I've got to admit it -- I'm an alcoholic.

Ladies & gentlemen, excuse me for this sad little tale, but I have to get this off my chest. I have suspected it for a long, long time, but I finally admitted it to myself last night. At least, I said it out loud for the first time and knew in my heart is was true. I’m a drunk.

I come from an Irish/german background, so my family is heavy drinking group. (My parents routinely had three or four martinis at the end of every night) My friends from high school, and pretty much all my siblings friends were heavy drinkers.

I’m 33, I had my first sip of a beer at age 13 or 14 (can’t exactly remember when), but was drinking regularly on the weekends by age 16, as well as smoking pot, eating mushrooms and (very occasional) hits of LSD or Ecstasy. By the time I was 21, I was already going out to bars on a regular basis. “Going out” usually meant bar hopping to at least two or three different places, often being out 'til closing time (4am) and frequent after-hour parties after that. I dropped out of college for two years and spent most of my time partying. When I finally did go back to school, I was genuinely shocked to meet people my age who didn’t drink routinely, or didn’t actually like hanging out at bars.

I guess that’s not too out of the ordinary. A lot of people get stupid drunk when their younger. It’s just that over time, my high school friends gradually settled down, got careers, got married & had kids, and generally got lives. Me, I just kept on being a barfly.

Part of it was because I was coming out of the closet at the time. I was still in the closet to my family and most of my friends, but I was starting to cruise gay bars. (I grew up in Buffalo, which does not have much of a gay culture apart from the bar scene.) I got into the habit of going out drinking by myself. Twice, I got into accidents by driving while I was bombed.

I moved to NYC, and came out of the closet all the way, and got to meet some friends outside the bar scene. But I was still stuck in a pattern of cruising bars, sometimes for sex, or even just to meet new people I kept telling myself. I got to be a regular at several bars. Not going there with people, just coming in, getting tanked and looking for one night stands. I got to know a bunch of the regulars at my local neighborhood watering hole, and gradually I began to spend more and more of my weekend nights just hanging around the same old dumpy bar, talking with the same people. I considered them friends, but I never actually became “friends” with any of them. They were simply the gang at the bar, I never got to know them, or do anything with them outside it.

Even when I had a full-time job, I was progressively spending more and more nights out at my watering hole. At first, it was just Saturday nights, then Fridays & Saturdays, then Thursday as well. I missed work, came in late, came in hungover.

I haven’t worked full-time in over a year, due to the bad economy. In that time, I’ve been routinely out drinking four or five nights a week. I used to drink mainly beer, then vodka, then scotch and whiskey. Even though I am sometimes scraping up money to pay the rent some times, I always trot out to my local saloon the night I get some spare cash. My social life has pretty much been reduced to bar crawling. I’ve lost touch with a lot of people I used to be very close with. I haven’t had a relationship in years. I don’t paint, or work out, or go out to the theater, all things I used to really love doing.

While I keep telling myself it beats sitting home watching t.v., that I really just want to get out and talk to somebody, I usually end up sucking down drinks in a corner by myself, and come home feeling miserable. I wake up in the morning (more often like noon or even later) reeking of smoke (and I don’t smoke), less about 50 - 75 bucks or so, with a crushing headache, and regretting ever setting foot outside my door. I don’t even bother to cruise any one any more. I have less and less interest in sex lately.

From time to time, I have noticed old geezers hanging out at gay bars. Some aren’t even really old, maybe 40-ish. But you can always see maybe one or two of them, drink in hand, by themselves, holding up the wall, looking forelorn and lonely , and no one taking much interest in them. “How pathetic” I used to think, and I swore to myself I would never end becoming one of those geezers. As I grew older, I began to worry about the possibility that I might one day be one of those lonely old men. A few months ago, it struck me that I already was one of them.

