Got a prob? Could you be an alcoholic?

First of all, let me start out by saying that you don’t have to be an alcoholic to have a drinking problem. If you are wondering if you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Ignorant people tend to picture alcoholics as falling-down, smelly boozers or bitchy trailer park whores, but the majority of alcoholics walk around looking and acting like “normal” people. If you don’t want to label yourself as an alcoholic or problem drinker, then don’t. Nobody is asking you to. Awareness is all I am going for here. Here are some warning signs:

  1. Not being able to imagine your life without alcohol in it – if this scenario is just too hard to grasp, I can certainly relate. Who the hell would want to hang out with you? Why would you want to hang out with your dumbass friends if you were the only one sober? What would you do with your time? Where the hell would you go? How would you deal with every single situation where alcohol is present?
  2. Obsessing about alcohol – about the next time you can drink, how you are going to get it and who you’re going to go out drinking with. I’m not talking about getting all frazzled like a crack whore, it can be as simple as daydreaming about those beers after work every day, or worse, putting a few back in the middle of the day, just to make it through.
  3. Surrounding yourself socially with heavy drinkers – all of my friends were partiers. I barely knew of any sober people. There are so many heavy drinkers out there; I’d say a large majority of the ones that I know have a problem to some degree. But what does that mean? Whatever the hell you want it to mean. Our society encourages heavy drinking, sadly. It just seems so glamorous to be instantly accepted into that “club”. Am I judgmental? Hell yeah, I am. I’ve earned that right, plus, what’s it matter to you?
  4. Binge drinking – considered to be 5 drinks or more consumed within one sitting – is there any other way? Anything less than that and I figured you just couldn’t hang. If you weren’t beer bonging, keg standing, shot gunning, or just plain trying to get wasted, I could not and did not want to relate to you.
  5. Inability to control your alcohol intake after starting to drink – I actually don’t think I fell into this category. I was usually pretty good at keeping a steady buzz without going off the deep end, or having the spins set in. I know many who cannot control their intake, however and decide to jump over fires, jump off of houses, drive around, break stuff by being retarded or have to cut a good time short because they’re so blitzed, they have to go pass out.
  6. Behaving in ways, while drunk, that are uncharacteristic of your sober personality – I don’t really have to go here, do I? Been there. Done that. Repeatedly.
  7. Feeling guilt and shame about your drunken behaviors – I’m not going here either, but I will say that toward the end of my drinking career, I was apologizing to my husband (then boyfriend) on a regular basis. I would turn into a royal bitch and basically become verbally abusive toward him. He would never repeat what I said to him…it must have been some awful shit…but thankfully, he forgave me and we worked through it all together.
  8. Repeating unwanted drinking patterns – in a normal person’s brain, they would likely learn from episodes and choose not to repeat them, at least not for a very long time. In an alcoholic’s brain (in my dumbed-down opinion), this choice is overridden by some type of chemical blip that almost makes you forget about the episode, or something like that. I had a friend who had to look at the guy’s mail on his table in the morning, to figure out what his name was…she was absolutely mortified, scared…she was right back out on the town the next weekend boozing and whoring around. Normal people don’t do that.
  9. Driving drunk – Here’s something scary, I drove during my blackouts. I honestly thought I was an exception to the rule. I’m damn lucky I never killed anyone. I am still ashamed about this and feel a little hypocritical now, but no, not really. I’m sober now, so that means I’m better than all of you who choose to drive drunk. If I see any of you bitches driving around, I’m calling 911. You need to actually think before you start drinking.
  10. Driving buzzed – even if you’re buzzed, you have no right to be behind that wheel. I know, I know, it’s easier said than done. The alcohol makes you think you can do it. Here’s my advice: Plan. Plan. Plan. If you’re going out after work and you have two drinks on an empty stomach, you should have planned it out to have someone else drive you or pick you up. Inconvenient you say? So is a DUI or even worse, running over a pedestrian or killing someone. There are so many dumbasses that drive with a buzz; I really need to write a separate post on this subject.
  11. Getting drunk before actually arriving at parties/bars – PRE-FUNK, baby! It’s much cheaper, more fun and it’s so much more convenient to already be loose and extra social when you arrive to a function.
  12. Setting drinking limits – if you try to “only drink on the weekends” or have only 1 glass of wine with dinner, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. If not, more power to you, but if you even have to consider setting limits, maybe you should honestly explore why that is.
  13. Taking breaks from drinking – “We were on a break!” Like that ever works out! Seriously, if you have to take a freaking break, you’re not being real with yourself.
  14. Always having to finish your alcoholic beverage or someone else’s – it’s a damn shame to waste perfectly good alcohol, I know. The only acceptable instance would be a very small pour out for all of your fallen homies. Bet.
  15. People have expressed concern about your negative drunken behaviors – here’s where I am confused and shocked…no one ever said anything to me that I remember. Most of my friends and family were surprised to hear that I had quit! It is such a shame how our society puts drinking and partying on such a pedestal. I wish someone would have expressed genuine concern for me, as deep down, I was breaking my own heart and wanting someone to really SEE me. Who knows, I may have laughed in their face or bitched them out if they tried, but I’d like to think it would have resonated on some level…if ifs were fifths…
  16. Having chronic blackouts – shit, that was the goal half the time. I blacked out on a very regular basis. A piece of advice for everyone: DON’T DRINK EVEN ONE DRINK ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, EVER!
  17. An increasing sense of denial that your heavy drinking is a problem because you are able to succeed professionally and personally – I think people hear the phrase, “functioning alcoholic” and forget that the majority of alcoholics ARE functioning, really. Alcoholics, problem drinkers, whatever you want to call it.

