August 06, 2013

10 Years Today

This is a repost, marking 10 years since I decided to give up my little alcohol habit.

Disclaimer: This post isn’t meant to be funny. These things are only funny to me because they are all true, because I did them, and because I salvaged my poor gin-soaked soul on August 6, 2003. If you think you might have a problem, consider these points or
take this quiz. I took it 14 times before I realized that cheating on the answers didn’t make them any less true.


Image respectfully borrowed from BeerStuff


You Might Have a Teensy Weensy Problem With Alcohol If…

  • You make three separate trips to the recycling center because you don’t want anyone to see how many bottles you have, but you still care about the earth.
  • You carry your trash really carefully when your landlord is around, so he doesn't hear the clinking.
  • You remember drinking 1 bottle of chardonnay, but in the morning you see 3 empty ones.
  • You go to at least 3 different liquor stores because you don't want to be seen going so often; nevertheless, all the owners cheerfully greet you by name.
  • You drunk-dial your friends and then tell them the same story several times, in almost the exact same words. When they call you on it, you say, "oh, I've told this story so many times I don't remember who I told it to." (this doesn't work very well when it's the same person, in the same phone call)
  • You make elaborate plans with friends and family, and then don’t remember a word. The next day, when your friend says, “so what time should I come over?” you pretend you know all about it to cover your ass. Later, when your other friend calls (with whom you also made plans), you cancel because of an “appointment you forgot you had”.
  • Your first words in the morning, every morning for 2+ years, are “Oh, shit ... not again.”
  • Your coworkers ask you why you look so tired, or if you are sick (answer: both). Your answer: trouble sleeping (also true).
  • You wake up at 3 AM every night in a shame spiral, and wonder how & when you got to this point. You’re an intelligent, beautiful, self-aware woman, dammit—you can’t be a drunk! (you can be both; nobody sets out to have this affliction on purpose, ya know. Duh.) (By the way I sometimes dream that I went on a drinking binge & wake up feeling utter despair at having failed, then relief that I’m still OK. And if I did fail, I hope I’d have the strength to pick up where I left off).
  • You bring your own magnum of chardonnay to the party because they probably don’t have what you want (or enough of it); you offer to open it for the hostess. You drink most of it.
  • You order a whole bottle of wine at a bar and the bartendress keeps it on ice for you and all the friends you intend to share it with. Most of them don’t have any.
  • You decide that a mandarin Absolut & tonic (m.a.t.) is OK at 10 AM; it’s citrusy, like orange juice. That's breakfast, right?
  • You decide that grocery shopping is so much more fun with a buzz on, so you have one m.a.t. for breakfast & then put one in a sippy cup for the road.
  • The following activities are drinking triggers: talking on the phone, sitting at the computer, watching TV, driving home from work. Also breathing, eating, sleeping.
  • You’ve rationalized that you’d better switch to vodka since it doesn’t smell (as much—enough of anything and your sweat still smells like skid row).
  • You lie to your best friend on the phone that the reason your speech is slurred is because you are wearing a Crest White Strips on your teeth.
  • You decide to drink only on weekends, then drink on a Thursday because that’s close.
  • You decide to drink every other day, and then fail after 2 days.
  • You decide not to drink one morning, and then change your mind on the drive home. You haven’t done it yet, you could still stop it, but having made the decision in your mind it is already too late. This yet-unacted-upon weakness fills you with despair.
  • You decide to drink just 2 glasses of wine, but glass 3.5 kills the bottle (you have biiiig glasses), so why stop? Wine goes bad if it sits.
  • Wine never goes bad in your house.
  • You wonder aloud about your drinking habits with all of your drinking friends, and say things like, “it’s not as if I’d drink something else if there were no wine in the house” (this was before I discovered the m.a.t. and the no-smell-vodka secret)
  • There is always wine in the house.
  • You actually think to yourself, who needs friends when I have this?
  • You choose a night home with a DVD and 2 bottles of wine over a night out with friends (rationalization: cheaper, and then I don't have to drive drunk).
  • You wonder aloud whether a life without wine in it is even possible. All those dinners out, and no wine? (it is possible, and the peace of mind that comes from a sober life far exceeds the enjoyment of a fine chardonnay. Although sometimes I still imagine the molten-gold flavor of it going down my throat, and I feel a lust unlike anything I’ve ever felt).
  • You finally resolve to quit drinking, but you can’t “officially” quit until all the booze in the house is gone, so you make a list of everything you need to consume, including that nasty bottle of Pimm's and the Smuggler whiskey your dad brought over for a party once (happy ending: upon realizing the huge volumes I’d have to consume, I gave all my top-shelf vodkas, gins, scotches & rums to a friend for her huge summer bash, and poured the rest of it down the toilet on August 7, 2003. Funny, I didn’t feel bad about wasting it, even though I was raised not to waste nutrients. I figured those kids in Africa didn’t need to become boozehounds).
  • You check out the AA website, just to see what it’s all about.
  • [UPDATE] You taste a tiny tiny sip of your husband's drink sometimes, mostly to remind yourself that you can't have it, you are never safe around it.  When you taste, it flows into you like a river of golden lava and awakes a craving so deep and complete that you know, really know, that you are only well because you are not having it and oh, what a slippery slope this is ... truly, in one day it could all be undone by going down this path.  So you just touch the path with your toe for the reminder, and then pull it back to safety. Tickle the sleeping tiger, then pull your hand back to watch it very closely, lest it fix its gaze upon you.
[note: I am not made uncomfortable in any way by the mention of alcohol, the presence of it, or when my friends around me order it at the dinner table. I am happy to discuss it and proud of my sobriety. It’s not a word that needs to be whispered, like cancer or prison. I am not offended by anyone’s drunken audio post, or mention of drunkenness in this virtual (or any other) world. The only thing that upsets me is when I meet/see people who are obvious alcoholics; not because I judge them but because I know the place they are in, and it is not a good place. I questioned my drinking for 8 years, and experienced out-of-control drinking for about a year and a half before I stopped. I still question exactly how I got to that point. I can only hope that suffering alcoholics find solid ground, as I did. Thank you for reading.]

