Blackouts

Blackouts….ah yes, a super un-fun occurance that happens after you drink a lot of alcohol.  …or, after many years of chronic alcohol abuse, drinking just a little bit of alcohol, depending on how your body decides to process it on any particular evening.

I was having blackouts as a young 20-something before I even knew what blackouts were, or even recognized that I had a problem with the way I drank alcohol.  I remember waking up in my apartment after a night out at the bars with my friends, looking down at myself and feeling so –happy and satisfied— that I was neatly tucked into my bed w/ my pjs on.  And when I couldn’t recall where I had put my driver’s license and money at the end of the night, I had to look no further than over to my bureau to see that they were neatly stacked together, next to any jewelry I wore the night before.  …‘I’m such a good drunk’ I thought to myself amusingly.

Fast forward 15 years when drinking almost every night by myself, but with my family around me, was the norm for a long time.  There were too many times when I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn’t remember what pjs I put on my children before bed.  Did I brush their teeth??? Of course I did…. It just took me a long time and lots of mental effort to remember, and even when I did the memories were fuzzy.  What did I watch before I went to bed… I usually couldn’t recall, and if I did, again, it usually took a lot of effort on my part to recreate the night before from the time where I did remember watching (earlier in the evening), to the time where I knew I switched the channel (or another program came on), but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what it was.

The most troubling blackouts were the numerous times my husband and I would have a conversation while I was drinking and the next day I wouldn’t remember any of it.  I would bring up a topic the next day and he would say to me, ‘don’t you remember we talked about that last night?’ ….no, I don’t.   These times were not fun nor funny.  I tried my best more than once to roller skate around a conversation if I had been caught not remembering it from the night before.  Often times I just didn’t bring up things during the day that I could have possibly talked about with him when I was drinking for fear that I would be caught in yet another blackout moment.  I will be honest with you…. this, and my drinking habits, took a very serious tool on our relationship.  Not fun.

And even as I sit here typing this entry… 3 days without a drink, I am crazy addicted to alcohol enough to think that maybe that won’t happen to me again….if I’m just careful and don’t go overboard.

I am grateful for understanding that alcohol addiction tricks your true mind into thinking ‘it won’t happen again,’ when you know it will.  I learned this the hard way… after numerous true and dedicated tries to control or abstain from drinking.  Ultimately they have all failed in the end, but not all is lost…. I learned from each relapse, and each time I try this journey of recovery from alcohol addiction I emerge a stronger and more wise person. … Here is to a successful day 4 tomorrow.

 

 

Physical Symptoms

One of the things I am most amazed at about my addiction to alcohol is that I have physical symptoms that are undisputedly directly related to drinking alcohol, yet, despite me knowing this I still continue to drink.  (well, this is day 2 of my too-many-times-to count attempts to stop drinking, but I have long known the physical consequences I incur on my body each time I drink, despite wishing I could stop, or at least control my drinking.)

I am talking about physical symptoms beyond just what many people consider a typical hangover, like headache and dehydration.  Although, when you think about it, who is OK living w/ a chronic hangover for most days of the week?  A person addicted to alcohol, that’s who.

Over the years I have accepted feelings of chronic fatigue, headaches, nausea, anxiousness, general muscle soreness, and numbness/tingling of my extremities as part of my everyday general health status.  ‘This is just what happens because I drink.’ ‘These are physical aspects of my life that I am OK with.  I don’t love them, but I accept them’.

This is what I thought for many years after I knew I had an addiction to alcohol. I accepted living my life with all these negative physical symptoms b/c I didn’t see any other way not to.

And what about the chronic cracks on the sides of my mouth that is most likely due to a vitamin B deficiency related to excessive alcohol intake?  I try to take care of them externally w/ ointments and vitamin supplements, knowing that if I stop drinking the cracks will most likely go away… but I can’t stop drinking (!!!???)

And how about the digestive side effects of alcohol consumption?  For me this is a topic unto itself.  The chronic inflammation of my gut that causes nausea, vomiting, esophageal reflux (to the point where sometimes I can’t swallow while eating because my esophageal muscles are spasming –painful and frightening).  And the sour smelling, thick and heavy (or light and airy) poops that are so off from my normal bowel movements.  I think to myself…. ‘what is this doing to my insides?’ 

The point I am trying to make is how can I, a person who values her health so much, sabotage it so severely by this one very bad habit?

Addiction is the answer to that question.  I know the answer.  My hope is to find a solution to overcome my addiction.  Stay tuned.

My turn

Addiction.  I am addicted to alcohol.

There is no way around it….I am allowing alcohol to enter my body knowing it is doing me harm.  I am slowly killing myself, both physically and mentally.

I want to feel peace in my life, but having alcohol ruling it does nothing but give me the opposite feeling.

How do I know I am addicted to alcohol?  The simple answer is I want to stop consuming it, but no matter how hard I try, no matter what way I try (and I’ve tried almost all of them), no matter how many times I try (going on 7 years now), I cannot do it.  Alcohol has always won in the end.

I have been so positively influenced by so many people telling their stories of how they have overcome their addiction to alcohol.  I’ve read and heard their stories via blogs, podcasts, books, face to face interactions.  These people really are doing it.  They seem to have figured out how to go from being a person whose life was ruled by alcohol to being released from it’s grips.  Their stories are so inspiring.  Their stories are raw, real, and sometimes not so pretty….and this makes them all that more inspiring.  These are real people w/ real addictions to alcohol, and they figured out how to successfully remove alcohol from their lives for an extended period of time.  As a consequence they all have one thing in common…. they seem happy that their lives are no longer controlled by the chains of alcohol.

It’s my turn now.  It has to be.  I am not a quitter by nature, but this addiction to alcohol is the hardest thing I have had to deal w/ in my life.  I have broken down and given into it time and time again.  It sucks.  The whole thing sucks.  And my addiction is sucking heath and happiness out of my life.  But it’s my turn now.  Please let it be my turn.  Please let it be my turn to figure out how to live my life without alcohol successfully.