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El Diablo

I'm An Alcoholic

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Went to that meeting last night that i called you about. When I walked in at 8:02 there were 3 newcomers sitting there and no chairperson so i said I'll chair. 10 minutes later all the old timers came in and gave me a puzzled look.

It was a good meeting. I'm told the 5:30 has more attendees though.

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That attendance is a puzzler to me, that has always been the epicenter for AA here. It's the only dedicated AA building in town, with 4 or 5 meetings daily. Every other meeting in town is held at a church or similar. Good on ya to take the reins and make it happen though. I spent a lot of time there in years past but have been reluctant to become a regular due to the previous prevailing cult of personalities that the place had. I might give it a try again just to supplement my normal routine. They probably need me. ;) 

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Back in the day we had some pretty good alternative "parties" there on holiday weekends like this one. There's a place out behind to grill, a couple picnic tables and is popular with those who just have to smoke cigs. I might give them a call and see if anything is going on. 

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On 5/27/2018 at 7:04 AM, BearSchlong said:

Went to that meeting last night that i called you about. When I walked in at 8:02 there were 3 newcomers sitting there and no chairperson so i said I'll chair. 10 minutes later all the old timers came in and gave me a puzzled look.

It was a good meeting. I'm told the 5:30 has more attendees though.

Hey Schlong, just so I don't forget to tell you I wanted to let you know I'll be thinking about you this week. I hope the surgery goes well and that your recovery and recuperation are speedy and complete. Love ya man!

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7 hours ago, El Diablo said:

Hey Schlong, just so I don't forget to tell you I wanted to let you know I'll be thinking about you this week. I hope the surgery goes well and that your recovery and recuperation are speedy and complete. Love ya man!

Thank you bro.

I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a little bit nervous about the operation. I'm grateful for the love and support.  I'll definitely be calling my sponsor today to let him know what's going on with me.

I spent yesterday afternoon hearing the resentment portion of a 5th step and of course it was like listening to myself.  Where had I been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and afraid?  Pride and ego.  I think I have a new appreciation for progress not perfection.

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Ok i think im ready for surgery. Called my sponsor and discussed it. Went to a meeting tonight. Talked to my sponsees. Asked my fiancee to hold the pain meds for me. Prayed to God for his will to be done.

 

Actually my sponsor is very well equipped to help me through this, as he's had the really bad kind of (fuck) cancer and is on a pain management program through MD Anderson and did not relapse into active addiction.

 

Know how i know im an alcoholic? I'm not supposed to eat or drink after midnight and I've spent the better part of the day obsessing over my resentment against not being able to mainline my usual doses of coffee tomorrow morning. To the point where I've planned to prepare a shaker bottle of pre workout caffeine/BCAA tonight to hide in my bathroom to consume before my fiance wakes up tomorrow. And then to lie to the doctor when he asks if I've followed instructions.

 

I'm only as sick as my secrets, and well, I've spilled the beans on myself.

 

 

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Prayers for your health and recovery.  The fear will certainly be worse than anything you actually go through.  You've got this.  

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Good luck buddy.

 

I don't know if it's the recovery stuff, or just brushing right up against death and then returning to life, but my experience has chilled me out a ton when it comes to concern about my own life.  Both in terms of fear that I'll make a bad choice and fear of otherwise losing it or fucking it up.  House money/etc.  We'll see if that holds should I ever have kids.

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Good luck -

This too shall pass.  I'd grit my teeth when I first heard that in sobriety but it is as true as the sun rising in the East.

I know from reading here how grounded you are in sobriety and that you too know it to be true.

Godspeed schlong!

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Thanks you all. Also if you're ever in need of orthopedic surgery, I can wholeheartedly recommend Fondren orthopedic in Houston. They are a well oiled machine. Also, today I am grateful for talk to text.

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On 6/6/2018 at 7:37 PM, BearSchlong said:

Thanks you all. Also if you're ever in need of orthopedic surgery, I can wholeheartedly recommend Fondren orthopedic in Houston. They are a well oiled machine. Also, today I am grateful for talk to text.

You hanging in there OK?  

Can't recall what you said the surgery was, but I'm guessing there must be some rehab to come.

Wishing you well and hopeful you are back into your normal routine soon, with as little pain as possible.

Take care! 

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8 hours ago, BearSchlong said:

Rotator cuff surgery. 2 days post op and I'm doing better than expected

Glad you are in recovery from your surgery and doing well.  Learn how to throw the knuckle ball, it puts less stress on your arm.  Former Longhorn, Dodger, Ranger Burt Hooten made a good living throwing the knuckle curve.

