Drinking in the Morning

by The Discovering Alcoholic on May 21, 2010

I was asked to write a post about AM drinking but realized it already existed… so I’m breathing life back into this old post from 2007.

Drinking in the morning. I wish it were a metaphor for waking up and enjoying the dawning of a new day, but this is The Discovering Alcoholic so you better change the channel quickly if you are looking for a breakfast cereal commercial. Now I am not talking about drinking on a lark or as a little hair of the dog; nope, I am talking the necessary alcohol intake to subdue the shakes and build the confidence to face another sunrise.

Looking back at the progression of my disease, it was when I began drinking in the morning that I figured out I was in trouble and subsequently became ashamed and secretive. When I first started the morning libation it was usually hot beer. It’s kind of funny to me when I see people’s reaction to this, “Drink in the morning? Hot beer!” but there was a method to my madness.

In my early days of alcoholism I almost always shared living space with several others, so being secretive about my drinking I couldn’t just grab a cold one out of the fridge. Normally I just kept a half case or so under the bed or in the closet and would have two or three warm ones to get moving. Paradoxically, the surge of in my blood alcohol content often produced enough confidence to shun my duties for the day and nudged my rationalization muse into action to inspire another day of drinking. Eventually beer lacked sufficient AM punch and I moved on to vodka. With the switch to vodka I stilled try to remain discrete, but the need to drink was strong enough by this time that shame was no barrier.

There are endless tests and surveys to do online to test whether or not you are an alcoholic. DUI’s, fights, and blackouts may be indicators, but they may just point to abuse. Not just a desire, but the need to drink in the morning so you can face the day is almost an absolute sign of alcoholism. Unfortunately, by the time we have begun drinking in the mornings there’s really no need for a test… alcoholism has already been accepted.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca May 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

Morning drinking is definitely a bad sign.

I am 33 years old and I am an alcoholic. I keep moving the bar further and further back about what it really means to be an alcoholic, but its just a lie. Im lying to myself.

Drinking is so much worse for me than smoking. And I am a chronic chain smoker. I usually smoke at least two to three packs of cigarettes a day. I have smoked more than four packs a day before for several years. The more I drink, the more I smoke. The less I drink, the more I smoke. But as terrible as my cigarette addiction is, and no matter how much I know it is killing me, it pales in comparison to the severity of my alcoholism.

Three years ago, I had a DUI. My boyfriend was out of town and I was out drinking with a friend. I had been drinking and driving for a long time. But that night, I was driving home, speeding, going to fast, just for the sheer hell of it. And it happened. I rounded the corner, and crashed into another car. Thank God no one was hurt.

I went to jail. I didn’t blow and I was charged with a DUI. I bonded out the new morning, with no car, and had to tell my boyfriend what happened. He wasn’t happy. But he tried to be supportive.

I used to think that a DUI should be a warning sign that you were an alcoholic. Now, I just get very defensive about it most of the time. I claim the laws are far too strict and too severe for first offense. Im sure whenever I get my second offense, I’ll say the second offense laws are too severe too.

Back in college, I didn’t drink just a huge amount, except occasional binge drinking maybe a dozen or so times my freshman and sophomore year. I didnt drink every day. I didnt even drink every week. I didnt keep alcohol around my dorm or apartment most of the time. That started to change some when I came of age and started buying beer more regularly when I was a Senior.

But I used to consider someone who drank alone to be an alcoholic. Now, I look forward to being alone so I can drink. I love it when my longterm, live-in boyfriend goes out of town for the weekend or for work. Because thats when I can drink all I want at my house. Why did I used to consider drinking alone to be a warning sign of alcoholism, but not anymore?

Even four years ago I had a blackout where I was drinking while working out of town and I passed out on a concrete bench next to a riverwalk. I woke up at maybe 7am, not sure where I was, wondering where my underwear or pantyhose was, and just glad that I still had my purse. I stumbled back to the hotel, got cleaned up and made my 9am meeting. Shouldnt that have been a warning sign?

Six years ago, not long after my boyfriend and I moved in together, I was drinking gin and vodka tonics nightly, and one more than one occasion I blacked out. Once I was apparently standing right in front of him, wearing only a nightgown and high heels, pissing all over myself right there in the bedroom, laughing about it the whole time. Shouldn’t that have been a warning sign?

Flashing forward to last year. Last year there were at least 3 distinct times that I drank to total black out incapacitation.

