I just got back from my first almost-alcohol free long weekend away in 30 years.
I had two small glasses of port in the spa and a tiny sip at a wine tasting.
Without the full and unwavering support of my beautiful man, however, I'm not sure I'd have resisted the yearning on my own. But he supplied two large bottles of different flavoured ice tea and they made an excellent substitute to wine when socialising. At dinner I had water in my wine glass and still got to enjoy my food, his company and the act of picking up a long stemmed goblet.
I didn't have a problem being with him while he enjoyed his wine. I was occasionally tempted to break my own promise but on this occasion I managed to stay firm on my resolve to not touch wine.
It wasn't easy at all - and I can only imagine the battle between craving and will power getting worse before it gets better. It's a frightening to know that I'm just one glass away from being an alcoholic. After this weekend I admit that. I want to control this self-harming habit - but, if I have one more binge, I know I never will have control and I will have to abstain forever. I want to beat this so bad. It all started for the wrong reasons - abuse, self hatred and loneliness. Reasons that no longer exist and issues that have been addressed. There is no excuse anymore. And, I want to be one in control not the habit. The habit's been in residence for 30 years, will it take 30 years to break it??
Having support around you is a good thing but you still may be tempted if you are around the wine so its best to stay away from it altogether if you're really trying to stop the binge drinking.
On the other hand, a few glasses of port and a sip at a wine tasting is no big deal if indeed that's all it was. If you're able to just do that occasionally then I suppose that's better than binge drinking. I do worry though because its easy to start off small like that and then one glass leads to another.. and another and another... you get the point.
Binge drinking is dangerous and can cause a lot of damage to your body. Until you get yourself checked out by a doctor theres no telling what shape some of your organs are in and its probably a good idea to give the alcohol a rest as much as you can to let your body recouperate from it.
If you "fail" at this it doesn't make you an alcoholic.
You either already are one or you aren't and only you can know which it is.
Be honest with yourself: If you've been binge drinking for 30 years than abstaining from one more bingeful night does not make or break what you're trying not to be/become.
You've been there for a while now.
Making it 30 days without binging is not the answer. You need to make it more than that. You need to change that behavior.
Do you have to give up drinking wine forever? That's a tough question. Not everyone who drinks heavily is an alcoholic and not every alcoholic drinks heavily. Alcoholism is not determined by how much we drink or how often we drink but when we CONTINUE to drink despite the negative consequences the drinking is having on our lives. It's the inability to stop drinking in general and not just drinking often or heavily.
Sometimes people decide to cut down and/or quit and they can. And it works. Some people are able to control or stop their bad drinking habits and don't have to abstain from drinking forever. Is this you? I can't say. There's nothing wrong with enjoying a relaxing evening with a bottle of wine.. it's when you can't remember what happened the next day, you feel awful all day, and your son leaves a recording of you on your cell phone that you don't remember. THATS the problem and you know that.
You're not one glass of wine away from anything. You're one glass of wine away from going back to what you've been for the last 30 years. And you know now that that behavior isn't good. It's not healthy, and it's hurting the people around you.
IF the reasons you started binge drinking are gone now then stop binge drinking. We take medicine for a headache and we stop taking it when the headache goes away. So stop taking the medicine.
How long is it going to take? That's also hard to say. You've been on this path and in this routine for 30 years. It's going to take some time to change your life and retrain yourself to do things and enjoy things that you used to do while drinking or drunk.
For the first month after I quit drinking my mind was flooded with thoughts like "usually I'd be drunk about now" or "I'd be doing this while drinking" or "Now is when I'd usually start drinking" etc... I don't have those thoughts so much anymore.
It will take as long as it takes. And until you can do something or enjoy something without wanting or craving or thinking about alcohol then you're not broken of the habit just yet and you may never truly be. Alcoholism is a lifelong disease. It's a lifelong process and if you are an alcoholic then the only way to lead a sober life is to be sober. And that does mean abstaining for good.
If, on the other hand, you can cut out the bad drinking habits and enjoy the occasional glass of wine with dinner or with a friend.. then by all means do it and enjoy yourself. You'd be one of the lucky one of us that can actually drink without overdoing it.
