Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Human, and not always a very good one

If you're not into depressing, personal issues then you can go ahead and skip this post.  No humor or sex today.

I'm sure it's painfully obvious to any of you readers that I tend to write in jumps and starts, either prolifically or hardly at all.  It would probably be fair to say that the quality of the posts is erratic as well, funny and entertaining or depressing and boring.  There's a reason for that.

I'd like to take the unusual step of talking about something painful and difficult for me.  Or maybe it's more embarrassing than painful or difficult, which makes it painful and difficult for me.

I'm an intensely private person, I don't share anything publicly, or even privately most of the time.  One of the reasons I started this blog was so that I could open up a bit and discuss things that I wouldn't normally, and even here I keep a lot to myself.  I can talk about events or ideas without problems, but I don't talk about anything personal (outside of relationships), which is why this is difficult.

I'm an alcoholic.

Yes, I've joked about it in posts before but I really do have a problem.  I never really drank that much until two-three years ago when I was getting divorced and getting fired.  It started as a way to fall asleep.  I had so much running through my head that it was like a broken record of thoughts every time I closed my eyes.  It was like a terrible loop designed by a Sadist, every bad moment repeated over and over and over...  Sometimes the thoughts would catch me when I was doing something inane like showering, the sound of the water would be the voices arguing in circles around my head.  I would be debilitated for the next thirty minutes or so until I managed to break the cycle long enough to carry on.

At night, it was like having a next door neighbor that wouldn't quiet down.  The internal monologues and arguments absolutely would not stop.  Sleep was impossible.  Then I realized that having a few drinks would slow my brain down enough, it made the loops bearable.

Drinking became habit, habit became addiction.  After my boss told me I was being fired I think there was at least four or five months where I was literally drunk every single night.  For a while I was drinking at least a fifth of rum a night.  It was so bad that I would buy two bottles when I stopped at the store after work because I knew if I wasn't drunk enough after the first one I would drive to the package store and buy another.  Yes, I knew that if I wasn't drunk enough, I would drive myself to the store for more.  I know, it's fucked up and I'm not proud of it.  I could tell some bad stories, but they can wait for another time.  For now I'll just say that I never ended up in jail and luckily no one was ever hurt.

Eventually I got a handle on my drinking, I weened my self down until I could make it through the night without drinking.  This was probably about a year and a half ago.  I started working out again, getting myself back into some semblance of health.  I thought I was "cured", and quite pleased with myself for never attending any meetings.  Yeah, imagine me with my privacy issues standing up in front of a crowd of people admitting to my inadequacies.  Not going to happen.  Even here it's difficult and I'm not face to face with anyone.

The problem though, is that over the last year and a half I've learned that there really isn't any such thing as cured of alcoholism.  To anyone who has ever been to a meeting, I'm sure that's not a surprise but I've always thought of myself as above any human foibles (yes, I'm that egotistical).  That thought is unfortunately untrue.

You see, when these posts start getting infrequent it tends to mean that I've slipped off the proverbial wagon, drinking and depressed again.  Off the wagon, I truly hate that phrase but I haven't come up with anything that I hate less, so there it is.  I have a bad day, or whatever, and get something to drink.  That tends to lead to a couple weeks of drinking and sickness before I get my head back on straight.

It's hurt my life, my family, and it's even impacted work.  It's even hurt me socially because I won't go out with friends, there's always drinking involved and it's easier to say "no" upfront than say no to a drink in hand.

When I'm in one of my drinking phases I trick myself into thinking I have some control by making deals with myself.  "If you don't drink Monday night through Thursday night you can have as much as you want on the week end."  Which would result in getting absolutely bombed all weekend, being horribly hungover Monday, slowly recovering through Friday when I'd feel halfway normal, then getting bombed all weekend again.  Really, the control is an illusion because when Sunday would roll around I would think "I really shouldn't drink today because otherwise Monday will really suck.  But I still have half a bottle in the freezer...  Fuck it."  It isn't control, it's being a barely functional alcoholic.

The best way I can think to describe alcoholism is like suddenly realizing you're a schizophrenic.  Like there is another personality in your head just waiting for the opportunity to jump out and scare the crap out of your friends, your family, maybe get yourself or someone else killed.  And it doesn't go away.  Even when you're doing good, you know that it's still there waiting.  Some days it's a quiet voice that's easy to ignore, other days it's screaming in your ear, but it is always there.

It makes me feel weak, which is really hard to admit.  It's one of the few sicknesses that's shameful to have and hard to admit, which makes it harder to treat.  Were alcoholism not such a big deal then maybe I would have been comfortable going to a meeting, or at least admitting my issues to friends and family.  And no, I have not talked to anyone but you guys.  But all those people who have never been an addict are so quick to jump in and basically say you're a weak person, just stop drinking.  It's so easy to say that when they have no perspective, but that doesn't make it any easier to hear.

So, now you know one of my biggest secrets.  I've been going through a cycles of sobriety and drinking, which is one of the reasons that my blogging has suffered periodically.  I'm trying to work through all of this on my own, no meetings for the aforementioned reasons, and writing has always been therapeutic which is one of the reasons that I'm putting all this out.  If something else was working I would have happily continued on in silence.

Right now I'm in one of my upswings, not drinking and trying to get my life straightened out.  I'm taking everything very seriously and am determined to make some big changes, get back to being a real person again.  But, of course, it's a daily struggle too.  Judging by the quality of posts, you'll know whether it's working or not.

As a thanks to all of you who made it through this depressing post, here is a picture of a hot chick:

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