Friday, June 22, 2012


Welp, the last time I've had a drink was Saturday evening. So that's what, five days I guess? Can I say it's been six days since I had a drink? Dunno what the standard is for how you count this shit...

Right now it's sort of indefinite. Enjoying good beers and brewing are hobbies of mine, so I am loathe to give it up forever completely. I'd like to get back on some sort of moderation track at some point. There are some promising signs that this might be an option for me in the future, but right now it's waaaay too soon to tell. This might just as easily turn out to be permanent.

I've been a fairly heavy drinker since my early 20s, and my wife's been urging me to address that for some time. But I personally have never really been all that uncomfortable with my drinking level, at least not until recently. The last half a year, however, it's gotten a bit out of hand (not to the level of missing work or anything remotely like that, but still...), and a big catalyst for that is that my drinking has gotten all tied up with some relationship issues, to the point where the two problems are not really separable. I don't want to say too much about it, but right now I basically need to untie this knot before I can really make progress on solving either problem. It's absolutely impossible to say how much one problem is contributing to the other right now, because they are too intertwined.

So, abstinence it is, at least until this Gordian knot is cut. Blah.

I went to an SOS meeting at a local UU church a couple weeks ago, I'm gonna go again on Monday. I'm not sure if these meetings are going to be helpful for me or not... I am not someone who easily identifies with other people, and to be perfectly honest, the two times I've been to meetings in the past, I see some of the people there and I'm just like, "Wow, I am absolutely nothing like that person and never could be. What am I doing here again?"1 I am sorry if that sounds elitist; I guess it is. But I can't help myself from feeling that way.

On the other hand, it's been helpful the last few days to picture myself showing up on Monday and saying, "I'm Jay and I haven't had a drink in nine days." (Or is it eight? How am I supposed to count this again? Fuck it, I've been imagining myself saying nine, so I'm saying nine, dammit!) It might be worth it just for that aspect, although I still worry that my anti-identification with some of the people there (yes, even at the SOS meeting) will be counterproductive. Just going to have to play it by ear.

Anyway, I might write more about this in the future. Since I blog under my real name, I sort of don't want to go into too many details, at least not until I have a better idea of how this is going to play out. In any case, here's a music video for ya:

1I am pretty sure this is not a case of denial, either. It's not the amount of substance abuse that these people-I-can't-identify-with are engaging in, it's their attitude towards it and how they deal with it. At the SOS meeting, there was an older guy who, even though his problem and his solution were a fair bit different than mine, I could kind of identify with him. And this is even despite the fact that, at it's worst, his drinking problem was way worse than mine, both in terms of sheer amount of alcohol, as well as direct impacts on his life (he nearly lost his job over it). So please don't misunderstand me, my failure to identify with these people is not a case of me failing to imagine myself having an abuse problem of that level. It's something else entirely.


  1. Good luck with your journey. Hopefully soon you won't be thinking so much about the drink you're missing. I had the same kind of problem when I was quitting smoking.

  2. One of the things that is making me optimistic about a return to moderation at some point in the future is that I haven't been craving a drink nearly as frequently as I expected I would. Oh, there have been some moments that have been pretty intense. But I thought the evenings would be really rough at first, and for the most part they haven't been. I was expecting that for the first couple weeks, every evening there would come a point when I was just like, "God, I'm bored... being sober all the time sucks", because that's kind of what it's been like a couple of times in the past when I quit temporarily (in the past, it was always planned to be temporary, with a fixed endpoint; this is the first time I have quit indefinitely). But that hasn't really been happening this time around... I only am having trouble when something specifically triggers me to want to drink. That's easier to deal with, because then I can try and figure out a way to defuse the trigger somehow, or if I can't than I at least know the trigger will pass and I can just wait it out.

  3. In any case, that's a ways in the future, if it's in the cards at all. And maybe I think that is part of what's making it easier... I'm not waiting out the days until I can have another drink, which is sort of a relief in a way.

  4. I spent ten years in an alcoholic marriage and it was the most devastating and damaging experience of me life. I will tell you and you should know that there are healthy and unhealthy relationships with alcohol. If your loved ones are trying to thrive in a family where alcohol is part of the equation then you need to look frankly and openly at your relationship with alcohol and make some very difficult, painful and courageous decisions. You will likely need some help to do that. You can't really see clearly what your relationship with alcohol is doing to those around you. But they can, and I can tell you, if they are mentioning it, even casually and in passing, you have a problem. Because THEY are having a problem with your relationship to alcohol. You can't really be there for your mate and kids if alcohol is consuming enough of your life that your loved ones feel concerned by it. The pain, grief, shame, denial, struggle, anger, guilt, turmoil, chaos, lasting trauma, and misery caused by lack of decisive action now to mitigate the effects of alcohol in your lovely and valuable life is very real. It will hurt your mate deeply and cause ongoing problems for your wonderful children. There is no way that alcohol consumption can reasonably be seen as life enhancing as the relationships with your family. But alcohol will tell you that it's okay, you can do both, you can handle it, give it up any time, whisper all kinds of crazy shit in your ear, and if you listen you will break your relationship with your wife and kids... it will be gone. And you may not notice the loss until it is too late. I may sound melodramatic but the voice in my head is dead calm and sure. This is not melodrama but the exact truth of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and what it does to people. If you decide, foolishly, that you are the one human being on earth who can manage alcohol even though all indications are to the contrary, before you slide down that long slippery slope please tell your mate, from me, to go immediately and get the support she will need to manage her life and the lives of her sons so that they can survive somewhat intact from your decision to continue your relationship with alchol. ALANON is one place to go. She can be "in treatment" for the effects of alcohol on her life even if she is not the active alcoholic. It's important. It will help. She doesn't have to go it alone. There are life enhancing choices to be made, the strength to make them. I wish you all well.