I was reminded this week of the “Alcoholic Self Test” that I took years before I stopped drinking. I took the test, not because I thought that I drank too much, but to prove to myself that I didn’t. If I passed, then yay, I’m clearly not an alcoholic, right? In hindsight, the simple fact that I was taking the test should have been a clue that I had a problem.
I don’t remember how many questions I answered yes to, but I do remember that I failed, and failed miserably. I took the test in private, making sure no one was around to even know that I was taking it or, worse, to see my answers. I found ways to make the yes’s no’s, because i told myself that in those situations, it was “only a couple times” that I behaved or felt a certain way. I remember making excuses and, that while I knew I drank too much, surely the results of the test were wrong. I did not have a problem.
I also remember that I attempted to make a few changes around how and when I drank by setting some rules for my drinking behavior. I would only drink beer or wine, no hard liquor. If I drank beer, I’d limit myself to 3 during an evening. If I drank wine, 2 glasses only. No drinking before leaving for the evening; I’d wait until I’d reached my destination. Never drink alone. Don’t buy any alcohol at the supermarket to have in my refrigerator; it would only be a temptation. Buy small quantities — six packs, pints, one small bottle of wine. I created many strategies to “not get so drunk.”
All of my great intentions failed miserably. I never could just have a few. I promised myself and my family that I would not get so drunk anymore. I’d have a couple of good days and then I’d lose control and break all the rules I’d imposed on myself about drinking. I constantly worked on how not to get drunk. I never thought about working on how to stay sober.
Admitting that I had a problem came in so many different stages. It took me years to take that huge giant step into accepting that I had a problem. I don’t play the “if only” game, because I know that I am where I am because of the choices I’ve made on my journey. I can’t replay my tape of life, but I can remember the steps of my journey and continue discovering new awesome life adventures.
I’ve added this memory to my gratitude list. I am grateful that I am not constantly trying to figure out ways not to get drunk. Lying to myself that I did not have a problem was so much work. Today, while I can laugh at this memory, I never forget the insanity that I went through to prove I didn’t need help.
Kenny Chesney’s song, You and Tequila, is a great reminder. “One is one too many and one more is never enough.” Is it time for you or someone you love to stop lying to themselves and reach out for the confidential love and support of a Recovery Coach who’s been there, done that?