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.