I’m not a big drinker, but…
I use to say to people well I only drink a few times a year. I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the past two weeks about my actual drinking because I’ve heard stories and read stories in the good book that made me start being honest with myself not only about my drug usage, but my alcohol usage.
I’ve always consider drinking to be a bar thing, event, a large get together. I never considered night caps once a week, or a few times a week as actively drinking because I was by myself and I would only get smashed while out with a group of friends, but I’m starting to realize that it is more than that and deeper.
My relationship with alcohol is nothing compared to my relationship with drugs because I felt like I still had power over alcohol, but I’m beginning to think to myself, “do I really have control over it completely?” I would drink alone for all the wrong reasons. I would want to help lower my pain level, or celebrate the day by having one drink because I survived another day in the real world with my pain, and physical limitations, but did I really survive the day if I was reaching for a drink to ease my anxiety, my pain, and sometimes loneliness the drug abuse history has left me with. Is there ever a good time to have a drink? I’ve been asking myself these questions since attending meetings.
I actually left one meeting saying to myself, “my God, maybe I’m a high functioning alcoholic who can stop drinking after one, but I’m needing it for all the reasons I’ve needed drugs all these years. This might be the start of my own alcoholism and one day I may not be able to stop at one or two and I will justify that usage like I’ve done with drugs. I will be just as irrational over alcohol as I have been with drugs.”
Am I a high functioning alcoholic? I don’t know that answer right now, but have decided that I will also give up alcohol as a coping mechanism. That is what it is ultimately for everyone, a simple coping mechanism, and there are healthier options to coping.
I never classified myself as even “a drinker” because night caps never counted. They helped me sleep. I didn’t get stupid, or crazy having my night caps, so was it really “drinking”? My mind convinced me it was normal and acceptable because that is what my mind does with any substance I use to cope, no matter the amount. I wasn’t out making unsafe decisions while having my drink, so I’m fine. Maybe I’m not so fine and my broken mind is allowing me to think I am just as it had done with drugs I chose to do.
Through meetings I have come to the simple realization that I can’t have a healthy relationship with any substance because I’m using them to cope. I shouldn’t have to have a night cap ever to relax. Just like I shouldn’t have to be hyped up on pills to feel adequate.
The same can be said for marijuana too. Perhaps my relationship with weed is just as dangerous. I only use for two months and can stop with no problems, but I must be honest about why I’m reaching for that substance as well. Again it comes down to coping. I need new coping mechanisms.