Well, I’m going to have a go at it again. I’m going to try to control my drinking. Yesterday (Saturday) I went through almost a half bottle of whiskey. I started drinking in the morning, and I fell asleep and can’t remember what happened until about 2 in the afternoon. I woke up with cuts on my hands that I don’t remember getting, and for some reason my muscles are sore. I threw away a whole day; it’s Sunday morning now, and I still feel spacey.
Yesterday was the first time my drinking has affected my work. I got a phone call from someone at work – I know because of the prefix on the number – but I have no idea what it was about or how I reacted or if I slurred my speach or said something I shouldn’t have. I had to look the number up to figure out who it was. Turns out it was the guy I’m working with, he’s supposed to let me know when they’re going to start up this big machine at the chemical plant where I work, so we can start testing some new controls. Basically, I’m on call, pager and cell phone in my pocket at all times, and I’m supposed to be sober.
My family has been amazingly patient with me. They must really, really love & respect me, because they have given me months & months to come around. My wife and I had a long chat about things, and she’s willing to take this to the next level, now that it’s affected my job. I mean, I could get fired, if I even have the tiniest, measurable amount of alcohol in my body, which, some mornings, I bet I do. And by next level, that means moving out with the kids over the summer. I would lose her. And, my secret would be out. I can’t lose her. It would kill me.
I’ve often thought, what’s in it for me to quit? I stayed sober for 30 days recently. You can read my sad tale in the Last Call Program Review, a very lengthly and somewhat popular post on here. If I get liver disease or die, my wife will get a large sum of money from my life insurance, she could pay people to do what I do, pay off the house, buy a new car, and I would be in Heaven. Well, the sudden death of a friend recently has made that a little more of a real picture in my head, and the story in the news today of Rick Warren’s son killing himself – Rick Warren runs the huge Saddleback church & wrote A Purpose-Driven Life – makes it a big reality check. I read a little about that kid. He went to all of the best doctors, counselors, tried all kinds of medication, and this crushing, despairing depression never left him. Nothing worked. He asked his dad, Why can’t I just kill myself and stop all of this? I know I’ll go to Heaven. That was a decade ago. He hung in there, helping at church, probably a very empathetic guy. Most people with serious depression feel things very strongly, and can’t let go. I know I do. I’m like a stress and misery sponge. But if his faith in God, plus a limitless amount of support, didn’t work, then I can forgive myself for not having the faith to just trust God & He’ll solve all my problems (like the preachers always say).
So last time there really wasn’t anything in it for me. Nothing changed. I was hoping for some reward, but all I got was a lack of side effects. No real appreciation. It’s like nobody noticed. But, I have to stay here. My family needs me to make the difficult decisions. I have to be here to protect my wife from my dad’s family. My dad is OCD and controlling, and without me to protect her, he’ll come over and take over everything. I’m going to stand up to him; I made a tough decision yesterday, one that I know is going to hurt his feelings and could bring about cripling emotional revenge.
Story? Well, my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary by inviting all three of his kids & their family to a house for a week in Colorado. The problem is, my brother is like a thousand times worse than my dad. I don’t think he realizes that he comes across as arrogant, condenscending and judgemental, but he does, and it reduces my wife to tears and sometimes hatred and rage. She comes home crying after a meal with him, because of something he said, critisizing her dress, our kids, our choices, our lives in general. He’s so much smart than we are, or thinks he is, and never misses an opportunity to flaunt it; you know he took debate in high school, and since then I could never win an arguement; he could prove water was bad for plants, I swear, all science and truth to the contrary.
So I promised my dear wife that she wouldn’t have to go on this trip. It’s going to be hard to tell my parents, they have it all planned out, they’re buying the plane tickets, paying for the hotel or house, but I’m scared of what will happen if – God forbid – she has to share a bathroom with my brother. She can’t be that close to him without going crazy. I’ve seen it, and it ain’t pretty, let me tell you. So I will take on the task that noone else on earth will do for her; I will tell my parents that my wife can’t go. Not sure what tact I’ll use yet – I could either blurb out something about her upcoming cancer tests, or I could tell them the truth, just put it out there, stand my ground and take whatever consequences there are. And they can be brutal. If my dad feels like I’ve violated a sacred tradition, he can make me feel as small as spit on a hot sidewalk, like when I got drunk & didn’t call my mom on her birthday. For some reason, that’s like the most important thing in the world, and it took weeks before I felt the knot in my stomache release. Waterboarding’s got nothing on my dad…
So, what’s in it for me this time is my wife. Not just that I want to avoid losing her; I love her, and I realized that I need to be here to fulfil my role as leader. No, I never decide what we’re going to eat, I never pick out the furniture, but when I see indecision on her part, that’s when she needs me the most. I decided which washing machine to get, based on performance & reviews, and she approved the looks. I decided which T-shirt company to use for the school when she couldn’t make a decision & was too scared to mess up. And I decided to keep her & my brother apart to prevent an explosion. I have to be here to take the heat, to bear the responsibility, and to make the big decisions; when there is danger ahead, and sometimes only I can see that far down the road, I have to do it. I have to be the one. It’s my job.
