May 3, 2016 at 10:54 AM #5320
I attempted to post to the other site, but couldn’t figure out how to. I would rather post anonymously, but am instead using a non-personal account I made. I wanted to weigh in with some people with some experience, as I read some stories similar to mine on the webpage. I have been sober for almost 6 year, but have been questioning lately if I am truly an alcoholic. Deciding to test that theory is a risk, so I’m not about to just go out and try a drink, thus, why I’m starting conversations like this one.
I don’t know entirely how to start. I was 23 when I got sober, I was still having fun drinking, but I was definitely drinking too much. My drinking got bad over a 6 month period, I was depressed, I had an extremely low self-esteem, and I have zero sense of self. I started seeking attention from men at a very young age to feel better about myself. When I would go out (which was nearly every night during that 6 month time frame), my goal was always to get a buzz when I first got to the bar (because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, and felt socially awkward), then to find a guy. I’ve always said that I felt that my issues around relationships were bigger than my drinking. I have never felt that amazing feeling they talk about in AA while taking someone through the steps, it always just felt like a burden. I did however get that feeling when I took a girl through the steps around relationships.
Around the same time I was taking that person through the steps, I started feeling more and more disconnected from meetings. I put my spiritual grown as my number one priority, but started to see that so many people with so many time in the rooms did not….I started to see the sickness in the meetings more and more. I would feel worse after a meeting rather than better. After a breakup of 3 years, I did start going to some more meetings. The support of people I built friendships with was great, but I still did not feel connected to the meetings. I haven’t had a sponsor in over 3 years, because it seemed pointless. As of late, I only go to meetings because of my sponsee that is new in the program.
The question or whether or not I’m an alcoholic came up after a series of conversations. A couple of the conversations were basically “you can beat this alcohol thing”, and a couple were people that drank very heavily and even used drugs heavily when they were younger, but now just drink every now and again. Both of these topics made me begin to wonder. I also know a couple of people that were sober for extended periods of time (1 around 5 years and the other 17), that realized they were not alcoholic. I know for a fact that one of them has drank on a few occasions, and her life has not spiraled out of control….it has been at least 8 years since she made this decision.
What I know for a fact is that in my first year of sobriety, I was still very sick, and I can remember telling people, if I go back out, you’ll never see my again. When I think about having a drink now, the thought of getting wasted sounds terrible, the lack of control, not remembering things, making bad decisions, taking shots, having a horrible hangover…none of that sounds appealing to me, at all. However, the thought of having a glass of wine or 2 when I go out to a really nice meal, or having some fruity drinks while lounging on the beach sounds really nice. I know that I did not struggle at all with cravings, they were removed immediately….but I also know that in those 6 months of drinking every day, I also blacked out every day, regardless of the amount that I drank….but, I am so far from the person I was then. I have a relationship with my God, I have spiritual practices, I love myself, I don’t need a relationship to feel ok, I don’t need any “thing” to feel ok. If something really difficult comes up in my life, drinking is the last thing I would think of doing to deal with it, that’s not how I handle my problems today…I know it would only make things worse, and me being ignoring the problem rather than dealing with it.
So, am I truly an alcoholic, I don’t know. Is the risk or experimenting to find out a big one, yes, huge. I have built up so much in this almost 6 years, friendships I’m afraid of losing, the respect I have gained from my parents, a group of people that I practice my spirituality with (almost all of which are also sober), and of course, the biggest risk, that I actually am, and I lose control and actually lose all of the things I have gained in my sobriety. Is it worth even taking the risk to find out? That’s where I’m stuck. I don’t want to label myself something I am not, and in all honesty, if I can have a drink whenever I wanted to, I want to be able to enjoy that. I just don’t think that someone that is truly an alcoholic would try to make a responsible decision around whether or not they could drink again, but then again I could be lying to myself. AA instills so much fear in you around the 1st drink. I honestly think I could drink with moderation, but everything I have learned in these years tells me that would be impossible.
If anyone has experience to share, opinions, articles to read, anything….I would really appreciate it. As I said, I’m not about to make a decision about this right now. I am praying A LOT about it, setting up conversations to have with the people I know that no longer identify themselves as alcoholics, and reaching out to others like I am now. Thank you for taking the time to read this. May beauty be all around you.May 3, 2016 at 11:24 AM #5322
As the book states in so many words, alcohol is but a symptom. The book even suggests trying the type of experimental controlled drinking you are considering if one is not convinced they are “alcoholic”. All I can say is that from my experience I’d be better off never having drank, drugged, nor AA’d as a “young people”, but it’s a bit late for all that.
Sounds to me like you already know that drinking is not such a good idea right? Trust me if you are “anything like me” and want to increase your lack of judgement and negative feelings in general, then go ahead and drink. It always makes it worse for me. Of course I’m “drinking and thinking” as I type this, so what do I know?May 3, 2016 at 2:21 PM #5325
Thanks for the reply. I know that experimentation is suggested, it’s just a big risk if I’m wrong. My intent would not be to drink to the point that it was affecting my judgement, etc., as you spoke about….but, good intentions don’t always mean much.May 9, 2016 at 11:54 AM #5327
I am not a doctor or a therapist I am simply someone that has felt and have gone through an extremely similar situation as you (almost identical). From reading your post I strongly believe you are okay and can introduce some moderate drinking into your life now.
One thing I will suggest just as Massive does all the time is “deprogramming” meaning work on losing the things that are not helpful the labeling, shamming, and perhaps even some of the unhealthy relationships you may have through AA. If your strong and healthy spirituality is only based around AA, work on that before attempting to drink because your fall back will be around AA people and guess how they are going to feel about you drinking (unsupportive). I talked to my closes friends outside the “program” and assured their support before taking the initiative to drink. I never fell back on AA the longer its been the better I feel.
I was in a bad spot when I started AA. I am no longer that person and feel good about who I am. Although not perfect all the time who’s life is! but I know this, if I’m sad or disturbed in anyways a drink won’t fix it. I don’t associate drinking as a coping skill anymore.
Its been about 8 months since I stopped attending meetings and 5 since I first took a drink. I don’t drink heavy, I don’t find it cool or attractive to do so nor do I ever want to go there.
You are doing the right thing by asking and informing yourself. Good luck and if your taking votes I say go for it! You know yourself better than any AA ideology ever will.
With lost of love and compassion,
Bobe & I am not an alcoholic.August 9, 2016 at 9:58 AM #5461
I know that I’m late in replying to this post, but this post really should have a follow up. I’m assuming that NeedsAdvice probably tested the waters. I’m wondering how it turned out. From reading the post, my only concern was the history of blackout drinking. Even so, it seems to me that people who have spent considerable time in AA/NA often embellish their stories. So was the poster really experiencing blackouts in the past, or was it a bit of an exaggeration to “qualify.” Take poetic license long enough, and you start to believe your own tall tales. Anyhow, NeedsAdvice, how did it work out?
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