One was on a batchelorette party almost exactly a year ago. I was so drunk I had to be carried back to the hotel by two of the other girls. I was 32 years old, partying like an 18 year old girl.

Then another time last summer my boyfriend was out of town for a the week, and I found myself drinking at a bar, alot of gin, then next thing I know I woke up and my car was in a gas station parking lot at 3am with the windshield wipers on. Again I wasn’t wearing any underwear or pantyhose and didn’t know where it was or if I was ever wearing any to begin with. I couldn’t remember how I got there, and I just drove home. Turns out, I had side swiped the side of my brand new car, and caused over a thousand dollars worth of damage. I just played it off like it was no big deal.

Then just three weeks later I was on a work trip and I go so totally wasted I woke up in a hospital.
I had passed out and they gave me fluids. Thank god my boss never found out.
Waking up in a hospital should be a pretty good sign that you have a drinking problem right?

Since then Ive had times when I drank less, then drank more. I spent nearly a thousand dollars on alcohol, mostly wine, in the month of December alone. Thats just counting receipts from the liquor store next to my house. Im sure if I included drinks from other restruants, it’d be alot more. But I was spending a thousand dollars a month just at one liquor store. Isnt that a warning sign too?

All of these were signs. That I missed.

Now the latest sign of alcoholism or alcohol dependence is how badly I need to drink in the mornings. I feel hungover every morning. The only way to fix it is to take a load of motrin and water and wash it down with a few glasses of wine. I usually prefer cool white wine for that.

I drank in the morning before work at least twice last week.

I drank in the morning a total of at least four times in the past week.

Shouldn’t this be a clear sign that something is very wrong and getting worse?

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Pdub May 21, 2014 at 8:58 am

In reading all the comments. Help in how I should go about telling my friend I’m concerned that they drinking vodka in the morning and all thru the day. He is do laughy jokey all the time but I know it’s to cover up. But he stashes the vodka and he has let me see him pouring it out into a glass to drink it like nothing nd I say nothing but I’m so concerned. I want him to trust me but I don’t and hate seeing him falling back down again and relying on this drinking because I would do anything to help him. Help me help him. Even though I know he can only help himself.

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Billy boy May 8, 2014 at 7:02 am

So where does one start? When is that moment when the solid drinking , the fun drinking, the joy of drinking, steps overboard. When you pray that you will wake up in the morning and feel that you don’t need a drink.? I’m usually ok, but then the benders come along. Always an excuse…a party, a wedding… Friends in town. Then on the second day it’s a beer at lunchtime, then by the the third or fourth day it’s gin or vodka before work. Sometimes I don’t get this, even after a bottle or so of wine. I get a hangover and just deal with it. But the vodka mornings become more frequent. I can’t face he anxiety. I’m in a very well paid job with lots of people who look up to me and respect me and need my leadership. But they can tell, they know when I’m drinking. I can see the pain in their eyes. Every binge it’s always about stopping after the next one, but the fact that I don’t always fall into the morning drinking gives me hope… Hope which soon evaporates. I’m strong, I can do this, I look very fit, I work out, I’ve got a great job, people love and respect me…I’m engaged to a beautiful woman. And then…I’m running out of the office to 711 or the bar I know I won’t get found in. Running, sweating, desperate. I’m not sad at all…I have a great life…it’s just that physical need, that grips you. Then the belief that you can be a social drinker. But you know, deep down, that you can’t.

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james reising May 2, 2014 at 5:21 am

I’m waiting now for 6am to arrive to purchase 2 -25 oz, Hurricanes..It’s miserable existence..Have tried tapering many times but just drink more.

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Randolph September 22, 2013 at 5:55 am

At this i was past all reason. Just to calm the terror, i would have to drink a few beers and half a bottle of vodka. That was about an hour before sunrise. Then i would need to walk the 2 miles to the store to het more for the day. There was madness everywhere. I was in another dimension.

I honestly did not eat for three weeks, consuming alcohol every waking moment.

Hoffific.

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K August 6, 2013 at 7:20 am

I know how you feel. I’ve been working so hard at cutting down my drinking, but I can’t get over that “breakfast drink.” If I don’t have it, I shake and feel awful and I just seem totally unable to cut it out. My husband is understanding and I try to be honest about the whole thing… but the withdrawal is bad and we can’t afford for me to miss work.

There are many, many days that I wish I never started drinking.