So please pray for me. Last night I poured the rest of the whiskey down the drain (again) and I’m going to make a fresh start. My wife has encouraged me and offered me something that I love (wink, wink) if all I drink today is one normal beer – not the four loco, not the huge Malt liquor, just one, regular beer. Pray that I’ll be able to resist, because my marriage, my job, my life and my family are on the line.
I can’t leave. I’m the dad, and my family needs me…
It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve had any whiskey. I had a couple of slips: went out to eat & ordered a margarita the size of your head, and a couple of nights ago I DID have a four-loco, plus one beer, both 24oz. Those sugar drinks are cheap, and I don’t just mean in cost.
Total lack of motivation for anything. I feel so, so … what’s the word? … Sober. I don’t get excited about coming home to drink one lite beer and watching TV until it’s time to go to bed. I don’t have anything left after work, especially on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, when I get up at 4:30 to go to the gym before work. I just wish I was able to stay home. I hate work. I really, really hate work, you know why? Rules. Laws. There’s just too many of them. It’s stiffling. Don’t speed. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Don’t shoot squirrels in the back yard. Geez, it’s unending.
The news from Boston has me down, and now this morning I hear there was a huge explosion in Waco. I’m so bummed out. The best I can do is just survive. If I make it through the day, that’ll be an accomplishment. Tomorrow is Friday. Yippee. Pizza and a movie, followed by two days of unmotivated boredom and responsibilities. Yuk…
Good news! I haven’t been back to the liquor store in almost a month! This has worked out pretty darn well. I do drink more than I should still, but you just can’t get totally wrecked on light beer, it’s just not possible. I don’t wake up trying to remember what happened, I have mild hangovers if any, and if I do drink too much, I just get sleepy.
So here’s what I did. I’m going to post this in my Last Call Program Review, too.
Step one: Only beer. If I want to drink something, I have to go to the corner store and buy it, and only what I plan to consume. No 6-packs, or kegs, or cases, in the name of saving money. I’m not going to quit. Tried it. Been there. Done that. Doesn’t work. One 24oz beer a day, or I’ll feel deprived. Just doing that is a huge improvement over coming home and guzzling hard booze every day, then barely being able to function at work.
Step two: I don’t go into the liquor store. Ever. I can’t handle the temptation. Just like if there’s more beer in the house I’ll find an excuse to drink it, if I go to the liquor store I’ll see myself as giving up again and go back to old habits. No event is so joyous (or painful) that it justifies getting drunk on whiskey. If I want alcohol, I have to go buy it from the corner store. Period.
Step three: I promised to forgive myself. The goal is only one, 24oz light beer a day. Some days are worse than others. I’ll come home after a hard day and just want to switch myself off; get so buzzed I can’t hardly walk. So some days it’s two 24oz beers, others its a Four-Loco or some cheap “high gravity” stuff; It’s OK. I can make a mistake, I’m allowed. Every day is a new day; every day starts over, and I don’t beat myself up over drinking too much the night before. As long as it was in a can, and it came from the corner store, it’s OK.
Step four: I started exercizing again. I’ve been working out at the gym in the mornings; it’s the only time I can really call my own. I’ve tried stopping at the gym on the way home, but I’m always tired from work and sometimes I have to work late. Getting up at 4:20am was rough at first, but I did it. And it makes me feel good about myself, and by the time I get to work at 7:30, I’m relaxed and ready to go. At first it was awful, dragging my lazy butt to the car, half-asleep, then coming home barely able to move & getting ready for work. But as I get better at it, and I don’t have a hangover, and I don’t let my pulse get over 130-135, it gives me energy instead of draining me. Haven’t lost any weight, but I think my muscles are stronger … a little.
So a typical day goes like this: I get up, splash water all over my head (so people will think I just took a shower), head to the gym, do 20-30 minutes on the elliptical machine (pulse around 125-135), then two sets each on four random weight machines, come home, shower & go to work. Then on the way home, I buy a beer (or two if it’s been a rough day) at the same convenience store (I know they probably think I’m an alcoholic, but I don’t care), say hi to the wife & kids, lock myself in my home office, playing a video game, drinking my beer, and puffing on my ecig, until the stress of the day is gone, dozens of zombies are dead, and I’m ready to relax and be with my family. If I feel the urge for more beer than I bought, I either check my BAC & then go get some, or lately I’ve just been taking Benadryl to make me sleepy. An hour after that and I’m asleep…
That’s it. I know I’m not perfect. I know I still have a problem. But I’m improving. I’m not drinking half as much as I used to, and my kids never see me go crazy, my wife never has to take them away for fear of their safety, and the worst that happens is I stumble a little on the way to the bathroom, or fall asleep in the recliner. Maybe someday I’ll be totally sober, but not today; today I’m happy that I’m better than I was yesterday, and that’s good enough for me.
