Setting the Bar as the Goal

by The Discovering Alcoholic on June 16, 2010

Suffering from tremors, facing repercussions and embarrassment from blackouts, and totally failing socially, professionally, and financially because of my drinking- in the early 90’s I had accepted the fact that I was an alcoholic and began efforts to become sober.

In retrospect these attempts at sobriety were half hearted at best, but only now am I coming to grips with just how skewed my thought process had become as a practicing alcoholic. Because sobriety for me wasn’t really the goal, it was only a milestone to prove to myself that I once again could control my drinking. I didn’t want to recover so that I could become healthy, successful or even famous for that matter- I just wanted to be able to sit down with friends and have a beer.

Not money, fame, or fortune- my ultimate fantasy was to drink as a normal person. It’s the epitome of addictive thinking, even with all the misery somehow having an alcoholic drink was still my number one goal and ironically the driving reason behind trying to achieve sobriety. Not only had I set the bar low as only an alcoholic could, I had set the bar as the goal.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dan June 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

That completely describes me. I’ve tried to set rules, like only drinking on weekends. Only to start Friday at 5 and drink non-stop till going to bed Sunday and wanting to crawl into a hole Monday morning.

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2 The Discovering Alcoholic June 22, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Sounds familiar, trying to quit drinking to prove that you can drink again.

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3 Zentient June 18, 2010 at 9:05 am

You write with such insight into the labyrinthine mind of the addict. There is only one message from our addictive voice, and that is to keep using the drug no matter what. It doesn’t matter how elaborate the setup of our life has to be, as long as we can keep using. I spend way too much time reading about how a few glasses of red wine is good for your health and longevity. Scientific studies, after all.
I think you should write a book, and the title “Put Down the Bottle and Let the Hurt Begin” sounds nice! Some people say put down the bottle and let the healing begin; but telling it like it is, may be of more help to addicts. Yes, healing comes, and life is unbelievably better sober; but to get to that place you may have shocking revelations about the damage to your life, body, mind, and spirit. It’s hard to open that door. Thank you.

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4 The Discovering Alcoholic June 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Thank you Z – the pat on the back is most welcome! I’ve been trying to white knuckle my way through a book for a good while now.

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5 Paul June 17, 2010 at 4:21 am

I remember as a kid growing up in Ireland my family would sometimes bring me with them to our local pub; this was quite normal behaviour back then with plenty of children in bars during the daytime. I was fascinated with drinkers from the start and I’d try and copy their behaviours even though I was too young to get my hands on booze. I’d sit their drinking pretend beer while swaying on my seat. My friends were pretending to be pirates and soldiers but I was pretending to be a drunk – it probably should have been no surprise that things turned out as they did. I spent over two decades trying to drink like the rest of the people in the bar but never managed it.

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