For some people, it takes a major wake up call for them to realize that their drinking has turned into alcoholism, and for these 12 people, that was certainly true:
#12. Until that moment.
“Doc asked how many drinks I have a night and I wasn’t sure how to answer. So, he asked “how many ounces” I consumed. I asked how many ounces are in a 750. He just paused and put down his pad and said, “a lot, you drink that every night?” He then ordered special blood tests and told me if I keep it up, I’ll kill myself. It happened so slowly. A martini a night, then 2 martinis, then some shots to get the baseline and a few martinis, then I just got into the habit of buying a 750 on the way home and polishing it off before I went to bed. He told me to stop for a day and I got heart palpitations and started shaking until I caved and went a bought a pint of vodka. Despite everything, it didn’t even occur to me until that moment that I was horribly addicted to alcohol.”
#11. Nobody seems to notice.
I’m admitting this for the first time, but damn I have a problem.
I buy bottles of vodka and hide them around the house so my wife can’t find them, but I can easily access them with an excuse to go to the garage, or the basement.
I look for reasons to leave the house when I run out of booze, regardless of the time of day (9:00 AM is the earliest opening liquor store near me).
I can’t really enjoy beer anymore, it takes way too much to get me to a point where I feel anything. I buy high ABV beer if it’s a social occasion where cocktails aren’t the norm.
My large recycling bin’s bottom layer is probably 1/4 empty vodka bottles by the end of the week. I bury them down there so nobody sees them.
Doing things like mowing the lawn or watching a movie aren’t interesting without a few shots’ worth.
The scary part is that nobody seems to notice. I’m sure there are signs, but they are not frequent enough to raise a red flag.”
#10. The closest thing to a friend.
“Good afternoon, Joe, how are ya?”
“Oh not bad at all! Hey, I got to see my grandkids last weekend!”
“That’s great. Are they doing well?”
“Never better. Listen…this is hard to say, but…you know you drink too much, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“OK. Just…I don’t know…I’m not going to tell you what to do.”
“Well, I appreciate it, thanks.”
This conversation took place in front of a Beer Store. Joe is homeless. I’ve given him change so many times that he remembers me and at the time we were probably the closest thing to a friend either of us had.
TL;DR: When a homeless person questions the amount you drink, so should you.”
#9. A few cuts and bruises.
“Not particularly exciting just woke up after a massive bender with a few cuts and bruises and it dawned on me that I might have serious problem.”
#8. Re-evaluate everything.
“Got off work on a Friday, bought a 24 of beer, woke up Saturday with no beer, decided to re-evaluate everything. Now 8 months sober.”
#7. Waiting for the liquor store to open.
“I was waiting out a liquor store when they opened up at 9am.
(I was binging to counter act some stimulants. I cut them out and my desire to drink went with it. But I realized it was an issue that day).”
#6. When I started lying.
“Not an alcoholic, but probably when I started lying about not being an alcoholic.”
#5. “I don’t remember any of it.”
“It’s not that exciting. Two months ago I went out with a co-worker. We left the strip club and walked back to my place. My girlfriend and I were living together at that point and i didn’t want to disturb her so we decided to continue to drink in my parked car. At some point I blacked out and woke up in the morning laying on the floor next to my/our bed.
Turns out I ended up driving, black out drunk, all the way across town to a 7-11, to drop my co-worker off and than all the way back. About 10 km. The one moment of clarity I have from that evening is sitting in my running car, just outside of the 7-11, texting my angry gf. I went home and shouted at her. Don’t remember any of it.
She packed up her things once I passed out on the floor. When I woke up she drove off.”
#4. The shame.
“Not me but my dad. He said he had become ashamed of who he had become and didnt want to be like his dad. The last week before he quit and started AA, some days he was so hungover to take me to school so I just skipped, and his boss called him telling him to get his shit together. He’s been clean about a year now and the change in everybody’s lives is so fucking great. I’m really proud of him.”
#3. No ‘a-ha’ moment.
