The urge left me–NOT

25 Jun

12:03 pm

There was this guy at meetings–older dude, and sort of the “king” of AA down here. The ringleader. NICE man, lovely man. However, he always shared along one of several themes, and one was how “the urge to drink simply left him–just vanished–when he stepped foot in the rooms.” UH HUH.

This post has nothing to do with AA, but everything to do with that URGE to drink, and how it doesn’t just vanish. I would say that that is neurologically impossible, but even I know that nothing is impossible. And, what do I know, which brings me quickly to a point:

Everyone’s drinking problem is unique. The one thing that I left AA certain about was this fact. Everyone has different reasons for drinking, and different patterns of craving. Everyone might drink alcoholically–that is to say, compulsively–but they might not “be alcoholics.” Whatever that means. And, everyone’s recovery process is different, takes different amounts of time, and can’t really be compared to another’s. As with drunken war stories, you can’t compare notes. There is, in fact, no one-size-fits-all.

After a year (more or less) of sobriety, I still have cravings. I still WANT TO DRINK, YES I DO! What is different now–finally–is that I don’t believe it’s going to be all that great, or that it’s what I really want. In fact, I’m almost too tired and too busy to think about it. I know the process will likely result in my downing of at LEAST two bottles of red wine in one sitting, and then doing or saying something idiotic (or irreparably stupid) in a blackout, so…NO, THANKS. Maybe later, wolfie, like, tomorrow. Better yet, let’s set a date for next week, mmm-kay? Hmm…I think maybe next month, actually–you’ll need some time to heal after I kick you in the face and put a large boot against your skull. What? What’s that? Were you trying to say something? FUCK YOU, WOLFIE!

What’s struck me lately is how I notice other people’s “drinking problem” and/or literal, drinking problems. For instance, I went over to a friend’s house yesterday, after a swim. He’s nice, but I don’t think his wife likes me. As conversation passes, I notice that he’s drunk (well, he did have a few beers, but I realize he must have had more before meeting my boyfriend and me at the beach) and his wife is…fidgety. Maybe she’s drunk? I know she drinks (“she can hang,” as it were)–we got drunk together once, and it did not end well, for me anyway.

Maybe she’s feeling that pull? OH, do I know that pull, I thought to myself. That irritation, that want want want to drink another right now, even though there are people in my house, I don’t care about them. That FOCUS on the wine. THE WINE. That anxious flurry of activity, of bodily movement in no particular direction because you’re either already tipsy or you just can’t sit still. And, you don’t really notice it. But, I do. Why? Because my body has finally relaxed into a position of attention, of self-awareness, of calm; I am not thinking about drinking, I am thinking about YOU, about this conversation, about what’s going on in this moment. My already sharp powers of perception (ONE good thing about being an introvert all these years) are even sharper now that I’m sober enough to embrace that calm. I wonder, do I have a calming effect on her, or is she too wrapped up in her head to notice? Am I pulling out my sober card? Does she see it? I don’t think so; I think I’m imagining this…but it sure does feel like I have some super-connection with people who are struggling, who want to quit, who know they drink too much. Maybe it’s that I made an ass of myself that one time we drank (I know I did later, with my boyfriend, but I was semi-blacked out when she and I hit our stride that day)? Ah, me. What DO I know?

And then there are the problems caused by drinking. I got an email last night from a friend who had a rough drunk episode last Saturday–three hours of blackout during an event in which, from what I could tell from the pictures on Facebook, she went a little bit crazier than usual. I mean, I had developed such a–how to put it?–hollow, steel-lined hole in my heart from my blackouts in the big city, and all that they entailed, that her story made me cringe. Jesus, so many avoidable problems come up when you drink too much (like those unnecessary flashbacks from the movie “Saw,” for instance)!? It made me appreciate my now-calm life: I’d so much rather be cooking lasagne with my boyfriend after a day at the beach than spending time making out in a stupor on the sidewalk before passing out in my own vomit; only to be driven home and pass out, lose my phone, and wake up in what’s now a murky stupor and wander over to a neighbor’s to make out with him. I can hear the echo of deep space in my heart–it’s a memory that seems to have seeped into my bone marrow, stained it a shade of ink–and it makes my soul ache. (And, I’ve done MUCH worse, so I’m just using her story as an example here, not as a lesson.)

Problems, indeed.

Me? I’ve got today, and I’ve got a calm, full heart. The urge may not have left (yet), or even the compulsive behavior–I know it probably won’t, for me. What has gone, though, is any romantic notion of how fun, or fulfilling, drinking actually is.

