Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blame It On The Alcohol

I've been sober for approximately 3 months and while I can't say it's been 100% (there have been two slip-ups), I've done pretty well for myself! Why am I doing this? Am I addicted? Well, the answer is somewhat complex and not entirely straightforward ...

In order to get a sense of where I'm coming from, let me provide a little background. You see, I originate from a family of drinkers and having been exposed to alcohol since I was a smaller, brattier version of my current self, I took to it like a duck to water.

Growing up, summer barbecues always featured my dad and beer of which my brother and I sweet talked our way into multiple sips (yeah, we were extremely devious!) until Pops caught on. As pre-teens, we visited our cousins in VA and the adults began their "special time" after us kids were sent off to bed. Java-Mama and my aunt would whip up daiquiris, margaritas and crack open wine coolers faster than ex-prez Bush left D.C. in January! Furthermore, Rugrat and I would sneak downstairs to my grandparents apartment and raid their fridge and eventually discovered why the orange juice had a tangy kick to it: my grandmother was notorious for mixing vodka and OJ.

While I laugh at these childhood memories and chalk them up as harmless, I embody memories of the darker consequences and damage alcohol has done to my family and friends. Times such as my Pops' swearing escapades that resulted in him sleeping the evening away while nearly burning the house down because he left the stove on high. Times such as holding Dub-G's hair back while watching her puke her guts out and then go ride off with strangers and her mom calling me the next day frantic and upset because she never came home. Times such as my college roommates vandalizing the dorms at 4 in the morning following a night of drinking. Times such as watching my drunk neighbor beat his pregnant wife on the street late at night while his young son looked on helplessly. Times such as watching a drunk family member beat and debase my cousin and leading my mom to take us to a hotel. Times such as being in the car with BJ as he popped open can after can of beer (I asked to be dropped off at a nearby train station). Times such as seeing my church filled with grieving teens following the car crash death of Rugrat’s close friend mere days from high school graduation.

I’ve also seen what a lifetime of drinking has done to some close friends and even some family members who now suffer from a myriad of alcohol related illnesses such as liver and kidney dysfunctions. Additionally, we have some family members who completed Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Moreover, I had a grandmother I never knew who passed away from cirrhosis of the liver at a mere 40 something years young.

If all this isn't sobering, I don't know what is.

Nevertheless, I do not escape blame as I too have experienced the "dark side" of alcohol. Such as the time I cussed out my parents and late aunt. I lunged at them while Kingston held me back and tackled me to the ground. Times such as being so drunk at the club, I couldn't drive home and Ladybug had to drive my vehicle. Times such as being wasted at a high school prom after-party which the cops raided. Or the time I drove wasted and managed to slip past a police checkpoint. The time I came home with The Voice and sprained my thumb while stumbling around intoxicated merely two weeks out from my performance jury as well as my jazz concert (a devastating injury when you're a musician). And lastly, the time I attended a party and got so trashed, that I ended up sleeping over, in a pitch-black basement, with a strange man lying next to me.

Like Erykah Badu would say, "On and on..."

The point I'm driving home is that it's time for me to take a break. I advocate social drinking and hope to return to it someday but in the meantime, I need to dry out. I enjoy alcohol, however, too much of a good thing ... well, you know the rest!

There's only one problem: I'm dating a borderline alcoholic.

I love The Voice with all my heart and considering the circumstances surrounding our meeting, I'm in no position to judge nor tell him what to do. However, I'm having extreme difficulty dealing with his social pastime amongst his social circle. Nearly everyone The Voice associates with is a regular drinker. However, not EVERYONE he knows is a bonafide alcoholic however, alcohol seems to exist abundantly in his life. When I began this crusade, I truly hoped my decision would lead him away from temptation but that line of thinking was seriously flawed. I've since given that idea up and decided to focus on the benefits to my life. I am more energized, focused and extremely clear-headed. I enjoy not experiencing heavy hangovers on the weekends and I'm more alive than ever before. Nevertheless, I've served as his designated driver on numerous occasions and I'm slowly becoming tired of his persitant need to drink.

He has stated that it isn't an addiction but it seems that everytime he is with his friends or by my house, he's always imbibing. I'm not really sure how to cope with this. While I plan to return to my alcoholic ways (though not as heavily), I'm still a bit frustrated. The Voice traveled out of town twice to party with his friends and came back with behemoth hangovers. Personally, I no longer desire drinking to the point of being wasted and sometimes I simply don't get where he's coming from; I feel as though he's still living out his college days. He's no fun when he's drinking (he falls asleep leaving me bored) and I see him morphing into a younger version of individuals who've suffered the cruel effects of alcohol addiction. Overall, I'm concerned for his health and well-being. Diabetes, liver and kidney illnesses, nervous system disorders, heart problems are all issues that can arise from his drinking. I know firsthand since I've seen what this disease has done to the people I love.

The worst part? He vehemently denies that he's got a problem.

So how can I resolve my issues and feelings surrounding alcohol and still date someone who is very much under the influence?

Is this simply a disaster waiting to happen or can we truly work it out?


BPS 4.0 : Soul Exposure said...

I too come from a family of alcoholics. I am good to get myself to a buzz and numbness and then I quit and start drinking water. My problem is when I start to feel pressure or begin not having control so I just say eff it and go numb.

But pissy drunk is a problem and it can only get worse before it gets better.

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