Control, or Lack Thereof : 30 Days of Truth

Day 12 : Something you never get compliments on.

One of my more recent posts eluded to a crisis in my life.  I haven’t revealed it yet, because in all truth, I am rather ashamed of some of the realities of my life.  In personal writing lately, a rambling piece entitled “Write it Out, Right it Out“, I went on say:

I’ve always been caught in my own world of the mindf***, you know? And when I’m drunk, I am more susceptible to mindf***ery. I don’t like it. I start to lose grasp on my reality, and sometimes it disappears completely – my grasp, that is.

I have made references to my alcoholism in the past, but never with much detail or emphasis.  I neglected to mention that alcoholism is a real part of my present, mainly because I didn’t consider recreational drinking to fall under that category.  I was sorely mistaken.  I wrote to a friend:

Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking substance abuse seriously, like it wasn’t a fact in my life. I’m going to guess that mania had a little to do with it. Like I was above it all because I had gotten away with it.

And another in the same piece, “Write it Out, Right it Out”:

I don’t think I actually believed myself when I have described the seriousness of my alcoholism in my past. Or maybe I thought that it was somehow different, because this is a different situation. Or maybe I thought I was just too young and immature to handle myself.

The fact of the matter is this.  I have been suffering from terrible alcoholism from the age of 19.  At the age of 17, I took up drinking as a recreational activity.  When life events sent me into a tailspin, I spent the last six months of my 18th year in a state of perpetual intoxication.  By the time I was 19, alcohol was a regular fixture in my life, and was a part of every recreational activity.  Finally, it progressed the point of functional alcoholism by the time I was 21.  I described it to a friend as:

Except, I know that there was two years that I spent drunk every single night. I made excuses, like friends and parties, but I would drink by myself. I remember there were nights I’d drink until 4am, and have my boss call me at 6:30am to ask where the hell I was.

During the two years, I had a solid schedule. Wake up at 2pm, leave for work at 2:30pm, work three to nine, drink and eat nine thirty to four or six in the morning, and do it again. I had even devised strategies to avoid vicious hangovers and physical withdrawal. Occasionally, I would venture out with a bottle in my purse, just in case there wasn’t any alcohol where I was going.

Since my son was born, there have only been a handful of what I consider to be benders, which were periods of time where I would invent a reason to have friends over for drinks.  I never intended on getting wasted, and I usually didn’t.  But, there were occasions.  Some relatively benign, ending with me waking up with a vicious hangover and swearing off alcohol entirely for awhile.  Others, they ended disastrously with an altercation, and I would find myself resolving the situation by dumping all of the booze down the drain, with a certain satisfaction at my self-restraint and determination.

Here’s the truth.  I never get complimented on my resolve.  Because, everyone knows that I will always go back to the same old, same old.  No matter how much I appear to change.

I am not always forthcoming about my weaknesses, especially the ones that spark shame.  I am embarrassed by my lack of self-control, especially in matters that are extremely frowned upon.  There are a lot of bad character traits that I can identify, and openly and honestly admit to.  However, lack of self-control is not one of them.  I’ve never considered myself as impulsive, and people often view it as immature and juvenile.  I have always considered myself to be mature and responsible, with certain exceptions, like during college, because impulsive actions and lack of restraint were commonplace, and socially accepted.

Many can argue that impulsivity is not necessarily a character trait of mine, rather, a feature of Bipolar Disorder.  Maybe that is true, because there really was a brief period in my childhood that I recall being very responsible, consistent, and mindful.  And yet, there are still incidents that I recall as being not well thought out before execution.  A condition of childhood?  Maybe.  Facet of personality or symptom of psychological disorder, it stands as probably the weakest trait I have.

13 thoughts on “Control, or Lack Thereof : 30 Days of Truth

  1. I love you anyway! I also think you shouldn’t accept the idea that you don’t have resolve. I think you do. One day that resolve with be there for you in the case of the drinking.

