". 

    Well, have a look at the link above and see what you think. Discuss it with your doctor. If your doc doesn't know of this method or the medication involved, let me know and I'll point you to some resources that can help you track one down. I picked a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner that specializes in addiction and is quite familiar with the method. If, after the haze of alcohol dissapates, I have underlying issues that I want to address, I'll have a relationship already in place to help me with that too. 

    I'll follow this thread, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. 

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  • Posted

    HI Bourgeman. I used to be like you and hiding all the bottles sectretly and never admitting to anything. Yes, this has to stop and you are brave writing the longest post I have ever seen!! And why not!? Get it off your chest. AA perhaps since they have routine and my dad went for 10 yrs plus and cured him most certainly. Not everybody like the religous tendencies but up to you. Best of luck to you. Robin
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