I drink too much. I have done for quite some time. I'm certain I'm not an alcoholic. I don't have an overwhelming desire to drink. I don't need to start the day with a drink, and I don't generally drink during the day. I don't drink every day, either. I function well, and manage to keep very fit. I eat well. But in the evenings (mainly over the weekend period), when I sit to watch a film, I'll have a drink. Then another. And so on it goes, until I go to bed drunk. As I did last night. And then I wake up in the morning - as I did this morning - and realise I've done damage in some way. Not just to my health, but to other people. I'll look at my previous day's internet history and realise there are comments I've made - on here, on social media - that are rude at best, downright offensive at worst. I keep upsetting people. I don't know why I do it. In vino veritas goes the old saying. Yet it isn't the truth I'm using. The drink turns me into this nasty, spiteful person I don't especially like - and I'm sure others don't, either. Having said that... this person is seductive. There's a big part of Mr Hyde that will always appeal to me.
I think it's all to do with years and years of keeping it all inside - never being confident enough to speak up, because generally when I did, I was shouted down and ridiculed. And suddenly, I found a way to loosen all of that up. I didn't start to drink in any way that you would call 'problematic' until I was in my 40s, and what kicked it off then was feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage and a job I hated. Drink became an escape as well as a form of relaxation. It also numbed the anxiety that is pretty much a default condition for me, and always has been. It was all very selfish. It shut me off from others and made me indifferent to the effect that my drinking was having on them. It has cost me a lot since then. I've lost a wife, a home, the trust of friends and relatives. It's isolated me more and more.
I've been to AA. I've been to therapy groups. I've tried meditation, spirituality, etc. I know the ins and outs of it. I've heard all the horror stories, and told a few myself. I'm away from everything now, really, that previously would have been a trigger to get drunk. But I still do it. Frankly, I can't ever imagine giving it up entirely. Because I enjoy it. I enjoy the feeling of all my cares and woes slipping away. I enjoy getting light-headed. It's pure selfishness. I admit it. It'll probably get me in the end, in one way or another. I know that. The only times I've ever attempted to end my life are when I've been drunk. It facilitates so many things, and most of them aren't good.
I'm not posting this for advice, really. I know what I ought to do. But maybe others have similar experiences with some form of drug. And maybe discussing these issues openly can help in some way.
You also know that this elephant has a trunkful on a regular basis and so I identify a lot with your above post. The text/image I include above is from a study of AS and drug/alcohol useage.
As the elephant in the room I am not heard or seen, but useful and tolerated by others. I get things done, I work and pay the bills, I perform the functions and tasks required by NT folks. As they do not understand ASC I cannot be heard or understood... my neck up is disregarded and expected to be mute.
i drink to calm the brain apfrom it’s processing if the day, to facilitate tears in order to decompress tension and anxiety so that I am ready for the demands of the next day..
Mask on, self buried...and then when everyone’s needs are met and they have gone to bed, I have some time alone to “be”, quiet time, that time is too short and not enough to process the day and recentre myself entirely....
Your post resonates with me in some ways. I can appreciate that a drug such as alcohol offers deliverance from the anxiety and agitation of moving through life at an obtuse angle compared to the prevailing perpendicular. I used to smoke dope for many years for the same reasons. Unlike you, I think my drug stopped me from committing suicide. Five years after giving up, I attempted to take my own life, and I’m left wondering if not allowing myself the occasional opportunity to unbutton the straitjacket of inquietude, did me more harm than good.
These days my only drugs are of the prescribed variety, but I do yearn for a brief relief from the ungraciousness of a sometimes bewildering world.
Thanks, Ellie. I think I've seen that study. Very relevant to me.
I didn't drink much at all in my teens and twenties. I was too hitched the fitness bandwagon (I still am to a great extent - I still maintain a high standard of physical fitness, and I eat good food). When I did drink during those years, it was usually in small quantities. I think I only really got drunk once in my twenties. In my mid-thirties - around about the time, as my therapist said, that my life began to catch up with me - I began to drink a little more regularly. But again, it was never enough to cause a hangover. Maybe, once a week, I'd do something really excessive (for me at the time) and drink a whole bottle of red wine in one sitting! That was the limit of it. I drank a lot more during my forties - though it was still less than many other people around me. I was working with people who'd think nothing of getting through 20 or so pints over a weekend. That was unthinkable to me.
I think things really started to get out of hand when my last partner moved in with me. It was such a difficult situation that I drank every day just to manage it. When she finally left after 18 months, the habit was firmly there. I try to moderate it. I didn't drink at all during 'dry January' this year. They I started again in small and regular quantities. I can now regularly get up to 18 or 20 units a day... but then I'll have days when I don't drink at all. It's pretty sporadic. The only way I'll ever stop it doing me any harm is to stop it altogether. So far, I've not managed that. I just need to go to that other place on a regular basis.
If ever they legalise pot in this country, I'll try switching to that. I don't smoke, so I'd just ingest it in food. I know every drug is harmful in some way. But pot is probably far better for you than booze.
Mine is part self-soothing and blocking things out that my Aspie brain is still trying to manage. It may also be a small act of rebellion.. allowing myself to be “off grid” on my terms.
The break up of my first marriage and then feeling the vulnerability and pressure of being a single parent to now being in an unhealthy and damaging relationship.
Some i am sure will post ideas such as joining groups or meditation etc which are all very sound and worthy ideas. However in my bubble I would not be afforded the opportunity to venture out alone for a long walk in the country or to have off-line companions to share with.. so it all becomes bottled up until the cork pops!
Yes... I find the world increasingly bewildering. Partly it's about getting older. But it's also about the way society has changed so much in the last 10 or 15 years. I should switch off to it, but I can't. I find myself getting increasingly irritated by people. I just want to be away from them as much as possible. I suppose drink is a way of isolating myself from them.
Yes. Like I said, I've tried the different approaches over the years. AA was good for the peer support. But fundamentally, I didn't want to stop drinking. Virtually all of the 'problem' drinkers I knew then and know now are drinking because of some kind of difficulty in their lives. Mental health problems (which drink worsens, of course - bummer that!) Relationship problems. Or, like me, problems with feeling out of synch with life generally.
I'm sure people will suggest things, and that's okay. But I think it's probably just as helpful for people to talk about their experiences with alcohol and other drugs. I know what I need to do - but at this stage, I don't particularly want to do it. So I'll go on playing Russian Roulette with my health for now.
I know what I need to do - but at this stage, I don't particularly want to do it.
Yes, waiting for “calmer seas” can take time as well as trying different strategies to be less held hostage by things that unsettle the soul.
I can now regularly get up to 18 or 20 units a day... but then I'll have days when I don't drink at all.
18 or 20 units a day
That's a lot. I've lost friends to alcohol.
It's more than a lot.
I've also lost friends to alcohol. I lost my father to it, too. I know all the risks. But it doesn't stop me. Partly, I think, it's a form of self-punishment. For what, I don't know. Maybe not being a proper human. Or, rather, feeling I'm not a proper human.
It's a habit-forming drug. People don't need to have a self-destructive motive to harm themselves through drink.
There is no 'proper human'. Isn't that just that 'normality' thing again?
I'm sorry about the people you lost too.
You and Ellie know the options better than I. People I know who've gone sober and taken up AA have usually done it at a crisis, but maybe that was just a moment of awareness. Others are in a cyclic battle to cut down.