If you do determine you or someone you love has a problem, there are many options for help and many different ways to go about it. Google it. Comments are welcome.

16 Truths in Dealing with Sober Reality

The hard part about sobriety is that you have to deal with life and other people as they really are, and you have to do this SOBER!

I’ve found the following to be true for me:

  1. It hasn’t gotten much easier.
  2. Most people are pretty boring – having said that, I do make a game out of it to spice it up and do usually find out interesting things about people or myself.
  3. I have little tolerance for annoying people – this has always been the case, but the level of annoying-ness soars when I’m sober, especially when the irritating party is drinking.
  4. I have little tolerance for people who don’t follow through with their own goals – I am so damn proud of myself for being able to do this day in and day out, I really don’t understand people who refuse to change their lives for the better. My lack of understanding surely leads to the intolerance, I’ll admit. Sure, we all get comfortable being uncomfortable at times, but I don’t get these people: People who bitch about being fat and do little about it just baffle my mind; People who hate their job, but don’t even look for a new one, willing to just be miserable for their short, precious lives; People who make New Years resolutions. Seriously, they’re kidding themselves if they wait to do it; People who drink all the way to the front door of rehab…you know that’s not going to end well. If you really wanted it, you’d start right this moment. Everyone wants a simple fix and no one wants to work hard for what they want. This is why I admire other sober people and want to know more of them, because it would be so easy to just take that first drink, but every minute of every day has a purpose, to stay sober…and then every other minute finds a new, more meaningful purpose. We do things on purpose, is what I am getting at. I like that. In the words of good ‘ol Hitch, “Begin each day as if it were on purpose.”
  5. My problems are still here, only they’re easier to work through.
  6. I know who my true friends are.
  7. Most functions are pretty boring – I make a game out of these, too. I have to, living with my social butterfly of a husband. My social anxiety doesn’t help, but sure does set the stage for some challenging interactions, which then elude the boring-ness, but make me a nervous wreck!
  8. Most functions include alcohol – true dat!
  9. Drunk people are obnoxious idiots – I am usually not around for this phase anymore, but on the lucky occasion I happen to be, they either disgust me, make me oh so grateful that I am who I am, or sometimes they are actually funny…at their expense, of course.
  10. I have zero tolerance for drinking and driving – ZERO.
  11. I’m more aware of my surroundings.
  12. It’s hard for me to relax and unwind – this is a bothersome one because relaxation is the essence of life. The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. Massages work tremendously well, but I don’t have the money, or I’d have one weekly. Working out does help. What I really want is the ability to better recognize when I’m in the middle of a crazy anxious frenzy (this happens daily and is on some level a panick attack, I believe), so I can take a deep breath and calm myself down somehow. Funny how relaxation doesn’t seem to come to me naturally.
  13. I am responsible for myself and answer only to myself.
  14. I remember what happened the night before – usually. I blame my current memory lapses on being a baby momma.
  15. I remember every sporting event I go to – not many people I know can say that!
  16. My bonds with some of my family and friends are stronger and more meaningful .
  17. Waking up clear-headed is an amazing way to start out the day.
  18. I still dream of getting trashed one day without consequence – it would be so nice to kick back with a few cold ones and let my brain get a little fuzzy while my worries and cares just drifted away for an afternoon…

“For the flavor of it” – gimme a break! This alcoholic’s not buying it!

Why do people have “just one drink?” – ah yes, “for the flavor of it.”

The next time someone says that to me, I am seriously going to junk punch them. Alcohol is designed to affect the brain and give the user a sense of pleasure. That’s the beauty of it, really. So I’m not buying it if you have “just one drink” at dinner or after work. If you like the flavor of it, have a non-alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic wine…they taste similar. Do they think it’s a bad thing to want the alcohol to have even the smallest of effects on them, which only one drink certainly will? It’s not a bad thing at all. It’s only when you can’t control how much you consume, or do stupid shit when under the influence that it becomes a problem (that’s certainly not the definition of an alcoholic, but you get my gist).

A “drink” is either one shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine or one beer, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol, pretty much. At the .02 blood alcohol concentration level, experiments have demonstrated that people exhibit some loss of judgment and begin to relax and feel good. But tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level experience a decline in visual functions, affecting their ability to track a moving object, and experience a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time. These changes may be very subtle and barely noticeable to the person who has had only one drink, but in an emergency situation while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they could cause the driver to react (or not react) as they would without having had a drink. I thought it was worth mention, but I will cover drinking and driving in a future post. Just for the record, the only safe driving limit is .00 percent.

