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I feel like there is a very interesting time between when we think we “might” have a problem to when we finally admit that we are indeed an alcoholic and ask for help. Some of us finally admit it, then are like, “Fuck it. I’m not gonna stop.” There is a long process of trying to control “it.” It being the most baffling mental problem we will ever have to deal with—alcoholism.
This time period usually lasts for years and it’s hell. I would not wish this mental state on any of my enemies. Well, maybe I’d wish it on this one dude who was really rude to my little sister, but other than him I would not wish this type of mental torture on anyone else. Ok, maybe one more person—my cousin Julie because she’s evil—but that’s it. Just that one guy and Cousin Julie. I better work on my resentments and get to that enlightened state where I genuinely forgive people and love them. I am not there yet because I still like the idea of mean people suffering. Isn’t that horrible? Yes, it is! Maybe I’ll work on it tomorrow! Anyways, during this “trying to control it phase” it’s impossible to enjoy drinking like you used to—maybe you’ll get a few moments of happiness, but not like you did when you first started to party.
I don’t think you fucked all those strangers. I just liked the repetitive nature of that edgy assumption.
When I was in this phase, I was confused as to why the booze wasn’t working. I’d have a few and either feel numb, or blackout, or maybe get a tad bit of relief from how horrible I felt when I was sober. But, for the most part, it sucked and I hated it and couldn’t stop. Not being able to stop something you no longer even enjoy is a very special type of insanity. It creates another type of insanity, which is basically a bad idea but you think it’s going to to solve the problem—and this insane idea is—you think you can control your drinking.
Here are a list of things an alcoholic might try do when they initially enter this phase, followed by what usually happens. (I pulled these from personal experience, conversations with alcoholics and stories I’ve read.)
What we tell ourselves: I will only have two drinks tonight.
What usually happens: You have two drinks, plus seven more. You aren’t a liar, you can’t have nine drinks without having the first two!
What we tell ourselves: Don’t go to a bar. Stay home.
What usually happens: You read a book for 10 minutes, but you can’t focus so you try to find something to watch on TV. Ugh, when will they take Friends off the air? You are sick of it. Ross has a gross voice and Monica needs to calm down—someone give that high-strung lady a drink! You turn off the TV. Look in the fridge for some white wine. There’s nothing there because you drank it yesterday, but you already knew that because you’ve been thinking about it all day. Pace the apartment. Think about going for a walk. Go for a walk, oh look, how convenient—a store. Buy a bottle of booze. Just one bottle. Take it home and have a drink. Feel bad about it, drink the rest of it. Make some drunken phone calls and feel good about yourself for reaching out to loved ones. If you don’t pass out, you might go get another bottle. Wake up the next morning wanting to die because you have flashbacks of yelling or crying on the phone and flirting with the cashier who had dirty fingernails.
What we tell ourselves: Eat a lot before you drink so you won’t get drunk.
What usually happens: You eat a cheeseburger, then drink a lot. Oh no, now you’re drunk and full. If you don’t throw up, maybe you’ll pass out early and wake up at midnight. The good news is, there is still time to drink before you go back to bed. It’s all in the timing.