Who’s going to get hammered on day 90? This girl.

5 Sep

2:50 am

When I finally stopped drinking this past June, I had a HUGE many reasons: blacking out and doing all sorts of shit, most of which I’ve come to realize, is WAY outside the norm. Yet, I somehow managed to keep some semblance of control over my life… Anyway, I was driven in June to simply quit. I kept my head down, endured the pretty strong physical and psychological cravings, and ran and did bikram yoga and kept myself insanely busy and focused. Eye on the prize. Fuck this and fuck them and fuck fuck fuck All y’all can go fuck yourselves if YOU THINK I’M GOING TO CAVE.

Well, I did cave. At day 60. And I got back on the horse. And I caved a week later…and got back on that same horse. And now, approaching my second round toward day 21 (today is day 19), I feel…like I need incentive to not drink. Like, maybe, being sober is just temporary and after which, things will be different and I can go back to drinking. Non-alcoholically, that is.

Like, once I do this fixer-upper of a “90-day detox” from the sauce, my mind will be reset and I can have my wine back. If I give it my best shot, a perfect score, a real good one-two, then…I’ll be able to successfully return to a place I was before I started binge drinking a decade ago. Maybe?

The question is, is it possible to rehabilitate your drinking? I used to binge eat — more on that soon, as it definitely relates to the way I came to drink — and I remember the early days of literally, re-learning how to relate to food. It was really tough, I remember, rehabilitating my binge eating habits — eating and emotions are deeply connected, based on my experience. With wine, it’s similar in that I’m re-learning how to relate to incentives — what gives me pleasure and why. It’s like building back up the muscles and tendons around a broken bone, and re-teaching them how to work again.

Rehabilitation. I LOVE this word, and I truly do believe that some people CAN re-learn how to relate to drinking alcohol. It’s not black-and-white for everyone, most certainly. Circumstances — and people — are all different. Anyway, to make a long story short, for the first time since getting sober, I allowed myself to think that perhaps I will be one of these people. I feel like there may be something to look forward to, that this getting-sober thing doesn’t necessarily have to be about AA’s dogmatic (and possibly erroneous) “once a drunk, always a drunk/you cannot be fixed, EVER” philosophy.

This, however, begs the question, why would you drink alcohol if you don’t really need it? If the buzz is fun only to the extent that you don’t need it to have fun or be happy or feel good, then…why would you drink?

In any case, I hate to say it, but some days the only thing that gets me through the day, past the lone bottle of “it’s me against you, bitch, and I’m winning” red wine on my kitchen counter is the thought that I’ll allow myself to drink it one day. Not today. Not tomorrow. Probably not before a month. Or 60 days. BUT, maybe at 90…? Alone. With all the doors locked from the inside and all my electronics equipment safely hidden in a steel safe.

(Whatever it takes, right? Or, maybe this is what they call “dry drinking.” I have no idea, but I can’t help but think it’s pretty normal and well, pretty damn OK if it’s what gets me through my witching-hour cravings.)

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26 Responses to “Who’s going to get hammered on day 90? This girl.”

  1. cheryl September 5, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    love this post. i am newly sober @ 10 days sober so i wonder when and/or if i will fall off the wagon and drink again. reading these posts and seeing you get right back to the sobriety gig makes me see that if i do fall off the wagon that i do not have to let that define me. this is a journey and ups and downs will occur but it do not have to let them control what i really want out of life and that is to be sober and present for myself in this wild crazy thing we call life.
    thanks! cheryl m

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks for your comment! NO, you don’t have to let it define you if you fall off! I’m wondering how much I have to let any of this define me…which is sort of what my post is really about. Anyway, I feel like the biggest lesson I learned from “falling off” those two times was that, it’s not falling anywhere — my previous 60 days of sobriety had made me a LOT stronger and able to say, Wow, this sucks, I prefer the other way. HOWEVER, there’s something different about this second time around; while it feels easier to not drink, the days are ticking by a lot slower, with a lot less of that rosy glow. The first time I felt SO accomplished with my day if all I did was not drink. This time I realize that not drinking anymore is a way to start really living again — man, I gotta work on the really living thing, too? Shit! LOL Thanks for your reading and support here!