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I don't know if this is the right thread for this, but I need to vent. If it's not, sorry; neg the fuck out of me, I don't care.

I just spent a week driving over 2000 miles to have my brother cremated. I knew from childhood that he liked to drink, more than was good for him, but apparently he was very good at hiding exactly how much he liked to drink. His wife had been out of the country for several months and he had been living alone, and when she was unable to contact him for a few days I called the police and had them check on him. He was dead in his bed. I drove up there and was the first to see the life he'd been living in all its splendor. First thing I noticed was the 6 empty vodka bottles on the kitchen counter, and the one that was still 2/3 full. Liter bottles - the plastic bottles of the cheapest, shittiest vodka available. Many empties of diet 7-up, which seemed to be his preferred mixer. Next thing I saw was the huge pile of trash in the middle of the living room floor, mostly consisting of empty vodka and diet 7-up bottles. And the piles of other types of trash all over the house. His wife was right behind me, and got to see all this stuff too; it was hard on me, but I'm sure it was harder on her. When she started bagging up the trash the next day I asked her how many empties she'd found. She said she stopped counting at 60.

His life was out of control. I went through the papers I could find, and discovered massive amounts of debt and other fuckery. There was no way he was going to climb out of that hole in less than many years even if he lived a perfect life, which was apparently not an option. So I've got a question. I don't know if there's an answer that will mean anything, but how the fuck does someone get to that point? How does your life spiral out of control so badly? The one that kept going through my mind was, how did he get so far off track? For what it's worth, he was still holding down a job - he was a professor, and had turned in his grades for the semester the day he apparently died. I have no idea how he was able to do that, either.

Again, sorry if this is not the right place, but I'm frustrated and angry and heartbroken. I'm going to be having nightmares about this for a long time.

Edited by Bat Guano

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He probably was an alcoholic, so he is more than welcome here.

At some point your brother no longer had a choice. The active cycle of addiction can be like telling someone that if the just hold their breath with all their might, then all of their dreams and goals will come true. No matter how bad they may want the good everything about their mind and body eventually burns to gasp the air.

Drinking is kind of as important as breathing.

Once separated from the bender of active addiction things get a lot easier, but it's still no smooth row down a scenic river. One has to navigate quite a few waterfalls and somehow still manage to stay dry. Then the last part for many of us is finding a spiritual purpose in this life. It brings a lasting peace that relieves the insanity of doing this to ourselves over and over again until there are no more 'agains'.

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I got there by not being honest with myself and believing my own lies, no matter how bad it got.

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21 minutes ago, Dewey said:

I got there by not being honest with myself and believing my own lies, no matter how bad it got.

That was definitely part of his personality. A big part actually. Thanks, that's a puzzle piece I can put into place.

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All the fucked up.things I was doing was going to change, starting tomorrow... then tomorrow came and nothing changed, just got worse.

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Thanks for posting that, Guano. What you described is what I was living until 2 1/2 years ago. Getting to that point was a gradual progression that took many years; as the disease progressed so did my downward spiral. There's no way to know with any certainty how far from death I was at the end but I could feel it coming.  

I'm very saddened to hear of your loss of your brother. Please remember though that it is a disease, no one sets out to end up like that and many never know that there is a way out. No cure that I'm aware of but at least a way to live one day at a time.

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You've got a huge problem and the only solution that you have makes the problem worse.  Be in that cycle, especially in isolation, yeah it's horrifying.  It's not just "you enjoy drinking, and don't really care about other things".  Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are nausea, anxiety, hallucinations, tremors. Night sweats, seizures.  The thing that makes it stop is drinking.  Stops the problem and makes it bigger.

I'm sorry man, that's incredibly rough.

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I'm sorry you had to see that.  My brother saw me at my worst in a similar situation, but I was at least alive, physically.  

There comes a point when I was alone in my drinking that I just gave up hope.  The physical addiction had me and life wasn't all I wanted it to be.  I just kind of said "fuck it, what's the point in living?".  I was living my own slow sucide because there was no hope.  It was time for me to go on my own terms so why not drink.  It's impossible to explain to those who've never been there, but it can happen for a number of different reasons.  When I got behind in life (so I thought at 36) and then under the bottle it made perfect sense to me.  Who knows if that was your brothers case, but know it happens to a lot of people.  Some get away with it, some get better, and unfortunately some don't make it. It really is luck, timing, and money that determines the outcome.  

Prayers to you and your family. 

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2 hours ago, Bat Guano said:

but how the fuck does someone get to that point? How does your life spiral out of control so badly?

One day at a time, that's how.

I am sorry for the loss of your brother.

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Thanks for all these. I think it helps my understanding somewhat. Progressive disease - I guess that explains much or all of it.