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steve July 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

I have a severe drinking problem. My girlfriend doesnt understand that I cannot stop. The morning withdrawal is so bad that I cant start the day without a beer or some vodka. I just came off a 5 day bender and needed her to indicate for me how many days I have been drunk. Unfortunately, Im already planning on having my morning drink regardless that we just had this discussion. She will not know as she is going to work. I have things I need to fix at the house but Im unsteady and not mentally fit to begin any task. I can only hope that my drink doesnt go down east. Then my nerves will be calm and I will not be so tempted to drink later. I cannot go on this way but I truly feel I cannot stop and its negatively effecting every aspect of my life.

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Janice October 12, 2012 at 5:06 am

I have been an alcoholic for several years…but let me explain how things have become different. I drink wine spritzers only, cannot handle the taste of straight wine, but need the buzz. I have always only drank in the late afternoon early evenings, in bed by 9 and jump out of bed at 5am to start my day. I am a 40 year old woman with 2 boys, 12 and 14.
About a month ago, I lost my job, and about 3 weeks ago, I began waking up feeling nervous and depressed, just waiting to hear from one of the 100′s of jobs I have applied to. I have always worked as a waitress, unfortunately, once you get older than 32ish, finding waitressing work becomes more and more difficult.
So yes, for the past several weeks, I dont even have my coffee in the morning, its right on to the wine spritzers, and while I dont get shit faced, I need that little bit of numbing buzz to help me face the day. I was never a morning drinker up until this. I do consider myself an alcoholic because I do have a few drinks every day, while its not a huge amount of alcohol I am consuming, its still the habit of doing it every day.
Now with this new morning drinking habit, I am consuming close to 1.5 litres of wine per day. May not sound like alot to some but for me it’s way too much, I am a tallish woman and thin…Also I have been on Pristiq for about a year, its an antidepressant but it was prescribed to me not for depression but anxiety.
Just want my life back and really need to find a job, I feel so bored and useless and hating myself badly for this new morning drinking habit. My fiancee makes enough money to support us either way, but that is not what I want, I want to be working and contribute.j
Just holding on to faith now that things will turn around:(

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Screedler October 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hey Janice – by posting this I would surmise you are coming to grips with the severity of the situation. In my case, drinking in the morning started about 3 years before my “bottom”, and like you it started with something light but progressed to pints of hard liquor just to get going in the morning. By searching out this site and I am sure others , I hope you find the info and support to get back on track. Feel free to write us and tell us more of your story – I will gladly post to the front page with your consent. Best wishes – and remember to take it one day at a time you need to start out with a morning free of spritzers. Just a suggestion, but try to fit in a workout or write story instread of drinking.

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trish September 4, 2013 at 5:32 am

Hi Janice
I feel like I could be heading in this direction. I just googled “Is it normal to drink wine at 10am”. I am 45 and mum of a 12 and 16yr old and worked full time until I had my son 16 yrs ago, then I basically wanted to be a stay at home mum which I enjoyed. When my kids were young I only ever drunk socially with friends.
Broke up with my kids dad when my son was 5. Now I moved to a rural town and single mum I’m a bit isolated and finding it hard to find work, also had some major problems with next door neighbours and my son getting bullied since he’s always had learning difficulties.
I started smoking more last year cos the anxiety meds were just making me too sleepy and I couldn’t really function and then slowly drinking more wine not just in the evening but gradually starting to get earlier and earlier, mid afternoon then lunchtime and now…just today at 10am.

Could be cos of 5 weeks of school holidays has driven me to it. My son started college today and my daughter goes back to school tomorrow. But if my anxiety carries on I know I’m just wanna drink more cos I get more jobs done round the house and I feel slightly happier.
If I get wasted though I just get sick and sleep.
I used to be really focussed and sensible, but now its like I don’t really care if I’m drunk or not. Sometimes I have better conversations with my kids when I’ve had a few glasses of wine and I’m more tolerable and talkative.
I don’t know where it’s heading though and I don’t wanna be labelled an alcoholic, I just want to get through the day without getting too angry and annoyed at the world, and try and be “happy”?!

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Alla Stott July 12, 2012 at 2:01 am

So, u r an alcoholic, u know it’s an illness and u know u have to live with it for the rest of your life. So, what the big deal? Why r u choosing to suffer? Ok, if u r a real alki, and not just a silly drunk, u know more about the condition than all of the so called experts put together, take your knowlege and turn it to your advantage. Drink because u want to and not because u have to, because u REALLY don’t HAVE TO! Rule number 1: Take Fear and Shame out of the picture. Alchogol just a chemical, which affects your brain. Rule number 2: Monitor the stages of your body responces to each drink. Write something down, if you want. I personally found that in the “middle” stage my writing is very interesting. When the letters start to blur, I just have something to eat and may be have a nap. It is 7.57 in the morning here in UK and I had a couple of glasses of Lambrini with my youghurt and cucumber breakfast. Feel great. It is time to wake the kids and send them to school. Looking forward to my day with no fear.

