“I think I’m an alcoholic”
Those words came out of my mouth in 2015 when speaking to a close friend of mine. I came to her afraid that I had a problem with drinking. I knew I was abusing alcohol to cope with anxiety/depression/sadness/anger. It took a few more years between the thoughts like, “maybe there’s a problem with how I drink” to “I can’t drink because I don’t know how to stop”. I was not exempt from addiction just because I was high functioning.
I am grateful my rock bottom wasn’t so low
I drank to celebrate happy times… I drank to celebrate holidays… I drank when I had hard days at work… I drank when mothering was tiring and felt that I “deserved” that bottle of wine when my daughter went to bed. I gave myself excuses to drink all. the. time.
I cannot tell you where and when the line was crossed with alcohol. I justified how I drank because I didn’t fit the “alcoholic” mold our society underhandedly shoves down our throats. I have a healthy marriage and a beautiful daughter who is loved so much. I didn’t allow my performance at work to be affected (well that one time I called out because I was so hungover).
I had a friend who just celebrated six years of recovery from alcohol and when she spoke at an AA meeting, she said, “I didn’t lose anything from drinking so much… just my soul.” That statement knocked the wind out of me because it was exactly what happened to me! In such a short amount of time, I sabotaged my soul by binge drinking and numbing out from life.
It wasn’t until two years after my realization that I decided to finally throw in the towel and quit drinking. During those two years of still actively drinking and knowing it was making my life worse, I tried to scale back on the booze but failed. I took two week breaks from wine and beer just to make sure I could; however, I was a bear to be around when I took those breaks. I knew deep down I had to stop all together and face the reasons why I wanted to be numb all the time.
Once I understood that I had to quit drinking for good, I quietly put the bottle(s) down. I didn’t make a big announcement to anyone in fear that I wouldn’t be able to succeed in stopping. With each passing week, I became less quiet about quitting and more confident that I could defeat the addiction.
As I approach 6 months in recovery, I am certain that life looks and feels a lot better without booze in it. I still question whether I am really a true alcoholic because I was high functioning and not physically addicted. The more I learn about the recovery world, I think we all have those questions when we piece together enough time without alcohol. When I question my relationship with alcohol, I don’t look to my past for answers. I look at my present life. I look at my relationship with myself, and it is so much healthier. I look at my continuously supportive husband and my daughter and know our connections are thriving because I am being authentic. Everything has changed within me in such a short amount of time. Am I an alcoholic? It doesn’t matter if I am or not. I am not trading in who I am anymore for a bottle of Pinot Noir.