Driven to Drink?


04/07/2014 by syrbal-labrys

1coffee n vodkaMy father drank.  He was self-medicating his PTSD and possible bi-polar issues.  He didn’t drink all the time, sometimes going years with almost no drinking.  He was, generally, a functional drinker.  For most of my childhood, he drank only on weekends.  Then, as he aged, he drank daily at some point — but still he was capable of working, socializing, reasoning and all the normal ‘sober’ attributes.

So far as I know, he never attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  At various times in my life, when I sought counseling for my childhood abuse related PTSD issues, I was advised I should seek out the AA groups dedicated to adult children of alcoholics.  I hate alcoholism’s results, you see; it has impacted my life drastically.  Thus, I inquired about precisely what AA preached.

And I hit a huge roadblock…or five.  The first two in the linked article were the biggest for me.  So, what, it is presumed you have to be a gutter-crawling sort before you say “Enough is enough!”  And the whole giving up personal power thing of the second item, that is what really made me think that maybe, just maybe even I would far prefer being drunk myself to EVER saying that I was not in charge of my own life and choices. I even had teachers tell me I would be a drunk…like father, like daughter, they said.

Well, like the AA religion pushers — they were full of shit.  We home brew, I drink less than twice a month and those times,  at most maybe two glasses of mead, or one of beer, or a single cocktail.  A bottle of vodka — my main ‘go to’ for nerve pain relief — lasts me two to three years.  Because, I AM in charge of my life and my choices.  Oh, but you say, you are not an addict.

Well, yes, I am, actually.  I’m just not addicted to alcohol, nor tobacco.  I am addicted to foods, particularly sweets.  In spite of this, I weigh within 20 pounds of my high school graduation weight after three children and years with injuries that slowed or rendered impossible most forms of exercise.  In spite of my love of sweets, I DO control my own access to and enjoyment of such pleasures.  I don’t beat myself up over the occasional delightful binge of eating a pound cake in 1.4 minutes (or whatever the quote from Practical Magic was); I simply look at it as an infrequent gift I give myself to cope with something I truly have NO control over.

Like the behaviors of others that rattle my cage.  Like the Supreme Court making it legal to sell Congress to the highest bidder.  Like Jeb Bush saying he might actually run for President.  Like the climate change deniers of the world going on about it all being bullshit from liberals — well, especially that, since climate change could make my favorite things impossibly expensive or non-existent in the future!

So yes, coffee warms my mornings, the infrequent vodka shot stills the pain of spinal injuries, e-cig delivered nicotine disperses the fog of fibromyalgia, and a piece of cake sits me down so I don’t feel the desire to go rip off a politician’s head to piss into….sure, my society would prefer I gulped big pharmaceutical’s pills and repented publicly.  Me?  Sorry, I’m too busy being a dripping fang liberal, loving my lesbian friends, practicing paganism, and baking cookies.  At least MY addiction doesn’t require armies dying, like addictions to power, wealth, and prestige do!  All those twelve steps programs?  They can step right out in their lock-step mode — off a nine-step pier!


18 thoughts on “Driven to Drink?

  1. I’ve bristled at the 12-step stuff myself… and for many of the same reasons you elaborate in your post. I find it absolutely bizarre that so many people who know me well, marvel at the fact that I made an intentional decision to drinkless after I realized that I was drinking <imore than I was comfortable with, using alcohol to, as you describe, self-medicate — but beyond a point where it was helping me. But it’s apparently my decision to moderate my alcohol intake instead of selecting abstinence forevermore and claiming that I have no power that throws folks for a loop, as if “responsible drinking” were a myth made and perpetuated by brewers and distillers rather than a real approach to life.

    The admission of powerlessness and giving over (handing away) of power are especially frustrating concepts for me; having been raised by Mormons and only escaping that trap in the last 5 years or so, it has been an incredibly freeing feeling to recognize my own power, to acknowledge my own hand in the outcomes of my life — as opposed to blaming myself for every possible bad thing and praising some distant father-figure god for anything that went right. So being told (by others) that I needed to declare myself powerless just wasn’t an option for me.

    Oh, and thanks for that link to the Salon article, good stuff! I might end up buying the book that was excerpted from!

    • You are welcome; I do think the patriarchal systems that suggest power belongs only to purported skyfather gods and men do more damage than good. So, yes, I agree the best feeling comes from claiming one’s own power and owning one’s own issues. No rescue from above needed!

    • pjvj says:

      I have run into the “no such thing as moderate drinking” from recovering alcoholics. Once a friend and I said something about going to a bar, having one drink, socializing, etc. The alcoholic person asked, “Who has only one drink?” Which sounded like a joke until we looked at her face. Because of her addiction it never occurred to her that anyone would even want to have a drink or two and stop. It was very eye opening for me and has since made it easier to deal with AA people who see every drink as a possible slide into addiction. They have no experiential place from which to view moderation.

      • I do get the ‘no drink’ think for those who know they cannot stop at one or two. What I do not get is when that is applied to EVERYONE. Because my dad was a drinker (who could btw stop at one or two), I was constantly told I should not drink at ALL, and the fact that I didn’t “know” this meant I was in denial.

        As a little old lady I loved said, “They were measuring my corn in THEIR basket.”

      • pjvj says:

        Yes, I’ve encountered that, too. I guess folks like to see an addict in everyone. Except themselves.

      • Now you know it’s no fun to look in that mirror?!

  2. eldri says:

    Darn, can’t edit!
    left out the best one (except elfs)

    • We have an old booze bottle probably from the 40s or 50s, that looks like a green Mayan figure. We often station her somewhere near the coffee bar and we call her the “CoffeeMama”!

  3. pjvj says:

    I, too, have some issues with Al-Anon type things (ACoA meetings around here were horrible, though admittedly that was almost 3 decades ago). However, you may enjoy some of these 12 and 16 steps for Pagans. They are more sane and talk about giving away power as opposed to not being in control and the Higher Power can be the coffee pot or a tree.

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The name of this blog, and my Dreamwidth blog, Herlander Refugee, is taken from a 1915 feminist novel "Herland". It makes my heart sing that modern women are experimenting with creation of a new "Herland"! Yes, comments are closed. Anyone who just MUST reach me can do so at syrbal6 at gmail dot com.

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