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I'm 30 years sober today. Ask me anything.

162 replies

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 16:26

Just that, really. I have DS aged 23 and 26 who were born after I stopped drinking. It's been amazing. Everything good in my life stems from my sobriety.

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Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 13:10

This has little alarm bells ringing for me:

DH is desperately keen for me to continue a normal relationship with alcohol because I'm such a light drinker anyway, and he feels it will not be right for me to be forced to be teetotal if I don't have a problem.

Why is he desperately keen? I'd stick to your guns. If you don't want to drink then don't. Maybe it's all totally innocent but it seems weird. A suggestion perhaps that he may be deprived but you don't need to be. It's the idea of being deprived that bothers me, iyswim. Because I don't feel deprived. I feel lucky.

My DS2 doesn't have a booze problem but I don't encourage him to drink.

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WhatAreYouSaying · 06/04/2019 13:23

Why is he desperately keen? I'd stick to your guns. If you don't want to drink then don't.

I think it's because he's aware I would be happy to have a glass of red if he didn't have a problem with alcoholism, and that the only reason I consider having none at all is out of my support to him.


WhatAreYouSaying · 06/04/2019 13:24

I do like To occasionally drink but had stopped so I am not a problem tohim,


WhatAreYouSaying · 06/04/2019 13:27

Sorry keep hitting post too soon!

Yeah so that's it really. He feels his drink problem shouldn't affect my relationship with alcohol, which it does if I would normally drink but don't in case having wine in the house is a problem to him.

Would it be a problem for you if one of your sons kept some in the kitchen?


ItStartedWithAKiss241 · 06/04/2019 13:29

Hello, I don’t have a question as such, more asking your opinion.
A family member of mine (male, in his 20s) I suspect is an alcoholic. He has been known to go through the wheelie bins for dregs of wine leftover in bottles, just not turn up for work time and time again as he’s drunk, been arrested, is thousands in the overdraft because of binges, spent every penny of his darling children’s Christmas present money so they didn’t have one present from him on Christmas morning only gifts from friends and family, etc.
He says he is not an alcoholic as he can stop. He has not drank since Christmas but has been having therapy and thinks he can drink again at a healthy rate. I think if I had messed up so badly I would not be thinking of drinking again a few months later.
Can an alcoholic only binge drink (twice a month approx) and a few pints through the week? Or does it have to be every day?


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 14:38

No, WhatAreYouSaying, its not a problem for me to have alcohol in the house. I suppose in your case it depends how long DH has been sober and how confident you feel in his sobriety.

If you would like to have the odd glass of wine then do so. My DM has one when she and DF go out for meals. She doesn't drink at home because she drinks so little a bottle of wine would go off before she'd finished it. But she gets some in for Christmas.

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UtterlyDesperate · 06/04/2019 14:46

Congratulations, OP - thanks for sharing such a tremendous achievement Flowers


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 14:59

ItStartedWithAKiss241, we're taught in AA not to decide if someone else is an alcoholic. But common sense tells me your young relative is in deep shit.

It's not how much you drink, it's how it affects you. So:

If drinking is damaging family relationships or friendships you have a problem.

If drinking is causing problems at work, including absenteeism, you have a problem.

As for He has been known to go through the wheelie bins for dregs of wine leftover in bottles - that's classic alcoholic behaviour.

I know there are alcohol advisory groups that claim to be able to teach you to become a moderate drinker. And maybe that's true for people who just drink a bit too much and want to cut back.

But they didn't work at all for me and I doubt they'll help your relative. When your relationship with alcohol is that toxic only a complete break will work. It's a bit like being in an abusive relationship but claiming you're ok because you only see him once a month.

Why would he want to drink at all given what happened with his DC? It's like having a serious allergy to shellfish. Would you try to learn to eat tiny bits of lobster or would you avoid the stuff like the plague?

I can tell you why he wants to learn to drink again. It's because he's still obsessed with alcohol and isn't prepared to stop. He's in denial and making excuses.

Having a drinking alcoholic in your life is very difficult. The only advice I can offer is going to AlAnon and don't enable. If he vomits don't clean it up. If he can't go to work don't phone for him. In fact just don't clean up any of his messes. Let him deal with the consequences of his actions.

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ItStartedWithAKiss241 · 06/04/2019 15:23

Thank you very much for your answers OP. I suspect your thread is helping guide lots of people x


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 17:14

Realise I haven't answered this. Sorry OldAndWornOut.

Did you say things when you were drunk that you actually meant? I mean if you were being argumentative, would you say things you had thought for a while but wouldn't have said when sober?

Ah, the old in vino veritas myth. I guess if you have a deep dark secret that's been preying on your mind you might blurt it out when pissed. But IMO generally speaking if people say what they call home truths when drunk it's often in response to challenges to their drinking.

Saying "I wouldn't need to drink if you weren't such a boring cow" or suchlike isn't true. It's just an attempt to deflect criticism and nasty with it.

I can have a tongue like a razor blade and I would attack viciously if my drinking was challenged. To a drinking alcoholic any suggestion that they are drinking too much is an existential threat. All we want to do is to drink in peace. Bugger anyone else. It's a totally selfish illness.

ItStartedWithAKiss241, I hope so. That's why I posted. The welfare of still suffering alcoholics is a priority for all AA members, and family members often go through hell.

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OldAndWornOut · 06/04/2019 19:19

Thank you, prawn.
One final question, if you don't mind?
Do you think alcoholism is an illness?
Are some people more prone to become alcoholics, do you think?
Sorry, that's two questions, but I just wonder what your view is on the whys and hows that someone becomes addicted to drink, and also what is the view of AA as to how/why?


