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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Narcissism vs. Alcohol

Is alcoholism bigger than narcissism? I don’t know.  Maybe they are equal in my marriage right now.  If you read my post “It’s 11 p.m.” alcohol abuse explains it.

I drink too. I am not supposed to because of the medication I’m taking. I’ve only ever had an interaction with one medication, so I keep drinking. I don’t tell my psychiatrist because he would tell me to stop. He would also be very serious and maybe even a bit annoyed with me.

I drink wine every night. And because I can never be completely happy or content with myself I wonder if I have a drinking problem too.

I have read a lot of articles about how to stop.  Tips like taking a hot bath, a long walk or read instead of that second glass.  WTF?  Does that stuff work for anyone who is craving a drink?  No. For me, white knuckling it for a couple of weeks is the only way to go.  It’s just like chocolate, I either eat the whole king sized bar or nothing.  Breaking off two “squares” doesn’t work for me.

Hey, wait a minute, how did this post become about MY drinking?  Typical. It’s always been easier for me to take it on than to trust someone else to change.

Stay tuned for my next post, EMDR treatment…will it work?

Quitting the Habit

After drinking wine disguised in a mug last weekend I decided I should do something about my habit.  I stopped drinking on Monday.

Yesterday after an argument with John, I decided a nice glass of wine would be just right, and since I hadn’t drank in two days I could do it.  I went to the store on the way home and bought a box of wine. If I needed a glass it would be there. Turns out I didn’t need it!  Yippee!

The deeper question has yet to be asked, “Is it a habit or a dependency?”

I think it may be too soon to tell.  I’ve been drinking wine every night for the past five years.  It coincided with the beginning of my medication for Bipolar II.  I used it as a way to make me feel something because the medication seemed to squash my feelings.  Now I feel great with my cocktail (no pun intended) and enough time has gone by that I have adjusted to the new me.

Of course, the ultimate goal is always to lose weight 🙂 and that side effect will be welcomed with open arms.

Drinking in the Afternoon

You know what I did today? I drank wine out of a mug so my son wouldn’t question me.  It was 12:30 in the afternoon.  I was feeling so depressed that I thought it might help. It was that second mug that finally put a dent in it.

I realize that the trauma of my mother dying is making me depressed. Very understandable. This may be the most normal reaction I’ve ever had to anything.

I have to get my act together. I think it’s the three weeks on overdrive trying to make her feel comfortable, help my family and come to grips with her dying. Now with nothing left to do I feel like I’ve fallen off the edge of a cliff. That’s when the  depression set in.

It’s “normal”, but when have I ever been normal?

Sin City – Day 3 (Last Entry)

Sin City – Day 3

After lunch on the third day in Vegas, we went down to Fremont Street where I convinced John to try the oxygen “rip off” bar. Then he stood on the huge scale in front of a hamburger restaurant. He weighed in at 216. He looked so dejected that I ran up and took the packages from his hands and he ended up at 206.

On the second day of the dirt track races, I decided not to go and nobody was surprised.  I had the whole night planned.  First I would get a drink and play the slot machines by myself.  Big move for me doing anything by myself, but for some reason I felt confident. Then I would go back up to the room, take a bath, have some wine and do some writing.  I was really looking forward to some alone downtime.

Around six o’clock, everyone left for the races and I began my plan. Before he left, John had bought a margarita for me.  He warned it was strong because he had seen the bartender put two shots of tequila in it.  I drink too fast and eat too fast. So after guzzling the one John got for me, I had another free one the waitress gave me.  Big mistake…. I ended up drunk!  I did make it back up to the hotel room by myself. It was a bit creepy walking down the long lonely “Stanley Hotel” hallway. I made it without being kidnapped or murdered.

When I got into the room I lay down on the bed and passed out!  It was 7pm.

The Final Cocktail

I think this final cocktail of medicine is really working for me. One side effect of being so level is I have nothing to write about anymore. At least not anything from my old point of view. I just wanted to let everyone know to hang in there if you are waiting for more frequent installments from me. As history probably will repeat it’s self I should be writing again next month.

I went to my doctor today and told him I was feeling really good, but as I said that I felt kind of embarrassed. I tell him the same thing every other visit. Last time it was crushing anxiety, then happy and before that terrible depression. He tweaks the drugs and councils as he has been doing for years. I do like him because he trusts me and, therefore, I trust him.

It didn’t used to be that way. For the first few years of being diagnosed with Bipolar II I was very rebellious. I knew I wasn’t happy with my old self but I felt so flat with my new self. After 44 years one does get used to the ups and downs no matter how they destroyed me. I rebelled by screwing around with my medicine and dosages to try to get a little “life” back into my life. I know I didn’t used to drink wine every night like I have been for the past 5 years. I know why I do it. It is to change my feelings. It is a little blast from the past of the old days. I wonder at what point do I start to worry about the wine? My sister says, “Oh for goodness sake, let yourself have one crutch”. She doesn’t worry about it so I won’t.

The next step will be enjoying the new strength I feel when I have to go up to the customer service and exchange something, get gas in the car, etc. I know it sounds crazy. Anxiety is brutal on normal day to day activities.

Saving the Big Bucks at Sephora

I’ve started to save money to go to England again.  I’ve been trimming all over the place. I stopped getting my nails done. I’m going to try to color my own hair. Cutting back on clothes will be easy because I refuse to go up a size and right now that is where I am.   Shaving off dollars here and there will allow me to get to my goal.

The decision to save has set off a domino effect of expenses.

My soda stream broke! I suppose I can do without it, but why should I have to? I work very hard,  I should be able to enjoy the finer things in life like homemade sparkling water, shouldn’t I?

My laptop crashed, big time. It’s about 4 years old and the screen is being held to the body with mustache patterned duct tape I borrowed from Allison. I tried to turn in on. It said “bleep” and was gone.

Lost my camera. I laid it down at the park and didn’t realize until the other day!

Those are the things I didn’t have any control over. The problem also lies with things I can’t control myself from.

Two weeks ago I was in need of new liquid foundation. I had originally planned to go to Walgreens. That was a step up from Walmart, but I thought I was worth it. So, of course, I ended up at Sephora instead. Emily decided to get her makeup matched by a computer and applied by one of the make up artists. I jumped right in and ended up looking “five” years younger with the new color, so I was told. $98 dollars poorer, we left.

Then here comes Tristan’s girlfriend’s birthday, she is turning 18. I felt like I should get her something. Of course, I pulled up Sephora on my new laptop and found a great fragrance sampler. On the top of the screen it read that if I spend $25 more I can get free shipping. Well, I did really want that mascara that promises to make people think you have false eyelashes. I tried some of Emily’s and it made my lashes look like they had been glued on.  $78 poorer, order confirmed.

Feeling guilty about my purchases I went to the liquor store to get wine.  After perusing and brooding the selection, I ended up punishing myself with a box of Franzia, $13.99.