I know I’m wasting my life. Some days, I really and truly despise myself. But every time that I tell myself I am going to change my ways, that I will not waste time and money in my local watering hole, that I’ll get a real life, I know from the moment I say it, that I won’t stick with it more than a day. I am not a binge drinker, I’ve never had a blackout, I haven’t hit rock bottom (I think), but I simply can’t go more than a few days without alcohol. In all honesty, I haven’t gone more than a week without alcohol in over a decade. I began seeing a doctor for depression this past spring. He’s been prescribing antidepressents for me, and stressed that I should not drink while taking them. It didn’t stop me in the least. I’ve tried to limit myself to one night out a week, told myself I’d give up drinking just for a month to give my liver a break, tried to set myself spending limits (“one twenty dollar bill, and after that’s gone, you go home!”), but I just feel this compulsive urge to get on top of a bar stool and suck 'em down, and I feel that urge almost every day.

Last night, I went out with 60 bucks in my pocket. After three bars, and I don’t know how many Johnny Walkers later, I got 20 bucks more out of the ATM and hit my local saloon just in time for closing time. I did the exact same thing on Thursday night as well. When I got home, I finally had to admit it to myself; I’ve got a major problem. I need help with it.

Any way, I realize this whole spiel is pathetic and depressing, but I just needed to get it out there. Even though I can admit it to myself, I would feel really uncomfortable talking to anyone I know about this, face to face. On the other hand, I didn’t want to just admit it to myself last night and do nothing about it. I thought, maybe if I posted it online, that would sort of make it “real” – that I’ve made a step toward owning up to it. I suppose that sounds silly, but I just had to do it.

Well I’ll be checking the Yellow Pages for AA meetings. Wish me luck. Does this count as day one (provided I make it through the day?)

Good luck with sobriety. I think you are on the right track by looking into AA. It’s a good idea to have some support from somewhere. Alcoholism is an illness. Don’t forget that. See a doctor. There could be some physical issues that need attention. You have made an important step. Stay positive and ask for help. Feel free to drop an email my way, if you want.

Art, know that you have my complete support on this. I know that we don’t have each other, but I still really want you to get better. Please please please don’t hesitate to email or im me if you need someone to talk to. My email and screen name are in my profile. I’d be more than happy to listen. I think its really a step in the right direction that you are acknowleding your problem, and I’m definately sending some good wishes your way.

~ monica

Very, very courageous of you ! I come from an alcoholic family myself, there’s milions of us out there. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine when you’ve crossed the line from “heavy user” to “abuser”.

I wish you the best of luck with AA. My dad, his lady friend, my sis, and my brother say it saved their lives. Years ago they only had one “group”. Now they have several different ones, such as “teens” and “coffee-free” etc. I hope that you can find one you like and are comfy with.

One thing which keeps me from over-doing it is the gym. I can’t go work out like I want to if I’m hung over. I’d encourage you to go back to that if you can.

Also be prepared to back-slide somewhat. It happens to everyone, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you. Best of luck !!!


In spite of anything anyone here knows or thinks of me…


If you stay sober today, it counts as a day.

All I can say is, been there, done that, have the T-shirt. AA can be a HUGE help, because it’s always there.

Some advice (which you can take or leave) is to keep busy. Go to lots of meetings, go to the “meetings after the meetings” when people go out for coffee (that’s where the real recovery happens), and find safer hangouts.

You’re lucky to live in New York; it’s got a ton of meetings and there are many gay-emphasis meetings.

At any rate, good luck to you, and if you want to e-mail me, it’s below.

Robin, who has 3516 days, 1 hour and 54 minutes sober.

This may be good to read.

I feel for you. This is a very tough problem.
One word of encouragement I can offer, is that when you quit, and after a bit of time has gone by, you won’t miss it. At first you will miss it like crazy. But always remind yourself how much better things are sober. If you can train yourself to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty (little pun :wink: ), you’ll do alright.
Good Luck!
Oh dear, I linked to a page that highlights the word drinking. Oh well, so much for my computer knowledge!

I sobered up at age 32, and have over 12 years of clean time now. It’s really simple. Don’t drink, go to meetings, and change your whole fucking life (aka do what your sponsor tells you). But boy, was it worth it! I love my life now. And I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Email me if you like.


