I think I am an alcoholic and I want to change (long)

So here it is 4:45pm on a Sunday on a long holiday weekend and I am just beginning to feel human. I spent most of the earlier morning trying in vain to sleep off a hangover that was part seasickness part brain-in –a-vice. My wife had to make excuses to my 7 year old son why I can’t come outside and play with him. Today I am not a dad, I am a drunk.

What was the big celebration last night that has me in such a state? The post-celebration hangover is nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately there was no celebration. Me and the family went out for sushi with some friends. I was the only one drinking. I had 2 large cans of Sapporo. When we got home I was feeling pretty good and there was one beer in the fridge. We started a movie and I drank the beer.

Then alco-logic took over. If several drinks=good, then MANY drinks=better…AMIRITE? I popped open a bottle of pinot grigio and finished it alone. Fast forward to today and I feel like an MMA fighter beat my ass and then took a dump in my mouth and I am thinking my last drink of the night may have been an ipecac shooter.

I am 38 and have been drinking since I was 14. In college I was a typical binge drinker with passouts and blackouts galore. When I was 25 I was completely wasted and crashed my car into someone. Thank Og no one was hurt. I didn’t get a DUI but I certainly deserved one. I spent most of my 20s dating women who probably had/have drinking problems of their own.

When I drink I have said things I regret, posted embarrassing things on Facebook, been unkind (never violent) to my wife, driven drunk, and generally made bad decisions. I have missed work and other obligations.

There are alcoholics in my family but I wasn’t really impacted by them, except possibly genetically.

I didn’t used to drink frequently, but when I drank I really drank. There is sort of a running joke about my wine rack. It holds 20 bottles. I can collect a few bottles, but if I have a drink, I will come home and drink until all the booze is gone or I get sick. The wine rack stays empty.

Whenever I make new plans immediately think about the opportunities to drink. I just booked a weekend at a place called Great Wolf Lodge (an indoor water park) for the family. I checked the website to make sure they sell beer. Last night our friends suggested us all taking a cruise and I immediately thought “seven days of laying out in the sun and having some drinks!”

But now it is getting more frequent. In the last 90 days I probably consumed alcohol on 70 of them.

BONUS!!! I have diabetes!!! I don’t take any medicine because I have excellent control via diet and exercise. In fact a glass of red wine actually helps keep my blood glucose in the optimal zone. However since the drinking has picked up, the exercise has stopped. Also I often wake up to find I have eaten sugary, high carb snacks that I usually avoid completely. Not good at all.

I feel as if I am at a turning point. I feel I am capable of stopping drinking or letting the drinking really get away from me. It could go either way. One thing I cannot do is drink in moderation.

One challenge is that so much in my life has a drinking component to it. My brother lives in wine country so we are going to visit next month to tour some vineyards. I attend a very non-traditional church where we meet in a bar and have drinks after worship. We are even about to start brewing our own beer. There is an inter-faith group that meets at my house every other Tuesday and everyone brings beer or wine and part of the experience is trying them out.

So not only do I need to stop drinking, but I need to rewire my life. But I want to be healthier and more responsible and a better father and a better husband.

Thanks for listening.

Best of luck to you! Do you have any ideas about what methods you might use to help you in your cessation? My Dad, and a number of Dopers, have had excellent success with AA, but I recognize that it’s not for everyone. I’m sure that talking to a bunch of other people who’ve had to ‘rewire’ their lives could be very helpful!

I’ll be thinking of you!

Frankly I don’t think you sound like a raging alcoholic. Just someone who can’t handle their booze. Once you get drinking you can’t stop. I’m the same way sometimes but I’ve got good control. Do like me and don’t drink during the week and only once on the weekends, if at all. I look forward to coming home on Friday night and having a few drinks but once the kids get to me I don’t normally get to have ANY drinks.

Don’t beat yourself up too much, but don’t drink to much either.

I’m not an alcoholic, but I’m an addict.

This book helped change my life. It can help you, too.

Yes, you’re probably going to have to rewire your life. BUT … first things first. Get to an AA meeting. Get a sponsor. Read the book. Go to another meeting. Read some more of the book.

You can do this, but you’re gonna need some help. You’re not alone, there are millions of us out there.

Good luck newcrasher, it sounds like you have taken the first important step towards your sobriety, realizing the negative impact drinking is having on your family and your health. Have you discussed this with your wife?

Yes. This morning I asked her if she thinks I am an alcoholic and without hesitation she said “yes”.

She has tried to get me to slow down but I always pooh-pooh her.

I know I am not a raging alcoholic. But I don’t want to become one before trying to slow the train down.