But until you can even think about attempting that you have to break yourself of all the bad habits and make certain you are on the right path. And that means not drinking for a while, more than 30 days. Check out some support groups in your area, try an AA meeting, read a few books on alcoholism. See if these resources can't help you make sense of where you're at with your drinking, why you're there, and if you're truly ready to leave all that behind you.
i firmly believe that if this beautiful man fully understood and respected your desire not to drink and need to abstain then why have alcohol present at all around you during this vulnerable time?Its like waving a freshly baked pan of made from scratch brownies with fudgey chocolate frosting under a newly diagnosed diabetics nose!
Thank you Westguy :) I'll take on board everything you've said. I know I'll read your remarks again and again. I'm going to an AA meeting on Friday night. After which I expect I'll have a somewhat clearer idea of where I am and what degree of chance there isof me succeeding. Thank you for being here.
Ibizan, this is Australia and alcohol is ingrained in our culture. There is alcohol all around us not because our culture is cruel - like waving sweets under a diabetics nose - but because we don't have a history (among the whites) of prohibition, abstenence and alcoholism.
To remove the presence of alcohol from my life would mean removing all the people I love, including those who are supporting me now. At this point in time, I'm not prepared to ask them to stop drinking in front of me. I don't need them to do that and I don't want them to suffer consequences for my weakness. However, I realise I'll have to do that if I ever binge again. And, the horror thought of doing that, is the very thing that is helping to keep me very much on track at the moment. I understand where you are coming from. My chances of success are much greater if I eradicate all evidence of alcohol from my life. But, right now I want to try it on my terms no matter how naive that may make me sound.
I do understand your point dear!Is the Austrailian culture more ,for lack of a better word....and i do have a dry sense of humor.....soaked with alcohol than in the USA?the commercials on TV here use images such as drink this you will be sexy and attract a sexy man/woman,drink this you will be the life of the party,for youth-drink this to have fun and be hip...I could go on and on!Drinking and alcohol use is a very BIG part of our culture!We have such a double standard here....drink drink buy buy alcohol but don't lose control of yourself and get in trouble!My family has gotten a little upset with me over the years when we have a wedding-i bypass the receptions.I tell them its the brides day...u folks party and have a good time...but i find a bunch of ppl getting intoxicated enjoying a free bar and smacking into one another on a dance floor to be boring!But then after being sober/clean 26 years i have a lifestyle that rarely involves drinking ppl......and if i'm at a event where ppl are drinking and they begin to get sloppy I leave!In the beginning of my sobriety i HAD to distance myself from it....it was too tempting!And all I'm saying here is why do you have to ask ppl to stop drinking in front of u?U don't!I would think they could live for a few hours minus alcohol and still enjoy your company!But that is asking too much of ppl to be considerate of you!:)
I know what honeyb33 means if I tried to distance myself from alcohol I wouldn't be able to socialise everyone I know has a drink now and again,I have actually lost friends because I stopped drinking (obviously not true friends) I have been able to stop and still be around people that drink,don't get me wrong it wasn't easy.I feel I have the problem with alcohol so I just worry about myself I don't care what others do now if they want to drink that's their choice,I find it funny now watching the change in people as they drink.I actually can't stand the smell of alcohol now.
i know what u mean!in the beginning my family didn't have alcohol at functions out of respect for me..but as time went one and i felt more secure in my recovery it re-appeared and that is fine!I am the alcoholic not them!There is a difference between social drinking and alcoholism and i was NEVER a social drinker!Neither were any of my so-called friends!Today if someone has a drink around me no problem...it does smell funky!:)But in the beginning it is so important to safeguard oneself!!!Here in the USA such a drinking and pillpopping culture......and its good to stand on the sidelines now and shake my head at it!
I'm ringing my doc tomorrow and making an appointment. I've known him for 15 years and never told him I'm a binge drinker. So, it's time he knew. I'm requesting a full check-up, expecially liver functioning.
The steps I'm taking - confessing and opening my heart in this forum, the AA meeting and now the check up - are cathartic and a tremendous weight relieved. I realise I can't say, "a tremendous weight off my shoulders" - I don't think the weight of this habit will be gone for a very long time.
PS. Westguy1003 - I wouldn't lie to you :) It really was a sip and 2 small ports - this time. But, I agree with everything you have offered me. I don't think I'm feeling 'normal' yet - and that's what I fear most. I'm in a perpetual state of dread that my drinking will escalate when I become too confident that I am in control. What's more, I'm certain escalation will happen when I do feel 'normal' and when I least expect it. Perhaps attending AA meetings and having my doctor know my condition will help stop me feeling confident too soon and I can develop a conscientious habit of self modulation.
