2 Whole Years

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Staying sober is easier than getting sober. That saying brings me back to the numerous times I decided I wasn’t going to drink again.  The first couple of days were easy because I was still in the throes of the hangovers from Hell. The kind that make you want to crawl out of your skin and beg to be someone, anyone else who wasn’t feeling that way. I’d  be dehydrated from a three day binge and not be able to eat until day three, which was the day my physical self started to feel better but I had to deal with anxiety for at least the next 5 days. Before my own episodes of anxiety,  I had always thought anxiety was something that could be controlled if you put your mind to it.  I found out that it’s one of the things that could bring me to my knees. It was devastating to have my mind so out of control.  Most of my frayed thoughts revolved around how horrible of a person I was because of my drinking episodes. I would panic as I tried to replay what I had said and done while black out drunk.

My resolve to stay dry usually lasted two weeks.  By the end of that second week I would be feeling better and decide I could moderate my drinking.  The first drink would go down pretty slowly so I would convince myself that I was in control.  I would spend the next couple of drinks feeling pissy because I knew I was close to the limit I had set.  Once I passed that limit,  all bets were off for when I would stop.  The vicious cycle of my binge drinking continued. If I stopped,  it wasn’t long before I had to start again because my body would be nauseous,  shaking and begging for just one more drink because that was going to make everything better.

I don’t know why I stopped binge  drinking on November 2, 2013. I mean,  I know why I stopped after that last binge but I don’t know why this time was different from any other.  Maybe it was because I gave myself enough time away from drinking to realize how much better I felt staying sober. 

I still have days that suck. Every day doesn’t feel like the best day of my life but it’s better than the hell that I was living.

Even after two years of waking up sober, I haven’t committed to never drinking again.  For now, I’m happy with,  “I’m not drinking today”.

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Ambivalent About Labels

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Like most people who struggle with alcohol,  I take issue with the ALCOHOLIC label.  I know I have an issue with drinking too much and my ability to stop once I start.  I didn’t drink every day and went years not drinking without ever giving it a thought.  But,  something changed in my brain once I started drinking more often.  I found myself looking forward to the numb fuzzy feeling you get after those first drinks. In fact,  the only thing positive booze ever did for me was allowing me to forget stress which in turn helped greatly with a nasty disease that feeds on stress. I went two years without an episode but once I stopped drinking, I’ve had an episode every month like clockwork.  I have to remind myself daily how much worse off I was with 7-10 day hangovers that were more debilitating than this disease.

I prefer to think of my drinking as problematic. The rock bottom I experienced was nothing compared to others. My eyes were opened to the fact that what I was doing to myself couldn’t possibly continue. I was headed to becoming one of the stories  you hear about.  The one where the person drinks,  drives,  causes an accident,  goes to jail,  loses job, house, relationships and home.  I couldn’t see my life getting better with alcohol remaining as part of my life.  After a few months of debilitating alcohol induced anxiety, I made the decision to stop.  Not forever but at least until I thought I could handle drinking like a normal person. 686 days later and I don’t believe I could drink normally.  I’m not an alcoholic.  I have a “drinking problem”. It all boils down to Symantics.