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Alcohol support

Secret Drinking

4 replies

doodliedoo · 28/08/2020 20:41

I am currently trying to end my dependence on alcohol, which has seen me consume +/- a bottle of wine every day for the last five years. Lots of reasons for it, all of which I am exploring with my various networks of support.

But I was a little surprised today when my OH said, you’ve been doing so well with your alcohol problem lately, you’ve really kept it under control. Because, while that was mostly the case in July, it has not at all been the case in August. I have been drinking again, and heavily (again, around a bottle of wine a night).

So my question is really this, and it’s a tough one, and I think it will run into a whole lot of denial but might also run into a whole lot of truth: what if we high-functioning alcoholics really are high-functioning, that is, can get away with the consumption we practise? I know that the received wisdom of alcohol recovery sites is that you aren’t fooling anyone, but my experience suggests that maybe you are. It certainly is the case that my partner is extremely self-centred and so somewhat oblivious. But I also wonder whether I just haven’t become really, really good at covering my tracks: no e-mail or social media allowed after a certain level of consumption, perfect diction, removal from social situations after a certain point. The only weak spot is the blackouts - it is difficult to cover up for entire conversations you have no memory of. I do tend to copy down the main points into my phone’s notes app so I can review them the next day, but that only goes so far.

All of this shines a light, for me, on to a central problem: people who have a secret drinking problem possibly have an added hurdle in giving it up, because the secrecy is part of the problem and also part of the attraction. Drinking feels, for me, like my secret escape, my little world where no one else (in my otherwise incredibly invasive, tense, problematic world) is allowed to go. So my question to you secret drinkers out there: how do we create this private, secret, escapist garden without alcohol?

OP posts:
Gardenista · 28/08/2020 23:07

Your post reminded me of the main character in the girl in the train in dealing with her blackouts. You may be covering but you will e damaging your liver with this level of consumption.

OrchidJewel · 29/08/2020 08:18

@doodliedoo I was kidding myself. My DH DID know, he was somewhat in denial. I was in denial and fooling myself. I ended up in hospital. You think you are getting away with it but your body will eventually tell you otherwise. As hard as it is (actually was) I'm over 30 days sober and absolutely loving it. No more guilt, secrecy, worry. I can do so much more with my day/evening/night that my life feels more interesting .

There are many alcohol support threads here, I'm sure you've read them. Its eye opening, familiar and absolutely well worth joining :)

VoldemortsKitten · 02/09/2020 12:39

@doodliedoo i think you're absolutely spot on. At that level (1-1.5 bottles per night after several years of similar) you may well be fooling most people. Your tolerance will be high. It really isn't completely black and white. As long as you are strict with your coping mechanisms like leaving social gatherings early, no FB or texts after the second glass, closely censor anything you're about to say which might be controversial etc etc you may only slip up a couple of times, which is about as often as non-dependent friends who just like a drink or two might have a bit of an overindulgence. In fact you can even joke about it afterwards, part of the club.

yes, it will be having an adverse impact on your health overall, liver and brain neurology mainly i would guess but if you otherwise have a healthy life that could go on unnoticed for quite a while. I don't know how long it would be sustainable, i think it would depend if the drinking escalated/started earlier/something significant happens during a blackout.

I think eventually in order for it to be worth giving up the rush of the secret pleasure something negative must have to happen to make the risk no longer worth it- be it health related or relationship/kids/work etc.

@Gardenista Yes yes to the Girl on The Train book. When she's trying to piece together her memories pre- and during- blackout, it was v well written

Asterion · 25/09/2020 10:20

Well, to answer your actual question, I would start by reading (or I prefer listening) to a lot of the Quit Lit out there. Start with The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober.

Well done for facing up to yourself, we can fool others about our drinking but, deep down, we can never fool ourselves.

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