Thursday, March 25, 2010


After 7 years sober, 11 years later

**Submitted by Susan

Here I am, a big fat alcoholic, done with the alcohol and its rule over my dominion. I'm not literally big and fat, but when I consider my alcohol use, I sure feel that way. So, I was sober from 1993 to 2000. I was active in AA for at least 5 of the 7 years, but once I got married in 1997 (happily sober), and we moved out of state, I fell away from the program. My husband had no experience with alcoholism, or me when I was actively drinking. Since I quit when I was 23, and we moved to a fairly hard drinking state, it was easy to rationalize "just one". Eleven years later, I'm quietly downing 2 bottles of wine a night.

For awhile I told myself that just because I was drinking didn't mean I forgot everything I learned in AA. I didn't, but I just wasn't ready to quit, mainly because my marriage has disintegrated during the past several years. It was going bad in 2001, and nothing has really changed. Two nights ago, while drunk of course, I told my husband that I knew I needed to quit drinking, but I didn't know if I could tolerate our marriage without it. For the record, he has never objected to my drinking as long as I don't hide it. But, of course, I still do.

When I woke up the morning after my confession, I had the usual internal scramble to remember what had happened the night before. I can't tell you how many movies I've watched with my husband that I can't remember anything about.

Luckily, today, I could remember. My first reaction was to apologize, blame stress from work, etc. But I realized I didn't want to take it back.

It was true. I didn't want this marriage as it was. I wanted the man back that I married. One of the AA phrases I learned, when you're pointing at someone else there are three fingers pointing back at you. To do my part I have to go back to being the woman my husband married. I have to stop drinking. I'm ready.
I'm done.

I'm concerned about withdrawal after the past 8 years or so of drinking every night until I fall asleep (details). My tolerance is obviously high, I haven't been hung over for years. God only knows what my liver thinks of all this. I don't want to do rehab. I know how to do this, but the last time I quit I hadn't been drinking that long, though the pattern was very similar. I didn't have withdrawal then, I'm concerned I will now. My palms are sweating as I write. I know now that back then I was probably abusing alcohol, now, I am physically addicted.

Today I attended my first AA meeting in 13 years. How could I have forgotten so much? I didn't have a day yet, only the desire to stop drinking. But I went to a Closed Women’s meeting. What I heard:

The steps. I am powerless over alcohol. I AM. Without a doubt, I am. God, had I forgotten the power of the steps.

God, or the god of my understanding, as I called him (for lack of a better pronoun). I have lost my spirituality and I miss it.
Yes, I said it: I'm Susan and I'm an alcoholic.

Someone said: "I'm an alcoholic, I will create chaos around me." Shit, I'd forgotten that. No wonder my family life is chaos. Then I felt hope: if I stopped I could repair the chaos or at least deal with it SOBER instead of drunk.
The meeting topic? Acceptance.
Can I accept that I may have withdrawal problems? Yes, but I am committed to this path. I have an appointment with my therapist (of 8 years ago for marriage, not alcohol counseling, though I knew she specialized in that--REALLY???) and will call my Dr. to get some help and make sure I don't have a seizure and scare the shit out of myself and my family. I promise this is not an excuse to drink. I have broken my silence.

As for my husband, I am asking him for time, and plan to get my own house in order before making any decisions there. I asked him the other night, drunk, why we have everything but we aren't happy. Well, if both of us are creating chaos...what the hell else is going to happen?

Not yet free, but hopeful.
P.S. Mine is a cautionary tale. Folks who relapse move away from remembering they are alcoholics, and start hoping/thinking they can drink normally. We can’t. Not even one. If we could drink one, we wouldn’t be here. Even when I took my first relapse drink, I knew I was making bullshit excuses. Please. Don’t go there. Find a way to not drink: reach out to people who understand (Booze Free Brigade), go to a meeting, anything. I’m still in the jail. You do not want to be here. Don’t drink.