Control, or Lack Thereof : 30 Days of Truth

Day 12 : Something you never get compliments on.

One of my more recent posts eluded to a crisis in my life.  I haven’t revealed it yet, because in all truth, I am rather ashamed of some of the realities of my life.  In personal writing lately, a rambling piece entitled “Write it Out, Right it Out“, I went on say:

I’ve always been caught in my own world of the mindf***, you know? And when I’m drunk, I am more susceptible to mindf***ery. I don’t like it. I start to lose grasp on my reality, and sometimes it disappears completely – my grasp, that is.

I have made references to my alcoholism in the past, but never with much detail or emphasis.  I neglected to mention that alcoholism is a real part of my present, mainly because I didn’t consider recreational drinking to fall under that category.  I was sorely mistaken.  I wrote to a friend:

Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking substance abuse seriously, like it wasn’t a fact in my life. I’m going to guess that mania had a little to do with it. Like I was above it all because I had gotten away with it.

And another in the same piece, “Write it Out, Right it Out”:

I don’t think I actually believed myself when I have described the seriousness of my alcoholism in my past. Or maybe I thought that it was somehow different, because this is a different situation. Or maybe I thought I was just too young and immature to handle myself.

The fact of the matter is this.  I have been suffering from terrible alcoholism from the age of 19.  At the age of 17, I took up drinking as a recreational activity.  When life events sent me into a tailspin, I spent the last six months of my 18th year in a state of perpetual intoxication.  By the time I was 19, alcohol was a regular fixture in my life, and was a part of every recreational activity.  Finally, it progressed the point of functional alcoholism by the time I was 21.  I described it to a friend as:

Except, I know that there was two years that I spent drunk every single night. I made excuses, like friends and parties, but I would drink by myself. I remember there were nights I’d drink until 4am, and have my boss call me at 6:30am to ask where the hell I was.

During the two years, I had a solid schedule. Wake up at 2pm, leave for work at 2:30pm, work three to nine, drink and eat nine thirty to four or six in the morning, and do it again. I had even devised strategies to avoid vicious hangovers and physical withdrawal. Occasionally, I would venture out with a bottle in my purse, just in case there wasn’t any alcohol where I was going.

Since my son was born, there have only been a handful of what I consider to be benders, which were periods of time where I would invent a reason to have friends over for drinks.  I never intended on getting wasted, and I usually didn’t.  But, there were occasions.  Some relatively benign, ending with me waking up with a vicious hangover and swearing off alcohol entirely for awhile.  Others, they ended disastrously with an altercation, and I would find myself resolving the situation by dumping all of the booze down the drain, with a certain satisfaction at my self-restraint and determination.

Here’s the truth.  I never get complimented on my resolve.  Because, everyone knows that I will always go back to the same old, same old.  No matter how much I appear to change.

I am not always forthcoming about my weaknesses, especially the ones that spark shame.  I am embarrassed by my lack of self-control, especially in matters that are extremely frowned upon.  There are a lot of bad character traits that I can identify, and openly and honestly admit to.  However, lack of self-control is not one of them.  I’ve never considered myself as impulsive, and people often view it as immature and juvenile.  I have always considered myself to be mature and responsible, with certain exceptions, like during college, because impulsive actions and lack of restraint were commonplace, and socially accepted.

Many can argue that impulsivity is not necessarily a character trait of mine, rather, a feature of Bipolar Disorder.  Maybe that is true, because there really was a brief period in my childhood that I recall being very responsible, consistent, and mindful.  And yet, there are still incidents that I recall as being not well thought out before execution.  A condition of childhood?  Maybe.  Facet of personality or symptom of psychological disorder, it stands as probably the weakest trait I have.

25 thoughts on “Control, or Lack Thereof : 30 Days of Truth

  1. Oh sweety, This is something that has silently turned from recreational to self-medication. It is nothing to feel ashamed of. There are so many bipolar disorder sufferers out there that also suffer with Alcohol or drugs. It isn’t something that you yourself are the only person to find yourself in the routine. There is a high percentage rate of people with BP and substance abuse. So where would the shame be, especially with us. Honey, This is my only opinion here. I think if you would consistently stay in therapy and Let you pdoc help you find the correct medications for you, and you take them as directed without dropping them when you feel well, you could get a grip more on the self-medicating. I do not think of you any less just because you have this problem. Not at all. I care about you all the more. I kind of suspected it a bit anyway. That nor anything would could ever cause me to think that I was any better and more in control of my life than that. I have self-medicated most of my life with anything and everything, so I do understand completely. I hope that your acceptance of this fact will give you the courage to get help. I am still praying for you. I will be there for you until you tell me to go away lol. (((HUGS)))

    • Here’s the strange part. Before medication, I could definitely have considered it self-medicating. Sometimes, selected benders could have been considered self-medicating. This last run was peer pressure.

