When I go out to dinner with family member or friends, many choose to not drink (perhaps in unneeded, quiet support of my sobriety). I tell them, that is not necessary — whether they drink, or not, has no impact on my desire/ability to stay clean and sober. I don’t drink for the simple reason of — if I drink, I am liable to end up dead.
Nor do I preach to them. Their business is exactly that, their business. However, it is impossible not to notice the effect of alcohol on a person — and most of the time, it’s ugly. I can tell you from experience, being around someone wasted is like walking on eggshells — the slightest misstep often leads to an alcohol-filled rage. I don’t let someone get behind the wheel with booze in their system – I am the designated driver.
The other side to this coin … when I stopped drinking, I stopped hanging out with drunks. Being drunk during college years not quite the same as being “supposedly” mature and tanked.
At the end of my drinking career, I was living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. It wasn’t pretty.
Getting clean and sober isn’t easy. It took me nearly a decade of “trying to moderate, and finally realizing I needed to abstain” before I figured it out.
There are a couple of people in my life that drink in unhealthy quantities. A common thread between these folks – they don’t take responsibility for their actions, blame others for their lot in life, live recklessly, have financial issues, and relationship problems. Each believe alcohol is the answer, when in fact it’s the underlying issue for most of their troubles.
They all are unsatisfied with their lives, but ignore the possibility it might be drink related. That is the nature of alcoholism — deny that which is causing you the problem.
I have learned, and found it true in my own life, alcoholism isn’t about what you drink, when you drink, where you drink, or how much you drink. Rather, it’s continuing to drink even when you realize your drinking is causing issues in your life. You can have a job, a clean house, pay your bills — all that has nothing to do with the fact you might abuse substances.
During the height of the DOT-COM explosion, I made well in excess of $400,000 a year. I paid my bills, took care of business, etc. I was also a full-fledged alcoholic. My drinking also eventually tanked my career/life/sanity for a bit.
When I examined all of the big troubles in my life, nearly every single problem related somehow back to drinking/drugging. About 3-4 months after I stopped abusing substances, I was simply amazed how much “drama”, created by me, just simply vanished.
There are many self-tests (I took most of ’em) to determine if one has a drinking problem. After much consideration, I have distilled their essence into the following metrics:
- If someone who loves you says you have a drinking problem, you do.
- If you have ever thought you have a drinking problem, you do.
If you have a drinking problem, it is A LOT worse than you imagine.
It’s really that simple.
There’s nothing in the world anyone could have said to me to make me stop drinking. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired.