When does drinking become a problem?
*I was debating wether or not to post a blog of this nature. The first instinct was not to open up, to not look weak or vulnerable. Then I thought this is the very cause of why we are avoiding the issues- that make us weak, codependent and vulnerable. One can’t fake strength, it comes from within. I’m ok with me and that’s all that matters. All I can be is me, strong or not..
Welcome and thank you for reading what may be the most intimate and vulnerable blog I have written to date. This is about me, with full transparency, and is written (Soul-ly) as a share, unlike my other blogs. This is my past, it’s what has shaped me, not what defines me now. I am grateful for all that I’ve experienced.
The picture above was taken in 2008 at a good friends wedding. (Another close friend of mine captured it.) Later when I was given this picture, my heart sank. Seeing my sadness from this perspective and vantage point other than the mirror brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t want to deal with it so I put the picture away and forgot about it.
Just yesterday as I was purging my house of crap accumulated, (the crew of the TV show hoarders would have considered an episode, well… not quite) this picture literally popped out of its hiding spot. All those same thoughts of despair came flooding back. I knew I was unhappy for a long time but wow, seeing this again… feeling it all again… the difference is I’m not there anymore, the pain has gone.
2008 was a time when I was at a very low point in my life, ending a bad common-law relationship and a plethora of other well owned victim stories. This picture has so much significance because the friend who got married and the friend who took this shot are both in some of the accounts that I will be sharing with you now.
Drinking has always been a part of my life; hey I’m Italian, I had wine in my baby bottle. It was at the table at dinner, at family parties and at functions. The problem was, I didn’t like wine… at all… I actually hated it. Now beer and hard booze was another story. (I was 22 or 23 when I started to enjoy wine)
I was 2 years old when I got my first drunk on- sorry Drew Barrymore, you’re an amateur.
I ate a whole box of cognac filled chocolates when our family was visiting some relatives. (It wasn’t their fault; they were in the kitchen and the chocolates were just laying there in the dinning room, on a coffee table)
As, kids my cousins and I stole beer and hid them in the toilet tanks at family parties, then when the coast was clear we’d chug them. Normal stuff right? (I still think so) Then came high school and parties and yada, yada, yada, nothing was out of the ordinary. Well maybe something was… when my parents left the house to go out, I‘d immediately get hammered (by myself.) I played bartender in my fathers stunning and fully stocked bar in the basement! I’d get so drunk that I couldn’t walk.
I also loved weddings because it was an open bar and it was free to drink. (I didn’t put money in the envelopes back in those days, my parents did.) There wasn’t a wedding that I didn’t stumble out of. One time after a wedding or was it New Years, I came home very intoxicated. I wasn’t done drinking so I cracked open a beer and decided to take a shower when everyone was sleeping. I put the bottle on the soap dish, and let warm water trickle down my body.
You can probably guess what happened next…
I have a major scar and 2 other cuts on my arm to show for my efforts. I could see my muscle and fat within the deep wound. Magically there was a pair of pantyhose in my hands, maybe my sisters or my mothers, who knew. I didn’t even know how they ended up in my hands; I wrapped up my arm then went to sleep. No stitches and no blood in my sheets… hmm. Those that know me can see still the battle scar.
One time on my birthday after being totally inebriated I drank some 151 proof rum straight from the bottle (a present from the friend that took the picture,) later that night in a rage I chased him with a shovel but failed at hitting him as he sped off in his car. The married friend (not yet) got me in his car and tried to calm me down, well I grabbed something sharp and tried to cut myself) Normal right?
There are so many more stories that I will not share due to time, space and unnecessary, and your likely boredom. Some were even crazier that I’ve written here. There is one last story I will share with you that involves this picture, (above) and again with my friends involved with it.
I was fresh off the relationship I spoke of early in 2008; we were all at a bar/concert. My friends came in fairly drunk and I wasn’t at all; I was angry that they primed without me. I came straight from work, they from home. They are great friends, hey they smuggled a few mini airplane sized crown royal whiskeys for me. Without shame, I drank all of them, right then and there, in the bar and with no cares. I had to catch up to their level of drunk. I did and fast, power drinking works.