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5 Responses to “The urge left me–NOT”

  1. Just Some Woman June 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    “The urge may not have left me, or even the compulsive behavior–I know it hasn’t. What has left me, though, is any romantic notion of how fun, or fulfilling, drinking actually is.”

    I’m right there with you on that. Do I still want to drink? Sure. But the catch is that I want to drink like A NORMAL PERSON. Ain’t gonna happen. I know this and I have to keep pounding it into my thick skull whenever I fantasize about a beer. Of course, it’s not actually “A beer” because that’s simply unrealistic for a drunk like me. Let’s be honest here…I’m thinking about TEN of them. And whatever wine, mixed drink, etc. is available. The verdict is in..I’m NOT a normal person. Yeah, it’s a real pisser and I can go into full pity party mode about it on occasion but fuck it. And for right now, AA is boring me and I’ve missed a lot of meetings but you know what? I had damn well better go tonight because I’m a little “off” today. I guess I need to be around those ABNORMAL people. Like me! haha!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      Yup, me, too. I go in with the intention–I really believe it, too, sometimes–of only having the one. HA HA. Ha ha ha ha ha.

      But, the longer I go, the more I see that eh, I don’t even want to drink like a “normal” person, whatever that means. I think most people use booze to fix something, and that could be as simple as relaxing. It’s an escape for everyone, somehow. For me, I am no longer wanting, really, to escape. Because, the same shit will be waiting for me when I get back! THAT is what’s changing for me.

      MOST of the time, though, I just rely on knowing that one would make me want more. And more would lead to hangover and stupid human tricks, end of story.

      If AA helps, by all means, go! xxx

  2. Mark June 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Today is my 100th day of the journey. I thought I might be giddy about it, but I’m not. Like you I still want to drink. And like all of us I can’t do that in a way that isn’t completely destructive. Certainly there is joy in being in a much better place, but there is also a bitterness about what I can’t have. The classic pity party…poor me. Blech.

    Last night I had a long talk with my wife about it. She asked me if I ever thought I would be able to have A beer again. I explained to her that that’s not what I want. I want the better part of a case of beer. I will never want A beer. And it dawned on me that I don’t want to be a “normal drinker” either. I am programmed to want to get ripped out of my mind if I drink – not pleasantly warm. If there is one wistful wish in me it’s that I simply had never drank in the first place. Then I wouldn’t know what I miss right now. “Normal drinkers” don’t know what getting smashed did for me.

    My journey is about getting in touch with who I am. I have frankly forgotten about the person that is in this body. Drinking prevented that, but today I am 100 days closer to knowing the person that is emerging. The person I am still wants to drink, but the person I am becoming does not. My hope is that at some point I am less who I am and more who I am becoming.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      GREAT comment. You are so far along, and definitely making progress on realizing the big things. Your last line is so elemental to getting and staying sober: you have to stay sober in order to BECOME something different. Your body and brain does not fix itself overnight! It takes a process of becoming, of not drinking when you really want to, of just doing things sober…to even begin to heal. Which you will. Your body will do it for you, for the most part, if you just keep not drinking.

      Congratulations, btw. 100 days is amazing! I’ve had a few slips, but I’ve been sober since about last June, and let me tell you: it’s taken almost a full year to start reaping some of the actual GOOD things about being sober. The cravings are finally going away, I don’t really even want to drink like a normal person anymore let alone a binge drinker, I can actually work again, I can actually get excited about eating dinner without feeling disappointed that that dinner is not a bottle of wine–well, mostly. LOL. The thing is, never say never! There are so many things I was SURE about that turned out to simply be wrong. You can’t assume that you won’t be able to drink normally again. And, what’s even weirder? You can’t be sure that in another 100 days, or 150, or 200, you’ll even want to drink again!

      It takes time. But, look at how far you’ve come! I found that around 100 days last time, I was REALLY jonesing, mainly cuz I did not feel or see the good stuff yet. Don’t give up before the “miracle,” as they say. It can start to feel small, or not worth it, because it’s INCREMENTAL change. In reality–outside looking in–it’s huge, life-altering change: you become someone new, better, stronger, free (as in, no longer imprisoned by booze). xxx

      • Mark June 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

        Congrats on your year of sobriety. And congrats on your current 100 days. And really…congrats on staying sober today.

        Thanks for the encouraging words. As someone that has some OCD traits I often want everything all at once, but I am finding that with sobriety I just have to accept the things I get incrementally as I get them. It took me 25 years to mess myself up to the level that I did and there’s no way to fix that over night. All I know for sure is that by staying sober I am moving in the right direction.

        Thank you for your continuing efforts with this blog. You are definitely helping others with your journey.

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