Practicing Alcoholic

Used 2013-06-03 Working On It (AlKHall Anonymous sobriety recovery)

Working On It

When i was 25 years old, i tried to become an alcoholic.

During a period that lasted  a week, i woke up, showered, dressed for work and sat in the recliner in my living room while i drank two glasses of wine with a purpose. And by “with a purpose” i mean that i did it even if i didn’t want to and i did it for a specific reason.

i forced myself to gulp wine like medicine (or poison) before driving to work because i wanted to be a real alcoholic.

Some alcoholics cannot live without alcohol, they get the DT’s if they don’t imbibe and can drink almost constantly and not get overly drunk. i was am not this kind of alcoholic. When i was active in my alcoholism, i could go several days, even up to a week, without a drink. i did not wake up with cravings, i did not eat hand soap at work or hide bottles in the bathroom.

But once i had one glass, i would not stop until i was physically unable to have another.

My ‘problem’ was that i didn’t think binge drinkers qualified as alcoholics and i desperately (and ‘desperately’ is really the perfect word here) wanted to become one.

Why? Simple. i hated who i was and i hated my life and i wanted something to change. Anything to change. Change for the worse was still a change. i hoped to become a skid row bum with a red nose living in my clothes and sleeping on benches because at least that was different than what i was living at the moment.

The good news is this story has a happy ending. i learned that binge drinkers are alkies like the rest and found a way out of my hell. The bad news is, it took me 23 more years of suffering to get there.


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on June 3, 2013, in Alcoholism, Blast From The Pabst, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I don’t know where the idea that binge drinking isn’t that bad and that binge drinkers aren’t or at least can’t be alcoholics. We have no problem acknowledging that there is a serious problem when someone binges on food, but when it’s booze, it’s what? A phase? nothing to look at?

    Pshaw. It’s the same outlook that even purveys the rooms, when someone describes a “normal” life, with X amount of drinks only per session, no blackouts, no external damage, etc. and they are not considered an alcoholic. Like you described, do they have to be the DT’s guy sleeping on cardboard sucking back Lemon Lysol? It’s not the amount, or when per se, but what it does to us. Can we control the amount we have once we start? Can you not quit if you honestly want to? You might be one of us.

    What you said about change, no matter what kind of change it is, hits home with me. I get what you are saying here, because I was like that too. I just wanted to be a part of something, to get out of me. No matter what it was.

    Great post, Al.


    • Hi Paul,

      What a good comment. Your remark about people in the rooms describing how they drink ‘normally’ surprised me! Here in Yeaman, everyone is there to quit. Some are still active alcoholics (and more than once we’ve had drunk people show up) but they all want to quit. i’m not sure how i’d react if someone showed up and said they were happy with their measured drinking.

      Fortunately i found the change i was looking for, and it was the same thing i’d been looking for in the bottom of a bottle only it was in the rooms all the time!

      Keep coming back, brother,

      Al K Hall

  2. I was the other kind of alcoholic. I rarely blacked out or lost control, but I drank every day and towards the end developed physical dependence. This post is great because it shows we don’t have to meet specific criteria to be an alcoholic or problem drinker. My gut always told me I shouldn’t drink…eventually I listened and learned it was right!

    • Really good post, my friend. I remember the days when it seemed romantic to be a Jackson Polluck, an outrageous drunk who was enabled by a rich “keeper”. He got to paint and drink and be obnoxious. He lived the only life he knew how. How romantic or “good” was it? Only he can answer. He didn’t have the benefit of making the choice to stop, or listening to his gut, like byebyebeer did. A miracle!

      Excellent post!

    • BBB!

      That’s so true. The only real criterion to determine alcoholism is that gut feeling. Thanks for the light, BBB!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. Such a thought-provoking post (but, really, which of your posts isn’t?). In terms of alcohol, I was exactly the same… in fact, rarely did I drink two days in a row, and, in fact, I could “drink like a gentleman” when the situation called for it. But, when left to my own devices, I drank to become drunk. Sadly, once drunk, I had no desire to call it a night, so invariably, things ended up badly. But because it was not every day, and because I had instances where I drank in a “controlled” fashion, I convinced myself that alcohol was not a problem for me. Had it not been for a cross-addiction (prescription painkillers), which progressed much more rapidly than the alcoholism, I truly believe I would still be living in that dead-end way. Which brings that dreaded term to mind… “grateful, recovering alcoholic.” Boy, oh boy, did I hate that expression when I first started meetings, I truly thought I had never heard a bigger load of crap in my life. Now, slightly more than 16 months later, I can honestly say that is what I am… a grateful, recovering alcoholic.

    • Hi Miracle!

      “Grateful Alcoholic” has been coming up a lot lately in my life and i’m a big believer that coincidence is the language of God, so i think i’ll write a whole post about it. But, until then, know that i’m so grateful on so many counts!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  4. I am a binging alcoholic. I never went a whole week, though. Meeting an alcoholic in the program made me realize that I was one, as well. It was weird. Hearing his stories made me feel like I was listening to my own life… and here I am 🙂

    • Hi Fierce and Pink!

      i’m glad you found someone who could help point you in the right direction. i’m glad you’re here!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. Damn, Al, you and your commenters are just so open and honest and BLUNT — I just really love coming here and soaking up the atmosphere! 🙂

    • Hi Luddy!

      What a nice thing to say! i love coming here as well, and i’m glad i’ve created a little place where my readers feel comfortable enough to do that. And readers like you help keep it that way, too!

      So keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  6. “The good news is this story has a happy ending. i learned that binge drinkers are alkies like the rest and found a way out of my hell. ”

    Finding your way out of your hell is indeed a happy ending. But calling yourself an alkie isn’t the only way out. Instead of questioning which label to attach to yourself — am I a ‘real alcoholic’ or just a ‘binge drinker’ — the better question would have been “is my drinking making my life better?’ And if you had been honest, then the answer would have been no.

    ITSB <— Not an 'alcoholic'. Just someone who is better off without alcohol.

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