Two young 20 something year olds (I guessed 22-23) came in holding hands, they started French kissing. I have to tell you that when I drink, I know I can do anything I want, and be anything I want. So I said to my buddies watch this… “Oh oh what’s he gonna do now?” they thought. I walked right up to them and said “HEEYYYYY!” I smiled, grabbed their butt’s with both my hands (I wedged myself in between them) and joined them in French kissing. No resistance at all, they were game and it lasted for a long time and again more times throughout the night. I was 40 at the time, and I was on fire.
Now later that night we went to a gentlemen’s club, still drinking. We sat down and I immediately called over 2 dancers and had them sit on my lap. Yes, one on each leg and my arms were around them both. (No money was involved) My buddies were like WTF? I was King and I knew it, I even flirted with another to come sit by us with my new friends still sitting on my lap. I wanted more… two 22 year olds numbers in my pocket, 3 dancers around meand quite the night… it wasn’t enough.
We all left and went our separate ways. Do you know what happened next? I broke down and cried my head off. I felt empty and alone. I always felt alone, unworthy, guilty and ashamed. I wished that God had let me die instead of my twin brother that was (still-born) at birth. I felt too much, I cared too much, and I drank too much!
Still, I didn’t believe I had a problem with drinking, sure I enjoyed it; but I never drank at work or drove when I did, I wasn’t an alcoholic. I didn’t have the signs… and could have stopped at anytime.
Lately over the past year or so I would come home and have a glass of wine to unwind, and maybe another. Sometimes it was vodka, beer, or both, or all 3. I never let that get in the way of work or driving. I would drink according to how busy I was the next day and/or how early I had to get up. If I had to drive I wouldn’t drink. I was in control; at least I thought I was.
I have to apologize for all the late night texts, phone calls and poor me gibberish to my ex girl friends and to the women I had crushes on. If it wasn’t for Facebook chat or cell phones I would have been okay!
I would often think… how could I become the superman without having a few, and how could I face what I was avoiding most without the numbing? As some of you know from my previous blog I went on a food cleanse (committed) and did a reboot. I dropped the sugar, fast andjunk food etc. this included all forms of alcohol. Well all the things that I had been avoiding dropped by for a visit, and I had no way of shooing them away. I had and still have to face them dead on… that’s the only way of letting them go. I am getting new visitors all the time, and now instead of hitting them over the head with a bottle, I’m inviting them in for a drink… of tea!
Am I an alcoholic? I don’t know, I don’t think so. Have I had a drink since my food cleanse? Perhaps I had a sip of wine or 2. It’s been over a month now and I haven’t fully had a glass of anything; will I again? Maybe… I don’t know and I can’t answer that. I just know I feel clear and I don’t go to that dark place anymore. Can I have just a drink without having 10 more? I know I can, however over time I may fall slowly back to that place of excess. It’s almost like a cigarette for me.
I used to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day and I have no intentions of trying even one (well I did when I drank but I never inhaled- true story) I really like cigars however.
So I don’t know, I didn’t go to any meetings or rehab so I cant say for sure. The ego gets offended at the mere mention of alcoholic, at least mine did, and I denied it, and I still do. Perhaps it is not denial; maybe it’s me knowing that I was going down a very dark road and that the dead end was getting close. Was I suffering from depression because I drank or drank because I was feeling depressed? No more excuses, no more hiding, and no more blaming. It is all on me. We all have our crosses to bear and struggles to overcome. I understand the fight and all the ways of coping… I’ve tried them all and I know for me they’ve all failed.
When I arrive home now I make a pot of tea and crack open some walnuts. Kinda boring actually but I look forward to it. I guess it’s better than looking forward to vodka yes?
I do love the taste of beer, wine and all “pure spirits” (Straight) so it will take some time to release the cravings. Pure spirit? Well it seemed like it was a spirit consuming me- giving me extra ordinary powers but leaving me broken.
No I am not an alcoholic, yes I am an alcoholic, does it matter? Honestly I don’t know nor care to put a label on myself or on others. We all cope (how we cope) until the day comes when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired. I want to feel awake, clear and happy, so I’m starting to explore new ways of feeling and being that. Via food, thoughts, actions and surrounding myself with what resonates with it.
With the most sincere heart, and compassion to all of you that are reading this, I want to say… we are all in this together, we all laugh and cry, and we all have fear inside us that stops us from living and loving fully. If we would only lower our masks and our shields and open up to one another, we would then use our swords for victory over that fear.
We all deserve happiness and joy in our lives. When we try to replace the void with anything other than what’s within… We suffer.
Thank you for reading.