    • I don’t think I’ll ever experience it in the same way that other people do. There’s a point where everyone cuts themselves off, just because they know it’s what they have to do. The only time I cut myself off is if I think I’m going to either vomit or blackout, both of which lead to the unsavory fate of the god-awful hangover.

      I have a tendency to indulge. It’s not just drinking. It’s food. It’s pretty much everything. I suppose I have more of a problem with indulgence than resolve. But, it is true that I have only a minimal amount of follow through. I’m driven, but not enough to see many things all of the way through. That’s why I’m hell bent on finishing this 30 Days of Truth.

      • When I use to drink, I couldn’t just cut it off either. I drank until I puked or passed out, or because the alcohol was all gone. Resolve in not one of my qualities either. That is one of the changes in me that God did. I could have never made a decision on my own that it was what I should do. I really enjoyed it. But that is why I believe that we can have power over any of our indulgences, not in ourselves but through faith. In myself, Oh man, I have no control! Eating, sex, drinking and smoking ect. You name it lol

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  3. I think you are so incredibly brave to discuss this openly here, and you should be proud of yourself for it. That takes a lot of guts, girly, and you can’t make any changes in your life until you decide there are things that are important to you that you want to be different.

    • I’ve learned that it’s not just the admission, but the true acknowledgement that it *is* a problem. Drinking, for me, is a problem (amongst many).

      But, I can honestly say that it is the only problem that I have that has the capacity to have an effect on everything. For instance, I didn’t realize until this past week that even moderate drinking on Saturday is a bad idea. Because for some reason, I end up with an “emotional hangover” for two days. Friday is okay, because I have an abundant and available support system throughout the weekend. But, the impaired function of a Sunday and a Monday are risky, at best.

      It’s just a good thing that I mostly have a handle on it now. I recognize symptoms of addiction and self-medication as soon as they surface. It’s enough for me to step back and said, “No, I’m in a negative headspace, so I’ll refrain.”

      Practicing the self-control through discipline another part of the battle. But, you can’t have one without the other. True acknowledgement and willfullness are two things that have to go hand in hand.

      • You touch on something that caused me to stop drinking altogether. I’ve never had an issue with alcoholism, or even alcohol abuse, but I’ve discovered that if I even have a couple of drinks (like I used to really enjoy doing once every few months before I got my hair done) I get very, very maudlin for days after. My moods can’t afford that dip, with or without a support system, so I have to abstain both completely and permanently.

        • I was reading on James Claims about a very similar phenomenon. I actually felt better, like I wasn’t a crazy woman on Mondays, just because they’re Mondays. (I have no idea why my brain comes to these silly, illogical conclusions!)

          I can’t afford the dip, but the support system on Saturdays is great. We usually go out and do something, and I can Xanax up all day to get rid of those nasty DT’s. (Mental DT’s, I mean). My life is a lot easier on the weekends when there are two parents and the car is around.

        • I don’t think we’re talking about the same kind of dip, because in my three or four days of post-drink pain, I would cause difficulties in my own life, and in the lives of those I loved, that would take weeks or months to sort out, if they could be sorted out at all. And I had plenty of support, and I had plenty of Xanax, I just don’t tend to reach for either when I’m that low.

          If it had just affected me, I could have made a different decision (though I suspect that I would have made the same one), but I inflicted a lot of hurt and chaos on people I loved, all for the fun of a couple of strawberry margs. To me, that just wasn’t okay. I can’t take back all that I did when my moods and actions were truly out of my control, but I can refrain from inflicting more damage on others when it concerns something like this, something unnecessary and 100% within my control.

        • Oh, we’re talking that far. That’s only when my drinking multiplies on itself. Meaning, I take a mood dive and then I drink on top of that. I’ve done some serious wreckage in that respect. But, I don’t seem to have the same issue with a few drinks here and there. The challenge, for me, is to hold down when I’m either feeling like the life of the party or chin up when I don’t. Especially when I don’t.

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