50% alcoholic

Also I’d say she is only 50% alcoholic so if you are looking to read about someone’s absolute mess rock bottom, this isn’t going to satisfy your craving.

I should know better than to read the comments section of a book review, or anywhere really, because reading anonymous comments on the internet is like going to the grocery store and suddenly being able to hear all the inane and offensive thoughts of strangers around you. If this happened in real life, you would probably stop going to the grocery store and would have to buy all your food online, which would just give you more time to read comments on the internet, so fortunately this is all hypothetical.

Except for the above comment, which was heartbreakingly real and written by some lady in response to a review of Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife, which I did not even particularly like, which makes this all even harder. The idea that someone can be “only 50% alcoholic” is almost as offensive as the idea that social drinkers are reading books about sobriety in hopes of catching a glimpse of someone’s “absolute mess rock bottom”.

Seriously, I hate the internet sometimes. Hate. It.

But here I am writing on the internet about why I hate the internet so I should probably illustrate why the notion of someone being “only 50% alcoholic” is offensive and upsetting.

The chart below is how alcoholic I might have seemed to a random non-alcoholic on the internet throughout my long and illustrious drinking career.

In 1986 I had Peppermint Schnapps at a slumber party and really that tells you all you need to about me and my drinking and how we were doomed from the start.

In 1991, I graduated from high school and blackout drinking and moved on to beer but had also already done a lot of dumb, dangerous things that I never would have done sober.

In 1996, I lived with my then-boyfriend, now-husband and started to realize that my drinking was not normal. Well, I knew this back in 1991, but living with someone else forced me to look at my drinking and hangovers instead of sweeping it all under the rug.

You might notice that 2001-2006 shows a lower rate of alcoholism than 1996. This was because I was able to pull myself together just enough that I no longer needed to lay in a fetal position in my car in the parking lot of the grocery store and work up the nerve to go in and buy milk and eggs because I was so hungover I felt like I was going to die. Because my hangovers got better during this time, I felt less alcoholic.

I should still note that I was about 50% too alcoholic to be a good mom and wife and employee. But 50% alcoholic was apparently bearable because I kept drinking until I peaked (hopefully, dear God) at 80% in 2011. Because yes, I could still get to 100% alcoholic if I kept at it, but I think all you get is cirrhosis and a loss of everything near and dear to you and I’m good right now, thanks.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking because the above line graph shows an upward trend, when in actuality becoming more alcoholic is not really a good thing. But I’m going to keep it this way because the whole idea that an alcoholic can be halfway alcoholic is pretty ridiculous. It implies we can pull out and reverse our alcoholism so long as we don’t reach 100%. And if we could do that, we could still drink. And the very fact that we’re not drinking anymore tells you we cannot do this, though not for lack of trying.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It never gets better over time, only worse. I know this in and out, through and through. I wish I knew so well never to read anonymous comments on the internet.

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15 thoughts on “50% alcoholic

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  1. Bloody good. Just what I’ve been battling lately with some people around me questioning whether I really needed to stop (implied: you could drink again if you wanted). I just can’t be bothered with justifying any decision I make with regards to alcohol. Great post xxx

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    1. Ugh, hate feeling I have to justify and explain how it was, though guess that’s a sign we did not f up our lives completely. It would be easier to say I’m allergic to alcohol, like people are with peanuts, and I guess it is a lot like that. It’s hard enough without doubting if I suffered as much as I remembered.

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  2. Same here. Because my sober date is tattooed on my wrist, I have to tell people what it means.(well I don’t HAVE to but I don’t want to be rude you know). The looks I get! “You? An alcoholic? No way?”. “But you’re so together and successful! How could you be an alcoholic?”. “But you don’t drink enough to be an alcoholic!”.

    And my personal favorite, “You can’t be an alcoholic. I drink way more than you do!”

    It used to annoy me until I realized how long it took me to convince myself that yes, I was actually an alcoholic even though I still had a job and a family and a functioning liver so I guess I can cut other people a little slack if it takes them a while to warm to the idea.

