I am a functioning alcoholic.  Some times I function better than at other times.
I became one the first time I had a drink of Bourbon whiskey (no ice, no mixer) when I was 15 years old,  and all the pain that I had been experiencing since I was seven years old went away.   I got deadly sick, made an ass out of myself, and was forever hooked.  I loved it, except for the hangover part.   It has continued to be so.
I thought I should write about this, since the title of the book demands it.  And, of course, I do not want to, since I still consume alcohol, although almost always in a responsible way.   (See, that’s the alcoholic in denial.)
So I re-read some notes I had made a year or two ago when I was at one of my low points, and it occurred to me that I could not say anything any better than what I had said then, to myself, in a fit of desperation, never intending for anyone else to ever see them, but to have them to refer to when the time came.
That time is now.   Here they are, raw, unedited, and truthful: 
(You are among the first to view them.  The formatting is from the original entries; I decided not to clean them up so that it was the raw data you will see.)
Entry A
I want to regain control over my alcohol use in order to:
  1. Feel better in the mornings
  2. Be more productive throughout the day
  3. Stop feeling guilty about excessive consumption
  4. Control or regain use of my emotions, particularly my anger
  5. Live longer
  6. Be more available to Liz and others
  7. Be more physically active
  8. Conquer the demons
Entry B
What I like about alcohol:
  1. It helps kill whatever pain I am feeling, of any kind
  2. It makes me happier (?) and easier to be around, and I feel less ill at ease.
What I don’t like about alcohol:
  1. Hangovers
  2. I can do stupid things
  3. I should not drive
  4. I can be an ass sometimes; some times more than other times.
Entry C
  1.  I have this belief that vodka is worse than wine in terms of my physical hangovers and mental anguish during fitful sleep and the day afterwards.
  2. Last night I found out (I’m 75 years old and been at it off and on for 60 years) that they were the same.   Another belief demolished.
  3. Don’t know where to go from here except abstention, which is secondary to death in my fears.
  4. And this is all old stuff, rehashed to put it down into writing so I can refer to it when the bullshit starts about how alcohol is just a relaxant for me.
  5. I have also wondered and never said out loud whether suicide might be a way out.   It would solve the alcohol and money problems in one fell swoop.  But I just wonder, and I have no intention of proceeding.  That’s the kind of mind I have, able to hold two opposite views or arguments in my mind at the same time.  I’m either a genius or an idiot, or perhaps, both.
Entry D
  1.  I keep seeing over and over that the only control on my alcohol consumption is twofold:     
  • I have some commitment I must keep, for which I must be sober (business, pleasure, whatever), and
  • I do not want to feel bad in the morning nor lay awake at night (both of which are caused by alcohol).
  •  I love the feeling of vodka as it defuses throughout my body and mind, for the first drink or two.   Then I hate it.
Entry E
  1. I think I have hit the proverbial wall.   No feasible exit appears.  Everything is screwed up, I feel terrible, massively depressed, considering all options, none appear appropriate.
  2. I guess I’ll try giving it up again.   Haven’t felt this bad emotionally in a long time.
  3. Financial matters are pressing.   Looks like I’ll be dependent on someone for the first time since I was 16 and my parents died.   I do not want to be dependent.
Entry F
From one of Annie’s books:
 (Note:  Annie Grace is an author and provides online and group alcohol counseling.)
Changing your thoughts can change your life.
The way you look at the situations you’re facing will have a dramatic impact on how you navigate them.
This goes for more than just alcohol addiction - it’s true of almost anywhere you feel stuck or anywhere you are suffering.
Entry G
Have read some more books, especially Understanding Alcohol, which was terrific.  Decided to finally quit and see what happened.  I’m now into my second day, and like the feeling.  I’m lighter, more open, more available, feel better physically, and more present.  Looking forward to continuing.
Entry H
          Tried drinking one glass of wine since relatives were here once again and wanting to eat and drink and watch TV, all of them socially acceptable palliatives.  I had more than I should, felt terrible this morning, incredibly depressed, and have no solution.  Bummer.
          I now realize I would drink much of the time were it not for hangovers.  I suppose that is the true definition of “addiction.”   And I see no way out.
There is nothing I could add to this that would describe with any greater clarity what it is like to be an aware alcoholic.
The question was, of course, not yet clear when I wrote the above thoughts (yet with a foreboding that I already know the answer):  Now what?
What has happened as a result of writing this, so far, is that seeing my thoughts in print, seeing what is happening, and realizing that others will see them, has caused me to modify my consumption in quantity, quality, and timing, so that the issues that I had are changing, all in a good way.  I have been seeking this for almost my whole life, and here it happens – coincidentally, of course, while writing this book.
Finally, a recent update as I write this in November 2020.  I have quit vodka.   I was dragged kicking and screaming by my Self (with the unwanted and very much appreciated assistance of my wife Liz) into a space where I saw what was happening and the consequences of my actions.   More information is available on my website at in the Blog section.  Our cat Bella also played a prominent role in my transformation.


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