I wouldn’t say that I’m an alcoholic. I don’t drink often. I think I’ve probably said this a few times. Probably because I get into this risky dance once in a while. Every time I say that’s it, I’m done. I get to feeling good and think I can try again. It’s an abusive relationship. One I don’t really need to have. It’s time to let go.
Everyone knows that abusive relationships are hard to end. They say “why does she stay with him?” Or “how can he let her talk to him like that?” No one knows what to do or say. My affair with alcohol is like that.
I’m a binge drinker. It’s something that starts when a person is old enough to legally drink. Everyone is excited they can do it so every weekend we go to bars and get drunk. Except, I’m getting older and it’s not cool anymore.
One thing, you don’t do it as much because you’re a responsible adult and you can’t really afford it anymore. However, after years of the partying, then scaling back and just having a few drinks now and then without getting drunk, a tolerance has built up. Now you can drink two bottles of wine. What? That’s crazy!
There’s blackouts now though. There’s mood swings and drunk texting to people you shouldn’t be texting anymore. There’s layers of stuff built up from experiences that you may not have gotten over, or you have gotten over them but you got in to reminiscing and you want to tell them how great you think they’re doing and how great you’re doing.
Then the next day you wake up feeling like you fell down ten flights of stairs, your teeth are fuzzy, there’s a woodpecker standing on the back of your neck pecking at your head. It’s awful! There’s also a ton of guilt! Even if you didn’t do anything but write illegibly in your journal, you feel that guilt of “I can’t believe I did this again, I said I’d stop.”
The trouble is, you’re not an alcoholic and it’s not something you do all the time.
I found this book, Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston. She has gone through similar struggles and she did a whole bunch of research on women, binge drinking, the alcogenic culture we have. It’s opening my eyes a bit more to what I’m going through. How yes, it could be worse, but I have the power to stop it now while I am young. I’m sure there are impacts it’s done on my body, but I can prevent myself from getting worse things or doing something irreversible.
One thing that people don’t realize though. There are many forms of alcohol abuse. Yet, constantly my coworkers are saying “the boss is away tomorrow, who’s bringing the booze?” Or “I am going to have a glass of wine when I get home” without realizing that even though they’re joking or it’s not a problem for them, it can easily become one. People are posting cocktail recipes all over Facebook. There are even more places now where I can bring my dog with me to sit around and have drinks with my friends!
I don’t condone those things though. There are a lot of people who can have a few drinks and leave. There are people who only drink for celebrations. A lot of places serve food so that you’re not just drinking. It’s awesome!
I’m also very stubborn and I can go for long periods of time without alcohol, and those periods get longer and longer. I also know I’m not on this journey by myself and if I want to break-up with alcohol completely I have a great support system.
This is a real problem though. Women binge drink more than men and a lot of them don’t even realize they’re doing it. Mostly it’s because men drink beer and women drift towards wine or harder liquors. If you’re noticing something, talk about it! Don’t keep it a secret! We’re very focused on mental health now a days, and there’s a lot of focus on drug abuse and safe clinics for those people. Like Ann says in her book though, alcoholism is a very real problem but it has become so normalized in our culture that we don’t recognize it or talk about it anymore.
Well, I’m ready to talk about it!!