Am I an alcoholic? Wrong question

15 Apr

10:59 am

I recently had the “opportunity” (haha) to watch people who don’t care about drinking drink. In a word, it’s baffling.

I went boating yesterday and people brought booze. Of course, after going 60 days last summer, then 5 weeks last fall, then another NEAR-SIX MONTHS up until about a month ago sober, I had my Diet Coke at the ready. However, I was like a dog, turning its head at every “pfft” and “pop” as the bottles were extracted (in slow motion) from the coolers. Not necessarily because I was jones’ing for a drink, but mainly out of habit…and curiosity. How do non-alcoholics actually drink?

I shit you not: over the course of about 4 or 5 hours, I watched two people consume two bottles of prosecco and then, maybe a few more drinks each. WHAT. I would’ve downed the first bottle in less than an hour, and then kept going. Another girl “properly” drank oh, about 3 or 4 or 5 drinks (not THAT much, is what I’m saying–it was champagne and wine) over those same 4 or 5 or 6 hours. WHAT? I would have slurped down at LEAST that much by noon.

What I noticed the most was, these people seemed to have about as much disinterest as interest in drinking their booze. They seemed to really have been able to take it or leave it. There was no compulsion, no clutching, no fast-paced “more more more” that goes on for me. BIZARRE.

They are not alcoholics…because they do not drink alcoholically.

The tables turned in my sober journey when I stopped trying to answer the question that seemed to be on everyone’s lips: am I an alcoholic? In AA meetings, saying those words made me feel very uncomfortable. And, most importantly, they didn’t ring true. For me, anyway. While some may argue that semantics are meaningless, I would say the opposite: we learn to define our world in terms of words, the words that we hear, and say in our heads; the words we use to give form to our thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

I realized that whatever I may “be,” I DO drink *alcoholically.* I use wine, for instance, instead of drink it. That is not variable, open to discussion, or a question in my mind anymore. I drink alcoholically because, somehow (and that’s what’s going on now with me, figuring out where “somehow” began and how it’s going to end) I developed a compulsion–a need, a screaming wolfie-boy want–to drink. I care about drinking. I don’t care about eating, or smoking, or popping pills. I don’t care about tanning or pulling out my hairs or hoarding or growing my nails ten feet long. And so, when I see others drinking non-alcoholically, I’m like, BIZARRE.

Day 28, and counting. And, just because it’s so awesome, please check out Belle’s 100-day challenge! I’m right there with you. 🙂

13 Responses to “Am I an alcoholic? Wrong question”

  1. Just Some Woman April 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    2 bottles in 4-5 hours? WHAT THE HELL???? Yes, it’s fasinating to watch normal people. Of course, if it bothers you, you shouldn’t do it. How about those people that “have a glass of wine after dinner”? How fucking strange is that?
    It’s VERY strange to ME. In fact, it’s ridiculous. I simply can’t comprehend such. Why? Because I’m an alcholic. I don’t think like that. I’m different. I always will be. Does this make me happy? I can’t particulary say it does. I wish I was that girl that could “drink a glass of wine”. And I probably can a time or two. But within a few weeks I’ll be drinking 3 bottles in a row. That’s how the disease works. I’ve accepted it and that knowledge keeps me from drinking. I’m simply not normal. So they can have their glass of wine, their 3 beers, their 2 mixed drinks but I think I’ll pass. Let THEM get the drunk driving tickets, go to jail, suffer the hangovers, feel like a piece of shit for days. I prefer to live life differently now.

    Sure, I know that 5 beers would taste like nector from the gods…but I also know that the REST to come won’t be like that. **Pounding it into my head*** I JUST CAN’T FUCKING DRINK SO I HAVE TO GET OVER IT.

    As they say in AA-you’re right where you’re suposed to be. You have the self -realization to know exactly where you stand. And I stand with you DDG!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Thank you thank you!!! I hope I am not offending anyone with this post, but for me, it IS about the words. I GET “drinking alcoholically” versus “being an alcoholic.” I guess one is what I do, which I can change, and the other feels more about who I am, which well, might be the same thing, but… Whatever works, right? It took me a few tries, but I finally understood calculus in college after ONE and only one of my friends explained it to me. Whatever works!

      Anyway, yes, here’s to accepting that our brains are different and moving on. I sure as hell do NOT miss being drunk and stupid on a boat and/or being HUNG OVAH for three days after (in fact, the day after the boat trip, I went for a six-mile run–how’s that for different?)!