Thanks Narla - that's how I felt this weekend. I worried about only me and so took special care of myself. And doing that, I think, is a great new skill and one I'm looking forward to learning.
Can anyone suggest a good book for addressing and controlling bad drinking habits?
I like ibizan had to decide do I keep the so called friends or think of myself and my wish to get and remain sober.
Getting sober means being selfish and this is ok, if these people care then they will understand.....
After a while you wont' miss it. It might be trial and error, but you've got 30 years of that now...while you could feel a sense of loss over a decision to give it up (even if it's bad) that opens a door to something clean and new.
I finally made a decision to stop playing with the fire because I fear I will get burned and when I sip or think I can control it (I also started abnormally with abusive situations, etc...same story) I have that nagging fear. When I have had long periods of abstaining, I felt great...it wasn't on my mind at all and that is FREEDOM.
Drink lots of filtered water to flush out and clean your system and take multivitamins and look forward to your clean future! You can do it. I'm glad for these forums to be able to talk to people who have walked these same paths.
It's interesting to see many of us are the same age and we're just saying enough is enough. Live and let go - we don't need this drug anymore. Let's explore life to the full and REMEMBER it!
Hi from Australia :) Thanks for the hug. I've been working 17 hours straight and thought I'd check in before bed - the teddy came at just the right time.
Last night grandpa came for dinner and bought a bottle of red wine. He had one glass and I had ice tea. The bottle is still sitting on my kitchen bench untouched by me. However, I knew I was in for some very intensive work today and long hours tonight and as soon as I started snacking on my favourite crackers that bottle started singing like a siren, tempting me in its deep red voice. The urge was very strong. But, I'm off to bed without giving way. The white wine from last week is also still in the fridge untouched. I don't know what it's gonna take to make me break, but tonight was a big hurdle because these are the times when I usually say I 'deserve' a glass of wine.
I haven't had any responses to my question about a good book for managing drinking behaviour. Can you suggest anything?
My daughter lives in Perth, so I guess it is getting late there now. I am struggling myself a bit tonight but am starting to relax by reading the strong posts we have on here.
The way my drinking behaviour is managed is:
Hubby has credit cards, money at all times.
Had my first AA meeting for about 10 years last week.
I find Camprol helps with the craving. I ordered it on-line.
Hubby became a diabetic three years ago and we stopped drinking together. There isn't any alcohol kept in the house but there is a shop selling alcohol next door but one!
When I was in Perth, I noticed due to better weather the social life consists around barbecues and drink. I had four glasses of wine one night over a month last year but this year managed our 3 week stay without any drink, mind you I was looking after my 8 month old grandson whilst my daughter worked so the thought didn't even enter my head.
They don't call Britain 'binge drinking Britain' for nothing and everywhere you go you see people sat outside on a summer's afternoon drinking. I find it the hardest time but get through with thinking about being up early playing with the puppy outside whilst they are in bed with a hangover!!!!!
I can't reccomend any good books for learning to manage ones drinking for when i drank anything I and it became unmanageable!i from age 14 was a miserable failure at social drinking and always will be!
I agree with ibizan I cannot drink at all or it becomes an everyday thing,my problem is I love the taste of alcohol,to me it's like someone who loves a cup of tea,I feel at times I need it but I know I can't have even a sip it would send me right back to drinking all the time.I just have to be strong and not cave.
Anyone who enters my home enters alcohol free. That is just the way it is and has to be for me. I thought in the beginning that i was losing so much when i gave up my so called friends. Little did i know then that it was a huge gain. I go to receptions once in awhile but always leave before dark as that is when the party usually starts. I have so much to be grateful for that i dont want to go back to that insanity. I hold my sober/clean time sacred and protect it with everything i have~~~~~~~sara
Four and a half hours later ....
I did it and I'm glad. I plan to return next Friday and I have my first sponsor - Susanne, from California! :)
No drinks tonight, despite it being the end of the week. But, so tired I can't string two thoughts together. The meeting was really interesting on so many levels.
Now, I appreciate where many of the writers on this forum are coming from.
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