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Can You Be A Functional Alcoholic?

by doc
(not ready yet)

Never was skid row drunk. Held down a good job. Never missed work. Never drove drunk. Seldom missed a day for 30 years I did not drink hard from 6 pm to bed time. Box wine did me in cause I did not have to count em.


I did the math and drank 30 to 36 oz of wine every night. Stop cold turkey when the wife explained how it was hurting her and my little girl. I work out side and this summer the 100 plus temps “dried me out” Could not drink that much wine and ever get enough fluid back in my body. Felt like crap.

Stopped going any where because it cut into my drinking time. I live in rural area so could not drive any where cause I took the pledge not to drink and drive 28 years ago. I have been sober 32 days have not sought out any help. Too proud to admit to any one I have a problem.

I need to find some thing because all my goals are turned on there head now. When you start to read up on stopping drinking which I did I let the fear of delirium tremens ( dts) stop me. Was scared I would get the shakes or die!!! From what I read you have to drink 5 pints of wine to be at risk. I was under the limit. Like most on this site have said I had a hard time sleeping. And thought about drinking all the time.

I have not gone any where others are drinking but at some point I am going to have to as part of my work. Not sure how to handle that. I have to go to conventions where free high quality the booze is every where? Ever had to turn down a free drink from 352 of your good friend’s one at a time? I only know two or three people at those meetings who don’t drink.







Answer



I think many of us have this mental picture that to be regarded as a 'proper alcoholic' you have to be a total down and out ... pretty much at the end of the road, having lost everything.

Whereas in reality I think the majority of alcoholics out there are 'functional.' Still manage to hold down a job, be responsible in most things - yet have this 'secret' life on the side thanks to the alcohol.

Problem is, when you're a functional alcoholic, it becomes much easier to rationalise that your problem 'isn't that bad' because you're still essentially getting by. But beneath the façade, you know that's actually not the case. And this can actually keep you stuck in a cycle of addiction longer because it takes longer to 'bottom out.'

So well done that you've managed to get 32 days sober. That's an outstanding achievement considering how many years you've been drinking for. Remember just keep it simple and keep going one day at a time.

As you say, the trick starts to become, how do you maintain your sobriety when you get back into your normal work and social routines, where alcohol is readily available and drinking is encouraged (especially with friends)?

Initially, I think try and avoid those situations for as long as you can, at least until you're more secure in your recovery. You just don't want to put yourself in those kinds of high-risk situations when you know you're still particularly vulnerable.

Then when you start attending work and social events again - always go prepared. Know exactly what you're going to say when you get offered a drink. Because when you say, 'no thanks' you always get the question, 'why?' So figure out exactly what you're going to say, something you're comfortable with and that will avoid too many come-backs. And always try have a drink (non-alcoholic obviously) in your hand where possible - so that when you get offered you can always say, 'i'm already sorted, thanks.' That way you stay more in control.

And the other way to be prepared is to always have your exit strategy ready. Because if you get uncomfortable - don't hesitate to leave immediately. So always leave that back door available to yourself if you need it.

In time it gets easier and refusing alcohol becomes no big deal. You'll always get the 'why' questions and some people will always make a joke/try be funny about it so you learn to laugh along. And then everybody forgets about it and you can just get on with trying to have a good time.

The main thing though is patience and time. Took me about 2 years before I was comfortable going into environments where I knew alcohol was freely available and a big part of the occasion. So keep working on yourself in the meantime and get comfortable with the 'new you' before you start putting yourself out there.

But well done on how far you've come so far. All the best.

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11 months dry
by: Doc

Doc here... it has been 11 months since i stopped drinking cold turkey. It is much easyer
now. Still would love a cold beer on a hot day.
Sure wish i knew if I could do that? I kind of don't see the point of 1 beer. Does not seem worth the risk. I read in an AA book about a guy that stopped drinking for few decades to make a lot of money so he could retire and drink. Did so and drank him self to death a few years after he retired. I could see drinking my self to death if my wife and child died. Kind of a chilling thought.... I don't think any one reads this stuff sooo will not ramble on.

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44 days dry
by: doc

Dry 44 days now... It is geting dark early
less time to spend out side after supper.
I am an out side kind of guy. The winters are dull to me. I need a new hobby!!! My vines are full of grapes... hard to not want to make wine.

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thanks for advice
by: Anonymous

the "I am taking medication and should not drink"
is not really a lie or at least a white lie.
I take asprin every day.. and i should not drink
is true ....
This not drinking has given me
lots of "free time". Seems you have to work hard to make up for the handy cap of being sloshed 4 hours every day.. and hung over in morning cutting into productive time.
It also gives you more free time to think.
Some times in the short run this is painfull.
My Dad died 10 years ago and a lot of my hobbys are things I used to do with my Dad.
Some of the hobbys like hunting were just to painfull to do with out him so I gave them up.
I am still doing Some things to "Please him."
Thank God my Dad Did not drink at all.
I don't have to give those kind of memorys.
He did have lots of kin that drank and he hated it. The curse of the scotchmans liver.


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Greg is spot on
by: C-P

Greg is absolutely right. And what I forgot to mention which he also touches on - is that you want to start associating with like-minded people. People you can do stuff with that doesn't revolve around alcohol. And that's one of the reasons AA is so helpful - because it allows you to interact with people who understand what you're going through. Having that kind of support, especially early in recovery can make the world of difference. But if that's not an option for you - explore alternatives. There are a lot of good personal development/spiritual/transformational groups out there and online. The bottom line is surrounding yourself with good people does make a massive difference. So find some like-minded people you can interact with and talk to because it will help you no end on your journey.
Greg - thanks for the feedback.

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I tell coworkers that I don't drink anymore...
by: Greg A

because I'm not supposed to drink any alcohol with the medications I take and besides, I find it impossible to avoid smoking cigarettes when I drink, and the smokes are killing me. Both statements are true.

I leave out the fact that whenever I return to drinking it always gets out of control and I end up calling in sick a lot because of the massive hangovers, getting into fights, alienating my wife and children, throwing away money the money we need to pay bills to finance all of this self destructivion, driving very drunk, and so on. I only mention these facts on this website, in AA meetings and the few people I trust.

Your addiction to alcohol will try to convince you that you need it, or can control it, or that life sucks without it so you might as well drink, ad nauseum. Some call it the voice of the addiction. I occasionally get a strong urge to stop in and see old Ron, the bar manager from my former watering hole and cool guy to talk to. I reason that I can sit at the bar and drink iced tea while we dicuss world affairs, but the mental images are of big icey mugs of beer.

That's the voice of my addiction and it can be triggered by simply driving down a certain road after quitting time. It's the addiction's way of satisfying the thirst that ice tea or a sports drink can't satisfy--only beer or whiskey or....

If there's no AA in your area you can find online meetings. There's no need to go it alone.

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