There were signs that he was struggling desperately to change things, and obviously he couldn't. That's the heartbreaking part; certain things pointed to how hard he was trying. Much clearer, though, was the fact that he'd pretty systematically pushed everybody out of his life. He was hiding and keeping any kind of human contact to an absolute minimum. And that's another heartbreaking part; he had always been an outgoing, sociable, charming guy who cherished his friends and relationships, and eventually found himself completely alone. His life must have been an absolute hell. I found myself trying to imagine the kind of pain he must have been in, and being unable to comprehend it.

Edited by Bat Guano

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There comes a point when alcoholics can't imagine life with alcohol and can't imagine life without it.

As pointed out earlier, its a progressive disease which depresses the mind, body, and soul.

Your brother simply lost the power of choice - all of us alcoholics do. 

There is a saying from the Far East - The man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.

Prayers for you and your family......  

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2 hours ago, Dewey said:

All the fucked up.things I was doing was going to change, starting tomorrow... then tomorrow came and nothing changed, just got worse.

Damn, this hits close to home.  "I can't wait until (insert future date) so I can (insert change)."  

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59 minutes ago, Bat Guano said:

Thanks for all these. I think it helps my understanding somewhat. Progressive disease - I guess that explains much or all of it.

There were signs that he was struggling desperately to change things, and obviously he couldn't. That's the heartbreaking part; certain things pointed to how hard he was trying. Much clearer, though, was the fact that he'd pretty systematically pushed everybody out of his life. He was hiding and keeping any kind of human contact to an absolute minimum. And that's another heartbreaking part; he had always been an outgoing, sociable, charming guy who cherished his friends and relationships, and eventually found himself completely alone. His life must have been an absolute hell. I found myself trying to imagine the kind of pain he must have been in, and being unable to comprehend it.

How much of it was a surprise to his wife?  Did she know he was an alcoholic, just not the certain extent?

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42 minutes ago, Reagan1k said:

There comes a point when alcoholics can't imagine life with alcohol and can't imagine life without it.

Good shit.  

I'm at a point where I'm damn near terrified of life WITH it again.  37.5 months and counting.  But who cares about that... today, I'm sober.

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12 minutes ago, ernest_t_bass said:

Damn, this hits close to home.  "I can't wait until (insert future date) so I can (insert change)."  

Yeah, one of the meeting topics that we usually use when we take our group meeting to the rehab facility is "Turning point" - as in "we stood at the turning point, we asked His protection and care with complete abandon". As a reminder, the words that immediately precede those are "half measures (had) availed us nothing".

When that topic comes up I share that I kinda wanted to get well (even though I was living exactly as Guano described his brother) but wasn't quite yet at that turning point (holy fuck!). But I had managed to get to an AA meeting and the guy who would become my sponsor simply asked me "are you ready to quit drinking?".

And fuck me if I didn't sit for a brief moment and ponder that.

It was grab the life rope time or watch it all burn.

Edited by El Diablo

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2 hours ago, ernest_t_bass said:

How much of it was a surprise to his wife?  Did she know he was an alcoholic, just not the certain extent?

She said she didn't. When she walked into the house of horrors, the first thing she said was, what's with all the vodka? She said the most she ever saw him drink in the 10 years they'd been together was a few beers or glasses of wine. But my father said that when my brother was still living with him he used to hide bottles in the basement; I hadn't known about that. Must have been his college years and shortly afterward, until he moved out. So I suspect he was hiding his consumption from his wife, too; as I said, it seems he was very good at it. Or maybe she was just naive, I'm not sure. He had a detached garage and when we were cleaning that out we found several bags of empty vodka bottles, so I suspect he may have been going out to the garage to 'work on projects' or whatever on a regular basis.

I used to go drinking with him occasionally in our teens and twenties (I'm a year younger than he was). He could really put the stuff down even then. Well, I could too; maybe it's our Irish ancestry. I didn't take the same path, though; besides him, I had numerous friends who developed drinking problems - probably close to half my friends from high school ended up in some kind of program or rehab. I could always keep up with any of them, but I never felt the need to drink and it was always social drinking with me. Drink alone? Maybe a beer after work or a glass of wine with dinner, otherwise nope; I do not enjoy hangovers, at all. I hardly drink at all now, so that's why I'm having so much trouble understanding the thing - how does this compulsion take hold as strongly as it obviously does? I guess I'm bringing up all this stuff because at some level I knew he had a problem, probably better than anyone else because I was the one that had gone drinking with him. I didn't know how bad it was. Sometimes we'd be at a lake house and he'd be sipping on a tall drink for hours at a time. He pretended it was soda, but I knew what was in it, even though he hadn't offered to share it with me. He thought he was getting away with it, and I let him think that. So now there's that guilt that I didn't do anything about it; although from reading this thread I'm pretty sure there was nothing I could have done anyway.