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 19:53

OldAndWornOut, I think I've answered those, but I'm happy to do so again.

Do you think alcoholism is an illness?

Yes. The WHO classifies it so.

Are some people more prone to become alcoholics, do you think?

Absolutely. It's got a genetic component and it's also learnt behaviour. When people talk about alcoholism being a family illness they're typically referring to those two aspects.

Certain ethnic groups are more prone to alcoholism, although obviously culture plays a part.

As for what AA says, it would take ages to set it all out here. Tbh, you'd do well to read this article from the AA website.

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OldAndWornOut · 06/04/2019 19:55

Thank you very much.


whatwouldnigellado · 06/04/2019 20:27

Just want to say wow! Whilst not one of 'the firm', My DH is 18 yrs clean (AA/NA) this year. He was 5 years clean when I met him and I thank which ever higher power he finally listened too that he's safe now. Your messages on here are marvellous and you are carrying g your message to others in a wonderful way.


MrsMartinRohde · 06/04/2019 20:44

Amazing, Prawn. Thank you for posting this, I love to see the message carried. I was 16 myself on March 26. and I was just thinking wow, 16 years ago I was 10 days sober... how fragile, how scared, how I never ever EVER imagined a life without alcohol could ever be a happy, fulfilling one. How yes I could go through happy, sad, stressful, bored, anxious, depressed, overwhelming times and NOT need to drink. thanks to all I learnt in treatment and AA.


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 21:34

I'm so grateful this thread appears to have been helpful. And I much appreciate everyone's kind words.

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Bluesheep8 · 25/04/2019 19:33

Thank you so very much for what you have shared in this thread op. I think it might be the most important thing I've ever read in my life.


shedid · 25/04/2019 19:35

Does it get easier? 132 days here


englishdictionary · 25/04/2019 19:53

Thank you for this thread


Craftycorvid · 25/04/2019 19:54

Thanks for the thread, Prawn (love the user name) and for your honesty. Congrats on your 30th sober birthday. I’m just shy of 10 months in, still have the occasional wobble but generally just feel relieved to be out of the cycle of boozing and self-recrimination. I can’t moderate, but I told myself I couldn’t have a problem because alcohol never impacted on my capacity to work or function pretty well. I thought that parties and socialising would be ruined without alcohol, but no. It’s nice to remember an evening out for one thing. Once I started drinking I didn’t stop, always drank twice as much as others and used to sneak ‘extras’. The one thing I didn’t do is lie or hide alcohol. I just love having the enjoyment of life back in full colour again and really hope I will get to celebrate 30 years sober one day.


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 25/04/2019 20:02

Gosh, Bluesheep8 Blush. I'm thrilled. If I've helped that's a huge privilege. I owe everything good in my life to my sobriety and the best way I can repay it is by stretching out the hand of AA, to help the alcoholic who still suffers.

Please ask if there's anything else you want to know.

It gets easier the more you work at it. The trick is to work the steps as hard as you can, shedid. Have you got a sponsor yet?

When I was in rehab they got us to write down at least 10 examples of times where our drinking had caused problems under each of the following headings:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Financial
  • General (letting yourself down in public, anything to do with the police or other authorities)

It seemed a weird thing to do but I was determined to give it my best shot. So set to writing all these down.

At first I could only think of really dramatic examples but the longer I worked the more I remembered. Some of them I hadn't really registered as harmful at the time, because when you're a drinking alcoholic you're in denial and you minimise. You dare not look at it with clear eyes.

Suddenly, after many hours engaged in this exercise, I realized for the first time that I didn't have a difficult life that drink helped me cope with. No. I had a booze problem that was wrecking my life.

I had understood that theoretically, but all of a sudden it became true at gut level.

In that moment I got Steps 1, 2 and 3 all in one go. It was earth shaking for me.

The more effort you put in at the start the stronger and more resilient your recovery will be.
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shedid · 25/04/2019 20:21

Thanks @Prawnofthepatriarchy
No sponsor. Secret drinker. And secretly sober. Although some friends know it's due to addiction issues.
Lost both parents and one sibling to alcoholism. Realised I was needing to drink more and more and my kids deserve better than the childhood I had, decided I had to give it up entirely.
It's hard. Especially socially.
But I know I'll disappear into the big black hole of continuous drinking if I give in once.

I hope one day that the craving is gone.


AsleepAllDay · 25/04/2019 20:21

This is really great. Congrats OP


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 25/04/2019 20:27

Thought I might say something about God because one of the reasons I was so suspicious of AA was the mentions of God in the programme. I'm an agnostic and I misread AA as some sort of cult.

We do pray in AA but to a higher power that can be absolutely anything the individual chooses.

The point is that you have been completely incapable of controlling your drinking so you need to hand it over to some force that's greater than yourself.

One bloke I know chose his dead parents, because he knew they always had his best interests at heart.

Some people pray to G.O.D. standing for Group of Drunks - other AA members. Where I was in rehab there were lots of beautiful Spring trees and I focused on them. Nature wanted me to be whole and healthy, like the trees.

So don't be put off. God can be anything you want, just something greater than you.

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Prawnofthepatriarchy · 25/04/2019 20:36

The craving won't go on its own, shedid. Or at least it's very unlikely. That's why we go to meetings. Alcoholics are all far more alike than different.

Alcoholism thrives in secrecy. I would suggest you go to as many meetings as possible and listen. Listen for the similarities, not the differences.

I remember my first sober Christmas we were tucked away behind a huge Christmas tree at the back of a church. I looked round at all the faces at the meeting and I knew that I was in exactly the right place with the right people.

Scrupulous truthfulness is the route to recovery. Is there any reason your sobriety has to be secret?

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