  2. Imogen September 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I think it’s normal for the addiction to start the bargaining… ‘Just wait a bit longer, then you get your treat’, it promises. I had that little voice in my head in June and ended up drinking just as much as i used to. Moderation won’t work for me because i don’t want one or two. What’s the point?? I drink to obliterate.
    If you feel moderation is a viable option, then go for it. I think there are groups you can even attend to get support around it. Out of curiosity, what do you think would be different this time compared to the last two times you drank?

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      Wow, your words ring so true on the bargaining thing. And, now that you mention it, that’s SO much a part of how I drink — if I do this, I can drink this much more, etc. And yup, I know all too well that I don’t want the glass, I don’t want the bottle, I want TWO bottles. What would be different? Well, I have no idea. Right now, I don’t think I can drink wine without blacking out. But, maybe in the future I’ll be able to moderate? AND, just because AA says I’m broken forever, my hope springs from the fact that I might not necessarily be! I did it with food; why can’t I do it with wine? (Two totally different things, I know…) We’ll see…I will check into some of the moderation support groups, thanks for bringing that up. And, thanks for your comment!

      • Imogen September 6, 2012 at 11:01 am #

        There are some great thoughts here in the comments, i hope they helped.
        I recommend reading this post on Letting Go
        http://louisey.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/phases-of-life-passing

        And for what it’s worth, i don’t think you’re broken. You have an addiction. There is a difference. Hugs to you, i know how hard it can be xo

  3. runningonsober September 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Yep, I felt the same. It didn’t work for me. It hasn’t worked for anyone I’ve met. If you had many of the things happen that you mentioned (black-outs, etc) chances are it probably won’t work for you either. It’s like once a cucumber becomes a pickle, nothing it does will ever make it a cucumber again. You can’t go back, only forward. But if you need to dangle it out there like a carrot (wtf with all the veggies, right, lol), or reward just to get there, then why not. Whatever helps you not drink right now. Maybe your thinking will change before then, and if not, then you’ll just have to decide at that time.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      I haven’t been able to drink in moderation for a long time, but I do remember the days of drinking three beers after work with colleagues, or drinking a few glasses of red and heading home for the night. (These times were not marred by always drinking when I felt bad/feeling bad after drinking, though. So yes, I do see it as being a progressive disease.) In fact, up until the late 90s, I don’t even remember the drinking part of going to the bar — I went out to socialize, be with my friends, and have some beers to make it more fun! I guess what bothers me the most about AA is the tired expressions that don’t seem to ever include or relate to what’s actually happening in the brain/body. Am I now a pickle because my neurons are irreversibly damaged when it comes to wine? As a biologist, I honestly don’t believe that since neurons are plastic, changing, growing every day of everyone’s life, including adults. Not to say that AA doesn’t have years on me, experience-wise, of treating what ails an alcoholic. Anyway, we’ll see. As for now, I KNOW I can’t drink in moderation, and I LOVE being sober and making choices and feeling proud about not drinking. Thanks so much for reading and your support! (Btw, I love veggies!)

      • runningonsober September 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

        Yeah, it’s a tough one. I’ve heard some studies that say that our brains are significantly changed, others that say no or that we can reverse the damage. But if you’re in the field, then I’m sure you know for every one study that says one thing, there’s probably another that says the opposite, ha.
        I wish I knew some concrete answers, but everything is so individual and sometimes the only answer is that there aren’t any. Sigh. I say try to hold on to to what you said, “As for now, I KNOW I can’t drink in moderation, and I LOVE being sober and making choices and feeling proud about not drinking.” I know some days are tough.
        Just wanted to say I’m thinking about you. You’ll always have my support no matter what. πŸ™‚