“Lots of people posting answers on this thread and finishing with “but I still drink”. Okay then. Well, as a guy with 6 years of sobriety who doesn’t drink alcohol anymore, I can try and shed some light on the question:
In my experience, there wasn’t ONE specific event that led me to see the light. Alcoholism is a gradual disease, and those “ah-ha” moments didn’t really appear. Events just piled up – it was always “just one bad night” or “a couple rough weeks”. I gave myself lots of excuses: I told myself that lots of people lived this way, or that I was just taking a career break to party, or that I DESERVED to have fun, etc, etc. I was in denial over what was gradually happening to my life. Over the period of a few years I’d quit my job and pretty much just stopped working, lost my long-time girlfriend who I loved, lost many friends and the few remaining people close to me were scared that I’d end up dead. I’d become persona non grata at events. My health was failing (withdrawal seizures are a bitch), I couldn’t start my day or end my day without hard liquor. I was broke, and I started considering some pretty scary alternatives for getting a hold of some cash. I was dying a slow death and every day I was a worse version of the kid I’d once been.
After being confronted with the possibility of rehab, I begrudgingly agreed – things couldn’t get worse, after all. I took home some good tools after 22 days in rehab, but I needed to remember to use those tools because things could get out of hand quickly. As a young man I had high hopes for myself. What happened to those dreams and when did I put them away? Can I start over and try again? What the hell should I do? I didn’t know, but I did know this was my chance to at least start TRYING to at least achieve a few of those goals.
After getting my sober legs under me, life didn’t magically turn around. I still had bills to pay, still was unemployed, and nobody threw me a parade for getting clean. I started gradually getting things together, just like things gradually fell apart. Eventually I made some major changes – I think that’s key in any recovery. Straight up sold my stuff, moved abroad, and changed my life 180 degrees. Today I live in the mountains of Central America. I learned to speak a second language, live sober, exercise and do my best to help others. I’ve still got tons of flaws and I’ve got a long way to go. But the journey is just beginning. Life is fun again, being alive is a gift, and no matter how bad my day is, I can always fall back on the fact that if I didn’t drink today, I will go to bed a winner.”
“Bought a handle of brandy (1.5 liters and I’m not a brandy man, I was budget buying my liquor and a fifth of Bushmills was $8 at the local liquor store while the handle was $15) after I’d had an unstable few days. My best friend had told me he was going to rehab for his own problems with addiction, and I lost my shit after subconsciously realizing that I was as far gone as him if not further. A few days later, I get the aforementioned handle and kill half of it in a few hours, pass out on my couch for another few hours, and then wake up and resume drinking while trying to 1. fight my friends, 2. tell my family and best friend that I hate them on the phone, 3. denigrate an ambulance driver after one of my friends thought I was going to get alcohol poisoning and called 911, 4. jump of my 2nd story balcony to see what would happen. I woke up the next day, my folks were flying in to town after a very terrifying set of phone calls from me and from my friend explaining the situation, and when they knocked on my door, I opened it ready with an excuse before something snapped in me and I blurted out “I’m an alcoholic” instead. I had been miserable for a long time up til this point, and the liquor only made me more miserable. I kept drinking to avoid the shakes and withdrawal, and I didn’t know any other way to live. That moment where I came clean to my folks was where I decided something needed to change. I was 24 then, and I went to rehab the next day. I’ve been clean since, and I celebrated my 1 year mark earlier this month.”
#1. What a friend said.
“My face started to swell.
I was at the grocery store reading labels with getting drunk in mind. I bought beers that I don’t like the taste of. Proceeded to get drunk that night.
I went to a party and a friend said I look like a drunk.
I quit. Cold turkey. I was turning into my father. And I am not turning into my father.
This was two months ago. I’ve lost 20 pounds since and feel great. My clarity of mind during interrogations the day is a noticeable difference.
I was never a black out drunk. Only thrown up 3 times in 25 years. But I was a 6 pack a day drunk, usually stretched from 5 to midnight. I enjoyed it. But I’m 40 now, and I’ve gotta keep my health and my children’s welfare I mind.”