      I didn’t even want to drink at all. But, I really didn’t want to be disincluded from socializing, so I just went along, thinking that if I really didn’t want to do it, then it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s really not a matter of not being able to refrain. There are long periods of time since I became pregnant with my son that I abstained. But, the problem starts when I pick up that first drink. Once I get started, I really can’t stop.

      It’s always an exercise in mindfulness. I let the people around me influence my choices and help me minimize my problem. I told my husband on Monday that I didn’t intend on drinking. After the incidents on the weekend, I have come to realize that, not only is it not fun and damaging to my mental health, it has the potential to make me violent, irrational, delusional, and potentially dangerous as hell. I told him that I obviously can’t handle it, and I never really wanted to drink in the first place.

      Wednesday, he said something like, “It’s a screwdriver kind of weekend.” (Yes, I realize he is developing a problem.) I replied, “You guys have fun with that.” And he inquired with some disappointment as to why I was abstaining. “You were there last weekend. You were the person I victimized. And I’m done.” He argued, “You don’t act like that unless you drink vodka. Just stay away from the clears. We have tequilla.”

      Truthfully, I was really upset that he wasn’t respecting my decision. In fact, he was attempting to enable me. And I’m so disappointed, angry, distraught, etc by his development of alcoholism, and I feel powerless to stop it. He makes it out to be some kind of cavalier joke. Addiction isn’t a joke. The only thing I can do now is keep myself sober and put in hints that he has a problem. It’s up to him to come around. I can’t make him want to be sober. I can’t make him want to take care of his mental health.

      I know he cares about the family, and I know he would be devestated when he came to the realization that he drove his family out with wild alcoholism and mental illness. I hope we don’t get to that point.

      As for me, addiction runs deep in my family. Everyone has a substance abuse problem with something, alcohol, pills, painkillers, sugar, caffeine, what have you. Some people eat themselves into the grave and others drink themselves there. But, the few mindful people actually lead healthy, productive lives. So far, only my Pappap, my sister, and me. Because we were the only ones who admitted and accepted the problems for what they were.

      Not to say there isn’t usually a trade. My sister traded hers for clothes and food. I traded mine for running and caffeine. My Pappap? Caffeine and cake. Lol. But, now they’re saying caffeine is good for people.

      I’m wildly off topic. Still kind of manic.

      • I don’t think I have ever gotten to the point where I was an alcoholic. But I liked to drink when anyone else was drinking. I mean having people over didn’t really mean to talk, even if I fixed dinner, the main reason we would get together was to get drunk. I have always been the type who isn’t satisfied with tipsy or pretty drunk. I drank until it was either all gone or I was passed out. I loved it. For years and years I did that and thought I was the life of the party. But when all those changes were going on, I got drunk one night with my son and a friend. I of course got slobbering drunk. But this time I was still aware of myself and how stupid I acted. I drank more and more but I was totally aware . Oh god, I am the brassy kind, I get red and immature, I try to be young again. there is nothing more discusting than an out of shape almost 50 yr old woman drunk trying to be cool lol. It seems like you have had that experience to of being aware of your actions this time to the point where you don’t want that kind of behavior anymore. Maybe that will make it easier not to drink anymore. I didn’t take a drink of anything for a year after that. But just recently out to dinner, I ordered a Sam Adams in an 8 oz glass. I enjoyed it and one glass was fine.

        • I was definitely the life of the party. That also became a problem for me. It was always something to talk about until I did something even more outrageous the following weekend.

          That’s the problem with shock value. When I’m all out hammered, I find that I am two kinds of drunk. Completely off the hook, mostly uninhibited, and eager to see others revelling as my freak flag flew. And then, there’s the other side of that, where I have an axe to grind and no one is beyond becoming a target. I don’t know why I’m prone to be a mean drunk when I drink vodka. Any other time when I get my feelings hurt, I just fade out, and go somewhere to be alone.