  4. byebyebeer September 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    The moderate drinking thing is something I tried in the years leading up to my decision to finally quit. I could do it for awhile, but hated it and so never stuck with it for very long. Then I beat myself up for being weak, but I now know most sober people go through this same process. Ultimately it was easier not to drink at all than it was to limit myself to one or two or none at all on certain days of the week. Normal drinkers don’t call it moderation.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      Yup, all rings true here. I have NEVER really wanted to drink in moderation, if I think back. And, at this point, it’s either TWO bottles or nothing. Like, the last time I drank, I was thinking (yes, already pouring it and drinking it) about my 4th or 5th glass down the line, instead of the one I had in my hand. Limiting is not an option for me right now, and drinking just exhausts me in that I can’t enjoy it because I’m obsessing about the next drink or fighting the urge to have another. I know plenty of “normal” drinkers and it’s maddening! Then again, I’d consider myself a “normal” smoker — I can have one and that’s it. I have no desire, it does nothing for me. So, why bother? With wine, it USED to make me feel better, but now it doesn’t. So…why is it so hard to stop doing it? Ahh, addiction. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your comment!

      • byebyebeer September 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        I’m the same with smoking, always have been. That was easy to quit in comparison. I dunno why alcohol is different, but it is and I can relate 100% to never enjoying the drink in hand because I was too preoccupied with when I could have the next without looking desperate or breaking self-imposed limits. Not to mention fearing the hangover I was about to face. Ugh, really don’t miss any of that.

  5. Chicago September 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Interesting stuff here. I also wonder about the “once a drunk, always a drunk” stuff. I think every alcoholic (or even problem drinker on their way to alcoholism) has that thought. Constantly. Obsessively, even. I know I do. For some reason though, my last blackout hysteria shit storm seems to have been enough. I’ve had a million of those nights, but never felt like, “ok, this is real, and it’s also really f’d up” until 38 days ago. So now I feel like te experiment is over. I can’t drink like a normal human. Do you ever get to that point? It sounds like you are still toting w/the idea…. Also, food for thought (drink for thought?! Heyo!) I finally talked to an addiction specialist/had an assessment yesterday. This guy was awesome, talked to me about “white knuckling” and being a “dry drunk” which I’m sure you know about too. The thing that got me though is he said if you actually deal w/recovery and get some kind of program going, the mental obsession goes away and you can find peace w/this. I want that. Bad. My cousin (9 years sober) has that. My Mom (25 + years sober) has that. We deserve that too. Anyway, thanks for your blog. I like reading your take on this stuff. Hang in there.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Oh, man, have I gotten to that point? A hundred times over. As a scientist/science person, I would always cringe at my latest blackout “hysteria shit storm” (LOVE that expression, that’s totally what it is) and then sigh and say, Damn, how many data points do you fucking need? EXPERIMENT FAILED. #fail #brickwall

      I appreciate your advice on getting a program going so the obsession goes away. I think that’s my next step, I really do. THIS can’t be the way it is going to be forever. I mean, unless I want to go back to school for my MPH and study addiction (which, truthfully, I just might!), that is. Thanks for your comment and encouragement! GREAT work on your 38 days…stay strong!

      • Chicago September 6, 2012 at 12:55 am #

        Also, I can absolutely relate to wanting to think my way through this, figure out the science of it all, read every last book, blog, journal, treatise, everything I can get my hands on. We sound very similar. I need reasons, facts, statistics… But when it comes down to it, we all know, deep down, that we just can’t do it anymore. The train has left the station for us. I wonder if it would even be enjoyable to drink again, now that I know in my heart that booze + Chicago = hot mess/evil twin/zombie monster pod-person. Oh, and I also think a hangover might kill me at this point!