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  3. Just like being 50% pregnant or having 50% cancer or playing Russian Roulette with 50% of the rounds loaded. People criticising what they don’t understand can be very frustrating, heck I am 100% alcoholic and I still don’t fully understand my disease. 🙂 That’s when I just say the Serenity Prayer to myself and try to go about my business.
    Great post!

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  4. I can so relate to the way you feel. it is so annoying to hear people who are not alcoholics talk about alcoholism. Like my one friend spoke about our mutual friend who was in AA for years and decided to check out and tried drinking again. “He’s doing great right now,” she was happy to report to me, probably in an effort to get me to abandon AA myself. The problem is, a month later said Mutual friend was too bombed to get on a plane to go on vacation and had to be escorted out of the airport by the police.

    Bottoms up!

    XO

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    1. By the way, I love the chart. Especially the part depicting the dip in the chart around 2001-2006. In my chart, you would see that i had a briefer dip between 2004-2005 where I was too frantic trying to take care of premature newborns to sit down and enjoy a drink so I thought I was cured! But 2006 would show a huge spike which would top off in 2008, never to come back down again!

      Great post.

      XO

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      1. Yeah, having babies definitely slowed me down too. But once I hit a certain point, I too never went back down. I am learning to be very thankful for this.

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  5. Interesting way to think about it… I might give that some thought over my own progression.

    I like that you got off the ride at 80% – I’d agree with that, I still had the family, house, job etc. but also was compos mentis enough to actually seek help on my own. There is a heartbreaking blog I read that is written by a lady who’s husband is drinking himself to death, openly – it shows the tales of her rushing to his aid, to hospitals etc. Just horrible. And I can’t help that woman sadly – more frightening is that I completely identify with the man “Go away let me drink like I want to” “You’ll die” “I don’t care”… oh boy how close was I to that? 20%, 10%? Don’t know but I knew then that was where I was heading. I have a friend who says “I know I have another drink in me, I’m not sure I have another recovery”.

    Great post.

    PS Anonymous comments – yes, why do people do that? I have comment moderation on my blog after some odd nonsense from some guy a while back (sorry assumption it was a guy is possibly unfair – whatever the person needed help!) I do post Anonymous comments when they are reasonable but even some where the person has just missed the point or whatever I don’t publish, if you can’t be bothered to identify yourself to me why should I engage with you. I rarely read Anonymous comments on other blogs … I just find it better to remove the source of the irritation and by not reading them I hope to stifle the oxygen that these people seem to crave

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  6. Wow, great post, spot on. Your graph is GREAT – we could be twins except that my start point was ten years earlier, and the 50% period lasted a tad longer (maybe a little longer period of childbearing/infant management?), but I hit 80% just like you in 2011 and, yeah, I’m real good (and grateful!) with not having to go all the way to 100%! Thanks for blogging!

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  7. Confession: I recently read Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife (which I blogged a review about too) and hated it so I went to the comments section of it on Amazon to confirm my own dislike of Brenda. Ugly way to act. 😦

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    1. Ha! Oh don’t feel bad. Maybe you’ll save someone from reading it. There was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way and I guess I’m not alone.

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  8. I busted out laughing at the commenter who said ‘infant management.’ That is hilarious. I was sober when I had my kids so I will never know how my drinking would have been during their early years. But I’m a firm believer in ‘yets,’ so I know that Smirnoff hasn’t left the building, if you know what I mean 🙂 I relapsed far too many times in the past for me to say that I’ll never drink AGAIN. So, by the grace of gOd, I pray that I am never drunk during my kids upbringing.

    I’ll tell ya. I’m pretty much over the alcoholic memoir. I can save myself the $21.95 and hear the alcoholic story each week at the AA Speaker Meeting in my town. I know that they serve as inspiration for men and women seeking help and I have read a few myself but now the market is saturated and I’m just burned out.

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