Edited by Bat Guano

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{Insert your name or your SIL's name} didn't cause it, couldn't control it, and could never have cured it.

We reach a point where we (drunks) have two choices - go on to the bitter end, or seek help by surrendering our will and our lives over to a power greater than ourselves.

I'm so sorry for your family that his end came before he could surrender and seek help.

I'm be willing to bet he was a great guy, very smart / high potential, and would not have wished this on his worst enemy, much less himself.

He was powerless over it and got caught in the whirlpool of fear, drinking, guilt, shame, fear, drinking...rinse and repeat.

He was wired in such a way that alcohol did things for him that it doesn't do for you.  You'll hopefully never understand the way the 1st drink made him feel and likewise, he could not understand that you have the power of choice to take it or leave it, even after a drink or two.

You and/or your SIL might benefit from tapping into an alanon group for some support and perspective.

I hope you all find some peace over this.

 

Edited by Reagan1k

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1 hour ago, Bat Guano said:

He had a detached garage and when we were cleaning that out we found several bags of empty vodka bottles, so I suspect he may have been going out to the garage to 'work on projects' or whatever on a regular basis.

Holy fucking shit.  Like looking in a mirror.

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Reminds me of the David Cassidy story that came out that he had tricked his family into thinking he wasn't drinking

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While sitting in a weekly AA meeting at the Union Gospel Mission here in Cowtown, my buddy got a text from his wife.  She reported that their alcoholic neighbor across the street that they had both tried to help find the program had hung himself.  Cunning, baffling, POWERFUL.  There but for the grace of God. . .

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Holy fucking shit.  Like looking in a mirror.
1234

Hate what happened to Guanos brother.

But my god do I completely understand that man's particular insanity.

Thank you for telling us about what happened on this thread. Your brother's story might have saved one of us. Thoughts and prayers for his loved ones.

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12 hours ago, BearSchlong said:

1234

Hate what happened to Guanos brother.

But my god do I completely understand that man's particular insanity.

Thank you for telling us about what happened on this thread. Your brother's story might have saved one of us. Thoughts and prayers for his loved ones.

I hope the story will help someone else. I'd like to think something good may come out of it.

Thanks to all of you for helping me understand the disease; I posted here for that selfish reason, and you came through. You have helped me come to terms with it a little better, reduced the anger a little, and that is a start to the healing process. If some of you have lived through the hell that I saw in my brother's life, and I have no reason to doubt your words, then I am inspired beyond measure that you managed to escape it, and I hope and pray fervently that you never go back to it. Thanks again.

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Thank you for sharing, your brothers story has stuck with me and I'm very sorry for your loss.

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5 hours ago, Bat Guano said:

Thanks to all of you for helping me understand the disease;

Disease concept is huge - there's simply no logical explanation for alcoholic behavior.

 

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Sponsee who has gone back out twice after getting to 6 months sober finally gave in to the steps in a real way.   Two real benders...one which necessitated me drive a few hours to get him from an airport after he got hammered before boarding and couldn't find his luggage or car upon arrival.  I was firm and told him I was doing that to protect innocents he might have killed on the road and I was not bailing him out.   When he sobered up after a couple of more days of round the clock drinking, I asked him if not remembering 4 days of a business trip, a flight home, or the location of his car and luggage fit the definition of unmanageability. 

We started over on page 1 and got right into the steps....no feet dragging this time.  He decided he wanted to do his 5th step with a priest in a small LA church.

I took the idea to my sponsor who told me to tell him to go for it.....didn't matter much as long as he got the resentments and guilt past his teeth to another person.

Thanks goodness the priest was well versed in the steps and I'm not sure if he is in recovery himself but it appears he had a great grasp of the process and my sponsee came away realizing that all of his defects / resentments were based on fear, selfishness, and self-centeredness (Inward looking as Twice likes to say). 

We had a great time working 6 & 7 after he was done and the relief he felt was painted all over his face.  I'm glad I got so see it because it reminded me of my surrender and relief.

Amazing how something so simple (simple, not easy) can have such a profound effect.  He's diving into 8 / 9 right now and I have so much hope and joy for him that he sees god doing what he never could for himself.

Keep up with good fight team....This design for living really works.