  6. Just Some Woman September 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Short answer: good luck with THAT shit. Won’t work. We’re not social drinkers. Social drinkers piss me off. Why? Because they can do it and I can’t. I’m sure I’ll get (back) to the point where I don’t care if they can do it and I can’t. But more power to them. “Social drinking” will lead an alcoholic (me) back to where I left off and worse. If you want pure misery and more failure trying that will work!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      I hear you. I like how you put that: “will lead an alcoholic…back to where I left off and worse.” I’ve never quit and tried to go back to moderating, to be honest, so I have no idea how it will/could pan out! For now, I’m quite happy to not do it, but sad, too, about my failure at being “normal” (which is what triggers me to drink, ironically). This post was merely something of a temper tantrum, but also a way to wonder, WHAT happens in the brain that causes our chemistry to inch gradually, day in and day out, toward point-of-no-return-addiction? AA says it’s a progressive disease; can’t we stop and/or treat other diseases? Then again, if you have cancer, wouldn’t you want to treat even ONE abnormal cell instead of letting it grow into a tumor? Thanks for your comment!

      • Just Some Woman September 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

        I found out the hard way – after being sober for 15 years. Sure, I was a social drinker for a few months. But at the end of the line I was drinking 10 beers every day of my life for one solid year. Yep, I can testify to “progressive”. I ended up as if I had been drinking for those 15 years. Fuck it, ain’t worth trying again. Like you, I don’t like failing at anything and trying to drink normally would defiantely be a failure for me. Hang in there – you’re a quick learner!

  7. Dick September 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    yes, I know that line of thinking very well. It’s a form of denial, unfortunately, and what I like to call cognitive distortion.

    As a binge drinker, who could leave a half beer at the bar whenever I felt like it, it’s a very slippery slope. 9 times out of 10, I would drink responsibility, But that 10th time was a frickin’ three ring circus and usually resulted in me going to a strip club, getting a DUI, starting a fight, yelling at my wife or other assorted nonsense. I didn’t know when the time would rear its ugly head.

    so the question becomes, why bother? If I’ve determined that drinking is not a healthy choice (putting aside the alcoholic label), why keep doing something so unhealthy?

    Try reading the great book Hijacking the Brain by Dr. Teresi. He’s a Harvard neuroscientist and fellow AA member. I did a little book review here: http://www.soberlawyer.com/2012/09/03/hijacking-the-brain-the-science-behind-12-step-programs/

    Dick

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      Yes, that’s where I’m at, too. Locking myself IN my apartment is actually not a joke — I’m literally afraid of what I might do the next time I black out. Which, for me, is EVERY time I drink (9 out of 10 times, I black out).

      Why keep doing it? GREAT question. For me, I did it to improve my mood, at least initially. Getting sober will finally help me to see why I drank in the first place. (I mean, I choose red wine practically exclusively — there can be beer or hard booze or even white wine in the house, up until very recently, and I have no inclination because I know it won’t “work” like red wine. It made me feel happier, more excited, less depressed, as it were. “Made” is the key word.)

      I love reading your blog — so helpful, insightful, and great writing! I am looking for ways to solve this problem “rationally” and AA does not seem to do it for me when it comes to wanting to investigate why I drink. It’s important for me, mainly because maybe what I needed all along was an antidepressant and not red wine?

      Will DEF check out that book. Thanks for your comment! Look forward to reading more of your blog!

  8. Belle (Tired2012) September 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    oh god, i feel your pain, i really really do. i tricked myself into quitting with the promise that it was only for 30 days, and then only for 60. and then thankfully the real struggling stopped. I didn’t keep wine on the counter though (that just sounds like asking for trouble and keeps it too much in the foreground).

    The one word in your post, though, that makes my heart break for you is: “… [the] mind will be reset and I can have MY wine back” — it’s the word MY that makes me want hug you. It’s not your wine. It’s not your friend. It’s calling you but that doesn’t mean it’s your friend.

    I’d recommend the Jason Vale and the Allen Carr books, absolutely, but also it’d be much kinder to yourself if you said: I’m going to do this for 6 months (or a year), so then you can begin to focus on something else instead of some very close and immediate timeline.