          The way I identify my own alcoholism is functioning. And making a dysfunctional relationship, when it’s otherwise mostly functional, is part of that. This has really been fuel for me to actually open up about the realities of the abusive relationship I was in. I’m eager to put all of that to bed, once and for all.

          • Yeah, I was deep into shock value. That is why I am so thankful looking back cause I could have ended up in the hospital, dead or jail (well I did end up there). I think it is such a positive sign that you see and are aware of what this is doing and will do to destroy you and your family. I am so glad you are being open about it. That is such a good sign. hugs!

  2. Me, just checking on you! See all the support you have, and this isn’t but a taste. Not many blogging over the weekend. I see you stayed sober all weekend. That is great Lulu. I hope you and your family had a positive weekend! I never have you off my mind and prayers (((hugs)))

    • Thanks for dropping by. *smile* Mondays are difficult for me, but I stumbled on some DBT worksheers to help me. I’m glad. DBT is hard on the emotions, but once it’s all unburied, it feels better. Some things are easier to get out, and it makes the muddled emotions less hazy.

      • I haven’t been introduced to DBT, If it affects the emotions, I couldn’t handle that now. I had to change my appt to an earlier day to start trying some hormone therapy. I have been almost psycodic the last two days. But I wanted to check on you today. Im glad you are still making progress! Hugs

        • It’s Tuesday, and my sister didn’t give me an option to visit her today. Attendance is mandatory. And, I think that’s a rule that we have to continue to impose upon each other. We often let our symptoms get the best of us, and then break plans with the other. We’re understanding, but I think that seeks to enable the behavior. It’s something I’m going to have to talk with her about today, because she’s a worse offender than I am.

          I tried to do some more DBT last night, but it didn’t work out so well. Unlike others, I seem to only be able to do DBT when I’m feeling vulnerable and open. It happens a few times a day, so I should probably focus on those times.

          I’m sorry to hear you aren’t doing so well. I really hope that you are feeling better soon. Take a look at the DBT workbooks. I forget the site, so just go to google and type in “free DBT workbook”, and you’ll find it. I didn’t do any initially, but unit caught my eye, and it seemed applicable to the distress I was going through.

          • from what I have heard of DBT, it is kind of hard for people like me, who has a hard time with authority and being told what to do lol. My therapist knows that all too well so maybe that is why she never tried it lol. I hope that you can make your sister understand that it is necessary for you to be able to meet with her. But I see that you are really working on your situations and I can tell you are truly aware now and able to work on the solution. I am proud of you for being so honest to me and others and trusting us with your urgent needs. But I will always be checking on you lol. Just to make sure j/k. No, but I will always be here, no matter what my hormones are doing lol.

            • I did see her, and we’ve made a standing date on Tuesdays for espresso and yoga. I’ve already learned some basics at work, so I hope I can help her. Yoga is so good for balance, muscle tone, agility, and just overall well being.

              I’m trying to take things head on and remove the blocks. A skill I learned through DBT, don’t judge my judging. Period. I am not stupid or naïve for misinterpreting things. I just have to lean more on logic than snap judgements. The problem I encounter there is another extreme – rationalization. I have rationalized telling behaviors from others in the past, and it got me in hot water when I should have trusted my instinct. Now, I lean to the other extreme, generalizing reactions to situations that I could misinterpret as being similar to an emotionally harmful one in the past. I don’t subscribe to the whole “believe the best in everyone” and “give the benefit of the doubt”. That’s a serious conflict in DBT that I have to work through.

              I do have a problem with authority, but it’s so complicated. I fear authority figures, which makes me automatically resent them and challenge their authority. But, by challenging their authority, I fear their wrath and the unthinkable consequences that may follow. And finally, by continually challenging authority, I fear losing respect or affection or setting myself up to be unfairly persecuted for making myself a threat and therefore becoming a target. Does that make sense? All of my reactions are so convoluted like that. I’ve been meaning to get to a post about how my symptoms of BPD are so convoluted and atypical that it doesn’t necessarily appear as such at first glance. But, when I was doing DBT yesterday and my final conclusion was that I had a strong emotional response to the fear of abandonment (after a long, unravelling process), it sealed it for me. Any doubt I had was erased in that involuntary light bulb moment. It slipped out of my mind as the correct answer, no fear of admission attached. It became logical through DBT.