27 comments:

Freewheel said...

Congrats! And may each day be sweeter than the one that came before it.

BadGod said...

Forget about us ever going out. After a night with me, most women want to forget what happened.

Tits McGee said...

::applause::

Congratulations, baby.

Madge said...

Happy three years today, SG.

B.E. Earl said...

Stay strong!

miss kendra said...

tradition tells me i'm supposed to give you leather for this anniversary.

i think i'll leave that to jamwall and just give you a hug.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Great post, Spinning Girl. I think I understand your blog title now.

Thanks for sharing that intimate post.

Bill said...

It's really quite amazing how many people have problems with alcohol. I've known quite a few who have also kicked it.

My father was an alcoholic and I remember when I had my first apartment my roomate and I would hide the beer when he'd come over because otherwise he would drink it all. After a while he started saying, "That's okay - I picked some up on the way over." (No, he never kicked it. It ended up killing him.)

I think three years is very, very cool. Congrats!

DaMasta said...

You make me drunk. Marry me.

(also, congrats.)

tuuna taco said...

Pai. :)

SignGurl said...

Congratulations from one SG to another!

3 years is amazing, especially when taken one day at a time :)

Übermilf said...

Oh, Spinnie, you're so strong and brave.

Unless someone has battled an addiction, he/she doesn't know how much it takes to break it.

You deserve every accolade.

jamwall said...

you intoxify me.

Juliabohemian said...

congratulations. My sister sent me this list once a while back. She has been sober for 7 years. she is also the treasurer of her AA chapter.

One Day at a Time

Osbasso said...

You are an amazing woman. Keep it up, and CONGRATULATIONS!!

kidcola61 said...

now that you have your "brains back" truly you can pretend to be in a drunken stupor and get away with it like us old timers do! Congratulations!
and thats the spirit....

Kat said...

I'm sure you realize how lucky you are to have so much love and support in your life. 3 Years and the love continues to flourish...just look at all the smiley faces here applauding you! You're very brave to have done the hard thing. Good on ya ;o)

Rrramone said...

I'm bowing in your general direction. AND, in honor of knowing you for just over a year, here is what I posted LASR year when I read your last post about this:

-----
Wow. I don't know you other than you finding my blog yesterday. But I am proud of you and happy for you! I do lots of work with men, some of whom are dealing with this, and I know how tough this is for some of them. Keep on lovin' yourself. :-)

And I'm the biggest Simpsons fan in the world, so I was sucked in by Homer. Again.

---------

So how about them apples??

Rrramone said...

And of course by LASR, I mean LAST.

D'oh!!

Pille said...

Tubli oled!!!

LBseahag said...

omg....i cried reading this...its crazy how when u drink or right when you come out you feel so isolated, and then you realize that you are never alone...I am so proud of you, and proud of me...
i spent the last three years of my habit hiding it; yet i still managed to lose friends, lost a job for getting arrested for public intoxication in dallas at a company party (had just taken a job with Travelocity and screwed it up, a month after i got hired)managed to flood my apartment 3 different times for leaving the bathtub running, slept with guys who didn't really "like" me, woke up at a mormon church classroom across long beach without my skirt on (I tore it climbing the fence of the church and left it hanging and had to have the pastor drive me home), fought with my ex boyfriend and got a call from the cops to quit harassing him, the list goes on...i was a drinker since that first beer at age 16 that made me throw up in my bedroom and my mom walked in on me yakking...
what seemed like fun when i would go out with friends meant getting so torn up someone would have to take care of me and get me home...
a dui at age 21 when i drove my car into a ditch...
the day i went to rehab my best friend came in and found my stash, flooded apartment, and i knew.
i was embarrassed to admit it to people, thinking they were going to chastise me...i remember lying to coworkers that i was on antibiotics and that is why i could not drink...now i am at the point where i know in my heart that anyone whom i hurt or affected is glad i quit, and i should never be embarrassed again. its amazing when you learn to love yourself as a person who can have fun without substance, still be the life of the party with a soda in hand, and when a day goes by when you go to bed sober, and thank god you made it thru another day...
Thank you, spinning girl, you are a beautiful person!

MMPR said...

My childhood (and beyond) were tainted by alcoholism. I'm so proud of you. Love.

Spinning Girl said...

Thank you -- it is a struggle that refreshes every day.

Rebecca Kaplan said...

Much love to you, sweet friend. Ya done good.

Osbasso said...

Ten years, and a lifetime to go. That's pretty darned good. Congrats!

Chris Bakunas said...

So, 11+years now?

Spinning Girl said...

10 1/2 I'd say!