I have made a lot of progress here at MM over the last 4 years. I’ve reigned in my drinking an enormous amount. I used to blame my excessive alcohol use on the loss of my mom, my son leaving home, the break up with my boyfriend, the bla bla bla… but I also know that I was escaping and that it had started before then. And I know I have this bug, and I am Uber aware of it…MOST of the time.
But I still have those events,about once every couple months or so, where I sit asking myself the same friggin question, “How did I let this happen again?”
And no matter how dark I feel and how stupid and how useless…I know that I am not going to give up on myself. Whether I choose to finally quit forever or keep trying to get it right, this group has helped me learn to love myself again. And this love for myself is making it harder to make mistakes. And it’s making it harder to lie to myself.
Alcohol, is a sneaky, insidious SOB if it isn’t checked every second we are around it. We can’t let our guard down, ever. And this can get tiring. To be the guy that only has a couple of beers at an event is hard work. And some give up and quit entirely because of this.
Right now I’m on the fence. I’ve had success at moderation and my mistakes are farther and farther apart still, the fact that I still go off once in awhile is becoming unacceptable to me. But this is a good thing. Because it shows me that I am starting to care, to really care about myself. And I learned to do it here. Because when I first found this group, I couldn’t string a few days together without drinking.
It took me a year and a half to finally complete a 30. And then another year I learned to do 60. And then 90 and even over 120. And now I can abstain…and I do. Abstaining has become my default. And most of the time I can have two beers with coworkers every so often (once a month-ish.) But every so often…like last weekend at a company Xmas party…
So we analyze what happened. Where we blew it.
Did I eat first? Yes
Did I drink the first one slowly, slower than those around me? Yes
Did I wait awhile before getting another? Yes
Did I make sure I had water by me at all times and drink it between drinks when my coworkers ordered another? No
(booya-that was it)
Ok, there we go. There was no water and I forgot to ask for it. And my boss told me to order ten beers for the table. And there I was, sitting there handing out beers with my new coworkers…lost in holiday bliss…It really is that simple. I dropped my guard. I allowed myself to get distracted.
I stopped paying attention to the fact that I was in the lion’s den. I stopped being vigilant. Because when you’ve got the bug like I do, drinking is no longer a party. It is a HUGE responsibility. I can never afford to forget that. So now I am learning to disconnect the party from the drink.
Drinking can never mean “Weeeee!” to me again if I am going to succeed at moderation. Drinking is more like paying taxes and receiving only a simple satisfaction that I am being responsible in return.
It can be painful to have to learn these tools the hard way. But if we pay attention to our failures and analyze them instead whipping ourselves to the bone with shame and fully turning away from the incident in question, we can learn something new that will help us get one step closer to where we want to be. And for me, that is free of the drunk.