With all this sober, conscious time I now have on my hands, I have been thinking a lot about the past. I have all these icky memories that pop up, things that happened over the years that fill me with guilt and shame. If I had been looking with today’s clear eyes and hindsight, I would have known that alcohol was always a serious problem for me. Instead, I always felt blindsided. I didn’t understand why things kept happening to me. How did I start out planning to have a few drinks and end up passing out somewhere? How did I end up slurring and stumbling, when everyone else seemed fine? How did I go out with friends and wake up next to some guy I didn’t even like?
Where I grew up, everyone drank all the time. My family, my friends, everyone. People got hammered, did stupid things, did dangerous things, passed out, nursed hangovers, etc. It was just part of the landscape. Perfectly normal. Expected. Hilarious. I remember after college, a guy asked me out and made me dinner at his apartment. He didn’t serve beer or wine with dinner and I thought that was so strange. What kind of boring loser doesn’t drink with dinner?
It was only in the last many years that I realized how much more I was drinking than everyone else. Or even if I was drinking the same amount, that it was affecting me differently. If college was a big drunken party, most people sobered up when they graduated. I kept going.
I finally started facing this problem in 2008. I joined SMART Recovery Online and tried in earnest to get sober. Looking back on my posts, here is what happened…
1/31/2008 – Quit Drinking (36 days)
6/1/2008 – Quit Drinking Again (14 days)
8/18/2008 – Quit Drinking Again (a few days)
12/13/2008 – Quit Drinking Again (120 days)
7/4/2009 – Quit Drinking Again (a few days)
5/12/2010 – Quit Drinking Again (a few days)
6/1/2010 – Started taking Naltrexone using The Sinclair Method to try moderation/extinction (tried a whole year, didn’t work)
9/8/2011 – Quit Drinking Again (a few days)
11/1/2012 – Tried Naltrexone and Sinclair Method Again (a few weeks)
12/5/2012 – Quit Drinking Again (a few days)
10/28/2013 – Quit Drinking Again (58 days)
11/6/2014 – Quit Drinking and started this blog (139 days and counting …. longest period of sobriety in my adult life)
Every single time, I convinced myself that moderation was an option. Clearly, it was not. Even with medication. All these amazing people at SMART Recovery tried to help me, but I was not listening. I didn’t want to let go of drinking. I thought I was different. Clearly, I was not.
It is very helpful for me to have this all in one place, as a reminder of where I have been. I can see what happened every time. What a relief it is to be on the other side. It is so much easier to not drink at all than it is to be locked in a constant battle that I can never win.