Fair enough.

Yeah, I’d say if your family members have already entertained the thought that you have a problem with alcohol, you are probably an alcoholic. Everyone defines alcoholism differently, and it doesn’t just mean you’re drinking out of a brown paper bag and homeless. It’s impacting your relationships, your health, and you clearly do not have a healthy relationship with alcohol. So yeah, even if AA isn’t your bag, maybe talk to a therapist or find an alternative to AA to help you develop some good coping skills for the process.

I sincerely hope that you find the help and strength you need to change your behavior. It was exactly this kind of drinking that destroyed my marriage. Good for you for recognizing the damage you are doing to your family. Now you just have to figure out how to remember that damage when you are facing your first drink.

IMHO, Cubsfan’s idea is terrible (sorry, Cubsfan). You need to figure out how to have a good time and relax without alcohol at all. Then you may be able to tame the binges. Also, from a wife’s perspective, the worst part was never knowing if tonight is going to be a good night or a bad night. Every day I worried about his drinking, even though he only drank once a week or so. It will take a good long while of sobriety before those feelings go away.

I have been where you are. Like you, I’ve decided I just can’t drink in moderation. And, like you, I was concerned about how I’d manage all the events that have a drinking component to them. What I learned was that the “drinking component” was really just an excuse for me to drink. When I didn’t drink at them, nobody gave a shit one way or the other and I didn’t enjoy them any less without the alcohol. They were powerful triggers, however. Christmas at my sister’s was really a challenge.

For me, the benefits of not drinking so vastly outweigh the “benefits” of drinking that it gets me through the occasional urge.

I’ve been sober since April 12. I went through an intensive outpatient recovery program that was not in itself a 12-step program, although we were strongly encouraged to attend AA meetings.

If you have health insurance, your employer probably provides some sort of coverage for an outpatient program. AA is free, of course, but, as others have said, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There is also SMART Recovery, which takes a rational/practical vs. spiritual approach and is also free.

Good luck, newcrasher. The fact that you want help greatly increases your chances of finding something that works for you.

You might want to give moderation management or similar approaches a try. As I read it, the first 2 beers at dinner weren’t necessarily a problem (tho on the edge as you were the only drinker). Nor was the 1st beer at home. But cracking and finishing a bottle of wine for no occasions is pretty far gone IMO.

IIRC, MM suggests that you first go 30 days sober before trying to moderate. So that says something about whether you can control it. Then they set guidelines, line no more than 4 drinks a day, no more than 2 days in a row, and no more than 14 drinks in a week.

Didn’t work for me, but has been going well for a friend of mine to keep his drinking in check but for a couple of blow-outs a year on special party occasions.

In my experience, if you are worried about your drinking with a 7-year old, you’ll be even more worried about the example you set as the kid hits jr high and high school.

And yeah, I spent a drunken weekend at Great Wolf. They sell the in these big plastic glasses. But from one heavy drinker to another, at the price they charge you are better off bringing your own stash, and refilling your empty glass in your room! :smiley:

newcrasher, do see a doctor. Withdrawal from alcohol isn’t always serious but it can be.

Look at what is triggering your drinking, me it was an escape from my depression. Alcoholism is not always a disease but can be a symptom of the underlying issue. I was like you. I attended one AA meeting and decided that it was not for me, saw a doctor got some antidepressants and got on with my life. Now no need for the pills and can now enjoy a few wines or beers. I watch my stress levels, if I get very stressed I try not to drink at all.

newcrasher, aren’t you very involved with your church? Have you considered speaking with your pastor about this?

I sent him an email about the same time I wrote the OP. I expect he will get it this morning. However I think he probably is already aware I have a problem. In fact this would probably not be a surprise to most people who know me.

Although there are a lot of people at the SDMB who have strong feelings against AA, there are many others of us whose lives it has saved.

twickster, clean and sober 25 years through the steps of AA

Well done on taking action before hitting rock bottom. I wish you good luck!

Repeating it simply because it represents so well how problem behaviors impact those who suffer them, not just momentarily, but day after day after day.

Other than that, just saying that I wish you and your family the best, newcrasher.

Be honest with people. Maybe next month is not the best month to go visit and tour some vineyards - but that part of California is beautiful - maybe drive down to Monterey for whale watching instead and you can still see your brother. Maybe meeting at a bar after worship isn’t for you right now, but maybe some folks would be willing to meet at Perkins for a few months. Ask for help - people who care about you will give it and even be willing to change their lives a little themselves. And over time, it won’t be such a temptation to go visit the wine country without drinking.