What I found out…
I live in a sober household. My husband has just over a year and he has to go to three meetings and a half a week to maintain it. When I met him, he’d been sober for 16 years, and when he relapsed the first time, it led to a few years where he could not get back on the horse. He also was unwilling to pick up ‘white chips,’ the international sign of surrender’ but also an admittance of something for which some members would shun him. There is this saying in AA about ‘winners staying with winners…and losers staying with losers.” It’s sort of cruel. I could care less.
I have suspected that my early years of cocaine addiction did not translate to alcoholism. I never admitted that I never admitted my alcoholism.
I recently had an experience that cleared up the issue. When we were at a restaurant, and my blood sugar was really low and I was cranky, after seven years of not drinking, I had two glasses of wine. I drank half of each glass. It felt good. I’m in chronic pain and that was temporarily relieved.
For a few weeks, I started buying wine regularly and drinking at home, 2-3 glasses a night, off. In my mind, this does not make me an alcoholic. Alcohol dependent, heavy drinker, maybe, but there is a difference between that and alcoholism. I take a lot of meds for bipolar disorder and the alcohol depressed me. But finding out that I was not an out-of-control alcoholic made me realize why I never received the big payoff that all the other people in AA get….accepting their liability in full, and giving it up. No more decisions to make or things to ruminate about. It’s over. Big sigh of relief.
For me, it’s more intertwined with my mental health, and when I’m at an AA meeting, and am foolish enough to share about depression making me want to drink in an AA meeting, I’m suddenly in a babblefest of MD’s. And all of them feel they must put in their 2 cents. I just want to run out the door. (not really, but it seems that everyone has a strong opinion one way or another about mental health or medication in an AA meeting. So I can’t share about it. It’s not a safe thing to do there.
I did stop drinking, went to four meetings, and it still didn’t feel comfortable, or right, to be there. When they ask if there are any other alcoholics in the room, no longer am I willing to raise my hand. I’m just a person who has a problem with alcohol, and for me, there is a difference.
So I go to NAMI meetings, hang out with my girlfriends who are in the same boat (there are a few of us!!!) and none of us drink. We just don’t. It doesn’t require meetings…it’s just that for me, I don’t want to upset the applecart at my home….trigger my husband who has to work so hard to stay sober, and keep myself from depressions I’d otherwise suffer. Why bother? It’s all just so inconvenient. My author friend says I should look into Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, and I think I will.