    Yes you want to be working towards something, but the reward for all the hard work of moving away from booze shouldn’t be booze itself. There are lots of other things to work towards πŸ™‚ Vacations, hand cream, tea, books, flowers.

    ack, I feel like this might be bordering on preaching so i’m going to shut up now, but i have to say that your post makes me worried for you. nervous. like i can see a train coming and you can’t πŸ™‚ well, you CAN see it, but you’re still asking questions about it! Yes, it’s a train, step off the tracks first and ask the questions later. much later πŸ™‚ Hugs.

    • Lisa Neumann October 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      I enjoyed your reply. I gave myself the one year mark to stay sober. After all, any normal drinker could stop for one year. Sh*t when I reached my one year mark I realized I was more of an alcohol then ever. I was still obsessed with drinking. It hit me like a tone of bricks, “people that can drink normal don’t to all the mindf**ing I do about drinking or not drinking.” I hate to tell people what to do, but I sure like to help them find their truth … for this alcoholic or recovered alcoholic drinking sucks. I like me so much better sober.

  9. sswl September 6, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    I wouldn’t say it’s impossible you could moderate, but it doesn’t seem very likely if you were drinking to blackout every night. People who can drink normally don’t usually worry about whether they can moderate, they just do it. You know, the ones who’d say, “Oh, thanks, I’ve had enough,” and put their hands over their glasses while we were making sure that bottle was coming our way again?

    I totally understand the feeling of desolation/desperation about never being able to drink again.I felt the same way. But why go there? Think about today, think about tomorrow. For the first year I was sober, I just told myself I wasn’t drinking for right now. “I’m gonna see how it goes,” I’d say, if anybody asked me. Anything else was too scary. But it’s still going, 3+ years. It helps to stay in the present.

    I’ve heard from a lot of people that frequent relapses sap your commitment to staying sober. You’ve gotten back on the horse a couple of times, but you can’t really be sure the next time that horse won’t be galloping away leaving you in the dirt. Just sayin’…stay safe.

  10. Lisa Neumann October 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Damn, I am always the last one to the party. I have more feelings on this then you want to hear, so I will stay quiet until you have narrowed down the inquiries/questions. I must say I love your introspective mind. It is wonderful to journey along with you. I do hope you find what you are looking for. xox Lisa

    • Drunky Drunk Girl October 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Hi, Lisa,
      Yes, I’ve come a long way since then — it’s surprising how your perspective changes the further along you get in sobriety! I definitely want to share more thoughts on that… Thank you so much for your lovely comment and support — the fact that I have made some friends that I can share this process/journey with online has made it so much easier! I would love to know your feelings, though! I mean, my “reward” mentality is still going strong, and I know what you mean by the whole “I’m still a drunk” thing. I have started to understand the concept of “dry drunk,” as I see it, the past few weeks. I need to go to AA — correction, WANT to. It feels like AA is the actual race, whereas stopping drinking is just getting up and out of the starting blocks! xx

  11. Lisa Neumann October 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    I’m so limited. I thought this was the new post. Then I realized it’s from Sept and its october. sh*t … what’s my excuse, i’ve been sober for a little while. …oh well πŸ™‚

    • Drunky Drunk Girl October 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      Yes! I went 60 days, then drank. I think I wrote this post when I was either right before hitting 60, or in the 5 weeks I went after that. Anyhoo, I’ve drunk 7 times since my last drink (on June 12), and each and every time has reinforced my decision to quit. Entirely. Each and every time has taught me something new about why I need to — for me, I need to “go there,” to make sure that I’m not demonizing booze or transferring things onto the substance itself. MAYBE in the future, I will see how “wrong” this line of thinking is, but it’s where I’m at now, and it’s helping me toward my end goal, which I know now HAS to (probably – haha. see?) be complete abstinence.

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