              So, it is working for me, but I need to practice.

            • interesting how you described your reaction to authority. I don’t think it is that way with me. But I will have to think about it. I always looked at rebellion as being fearless of authority. I mean that is what I thought was my case. But the fear might of been there but it acted as a stimulant. But even in therapy all these (10) years. My therapist knows that if she suggests something that I am not comfortable with. I will out and out say “no”. But at the same time, I guess rebellion actually comes from fear. DBT, is all abut Mindfulness isn’t it?

            • Mostly. It’s about developing skills for mindfulness. It allows me to take a situation and put it in a less threatening context so I can objectively evaluate it. Some of the exercises navigate me to painful conclusions in covert, natural ways, so I don’t throw a block at it. And that’s the whole reason so many things get guarded and become so buried. I throw a block up against myself when I try to unearth things. My mind finds ways to trick itself.

              The best example of my mind tricking itself is my clock example. I have to warn people when they come into my home to dismiss all of the clocks, because none are quite right, and I’ve made it so convoluted that I’d have to go to great lengths to remember which clock is the closest.

              I set the clocks all in different intervals ahead of time for all of us. I get upset when I’m running late, and that deteriorates my functioning so badly that it becomes nearly impossible to catch up. My husband is always running late. So, to make us both on time, the clocks all read ahead, but one. One is actually a couple of minutes behind. The fear of going off the wrong clock is enough to keep both of us going.

              It’s far greater lengths than just setting a clock ahead. To do it, I glance at the time and set one clock so many minutes ahead, arbitrarily. I walk through the house and set them in different intervals, so as I go, some clocks end up the same as others. Seeing some consistency and pattern tricks everyone into thinking that time is the correct one, although the mind knows it’s ahead, there’s no way to know how much of a cushion. It becomes inconvenient to find a clock with the real time.

              It’s a really long way to go. But, it’s necessary. I’m not easily deceived, even by myself. That’s why I have at least three alarm clocks.

              So, when it comes to something tender, it becomes really hazy.

            • I’ve never went to those lengths but before I couldn’t work, I did fool with my clock every night so in the morning I wouldn’t remember exactly how much extra time I had, if any.

            • I have to seriously go to extremes to fool myself. Even my alarms don’t really fool me anymore. I have to have several going off in succession to rouse myself. And even then, I’ll do things to sabotage myself unintentionally, like leave the alarm clock that is supposed to be across the room next to the bed on the table. Easily accessible, easily discarded when the time comes.

              I find myself standing there a lot thinking to myself, “How did I do this to myself?” And mostly, “Why did I do this to myself?”

            • I don’t think about it really but I play games with my mind all the time. I never really realized that. I just wrote a post about the brain and different views about its function. The brain is something that I have to keep trying to understand. It scares me actually. The brain/mind seems to be in charge without consulting me first lol. I can’t stand the thought that I can go through a terrible episode and my brain be the culprit but yet I can not remember what I said or did. I’m sure you have a great understanding of it. You are a very intelligent person. You go way over my head sometimes lol.

            • firstly thank you!

              Honey this blog took gut’s to write, it took courage to admit to yourself that you are human and as a human regardless of your mental or physical health, we are all flawed.

              We are born with weakness in our character, but within that weakness is an inner strength it’s the strength of knowing yourself.

              The hardest person to be open and honest with is yourself.

              To face that we have fucked up in the past, to accept we will fuck up in the future regardless of the promise’s we make to ourselves about what we swear we will never do again.

              These are simply human reactions to life we all do it, life is a journey that teaches us as we grow, some of the lessons suck others we swallow and keep going and some lessons we miss because we do not see that the lesson is simple, it is so simple and plain it often hides itself right under our nose’s, its the lesson to forgive ourselves.

              Your not a bad person, you don’t suck at life because you have flaws, in fact if anything your flaws are strengths your still learning how to use them to your advantage at this point, but they will become your best points as you learn to live along side things in life, accept what is for how it is, and move forwards with a clear view of what you want to see when you look at your reflection in the mirror not what you assume or think others want to see when there seeing you.

              ((hugs)) Angel

  3. Pingback: 30 Days of Truth | Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

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