The longest 4 days…

So normally when I slip up, my brain switches to this voice that says, “Yes!! We get a break from all this sober nonsense, let’s live it up for a few days! We’re in ‘not caring’ mode!” And then I proceed to drink for several days, weeks, in a row before I feel so utterly horrific that I have to face up to the quitting again.

This time, I drank one evening. Five days ago. And the next morning, I wanted to kill myself. I was gripped with anxiety so severe I was sweating, had trouble breathing, was paranoid, couldn’t move off the couch, was literally gripping the blanket with white knuckles. All day, all I could think was that just one beer would take the edge off and I’d feel better. But I DIDN’T DO IT!!! I’m so relieved. Here’s the crazy thing. My alcohol-infused brain likes to refer to this approach (the one where I drink beer to take the edge off a bad hangover) as the “taper method.” And to be honest, it sometimes kinda works. The lie is that I usually don’t really taper, I mean I’ll have less for a few days, maybe even only two glasses of wine on one or two nights, but I usually carry on through and end up with a few more big nights in there. This time I had the one night, and it ended so bad that I stuck to my resolve and made it through day one. And two, three, and four. Today is day four and it is close enough to bedtime that I’m in the clear. I think.

But you know what’s crazy?? I STILL feel hungover. Not like a headache, not nauseated or anything. But I feel this lingering anxiety and self-doubt. It doesn’t feel like me. I think the “taper-method,” when it does work effectively, masks the reality of how long it takes me to get back to feeling 100% normal after a binge. (For clarification as to Friday night’s events, I intended to have one or two glasses of wine… I drank my first one twice as fast as my friend, so refilled first, that’s two within the first 30 minutes… then had two more of the other bottle, then finished the bottle while everyone else had maybe a glass or two I had four or five. This is before dinner. Then with dinner, had two HUGE glasses of red wine, this bartender seriously pours me like 12 ounce glasses, so I suppose that would actually be 4 glasses.) So the conclusion I’m drawing here is, if you drink 8 or 9 glasses of red wine in a night, 4 or 5 of which were consumed prior to eating, you are going to feel like a massive piece of cat shit for several days afterward.

Hoping tomorrow feels a little better. Each day is a little better. But it sure is starting to seem less and less worth it to throw away three perfectly great days to work on my business. It is startling to see how long it actually takes me to get back on track with life… with exercise, sleep, feeling like a human, having energy, feeling clear-headed. I feel like the more I continue to slip and drink, the more severe the consequences feel. Is this a real phenomena? Does it mean my alcoholism is progressing? It’s a scary thought.

This time I’m doing something different and WAY out of my comfort zone by seeing a therapist who specializes in alcohol dependence. I actually had a consultation this morning and my first real session will be on the 10th. So… that’s pretty good motivation to stay sober until then. To be honest, and this sounds backward, I would love to be honest with a professional and have them just tell me flat out: You MUST quit drinking, you have a serious problem. Most people would probably want to hear that they DON’T have a problem, but here’s the thing. No one in my life thinks I have a problem. My husband is starting to believe me, but the thing is that a lot of the “problem” is how freaking crazy I feel in my own head. How my biochemistry feels off after drinking and I suffer extreme depression and anxiety. But at the same time I feel like, I’m stronger than this, I can’t say I have a problem because I wouldn’t be being genuine. For some reason I think I’d be “faking it” if I said I had a problem, or that my problem is not as serious as other’s, because my life is together, I’m driven, I have a house and a good marriage, and a career, etc. But the crazy feelings are still there, and the insane, child-like grief I feel at the thought of giving up is there… so that’s something. Something that I’ve finally decided has to be addressed in a professional’s office. And I can’t help it, I want her to say to me, “I hear you, and in my professional opinion you should quit drinking.” Because then I feel like I would KNOW. You know? I would be able to tell my whacked-out, whining for wine self that this is serious, and drinking is not an option.

Writing this is making me want to run screaming to the wine cellar and grab a bottle of pinot, so I’m going to sign off, go make some peanut butter toast for dinner, and some tea. And then do a little night time yoga and get into bed and hide.


11 thoughts on “The longest 4 days…”

  1. Your story is almost identical to mine – except the wine thing – I’m a beer girl! Lovely marriage, beautiful home, great kids and a job I adore…..and a raging need to sit, relax and drink it all away with a cold beer in my hand. See the therapist and be honest with her. Tell her about the chemistry and the roller coaster of thoughts, emotions, panic – all of it. It’s real. I used to hear that you have to stronger than the disease to win. Fuck that. The disease will win without the right help and what you need. We aren’t weak because we’ve failed. We are strong because we continue to try.

  2. Whyyy do bartenders think they’re doing us a favor by overpouring?

    Your story is much like my own–no one around seems to think there’s a problem except me… and maaaybe my significant other. But they’re not forced to listen to the little voices in our heads who speak up in between “you moron!” speak and intermittent pounding the day after tossing one too many back. I’m currently in the “massive piece of cat shit” stage of laying off the bottle. Fingers crossed it gets better from here.

    Really glad I found your blog… I like your style. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks Sobersinceoctober,

      I know, the over pouring!!! I actually asked him one time to give me a lighter pour and he looked at me like I was crazy… it was an awkward moment for sure. I’m sure he was thinking like, “you don’t have to drink it all, I’m just hooking you up!” And then he told me that he noticed I drink really fast, so he pours me enough to last me a little bit. I cringed. It’s true, I drink fast. Faster than the others around me. It’s another sign that it’s gotten a little out of my hands. Sorry to hear you’re in the worst of it… hoping you feel better today and are moving forward!

  3. It took me a year of day ones to finally decide alcohol was going to kill me not only physically but mostly mentally. The fear of alcohol induced anxiety keeps me from drinking.

    You’re impressive because you’re documenting your struggle and because you keep trying. You’re inspiring because you haven’t given up. πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks so much, Jenn. I’m almost at a year of day ones and that realization is really hitting home. It’s shocking to realize how long I’ve been trying and that I’ve not made it past 32 days. Hoping the extra help will get me there. It’s embarrassing to keep writing about all these failures, but I know that this community is teaching me and eventually I’ll get it, so that’s worth humbling myself and returning here.

  4. I so admire you for coming back here all the time. I can relate to all you say – the anxiety is my issue too – along with a low grade depression that last for days after a heavy drinking session. I thought I was “moderating” fairly well – but am also slipping into more and more sessions resulting in hangovers. Not quite sure where to go – although I know the only real long term fail safe solution is to give up completely. But not quite committed either. It all get very tedious and I bore myself silly with this thinking. Good luck and hope you are doing well.

    1. Cleo, I was exactly where you are with anxiety and depression after drinking. I fought it for a year after realizing it was the drinking that was making me feel that way. I tried everything I could think of to make it stop except for quitting alcohol. I found that moderating was making things worse for me. I felt so guilty after drinking which added to my anxiety and depression because I knew that what I really needed to do was stop drinking altogether. It took me some sober time to realize that life really is so much better without complicating it with booze. You’ll get there when you’re ready. πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Cleo, that’s really the thing right? I’m so over hearing my own thought process about all this. If I could drink without obsessing, overdoing it, and ending up a big wad of anxiety that would be perfect. But it just doesn’t work that way for me. I still feel gripping agony when I imagine giving up wine for good. But when I drink it, I end up in gripping agony for days. So what’s worse? I think the latter. I’m finally facing up to the prospect of life without.

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