This is a question that has been swirling through my head for about a year now? Am I an alcoholic? I’m not extreme, like my father who has had a standing battle with addiction for decades. I don’t even drink as often as my mother, who often coins herself as a “functioning alcoholic” usually accompanied with a laugh and this special smile she flashes when she knows something is problematic but she doesn’t care what people think about her anyway – so who cares?
Alcoholism, and addiction, run strong on both sides of my family. When I say strong, I mean strong. There are very few adults in my family who haven’t struggled with addiction in some way. Even us kids, the cousins, we struggle. We’re not as bad, but it’s there. Along with all the pain and likely untreated trauma, there is often an excess of alcohol.
So, am I an alcoholic too now? Sometimes I feel like I can’t stop drinking. For a year I tried to take breaks on and off. I failed every single one of them. I’d tell myself, I just won’t drink tomorrow. When tomorrow came the same sentence would form in my brain as I poured a second glass of wine. The constant wine stained lips, evening and morning headaches, the need to feel that liquid gold in order “wind down” or “let loose.” Only then could I become a decent parent, friend, partner. Without it, I felt agitated. Life is just too stressful, and the booze softens the edges.
After realizing all of this, I quit. I committed to spending 2019 sober curious. I announced it this way, because I can’t be an alcoholic. I am just…sober…curious. Right? Nearly halfway into 2019 and I’ve had some drinks. The majority of those drinks have been in secret. They’ve been in moments of pain and depression, moments where I felt the need to go out and buy a 6 pack or a bottle of wine. I’d hide the alcohol and feel like shit during and after drinking. What am I doing?
So my question remains, am I an alcoholic? Do I need AA? Will they laugh in my face because I don’t belong there? Is this just my anxiety kicking into high gear finding all the things that are wrong with me and need to be fixed? Am I just noticing unhealthy habits that can be fixed without going to the extreme? What the fuck am I doing? And more importantly, why can’t I be consistent with making healthy decisions? Why must I self-sabotage?
The real question here is,
Who do I want to be?
Can you relate? I can’t be alone.