I was reading another Blogger’s post yesterday and he mentioned something about withdrawal and/or alcohol poisoning. It is my experience that withdrawal is a result of both long term alcohol abuse and alcohol poisoning. Excessive and severe drinkers build up a tolerance to alcohol over time. This means they can/do/need to drink more to achieve the same effects they used to get from light drinking ‘back in the day’, I became an acute alcoholic over a 15 year period and I’ve been to nine in-patient treatment centers. Nothing worked until I finally had enough. My body can’t stand it anymore and the psychological trauma of going through the DTs is just too brutal.
For me – back in the day – when I first realized that I could USE alcohol to my benefit, i.e.; to calm down, I’d be pretty drunk after two bottles of wine or approximately 8 drinks. As the years wore on, my dependence on alcohol developed and my drinking escalated from two bottles a day to around six bottles a day. In turn, my hangovers escalated into withdrawal, which worsened and became more drawn out over time until at the end – withdrawal would last for a week. I was leaning over my bed to throw up and had to crawl to the bathroom. I couldn’t stand up in the shower, I couldn’t keep water down and I couldn’t remember things. I blacked out.
For those of you who don’t know – blacking out is akin to fainting. The main difference is that someone in a blackout can wake up anywhere, anytime. It’s pretty scary stuff because they have NO idea where they’ve been, what they’ve said, who they’ve encountered, or what they’ve done.
If I were to offer any advice to the novice drinker who might wonder if s/he is developing a habit of drinking – monitor your SELF when you drink. Pay attention to how you’re feeling about alcohol. Some questions for you to think on:
- Do you get pissed off when you can’t have more? (This was a big one for me)
2) Do you feel affronted when someone has the nerve to bring up your drinking?
3) Is drinking more important than other stuff like exercise? Eating? Sex? Time with kids/family/partner?
If you answered yes to any of these – you may try to see if you can moderate or quit for a substantial period of time. Maybe a month or more. If that idea alone causes you distress, it might be time for you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol and drinking. Because if you’ve got a relationship with alcohol, you’ve also got a problem.
When I drank, I used to replace my morning coffee with wine. I couldn’t stand coffee. My morning routine consisted of getting up at 7:00, taking my dog out to do his business, and being dressed and on the couch by 8:00 with my first cup of wine to watch Little House on the Prairie. That show got me through my early morning withdrawals. It ran until noon and that’s about how long my first double bottle of wine lasted.
Now – for the record, I still had another unopened double bottle, but I had this all figured out. So – at noon, I’d walk to the market up the street and buy three more double bottles. I couldn’t face the public without at least two bottles in me. My DTs were much too severe. I trembled like I was freezing and couldn’t sign my name to save myself. Once I returned home with my beverages, I’d park it right back in front of the TV for the rest of the day until my husband got home from work. He always knew to buy me a double bottle on his way back to the house.
Let’s do the math. That’s six (6) double bottles of wine in my possession in one day. I’d already learned the hard way to always make sure I’d have at least two double bottles waiting for me the next morning. By the time I was ready to hit the sack for the night, I’d consumed four of those bottles, and sometimes I’d gotten into the fifth.
There’s no such thing as a hangover when that much alcohol is consumed on a daily basis, which is how often and how much I drank – for years. What one experiences is withdrawal, which is the physical and psychological result of alcohol poisoning. It’s extremely gnarly and severely uncomfortable. The other thing to go out the window for me was my appetite. During my drinking days, I remember having to force a bite of food down and I never weighed more than 105lbs.
Drinking by that point had evolved into a necessity (this was about 15 years back). Believe it or not, withdrawals can get a lot worse than shaky hands, psychological distress and an uneven gait. They can get A LOT worse – but more on that later, because you guessed it! That’s exactly the road I went down.
I’m sipping coffee now – looking out my sliding glass doors at the leaves blowing in the wind. It’s already a beautiful day (9:56 a.m.) and I FEEL good. Physically. Emotionally. Psychologically. Even spiritually… It’s really cool. I love it and couldn’t be more thankful that I no longer need or crave alcohol. I nearly never say the word “hate” but I sure hate alcohol. Not one good thing ever came from me drinking any and at 50, I’ve had two lifetimes worth.
Well, those bottles of beer weren’t on any wall in my house. Nope. They were in my belly. All in the course of about five days. I haven’t been sober for long this time (last time was about 20 months), but I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m plugging along this time with about 4 1/2 months under my shiny sparkly belt. How did I quit? I didn’t even have to try. My body just yelled “One more drink, BITCH – just one fucking more – and you’re toast.” Yeah, that did it. I heard it loud and clear.
Leaning over my bed to throw up water and having to crawl to the bathroom just didn’t appeal to me anymore. So I stopped. And now – instead of polishing off four double bottles of wine a day, every day, I hit the Elliptical for an hour, take at least one half hour walk around the neighborhood, I play with my two new kittens, I journal, I read and I fart around with my new boyfriend. And I do all this crap when I’m not working. Go figure…there’s actually plenty to keep a person occupied besides drinking himself or herself to death.
And that stuff I listed…? That’s not even the stuff I make room to do. I like to do other stuff too: color, ride my bike, go on adventures, watch Criminal Minds, go antiquing, climb trees and paint stuff…. Huh. Who’d of thunk?!
How is it possible to still not know how to use this site properly when I’ve read through the tutorials numerous times? I just Don’t Get It. I’m going to get it though. I always do.
Oh yeah. It’s called “Asking for help”.