When too much became not enough

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. Left untreated it will eventually kill you.

I started drinking when I was a 13 year old boy. I remember my first experience getting drunk. It wasn’t something spectacular. We shared a bottle of wine with a friend of mine. Or it wasn’t really even proper wine…it was apple wine…or something like that. We took our time taking just small amounts through out the evening. It made me feel warm and secure. Made me feel like everything was great.
No real wonder I got hooked on it. It was such a positive emotion that it triggered.

I was wondering today, when did it turn into needing to drink like a million beers and feeling that even that wasn’t enough. How did that happen?

Through my teen years I would hear in health education that tolerance for alcohol will grow if you drink excessively. I would hear that if you drink over this and that amount per week, you become a part of “at risk” group. Why did that not matter to me?

Thing about alcoholism and addiction is, that those are self denying diseases. Alcohol is a cunning, baffling and powerful enemy.
The need for drinking more walks hand in hand with a need to push the limit of what is reasonable and normal. At least that’s how it progressed in my mind.

I remember when I was maybe 24 years old. I was visiting my parents. They had already went to sleep and I had stayed up and had a six pack of beer while doing some random stuff on the internet that night. In the morning my father confronted me about the six pack saying that it’s not normal to drink a six pack just like that.
I didn’t agree with him of course. In my mind he was uptight and unreasonable. Of course I had the right to drink six beers in the middle of the week just because I wanted to. That is what normal 24 year old kids do.
Or is it?
I was furiously defending my right to drink those beers. I was using all kinds of reasoning why it was ok. Why it was normal. Most of all I remember thinking that my parents just don’t get me. They don’t understand.
Now someone might say that drinking a six pack of beer is normal. I agree that this wasn’t a case of going over the top with it. But looking back, the only reason I didn’t end up drinking 12 or more beers that night was because I was consciously aware that I shouldn’t be drinking too much.
So for me, when I was 24, I was already moderating my drinking.
If my parents weren’t near by, I would have drank all night and every night. BUT when they were around I was trying my hardest to keep up the appearance that I was living a totally normal life.

By doing this I learned a behavior. I learned to keep up an appearance that I thought would be socially acceptable. I then measured my success in life by what kind of reactions my behavior would produce.

Now because I was already addicted to alcohol, I couldn’t let anything come in the way of me drinking. This means that when I started noticing a negative reaction to my drinking behavior, I would learn to avoid the company of the people making me face that negative feedback.

And then the cycle was ready. I would drink, I would be told it wasn’t ok by someone, and I would flee. I would find someone willing to put up with that level of drinking. But then the disease is progressive, so I would have to start drinking more…and that wouldn’t be ok with someone…and I would again have to change to a new level of people who understand me…
This spiraling downwards in life was completely and one hundred percent justified to be ok by my addiction. What ever or who ever would come between me and drinking, would have to go.

I often think that us addicts keep pushing what’s normal and what’s ok to justify our behavior. It is a defence mechanism. It is the only way that we can keep using. We need to change the definition of normal in order to maintain the reasoning for our drinking.

In order for me to stop drinking I needed to be shown the reality of my situation. I needed to be shown that what I had thought was normal…was in fact not.

I could have listened to my father when I was 24…but obviously I didn’t.
I needed to do life my way.

Now that I have gotten a few moments of sobriety I have started noticing in my own and in other people’s behavior this need to substitute the actual reality with facts that better suit my or their needs.
I notice in my desire to get to my goals in exercising that I keep changing the reality of what I can do with what I think I should be able to do.
I’ve already paid the prize for this behavior with hitting a medical issue…
I wanted to use that as an example of how we are not free of our problems just by not using our drug of choice.

Sobriety takes a lot of conscious effort to change our behavior. We need to learn to accept the realities that surround us. If I keep changing the realities to enable my behavior, I’m likely to be back at square one real soon…

Just felt like writing something today.

hope you’re having a good day today.

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Thank you so much for writing and sharing this, it is so insightful. I can relate to so much of it.

Have a great day sober friend.

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Well thank you my friend. Glad you could relate to it…it means we have similar experiences in alcoholism…and further more…it means we can benefit from each others experiences on how to progress in recovery :innocent: :heart_eyes:

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It’s so true and that is why I love talking sober so much! I don’t know anyone in my personal life who has struggled with alcoholism, at least no one who is open about it. It’s great being able to share experiences here.

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indeed. Thanks for always being so positive :slight_smile:

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I love it when you spontaneously share these nuggets of golden wisdom, Rain. Much appreciated. It’s a very progressive disease.

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Thanks dude. means a lot to me.

Thanks for your great post. I recognize the fact that I also was able to construct my own context for at least 28 years. Basically constructing my own world in which I could keep on drinking. :pray:

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Always look forward to your posts mister, there’s alot I resonate with and something I can always take away from it. Keep them coming please👌

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wow, this really hit home. thanks for sharing. :heart:

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Like

10 words

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I always appreciate you buddy. I’m fortunate to be here and be able to learn from you.

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I relate to your shares. I’ve gotten a lot out of them since I found this place!

When I first got here slowly emerging from relapse mode I read alot of your posts. I was mostly lurking. Your posts helped me alot. Thank you!

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Thanks so much for sharing. I feel like I don’t often write on here but, I was having a very similar thought today. I was thinking about how, in all of the relationships that I’ve been in…. Only three were done sober (and there were a LOT of both long and short term relationships) my first relationship (3.5 years with my high school boyfriend, was done sober as well as my current relationship with my husband, and one other relationship before him.

Now…a lot of the relationships are a blur in some ways due to my alcohol and drug abuse, but today I really started to look back at the role that drugs and alcohol subconsciously played in the relationships I chose.

Sure at the time it felt like I was just “falling out of love” with someone…or had found a new “intense attraction” with another person…but I feel like only now am I able to look back and go “was that all attraction? Or was my subconscious attraction based in the fact that I could SENSE that I could let my moderating and controlling go with this person and just get obliterated?

Oh hell…I just switched to decaf from regular coffee in the past three weeks and am starting to realize that it very well might have been the cause of my bodily feelings of anxiety for the past 20 or so years. Feelings of anxiety that I masked with drugs and alcohol. Feelings that even led me to seek out cocaine in order to get a bigger “wake up” sensation.

3.5ish years sober and I feel as though I am still just returning back to places in myself that we’re forgotten for so many years ago…again. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for your reply.
There’s a saying in AA. recovery is like peeling an onion. you discover new things with each layer you peel off.
I have found that it takes willingness to face myself and it takes honesty. Also it takes time to develop enough perspective that you can start realizing these things.
Most important lessons in sobriety have been the ones that I now understand are rooted deep in me. The behavior that I was blaming alcohol and drugs for, which actually was caused by the lack of ability to deal with my emotions.
Learning to understand why I feel the way I feel has been the key to becoming a happy sober recovering alcoholic.
I did a year without coffee in my early recovery…now I’m back to drinking my morning coffee.

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Well written. I am on day 19 and this helped me put things into perspective.

well done on your 19 days. That’s amazing.
Beware that you’re not in a hurry. It’ll be a life long process of getting better, one day at a time.

I quit for almost a year…about 4 years ago. Don’t even know why I started again other than I thought I could keep in control.

That is a lesson we all have to learn. That no matter how much time passes, the disease is still there waiting.

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It is a difficult journey and the wife is a heavy drinker which adds to the challenge.