So all of those ridiculous people out there saying they have a drink “for the flavor of it” are lying to themselves. Self awareness is key, people. If you can’t admit to yourself that you like the effect a glass of wine has on you, what the hell else can’t you admit? If you’re trying to sugar coat it so as not to offend me, too late. Sometimes I never ever want to bear witness to another drop being consumed by anyone. Not because I assume they have a problem or because I’m jealous they don’t have a problem…well, it could be one those things, BUT I just don’t enjoy being surrounded by it day after day, having to constantly go through this turmoil inside, where I don’t seem to fit into this world anymore. MY world! It makes me mad that normal people take having “just one drink” so lightly, when that one drink for me signifies failure, regret and the end of life as I know it.

Don’t ever tell me you’re having that beer just because you love the taste. Be who you are and I’ll be who I am. You don’t need to censor yourself, making you look like a complete idiot in my eyes. It does more harm than good to try to shield or protect me, if that’s the case.

PS: If you have one glass of wine every day for an entire year, you are adding 54750 calories to your diet. This totals to about 15 pounds of extra calories. Drink up, fatty.

5 things I won’t miss about drinking

I love sobriety. 5 things I won’t miss about drinking:

  1. Hangovers – I remember thinking to myself, “Oh shit, how am I going to make it through the day?” “I don’t know if I can do this!” I dealt with this legitimate fear regularly. It was always accompanied with dizziness, irritability and a pounding head. And visual snow, fuzzy brain and scratchy throat. And thick tongue, dry lips, wool sweaters on my teeth and moderate dehydration. Good times.
  2. Fatigue – I was ALWAYS tired and worn down. I haven’t slept or felt this well-rested since early high school. Have I mentioned that I love sobriety?
  3. Paranoia – Knowing that I can’t EVER get a DUI is such an amazing feeling! I am free! I don’t have to hope for a drama-free evening anymore. Sobriety sure does have its benefits.
  4. Dishonesty – No one ever knew how much I really drank. I never lied to myself, just everyone that loves me. I thought I was so clever and crafty sometimes. I think alcoholics are dishonest to themselves, more than anyone. There’s so much rationalizing and externalizing. Denial is ugly.
  5. Regret – I can’t even get into this now. Alcohol cast its shadow on every single decision I ever made while I was drinking. Nothing was truly my own, yet I’m left with my lack of accountability to own up to.

Jealousy is a bitch – can’t I just be normal?!

The darkness of jealousy closes in on me daily.

Why can’t I just be normal like everyone else?

Just this morning, while in the kitchen with a few co-workers, they joked about wanting some Bailey’s for their coffees, rather than regular cream. At least, I think they were joking. Alcohol in the techy workplace is a common theme these days. I just smiled at them thinking, “Those assholes don’t know how good they have it.” Realistically, I wouldn’t last another day if I’d actually had some Bailey’s in my coffee. I would have achieved a glowing morning buzz and sustained it throughout the rest of the day until I needed a nap. It’s a damn shame to waste a perfectly good buzz.

I saw a friend post on Facebook about what a great time she had at dinner last night. Her accompanying friend commented with, “Good friends. Good dinner. Good wine.” I instantly felt nauseous with jealousy. Why does that chick have to focus on the wine? I’m sure they all got toasty, which elevated their good time into an illusion of an even better time of togetherness and warm fuzziness. It pisses me off that I feel so secluded from these types of events and connections.

I’d bet money on the fact that I’ll overhear someone in the office saying they’re going out for a drink after work. “A drink” is an alcoholic drink. I try to switch it in my head to mean any kind of drink, but I know I’m bullshitting myself. “I’d like to go, please. Can I please watch you get loose and glassy-eyed while I drink 10 Diet Cokes?” Alcohol is always in my face.

It’s not even noon yet.

Sometimes I look at my husband in the evening who’s drinking a glass of wine on the couch and I feel this awful, dark, piercing moment of resentment toward him. I hate that feeling. Most of the time he just has one glass or one beer. That is when I’m a little less jealous and more blown away – why the hell would you ever want just one? What’s the friggin point? Why waste calories on that? This is when I realize how differently we are wired. Sometimes he’ll get a nice buzz out of the deal and the inner battle within me really heats up. Sometimes I’m fine to pour him a glass at dinner, while at other times I’m completely blown away and offended that he asks me to. I’m up, then I’m down. I’m black, then I’m white. I get bitchy about it every once in a while, but he’s usually oblivious to these feelings I tend to have . I don’t want to bother him or change him or admit that it’s really that hard for me because I started this and I hate being perceived as weak. I’m the one with the problem. I have to adapt to the world. I am better for it. It’s tough, though. I can do it, it’s just an obscene amount of hard work on a daily basis that tires me out and sometimes makes me want to head for the hills.

In reality, I know I have come a long way and could have never imagined a life this good for myself. And I know I have a choice with every tormenting inner battle throughout the day. I can stay bitter, or I can take my mind through the process of reminding myself of how far I’ve come, how much better my life is and that I decided to live this way. I choose the latter, but damn, it’s exhausting. Practice makes perfect, right? Eventually, it should get a little easier.