I am about 45 seconds away from giving up. Why does it have to be like this? Did Dad drink? Yeah. How much? I don’t know. He had a big bottle or something. You seem drunk. You’re drunk. No I’m not. You seem drunk to me. Well, shit, I guess I might as well be. I mean, if I’m getting called a drunk, nobody makes any distinction between having a few beers and being an alcoholic, if I get thrown into that category anyway, why not? Huh? Why not just booze it up, because everyone thinks I do anyway. Fuck it. Just fuck fuck fuck it. There. I said it. Might as well say it again. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Same with beer. Or liquor. Or whiskey. I drank a beer. I’m a drunk. Might as well have another one. And another one. And another one. And another one. And another one. Drink drink drink drink drink. Hell, if everyone thinks I’m a drunk, and nothing is ever ever ever ever good enough, who cares? If you’re going to fail if you don’t get an A+, why even try for a B?
I hate this life. I really, really do. The next one won’t be much better. Get to Heaven, Jesus shaking his head in disappointment, I GUESS you can come in, we have some gold dust that needs to be mopped…….
I hurt my back. I really twisted it up bad. That was last Saturday, almost 2 weeks ago. It still hurts. Usually, a back strain lasts around 3 days. Not this one. Ouch.
Anyone who has ever had a back injury knows that it never goes away. Sitting, standing, walking, lying down – it always hurts. After about a week of that, I broke down & bought my first bottle of whiskey in 6 weeks. I had to have a pain vacation. So I failed. I drank enough to not feel anything for a little while, and after that bottle was gone, I was going to be OK.
Then my brother happened. My older, smarter, taller, more educated, condescending, judgemental, but otherwise nice brother. We have a family trip planned, where we’re all going to be in the same house for a week. That has me terrified. If I have too many run-ins with him insulting my beliefs – he’s a big liberal and is constantly trash-talking conservatives – I’m afraid I’ll blow up. So, as a pre-emptive strike, I included in one of our back-n-forth emails (it’s our parents’ 50th anniversary and we’re working together on a gift) I included a comment about how it hurts my feelings when he insults my beliefs. I was not as simple and nice as that, but after years of abuse, I could have given him an earful… anyway, it was a long email, and he gave me a terse reply, saying he was shocked that I would heap insults on him, he’s stunned, and thanks to me, the family reunion is trashed.
I went on a 3 hour tirade, yelling, cussing, throwing things; I was in shock that instead of responding to my email, he attacked me for writing it. Didn’t eat for 24 hours, I was so stressed out, horrible, horrible stomache cramps from the tension, and a flare-up of my back pain that was finally getting better. So, that drove me to whiskey bottle number two.
Sorry to bring bad news, but what can I say? I’m an alcoholic. I drink. I try to stop or cut down, then I slip, then I try to stop or cut down again, then I mess up, and the cycle repeats & repeats, and will probably go on as long as my bio-rhythms do – until I’m dead.
It has been a horrible, horrible week. Took a couple of days off for my back, then hobbled in to work on a project over the holiday weekend (that was due Tuesday), stressed about my project, stressed about the trip and my brother, and in constant pain. Well, my brother never apologized, hasn’t spoken directly to me since (although I’m still cc’d on his emails to my sister, who’s putting together a photo frame), but I’m OK about it now. I came to the conclusion that I deserve respect. He doesn’t have to agree with my beliefs, but he can’t trash them; I won’t take it any more. Even if I believed that crickets were holy, he should refrain from squashing them in my presense. That’s it. I’m a human being and I deserve respect, and I will either get respect, or leave. Period.
The family vacation went better than expected. My brother acted like it never happened, but he didn’t trash-talk conservatives even once. It was stressful, but we made it, and Colorado was absolutely beautiful. I snuck a beer a day to help my nerves, I walked with my wife down the trails every morning, and the last two days I drank a fifth of whiskey each night. Then the last morning, we got on the road about 5am, drove 1200 miles straight, and got home at 1am. I was THAT anxious to get back home, where I feel safe…
The drinking is bad. Again. Of course. Every day. Got a hefty hangover today, and I’m depressed. Of course. I just posted a new topic about it. Went to church with my daughter last Sunday. First time in several years. It felt strange. I don’t know if I’ll be back… hard to imagine being an alcoholic and going to church. They’d have to “cure” me to let me stay, or I’d have to keep it a secret.
I probably won’t update this any more. Unless something changes… which it won’t…