Day 179 – Beyond AA

I found this column from Annie’s Mailbox – “Beyond AA” back in April but never shared it. As someone who does not consider themselves an alcoholic, the idea of finding a sponsor and going to AA does not appeal to me. So it was nice to see a number of other options out there as listed in the article. I look forward to checking them out and perhaps writing about my experiences. (I’ve added them to the Resources & Articles page for your convienience.)

Despite this fact, over the last few weeks, really since early August, I have been reading a couple of daily affirmation books I got years ago from Al-Anon. They’ve been helpful yet again both in dealing with my emotions about my own drinking (or non-drinking) journey as well as that of others I am close to, including my husband.

Six days ago when I told him what the PA said – that he thought I was an alcoholic – my husband of course admitted concern about his own drinking as he is and always has been a much heavier drinker than I. And as he put it, I have always been the more thoughtful and concerned drinker between the two of us, paying attention to how much we both consume on most occasions.

I haven’t called the rehab center – I just haven’t felt the need. But tomorrow I may go to AA just to see if I belong there – or if he does. And yes, I know, I can’t really control anyone’s drinking but my own so I may piggy-back a visit to Al-Anon as well. Even with that, I must take one day at a time.

For now, I’m off to pour myself a delicious glass of choclate milk and head to bed.

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Day ???? – Is This my New Reality?

It’s been a rough day. I’ve had to do a lot of thinking after an unplanned trip to Urgent Care with what has turned into a very painful kidney infection. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve brought it on myself again by drinking again a bit over the last two months. Now I’m now trying to answer the question….

Am I actually an alcoholic?

Why do I ask this? Well, at least according to the PA at Urgent Care, I am an alcoholic because I have been ignoring the pain in my kidney and continuing to drink (albeit minimally) in spite of it. It doesn’t matter that I quit for three solid months or that even in drinking recently, I’ve cut way, way back from what I used to drink – which wasn’t really that much especially over the last few years. I guess because even just one drink seems to hurt me that I shouldn’t drink at all. But I have ignored this fact – again and again and again for years and years – only stopping here and there when it would start to bother me again. In fact, my kidney pain is a big part of what prompted this one year “experiment” to begin within. Evidently that is a problem, at least to the PA.

The impact of the blunt statement by the PA hurt me a lot worse than when he tapped the area around my already painful, inflamed kidney to check for an infection. After recommending that I go to a nephrologist to see if there is a deeper kidney issue, he also strongly suggested I seek treatment and counseling at Fellowship Hall, a local rehab center. Wow.

So I’ve spent part of the evening taking a variety of online self tests about alcohol addiction. I am not liking the results. Though they’ve all had a different angle and set of questions, they all say that I have a problem with alcohol and need to seek treatment. (Note, I answered them as my drinking self to give an accurate picture of what I am like when I am drinking.)

However, this outcome still galls me because I haven’t had anything to drink in a week (well 6 days if you count the one ounce of wine I had last Sunday, less if you count the literal sip I had of Dave’s beer one night and tiny taste of his martini another. Hmm that all sounds bad). But a week ago I had two glasses of wine and had gone nine days before that. And let’s not forget the three months of not drinking from March to June. All in all, I’ve actually been feeling mentally fine about myself – drinking or not drinking – until today. But now I am starting to wonder if all this time I have actually been in denial about the truth. 

I’ve felt virtually speechless all day. Have I been going through the stages of grief for the potentially pending death of my drinking life since this all started in March? Or simply unwilling to admit that I do in fact have a problem? Is that part of the grief and if so what stage is next? 

I am torn between wanting to fall apart and acting like absolutely nothing has changed. But it has changed – and that is that someone else…a medical professional…thinks I am an alcoholic. 

Seeing those words on this page are stunning. Someone thinks I am an alcoholic...not one of my friends, not someone who has seen me with a big, delicious buzz but a medical professional who knows nothing about me other than what I told him. And he thinks I am an alcoholic.

I don’t know how to share this with anyone – not my friends, not my husband, not even the people who read this blog – although I will eventually because my whole purpose in life is to help others succeed and/or heal. But at the moment I don’t quite know how to deal with the fact that in spite of all my self-exploration, evaluation and ongoing “self-healing” that I may have overlooked the reality that I am an alcoholic. And the fact is, it probably took a stranger to tell me because no one else in my world can tell me the truth (or their version of it) without thinking about how it will affect them and our relationship – or perhaps most importantly – THEIR relationship with alcohol. No one wants to consider that too closely.

I’m not sure what I know for sure other than in this breath everything will be OK. That and it is time to go to sleep – or at least to try.  Please sending loving, restful thoughts and hope that I can get to sleep without a problem.

*****

In case this post makes you want more info about the stages of grief, click here for a helpful article I found tonight.

Or this about “Dry Drunk Syndrome” 

And this about Grief about Quitting Drinking

You can look under Resources and Articles tab to find links to some of the various assessments I took as well.

Day 3

Day 3. I am feeling terrible. Not only am I still tired and having kidney area pain but now I have developed a new pain. Ass cramps. Don’t ask me why. My doctor seems to think it is endometriosis that has spread and bound to my colon and is causing spasms there. Lovely. Makes me want a drink more than ever. It also makes the idea of driving 2.5 hours to and from the spa in Mooresville sound like a really bad idea.

When I pick up the morning paper, I see the obituary about an acquaintance who died. I scan the article for clues about what might have happened and finally see what I am looking for – that all memorial donations are requested for Fellowship Hall (www.fellowshiphall.com) – a local drug and alcohol rehab treatment center. I still don’t know what happened to him but it seems a bit more clear that drugs and/or alcohol had something to do with his seemingly early passing. It makes me sad to read this but yet again affirms my choice to stop drinking for the moment.

Yet despite this assurance that I am doing the right thing, add an invitation to join some of our heaviest drinking friends for dinner and I feel like having a melt-down. My kidneys hurt; my ass hurts; I REALLY want a drink but am determined to stay strong. So instead of going over, I take a 3 hour nap and ignore texts from my husband to come join him there. He stays at their house for dinner. When I wake up have a bowl of cereal for dinner – and some more chocolate. Then I wake up at 3 AM because Dave is snoring so loud and I can’t get him to stop. This happens when he drinks too much as well as when he is really tired. I get up and work at my computer from 3 to 8 before going back to bed for a while.