Read This Before Going On...

10 January, 2021

Reflections on Depression and Alcohol Abuse Part 1


I need to change things. But that's the same shit I've said before. It's the same shit most people above the age of 25 have said countless times as they inch closer to death and see their bodies and their lives move in a direction that, while inevitable, isn't what was wanted.

We all start out invincible in our early adult years. Nothing hurts us. We drink ourselves stupid, sleep 2 hours, and go to work the next morning with water, some Tylenol, and the promise to not drink like that again until next weekend.

As time goes by we start noticing small changes... an extra ache or pain in the knee or ankle. A shoulder that doesn't feel like it used to. We find ourselves asking, "what?" more often simply because we couldn't hear the other person... and then it hits us - we've reached the start of "Middle Aged." The thoughts of death creep in around the edges. You're no longer invincible. You sleep wrong and hurt for 4 days... And we all wake up and say "I need to change." "I need to diet." "I need to correct the path I'm on." "I need to X, Y, and Z." - And you wake up with heartburn or acid reflux wondering, "Is this a heart attack? Am I finally dying?"

And if you haven't hit this point yet - be thankful. If you have hit this point - you have my sympathy.

Now let us add to the mix that I drink. A lot.

Recently I began a personal crusade of sorts to attempt sobriety and make something better of myself. You may remember a similar failed attempt two years ago about wanting to get in shape... also failed. And why is that? Am I lazy? Probably. Am I afraid of failure? Most assuredly.

So - combine those traits, along with an unhealthy predisposition for alcohol abuse and TA DAA! Here we are. Sitting at the edge of my 43rd trip around the sun with an unhealthy amount of weight hanging off my body, a chronic level of dehydration, and probably a list of ailments waiting to happen... and I want to change... again or still. I want something better for myself or my family... but I'll be damned if I know how to do it.

In the last 2 months, I've had a 2-day streak of sobriety. More than once, but still. I can only seem to get about 2 days before the urge to drink creeps in and takes over. I say, "Oh, just one." Then I look down and realize I'm on my 4th and the bottle is almost empty. I am a high-functioning alcoholic with PTSD and depression - and sometimes I really hate that I am aware of this. It'd be better to be blissfully ignorant of this fact, but let's face it, it's pretty obvious. 

And I just want to change... 

Fuck, if I was a religious man, this would be where I break down and pray to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, and Vishnu to step in and make it all better.

If this was a Hallmark movie, I'd drink myself into a coma, wake up and have a heart-to-heart with the doctor/shrink/pastor and come home to a celebration of sobriety at the house with my friends and family... 

But I'm not religious and this isn't hallmark... and if I had friends, they'd be alcoholics too. Instead, I just get to whine on the internet and have long, introspective thoughts while I sit in the house waiting for the kids to go to bed so I can drink again before going to sleep and waking up for another day of the exact. same. fucking. thing.

I did the math... Lady Bourbon and I spent over $3,000 on alcohol in 2020. Granted it WAS 2020 and the drinking was a bit more liberal from March through July... but that still seems to be a lot.

So, yeah. There ya go. My first blog post in a while... the first of any writing I've done since February... I'm calling this "Part 1" because I plan of there being a series of these as I navigate the waters of being in my 40s and trying to not die from drinking myself to death.

I quit smoking overnight. Just put them down and have never looked back... I still want one from time to time, but that's not the same thing. It's easier to quit being at home with no other smokers in or around me... I assume drinking would be the same. But we like to drink. The friendships I DO have locally revolve around gathering and drinking... So, not the best group to go to for sobriety help. My family - HA! They are of the mindset of "Well, just stop." - They do not grasp addiction and mental health as well as you might think. And Lady Bourbon's family thinks that mental health is a dirty word developed by Satan to turn people away from Catholicism... 

I'm not really sure what I'm saying anymore. I've written more than I planned to today and I'm no better off than I was 2 hours and 5 failed starts ago... My kids are currently running wild through the house and I need to go reign them in... they're supposed to be folding laundry.

Farewell for now, internet. See you when I see you.

-Dr. B




4 comments:

  1. "Not drinking yourself to death" is a worthy goal, man. I wish you all the luck.

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  2. My heart breaks for you. I've been where you are. In my case, I held on until 6pm until I could start drinking wine, which eventually was followed by scotch when 2 bottles of wine was no longer enough. And the money I spent! And I could never stay sober for more than 2 days, either. About 4 years ago (when I was 53, FWIW), two things happened: my son (who was 11 at the time) started commenting on my drinking, and 2) our marriage counselor pointed out during a session that my drinking was becoming a problem (which, deep down, I knew, but my identity was tied up with me being a drinker). I went from that session to an AA meeting. I relapsed the following week while my husband was out of town, but went back to that meeting, and this time something was different. I *never* thought I would be able to go without alcohol, but my life is 1000 times better without it. I'm a writer, so I had bought into the whole "tortured artist" myth, but in the past 4 years, I've written more, with more success, than I have in the previous 10. I don't know what else to say that won't sound like a cliche, but again, I've been where you are and I wish you and your family the best.

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  3. Tomorrow is 609 days alcohol free for me. Learning to ride out the urges is essential. 700 days ago, I thought I'd never get sober, having gotten sober and relapsed a few times, and my drinking hand progressed to the point I figured I needed a stint in rehab. Turns out I didn't. Good Luck, brother. Just Some Guy

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    Replies
    1. 609 days is a fucking pipe dream for me... I've gone 4.

      I am so proud of your accomplishments in this.

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It's my first day