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Screedler July 18, 2012 at 6:27 am

Yes, the fear usually comes in the morning, hence that drink to quell the inability of being in the real world. Good luck my friend, and seek some help for your kids sake.

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Tony Wade February 20, 2012 at 3:05 am

When I was a ‘serious’ drinker, I used to have a saying to myself, ‘drunk by 9′…
I’d get up at 0700, having passed out by 2100 the night before, and start hitting a 5 litre box of wine. By about 9am, I was feeling pretty good. I’d do my work from home, then at around 1500, I’d need to go get another box. It would take a while to walk to the store, needing to sit down a few times along the way. In the store, if challenged by a clerk, I would tell them I had Sciatica in my leg.
The walk back home clutching another box was tough.
I had to force myself to eat something, very little, and by 2100 I was ready to sleep.
Next day, same thing.
Having been through rehab twice now, I’ve conquered this deadly habit.
One guy in rehab described his morning feeling as ‘Getting Normal, I need to get normal’. I knew what he meant.
I also needed it to calm the shakes.

I still drink, but not like that, and I’ve switched to cider.
Good luck.

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Tara November 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Wow-these posts have me wanting to read more. Very powerful. This is me too. Very powerful.

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Lady August 1, 2011 at 7:36 am

I am a 27 year old female. I am alcoholic. I have found that I am incapable of stopping drinking. This week I am trying to detox myself off of liquor. 3 times in the past I have been in the hospital for trying to quit cold turkey. I go to meetings and want to “have what they have” I need to follow the program and stick with it. I was sober for one week straight and I felt awful. My body is so accustomed to having alcohol in it. After 7 days of sobriety, I was on my way home from a situation that stressed me out…and I pulled into the package store and bought 2 tips of Sambuca. That was all I drink that day, but it was enough to get me back on the coaster. I have been feeling better these past few days…less and less…I can go 4 hours without a drink instead of one. And as I write this, at 8:35 am I am having one glass of wine instead on 4. It is a sad, sad, sad, sad, life that I live in. But I am confident that once I put this damn bottle down and work the steps I will recover and live a happier life. I pray that god gives me the strength and love to do that.

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anonymous girl July 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm

recently, my boyfriend really cut back on his drinking. i didn’t know the extent of it because we always used to drink together when I came over or when we went out, and he would say he was an ‘alcoholic.’ I thought he was just exaggerating. but on a recent trip we went on, he confessed to drinking in the mornings, and that’s when I became worried (or, at least, worried that i had overlooked the problem). I’m not very vocal. i was worried in the beginning with the alcohol, but i knew he loved me enough not to put me through any weird shit. I felt it. I felt that he would always do things to make himself better, and to make me happy. the confession that he would have a beer in the morning worried me, and i just don’t want to think about it, but i know he’s been mixed up not only with alcohol but with drugs, too.

he is a good person, though, and i know this is a positive change. i am lucky to have found someone like this who cooks for me and gets things done (I am more of an up-in-the-clouds personality). i don’t have to worry about various inadequacies i have. I guess this is the only thing, but im glad i don’t have to worry about it anymore.

the point is: like the article says, alcoholism is hidden. I used to joke that my family are alcoholics because my dad drinks a couple of nights a week. but this is not true. i think real alcoholism stays hidden, and remains hidden from loved ones. i don’t know what to say for myself. i would never accept an alcoholic to be a husband to me, a father, someone who has to be responsible over other peoples’ lives. i don’t know if this was habit for him, or the need to face another day. i know that he has been happy for the time we’ve been together and had a job that he liked, and so it couldn’t have been to face another day. it’s just a curious thing. and i am now still a little shaken by him telling me he used to have a ‘tall can’ in the morning.

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Jeff July 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

I have tried to rationalize my AM Drinking by the fact that my life has totally fallen apart. I am 56 and have been out of work for about 14 months. The lack of income has forced me to move back home to my parents house. My Mom has dementia and my Father has sever anger issues. Usually when I wake up I feel horrible, yet another 24 hours with no place to go and all day to go there. I do generally have a few things to do, however, my AM drinking usually does not interfere with my tasks. I am also on Xanax, so by mixing the the two chemicals I usually start to feel better within a hour or so. I have also done this in the past, back in the 70′s. It was no an issue until the last few months.