I’m not a drinker so I have no idea how hard it must be to go through what you are, but, I just wanted to say that I think your post took guts.

Best of luck to you.

Best of luck to you. I don’t have alcohol problems, but I support your gutsiness to face up to it, your realization that you need to change, and the fact that you took a very large first step in posting about it here.

I second those who advise you to attend AA. I understand it’s an organization which has helped millions, some of whom are friends of mine.

To those of you who are still working through your sobriety, and who offered your help and support, you are the best people on earth.

If I may suggest an alternative to AA:


I know AA works for many many people. But a close family member couldn’t get AA to work, so he tried RR. That worked for him. YMMV.

Acknowledging the problem is the first step. You can beat this.

Art – hang in there. Relapse is NOT inevitable. AA saved my life. You’ll be in a lot of people’s prayers (including mine) tonight.

Twickster (preserving her anonymity)

Sober 16 years, 9 months, 4 days.

My sister discovered something when she went sober, and it’s something you alluded to in your OP: She had to get a whole new set of friends.

When she joined AA and started examining her life and her relationships she soon discovered that she didn’t have many friends - she had drinking buddies.

Now don’t get me wrong. Getting sober is something you and only you can do. Surrounding yourself with people who will help you, encourage you, and not say “Awwww, come on, just one beer!” will be a great help.

Good luck to you, my friend. One day at a time. :wink:

Feel free to email/IM me if you wish.

Dont drink today, string a few of those days together. It works for me. I haven’t had one since July,even though the urge to drink hits on occasion…the urge never really goes away completely (at least for me) but life gets much, much better… good luck. TM

First, congratulations on recognizing you have a problem and you’re brave enough to take steps to remedy it. That’s probably going to be the hardest part.

Second, make sure you get into a recovery program that recognizes that your uncontrolled drinking is the problem, NOT your homosexuality. Because of the social stigma attached to homosexuality, many people begin drinking. often uncontrolably. I can’t over-stress the importance of this. Your homosexuality is NOT the issue. Your uncontrolled drinking is.

As others have offered, email me as necessary. It’s in my profile.

Everyone here is cheering for you!

There are quite a few friends of Bill W. here on the board. We’ve been there. We know what you are going through.

Congratulations, Art Vandelay - it is huge to get to the place where you are at.

I wish you strength.

Another “been there, done that” person. Recognize that one some days you will still want to drink. I’ve been sober for 13 years now, and on September 11th I didn’t dare leave my office for fear of drinking.

Stay sober today. That’s all I or you can do.

Long time Al-Anon member here, and I’d like to wish you every success.

We’re taught as children not to be selfish. Well, here’s a time when you have to be selfish in order to make progress. Work the program, expect to make some errors, keep going back, keep going back, keep going back.

Again, best of luck.

Congrats on being honest with yourself about your drinking, and wanting to change. Please use us as a sounding board to try out ideas in finding something in your life to replace your current unhealthy behavior. You don’t want to be lonely, holding up the walls in a bar, even if your glass contains ginger ale instead of Jack.

IMO, “alcoholic” is a pretty imprecise term. For me, I preferred acknowledging that I drank excessively, and wished to moderate my alcohol intake.

Since forbin linked to a thread I started, I might as well toss in my plug for Moderation Management. http://www.moderation.org/ Note, MM requires/recommends an initial period of sobriety. Moreover, like any system, MM is not for everyone.

Its been working pretty well for me for more than 6 months now. My self-imposed limits/goals/guidelines are no more than 4 drinks in one day, drink no more than 2 days in a row, and no more than 14 drinks in any week. On 2 occasions I have (intentionally) consumed alcohol 3 days in a row, and twice I have had as many as 5 drinks on a single day. I have never exceeded 14 drinks in a week. In fact, since my initial period of sobriety, I have averaged just under 9 drinks a week. A level I can live with.

Best of luck. Feel free to e-mail me if you wish to discuss.