I have had a "functional" relationship with alcohol since I was a teenager, and I have known I have a problem for many years. I have told others I have a problem, friends and family, and they laugh and tell me that I do not have a problem and if I want to stop, just stop. But, its just not that easy for me. Everything in my life involves alcohol, every activity I am involved in, every social situation and home life with my fiancé. I/we drink after work, at happy hour, through dinner and into the night. Before the Pandemic I would meet clients as early as lunch and start drinking - lunch/drinks with one, late afternoon cocktails with another, happy hour/networking, pre-dinner drinks, drinks through dinner, and after dinner drinks- almost daily, sometimes 15 drinks a day- usually 8-10. I was a bartender for years before taking on a corporate career, I can find beautiful details in almost any alcohol category, and will order / buy / prepare a wide range of delicious intoxicants- and justify them as being an exclusive treat.
I love wine, love. Big reds with intense tannins and high mineral contents, oaked rich whites that coat your pallet, refreshing sauvignon blanc with grapefruit notes from Marlborough and cheap Spanish cava on ice at the beach. Or what ever you are pouring. I also really enjoy beer, especially rich porters and bitter IPAs, trappist ales with high alcohol content and coors light over ice. I travel often to the inexpensive nations of Latin America where I spend large amounts of time with near frozen cheap local beer in my hand, often with the best local rums on the side.
I know what bar carries what line of products, I know which potato vodka is going to taste just cool enough with that particular cheese pairing. I know what bartender makes the best martinis, margaritas and old fashions. I know who has the best happy hours- in all three counties. I have mapped out drinking routes to every possible situation life throws at me, and I will drink the anxiety of it all off along the way. And the depression cycle that follows, I'll do my best to drink that away. No one seems to mind, seems to notice or seems to validate my problem. I appear calm, confident and put together, an to most people that's a sign of success and they dismiss everything else. I know that I have a severe problem, however, and Its beyond time to stop.
Self-control is something I've never had.
My father was a severe alcoholic also, really nice guy, really bad drunk. He was passing out at the dinner table when I was a child, Mom forced him into treatment. It never stuck. He was high functioning, never missed work, was loved by friends and always appeared in a good mood. She eventually left him for a younger alcoholic, this time a less intelligent and violent one. I left home at a young age to get away from this, maintained very little contact with my father and did my best to track him down in jail or rotting in some alley through the years. When he mixed Xanax with a handle of Jim Beam 12 years ago his bartender called me from across the country through his cell phone. I dropped everything to go there, take care of him and try to help. He had horrifying withdrawals, lost motor skills, speech skills and hated me for forcing him sober. He eventually forced me out and drank himself to death two weeks later. I am clearly following in his footsteps.
I'm not sure where to start, or what to do to change these habits and replace them with healthier ones but I'd like to start waking up without regrets from drinking the previous (ahem) night, be more present in my life and enjoy what little there is of it.