Arriving at camp or at a friend’s house with “roadie” or a “road soda” was not only common, it was expected as they often did the same when they visited me. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, a beer or a bloody was normal.
Now this wasn’t in the middle of the week unless of course we were fishing or hunting but the weekend, so it was ok. Maybe it is ok for other people that aren’t alcoholics now I realize it wasn’t okay for me. Doing this all too often just got me further down the road to where I finally hit the wall.
Sure I can Quit
When I quit drinking as I did many times, I always would be on a diet where it was 2 weeks without alcohol or on allergy meds. I didn’t like it but the main issue was at the end of the day when I wanted to have a little “Happy Hour” with my friends. It didn’t feel like an addiction, not that I really even knew what an addiction felt like. There were no shakes, no anxiety. I just knew for a couple weeks I couldn’t drink and that pissed me off, end of story.
Earlier this year I noticed my sleeping patterns were much worse than ever. I talked to my girlfriends, (all drinkers) and they said, “Don’t you just hate menopause?” So THAT was it. MENOPAUSE!
An old friend in recovery sent me a link on Facebook about the effects of alcohol and sleeping, which I read but dismissed. He’s a guy, what does he know about menopause?
But what did anyone but me know that I would awake at night in a sweat and go and have a “little something” to get me back to sleep and a few hours sometimes less, I was dragging my ass out of bed trying to start the day.
And it got worse.
Looking in the Mirror
I started noticing my friends, both male and female were acting strangely when they drank. Of course I never did that and of course everyone else would tell me how horrified they were at how my friends acted. Or they told me that “this one” or “that one” was just on a “bad jag.” I started to think how horrible I would feel if people were talking about me like that. Worst thing would be, what if I was acting that way? Would I even know?
The drunken phone calls were normal, I participated as well as initiated many. Doesn’t EVERYONE just want to hear their drunk friends call them when they are trying to work or even better yet when they are trying to sleep?
Where the Rubber Met the Road
While I would lie awake and hear my heart pound in my chest and sweat like a pig, I started thinking about these things. And then I would become more anxious with every thought I had. I would sit down and try to work and I was consumed with fear, anxiety and dread. It was hard to put it aside without having a drink to calm me down. I would usually have it in my favorite bar where I would see some friends and it would reinforce how screwed up things were. But they always talked about OTHER people. Our OTHER friends, those that were not there of course. In the wee hours of the morning I wondered when they talked about me like that. I knew it happened.
This is not the whole story
This isn’t the beginning and end to my story. Like all of us that go to AA, our story is full of twists and turns. But this is the beginning on my journey that is ONE WEEK OLD today. But I do feel a lot better physically since I stopped drinking. I do feel clear headed and not as overwhelmed as I did. What AA has taught me so far is to look at my list of things to do and work on each one and finish it. Don’t look at the WHOLE monstrous list, panic and run to the bar (or cupboard!)
Thank you Brothers and Sisters of AA for today.