      Cheers, I appreciate your support! xx

  2. Belle (Tired2012) April 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    gee wowie, thanks for the shout-out and happy day 28 to you 🙂 i definitely drank more than i wanted to … all the time. more than i intended. i did usually stop before bad things happened, but i never stopped after one glass. or two. I was always pushing the limits to see where i could go with my intake. i also don’t care about food or hoarding or drugs (thank god!). but if i thought my husband drank more than his share of the wine, then … look out! I’m right here with you. day 289 for me.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Yes, there were times when I would stop, but it was realizing the ACT of drinking for me was always about more more more. I drank to fix it, or to fill it. When I drank for fun, I never limited myself, but when I tried, then all those feelings of “not enough” and “where am I gonna get the next glass???” always cropped up. So, when I see peeps who are able to just not care about the buzz, or finding more to pour down their throats, or hovering right around that cooler just in case someone else comes over to grab that bottle and finish it off before I refilled my glass? Yeap, I marvel at them.

      Yay to 289 and 28 (a few more months and I can add that 9 to my count)!!! *beep beep*

      And, yes to the shout-out! I think what you’re doing is awesome and I would participate, but I already feel like you gave me that Team 100 support back, um, 6 months, 9 month, 1 year ago… 🙂

      • Belle (Tired2012) April 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

        but you’ve evolved so much in 9 months .. holy it’s not even the same ballpark. it’s like you’re now an upgraded version of the software : ) you’re Windows 2013! frankly you’d be helping me, cuz i just love how you think things through (us over-thinkers need to stick together). hugs, me

      • Amy April 16, 2013 at 12:50 am #

        You should participate! Do it do it! We want you too! But only if you want to, because that’s what good helpers say. No pressure. Pressure! Join us! 🙂

  3. Amy April 16, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    I have trouble calling myself “alcoholic” too. Because that isn’t what I am, today. Right now I am sober. I will stay that way because if I drink I will be an alcoholic. Does that make sense? The label of “alcoholic”, much like the whole “powerless” idea, just does not fit with me.

    So yes, whatever works. It doesn’t mean another thing is worthless, it just means oh good that works for another person, and here’s what works for me…

    2 bottles of prosecco in 4-5 hours? I could have finished both in half that time, and have moved on to beer. Ugh. That chick was the alcoholic. This chick drinks sparkly water and wakes up early. I like to call that “awesome”. 🙂


  4. soberjournalist April 16, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    I was nodding my head reading these. I see so much of myself in what you’ve written.

  5. Lilly April 16, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    I remember many years ago, probably about ten, being out with some friends and we’d probably had a couple drinks each. This guy asked his girlfriend if she wanted another and she was like “Nah, I’m good”. I remember vividly thinking, “How on EARTH can she not want another??” Just being completely baffled as to why someone would say no to a third cocktail after two. My feeling is MORE MORE MORE. And, really, I feel that way about anything mind altering so it’s just as well I’ve never managed to develop any other hardcore drug addictions – but I could have. I have trouble with the ‘A’ label too and, like you, find it easier to think about the fact that I “drink alcoholically” or “problematically” or “In a very unhealthy way” instead of labeling “myself” alcoholic. Someone asked me the other night if I considered myself an alcoholic after a discussion about my quitting – a pretty honest one that is – and I still couldn’t bring myself to say it. The stigma is still so great I guess.

    And, yeah, “normal” drinking, pffttt, what the hell. I honestly don’t really even see the POINT of a single glass of wine. I truly don’t. That’s why we’re here and they’re not. But, hell, at least here we’re in pretty smart, interesting, sexy company 😉 Which is more than you can say for some bars…

    You’re doing great babe. So happy to see you gaining momentum again.


  6. khaireideerslayers April 16, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I really enjoyed and related to this, thanks so much for writing it!
    It helped me so much to realise that the frequency of my big drinking blowouts is basically immaterial because no matter how long I leave it, until I think it will be ‘safe’, the same pattern of destructive behaviour will *always* come back because of – exactly as you say- the way my brain is wired to ‘use’ drinking to satisfy something inside me that can never really be satisfied. Well definitely not with anything I can pour down my throat like a lunatic anyway!
    Congratulations on your 28! xx

  7. Mrs D April 19, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    Bizarre indeed. Great post. Well done you. I could never take or leave it. Hell no… I’d be slurping away with you xxx

  8. carrythemessage April 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I sometimes watch others drink the way my dog looks at me when I eat a hamburger. It’s just that fascination I have sometimes, how you wonderfully describe it, of seeing how it is normies do drink. And here it is – they don’t care, really. They are not using it the way we used it. It’s just a *thing* they have when chatting, or dining, or watching the hockey game. I often see the unfinished bottles and glasses and then have to pick my jaw up off the floor. How is it that *they* do that? lol. But then again, someone from OA might see me at a buffet and wonder the same thing about me going up only once and not finishing everything on my plate. Everything is filtered through our experiences and our feelings about ourselves and notions of how things should be. But I do get it – it’s something I catch myself doing too, and comparing. “Lightweights” – ha!

    Great post!



  1. Binge drinker, or alcoholic? | Drunky Drunk Girl - July 2, 2013

    […] written about it here, and there. And, like a lot of things, my idea of what the answer to that question is has changed over the […]

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