Still Drinking Wine

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bottles behind my dresser’s mirror

I am still drinking wine even though the danger far outweighs the pleasure. The thing is, I don’t see or feel any of the dangers …yet.

I sleep well, get up for work on time and do a good job.

I’ve managed to lose 11 lbs. without giving up wine.

I take seven different prescription medications that do not seem to be affected by it.

I am not showing signs of liver damage.

My skin is not aging prematurely.

I’m not suffering from dementia

Blood pressure is healthy.

I have managed to stay highly productive.

I drink a bottle of wine every night.  I actually don’t want to drink until around 7pm.  A lot of the time I dread that time of night.  I just give in to it.  I feel sad, lonely and deprived when I don’t drink.  Crazy, right?

I’ve come up with a few ideas about why I like drinking and why I haven’t been able to stop.

I grew up not being in control of anything at school or at home.  When I finally reached the age of being able to work etc. I started smoking.  It felt good because no one would allow me to smoke and they couldn’t stop me either.  Maybe it was the first thing that represented control to me.   I ended up being in control, but not really.  I wanted to quit, I hated the smell and I felt like a criminal because smoking had started to have a stigma attached. I couldn’t go without it even though I hated it.

Another piece of the puzzle is when I quit smoking, I replaced that with food.  For years I over ate, felt sick and ashamed.  I didn’t really start gaining weight until after bipolar meds I began taking in my forties. So that had to be dealt with the only way I knew how.

The drinking started because I had been used to such highs and lows my entire life and when I started taking medication for bipolar I felt like a big blob.  I didn’t like anything or hate it.  I felt as if I had no personality anymore.  Drinking wine at least changed that mood enough so I felt a little bit like my old self.

So here we are now, five years later.  I’m up to a bottle of wine every night.  I do feel in control when I make a stop at the liquor store and get anything I want.  I have been working all day, made my money and now I can buy some wine.  Just like I could buy cigarettes and go by McDonald’s or eat a pint of ice cream until I was sick.

My therapist says it is crucial to replace the wine and the ritual with something I enjoy just as much.  She also said if I am not experiencing any of the bad side effects of the wine, I should quit to see how much better I could be.   Could I sleep better, lose more weight, have better skin and feel a difference if the alcohol isn’t interfering with my medication?

I’ll have to go cold turkey. Drinking less doesn’t work.  I’m the kind person to eat the whole bar of chocolate instead of “just one square”.  People who do that and say they are satisfied are either on drugs or just not of this world.

My plan this time is to stop drinking completely.  Replace it with things I want to do, but never have the time because I am in bed drinking and doing work at 7pm.  At the beginning of the summer I had five lists of things to do from immediate to whenever.  I threw the last four away.  I’m going to rewrite those lists and start checking them off one by one, night by night.

And if I fail, I’ll try again.

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