The one part of my life that it has affected has been a weight gain, I have gained about 35 lbs in the last couple of years and do not like what I look and feel like. Just a couple of years ago, I looked better, felt better and never indulged in drinking before 1:00pm, was employed had a life and generally was doing better in all parts of my life. Boy, what a difference a couple of years makes. I do have hope that eventually the toxic dust that I have been walking through for the last two years will settle and I will be able to resume a normal lifestyle. Until then I am afraid that I will make a bottle of wine my morning breakfast, I just think of it has grape juice that has been fermented. Kind of like the 70′s, when I drank “Oatmeal Stout” as my breakfast, trying to convince myself it was just a liquid oatmeal breakfast.

I really don’t enjoy AM drinking, however, when I consider the alternative at this place, at this time, in this situation. It seems to help get me through the morning, which is the hardest part of the day for me. As the day goes on and there are more things to do and more distractions, things seem to get a bit better, not much, but enough that I don’t need to keep on drinking throughout the day. What really gets to me is that tomorrow, I will be facing the exact same situation and will do the exact same thing, just to get through. I am just praying that God gives me the strength to persevere through this season of trial, and I can come out on the other side a better and stronger person, having flirted with alcoholism, but never totally falling for it even when things do get better or at least change….God Bless You All

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erinsav August 8, 2007 at 9:24 am

I didn’t keep a supply of my drug of choice around…just because I couldn’t afford to buy more than what I needed.

I would spend the first part of the day walking around, rubbing my stomach, massaging my temples and just looking like crap. This was all due to me having gone about 15 hours (sleep involved) without using.

The second part of my day would be great! I felt like I could run a marathon…this was after I used.

My family started to take notice that I just never seemed to feel good in the morning…strange!

erinsav
http://www.whatwinnersdo.com

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The Discovering Alcoholic August 8, 2007 at 10:05 pm

and usually stealing an emergency stash for the morning.

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Scout August 8, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Man, do I ever remember those daze! My cousin was/is an alcoholic and I was living with him after losing my house, relationship, and children due to addiction. I even hid my drinking from him! When I moved out, the entire space under the bed was absolutely crammed with paper sacks of empty 40′s of beer. In some parts it was so deep that it was pushing up the mattress and I never even noticed. The funniest part is — why did I do that? When I would come downstairs in the morning, he had a beer cracked open in the kitchen anyway!
I had forgotten all of this. Thanks for bringing me back. It’s an important piece for me to remember.
Peace,
Scout

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The Discovering Alcoholic August 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm

most of my madness was the direct result of me trying convince myself things weren’t really this bad!

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Mallie August 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Everything everyone written is so true! My children’s father is beyond an alcoholic. He starts off his morning by counting loose change he could find in the house, car, and kids piggy bank takes that to the liquor store n buys a pint of vodka. And like any other alcoholic knows he intentionally picks a fight with me in front of the kids. He manipulates their minds and tells em I’m the bad guy and this almost like an every morning issue. He works mom-fri from 3pm to 2am which is good cause that’s the only time he’s ever sober but once he’s back home it’s back to the same routine. I’ve tried my best to cope with it I read about other stories online to see if there’s people like me whose just so sick and tired of having to deal with an alcoholic. I was once an alcoholic which I learned to be from being with him but 2 years ago I had a seizure and was hospitalized in icu or 3 days the alcohol content in my blood was extremely high I don’t remember it happening cause I was asleep when it did. 2 days later I woke up in the hospital my face was beyond swollen n my skin so clammy and the thought of not being able to see my kids anymore scared me enough to stop drinking. I went on 10 days not drinking and when I was going to withdrawals it was unbearable my eyes felt like they were dialated everything I saw looked disformed anything I heard was spinning in my heads my muscle twitched all the time it was just awful but I eventually over came it. Now I have gout that flares once a month and let me tell you that I’m only 28 years old. At this point I don’t know what to do anymore with my children’s father he makes a scene everywhere he’s goes he’s gotten so desperate to drink that he’ll make friends with the neighborhood gangsters I’m tired of being the only parent I want to run so far away from but don’t have the actual resources. This is about the only thing I can do vent this all out to people who acknowledge that their alcoholics and want to quit.

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