December 2, 2016 has to be the last day I drink any alcohol. It has to be. I am running out of evidence that it is ever a good idea for me to have a glass of anything with alcohol.
Yesterday myself, Lu, and another girlfriend (let’s call her Becca) were going to an event downtown. Becca and I went to Becca’s apartment after work (we work together). We were chatting about how we are, and I was like “I’m good. Yea, I’m good.” And Becca looked me dead centre and went “it’s okay to be good, you know.”
It doesn’t feel okay to be good. Stability is harder for me than chaos. It forces me to look deeper beyond the present moment. It forces hard looks at the past or if I choose not to deal with the past – I recently realized I had that choice by leaving Little PD with A – I get bored when life calms down.
And when I drink, I’m good at creating chaos. I conjure it out of thin air like a fucking magician. So this morning I made a list of all the reasons alcohol is good and all the reasons I can’t have it anymore – here it is.
- It’s fun in the right setting. It’s relaxing, it breaks tension, it’s free a lot in my life (cause agency life).
- It’s what my friends do. Out of the five girlfriends I have in this city – I can picture hanging out with Becca or Lu without alcohol but can’t remember the last time we chose to do that.
- It can be delicious. I love wine. My favourite winery is near where I live and I would buy cases of it.
- It helps me cope on a surface level. Or it feels like it does. Sometimes it’s a very real method of harm reduction – choosing alcohol over cutting, for example.
TW: self-harm, suicide
- Shenanigans – at some point (now, maybe) they stop being cute and funny and are simply pathetic. Ending up in my office (where I was just given the privelege of having keys to), fucking with people’s heads (as I tend to do when I lose my inhibition and let the guard on my brain down), ending up high (which my husband hates and frankly so do I), and wandering around downtown alone – these aren’t funny things. Neither is the time you accidentally end up making out with your boss (a few months ago but God that one feels good to confess). They may seem funny in the moment but they are actually kind of dangerous and pathetic. It turns memories of a good night into a night with awful memories or none at all. Because let’s admit that nobody enjoys drunk texts — it’s a “you again” not a “oh I’m so glad I’m hearing from PD at 10pm and it says ‘SjjLw r Alan dak.swkas r s a.amy'”(actual text from last night). For the record I’ve realized teen me is the one that loves these shenanigans and loves being a mess because it’s how she feels most in control. Which feels important.
- Health – My heart, my family history of liver disease, my own liver function, the medication I’m on. I was told explicitly by an ER DOCTOR not to drink. By an emergency room doctor. Where I was a week ago. Because my heart is fucked. And in two days I’ve managed to drink 3 bottles worth of wine – to myself. Not to mention poor sleep quality, weight gain, and the other normal problems. Not to mention the nights it makes me literally sick.
- Reputation – I am generally respected at work but I can feel that changing as I become more out of control. When people who love and care about you tell you straight up you need to slow down – hello, sign. We had poker night Thursday and I was the only one drinking. I drank a bottle and a quarter of wine. Which leads me to my next point.
- I can’t stop – once I start drinking, I drink until I can’t find any more alcohol. I have no control over it. The control ends when I take my first sip of wine. I become a wine hog and pour more for me than anyone else. I find ways to sneak back and get more. I will steal other people’s alcohol.
- Hangovers – because I can’t stop I wake up horribly thirsty and generally early and feeling like crap. I don’t want to do any of the stuff I have planned for that day. I start to let people down.
- Relationship ruiner – I have no doubt that if I don’t get this under control my husband is going to leave me. Zero doubt. This is coupled by the fact that I come home 8 days ago plastered and he goes “I hate drunk PD. Hate her. I am not your babysitter but your husband. And I didn’t sign up to marry this woman.” So I’m not exaggerating here. I could lose my husband over this. I also am on a really good path to lose my friendship with my boss and today and probably the next week is going to be about damage control with him. I have lost friendships this way. And I am an awful friend when I’m drunk. Lu is the kindest and most understanding person in the world and I’m so thankful for that but my god I can be a horrible ass sometimes.
- Money – it’s expensive and $20 nights become $80 nights.
- I don’t want to be my mother – my mom is 63 and drinks a bottle and a half a day. And thinks it is fine. She can’t stop shaking now in the mornings until she has a drink. She drowns her problems in booze as was modelled for her and as has now been modelled for me. Genetics are not on my side when it comes to alcoholism. This is why I’m in this after all – with A, battling against generational trauma. I cannot and will not watch my future children make the same choices and be bound by the issues that plagued the generations before them because I was too afraid to do the work. It’s may be too late for my mom but I cant control what she does regardless – but it isn’t too late for me and it definitely isn’t for my future children.
- It makes therapy harder – even if in some ways it makes it seem easier. Drunk shenanigans and wrecked relationships, health issues, lying, and manipulation give me some surface chaos to talk about. But it drowns out the voices that matter. It drowns out little me and teen me (who may delight in the chaos but simply wants to be heard). It prevents me from creating internal space to do the hard work. When the emotions rise I drown them in alcohol. And then they rise again, so I drown them again. It’s a cycle that doesn’t lead to growth.
- I want to stop – do you want to know what was open in my phone browser this morning and what has been open the last four times I’ve been blackout drunk? Tabs with the search “how to stop drinking” and “why can’t I quit drinking” and then more tabs with results from those searches. Drunk me hates that I silence my inner selves with alcohol. Drunk me hates being drunk.
- Suicidal tendencies – In my more desperate times (or stable times) I also find tabs open with the question “how do I kill myself” and a notepad list of the pros and cons of ending my life. This doesn’t happen every time I drink but it is a scary list to find in the morning. It’s a list I found this morning, along with a list of all the reasons I deserve to be dead. I can’t access any of those feelings right now – I feel stable again, in fact, minus the mess I have to clean up from last night. But there is something terrifying about the fact that these thoughts run through my intoxicated mind while I am blackout drunk. That they are thoughts a part of me has buried deep within my soul. That my blackout drunk brain is capable of actively planning my suicide and writing suicide notes (it hasn’t done that in over a year but I have previously woken up to a plan and suicide notes to my parents and my then fiance. Along with my own obituary that I wrote. I still have them.) That is not okay. This entire point is not okay. This, out of all of them, is the #1 reason I need to stop drinking if I cannot stop myself from getting blackout drunk because I don’t want to die – but a part of me clearly does. And that part occasionally takes real steps towards it.
Its pretty clear which list wins. And if it’s not, you need a lesson in basic math. Plus I would probably weight the second list – especially 2, 6, and 11. But anyways, this isn’t about stats.
I am not proud of this list. But it felt important to write and share and I’ll be taking it to A next week as well. This isn’t the first time I’ve said I need to quit. It won’t be the first time I have tried either. I have told people I’m quitting before. And to quote my husband “how is it going to be different this time?” (Imagine that said in a very concerned supportive way and not as a condescending statement). And to tell you the truth I have no fucking clue. I know the cons outweigh the pros by a whole lot. I know I am slowly becoming a less fun person to be around for my friends. I know I am running straight into problems. I know a very hurt and very angry part of me that I can’t seem to access while sober wants to die.
I know that this decision has to be made. But I know that now safe at home with no booze in the house (like I said I’ve tried to quit before). Will I know this in a week at a party? Will I know this next Tuesday on games night? Will I know this when I find the gift card to the liquor store or get wine for a Christmas gift? The last time what worked was a reward system – with rewards spaced out every week for the first month and then bi-weekly to 100 days. This isn’t going to be easy but fuck it’s necessary.
My name is PD and I have a problem with alcohol and I need your support. If you’ve ever battled this yourself or have any ideas, I am all ears. It has to stick this time.