Sunday, July 29, 2012

new thoughts on an old problem...

Here's an article on a new term floating around, the "almost alcoholic".  

The almost alcoholic is someone whose drinking goes beyond social drinking, but isn't alcoholism.  The article and the book it references, talks about how there is a range, a spectrum of how people drink.

The old way of thinking was, if you're drinking too much, you're labeled an alcoholic, and you must go to AA.

That old way of thinking has had me in a panic.  Thinking, "I don't want to be labeled an alcoholic or go to meetings that are religious based, like AA."  

I know I'm drinking too much these days.  I have a few glasses of wine every evening after work, while I make dinner, before bed.  I don't get drunk.  It takes the edge off my anxiety, work stress, etc...

I've managed to keep drinking wine and lose 30 pounds since January.   I stopped eating fast food (something I am 100% addicted too.)  But cutting out my evening stress reducing wine hasn't happened.

I have been torn, guilt ridden, over the wine.  But that seemed to feed into the habit more.  

Recently I've been reading articles about a recent study that showed weight loss surgery patients had major struggles with alcohol around the 2nd year out of surgery.  That was me.  And the study showed that wine was the main drink of choice.  Something about the way the wine hits a post-surgical person's system faster then normal. it's compared to the high of smoking crack.

The interview prominent surgeons in the bariatric field and they all dismissed the study.  Which pisses me off.  If I had been told about the dangers of drinking after surgery, I never would have touched wine.  The only thing they told us was to avoid milkshakes!

So besides my own guilt, I've had to "forgive" the surgery that didn't work for me, and the medical professionals that didn't give me the full story.  And I think I have.

It took reading about the "almost alcoholic" to say, ok, that's me.  I'm drinking too much and it's having some negative impact on my life.  I'm not driving drunk or blacking out.  I'm just not losing as much weight as I could be.  I'm missing some time with my husband and the dogs.

And in 1 month I'm having major surgery.  So I'm ready to cut back on drinking.  No more drinking wine every night.  I want to be on the end of the spectrum that makes me a normal social drinker.

Last night I didn't drink wine.  I had an anxiety attack, and almost caved around 8pm.  But I didn't.  And the anxiety passed and I slept pretty well.  Progress.

Progress, forgiveness (for myself and my doctors), peace... 


Carol said...

That's a lot to forgive. I really admire you for facing it and giving it thought, not ignoring it.

My drinking is getting in the way of some things I want to do. Sometimes I'm too tired in the morning to walk, or too tired when I get home to do stuff I want to do. It is also getting in the way of weight loss. I'm not cutting out drinking, but I need to cut way back, too. I have already, but more's gotta go.

Carol said...

Oh. And I'm all in for jumping on the wagon with you the week of your surgery!

copaX said...

I'm pretty sure I'm an almost alcoholic too. Three times this year I've downed an entire bottle of rum in a single evening. I've been known to have up to 5 long island ice teas at a single bar night. The social drinking, I'm not as worried about. The downing a bottle of rum by myself on a sunday night and ending up bawling my eyes out. That feeling when I'm drunk and don't give a shit about my problems and feel free and able to do ... that feeling is amazing. But it's fleeting, at best, and the massive dip my depression takes after the fact more than negates it. Yeah, that part has to stop. The stupid thing is, I never drank more than a few sips of a schnapps at holidays until I was 30 years old. It's been a week since I split a bottle of rum over two nights. I'm going to try to avoid alcohol when possible, especially when I'm alone.