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1 hour ago, Reagan1k said:

Sponsee who has gone back out twice after getting to 6 months sober finally gave in to the steps in a real way.   Two real benders...one which necessitated me drive a few hours to get him from an airport after he got hammered before boarding and couldn't find his luggage or car upon arrival.  I was firm and told him I was doing that to protect innocents he might have killed on the road and I was not bailing him out.   When he sobered up after a couple of more days of round the clock drinking, I asked him if not remembering 4 days of a business trip, a flight home, or the location of his car and luggage fit the definition of unmanageability. 

We started over on page 1 and got right into the steps....no feet dragging this time.  He decided he wanted to do his 5th step with a priest in a small LA church.

I took the idea to my sponsor who told me to tell him to go for it.....didn't matter much as long as he got the resentments and guilt past his teeth to another person.

Thanks goodness the priest was well versed in the steps and I'm not sure if he is in recovery himself but it appears he had a great grasp of the process and my sponsee came away realizing that all of his defects / resentments were based on fear, selfishness, and self-centeredness (Inward looking as Twice likes to say). 

We had a great time working 6 & 7 after he was done and the relief he felt was painted all over his face.  I'm glad I got so see it because it reminded me of my surrender and relief.

Amazing how something so simple (simple, not easy) can have such a profound effect.  He's diving into 8 / 9 right now and I have so much hope and joy for him that he sees god doing what he never could for himself.

Keep up with good fight team....This design for living really works.

Great to hear stories like that.  I think a lot of clergy just "get" the steps, and particularly those in the Catholic church, whether they have worked with alkies and the program or not.  I'm not Catholic, but from what I know of a lot of the ritual and dogma of the church, it wasn't solely a way of bringing religion to really ignorant masses (and securing their conformity and obeisance), but also, like the 12 steps, a fairly ingenious way of practically and almost by rote instilling spirituality in the parishioner.  Until AA, I never really understood confession or that it had any value, for example.

 

And, Guan0, sorry about your brother.   It is hard to understand, but it has been explained well here.  For whatever reason, the predisposition toward addiction frequently seems to affect people of significant ability like your brother.  It wasn't a happy ending, but you can be grateful that his struggle is over, because he was living a life of terrible torment.

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1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

Great to hear stories like that.  I think a lot of clergy just "get" the steps, and particularly those in the Catholic church, whether they have worked with alkies and the program or not.  I'm not Catholic, but from what I know of a lot of the ritual and dogma of the church, it wasn't solely a way of bringing religion to really ignorant masses (and securing their conformity and obeisance), but also, like the 12 steps, a fairly ingenious way of practically and almost by rote instilling spirituality in the parishioner.  Until AA, I never really understood confession or that it had any value, for example.

Agreed.  My guy converted to Catholicism several years ago and he takes it very seriously but it turns out one of his hang-ups was that he skated by and never made a real 1st confession and has felt immense guilt since...like he cheated his faith.   When he told the priest in the confessional that he wanted a do-over on that and also mentioned he's in AA, the priest immediately perked up and said "ahhhh - a 5th step....one of my most rewarding jobs in helping others."

Anyway....its cool to see that he got the relief.  Whatever it was that he didn't want me to hear about he was able to still get unloaded and he's better for it.

Never really thought about the rote nature of Catholicism mirroring what we do in AA but you are so right.  Action based, even when it seems to be just going through the motions - the actions take the mind where the mind wouldn't go if left to its own devices.   

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I was raised Catholic and of course we took the sacrament of confession at a pretty early age, too early IMHO to understand the purpose really or to realize the utility of it. On those occasions when I would go to confession it was just to go in, prattle off a list of made up shit that I'd probably done, "I've lied, blah..blah..". AA 5th step was the first time I ever really unloaded and it was liberating to say the least. I've seen it written that our secrets keep us sick.

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I've gotten to the point that I can almost guess if a sponsee is Catholic before asking the question - So much guilt shame and remorse instilled in Catholics at an early age.

Apologies for making an over-generalization, just my experience.

I had one guy who was a devout catholic who admitted to me that he wasn't sure that Jesus was real.  That was literally the deepest darkest admission he had ever made to another human - and this guy served multiple prison terms on drug and burglary charges.

My reply was "aha, now we can make some progress on finding you a higher power that you can rely upon to keep you sober!"

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I asked all of you questions at the old site about a golf buddy of mine that was an alcoholic. He didn't show up today but we thought nothing of it because it is Fathers Day. Well, he never woke up this morning. 3 and a half years sober and played alongside the rest of us that were never without a beer and kept his sobriety. He had a hell of a rough life, a motorcycle wreck left him brain injured as a young man, but he became a house painter and roofer and made a good life for his family. We talked a couple weeks ago about his sobriety and I told him I was proud of him. Really glad I took the opportunity to tell him that. RIP Dave. I'll miss you.

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