WTF, the AC is on the fritz…

It’s 90°F and the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend.My wife is headed out if town and I will have my eight year old son in my own this weekend. It’s going to be hot tomorrow too.

Of course, the AC would go on the fritz today. Murphy’s Law.

It would be easy to let it get to me and to loose my shit about it. In the past I would have bitched up a storm, maybe thrown my phone across the room, and definitely drank over it — because that was how I dealt with everything, whether it was good or bad.

But not today.   Continue reading

Re-writing the 3rd Step Prayer

I thought I was done with this step. I really did. When I talked with my sponsor about this step back in the winter, he suggested that I say the 3rd step prayer in the big book every day for 2 weeks and then tell him when I felt that I was willing to turn things over to a higher power.

Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: “God, I offer myself to Thee— to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

A.A. World Services Inc (2013-12-02). Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition (Kindle Locations 1034-1036). A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for a way to get through this and feel comfortable with the wording of it. I read the 12 and 12, and the big book, I talked with some people about it.  I struggled with this wording.  It makes my skin crawl. Continue reading

Some things that keep me motivated

Look, this isn’t always easy.

There are times when the appeal of a cold beer is pretty strong.  Sometimes it’s because I’m angry.  Sometimes it’s because I’m bored.  Sometimes it’s because the sun is shining and its 70° F.  Sometimes, it’s because it’s Tuesday…

When the urge strikes, I find that it’s good to remind myself why I got sober.  I find that it’s good to look back on some older posts reminding myself of just where I was.  And sometimes, that’s enough to set the mind on the right path. Continue reading

A Roller Coaster

I’m not a big fan of roller coasters, whether they are real or emotional.  I’ve been on and emotional one for the last few days and it hasn’t been fun.

I am not quite sure when it started but for certain the idea of a drink came into my head several times over the weekend.  There was a lot going on over the weekend and my father in law was visiting.  I love the man, but there’s no doubt that I need to take him in small doses.

I wanted an escape hatch.  The easy escape hatch that kept surfacing was to have a drink.  I didn’t, but those urges sure were strong at times. Continue reading

Let me be honest

Honesty is important in recovery.  

Honestly, right now I really miss drinking – not getting drunk – just drinking beer & bourbon. I feel the same way about smoking, sometimes.

I know it’s worth it, and I’m not going to drink, but sometimes this shit is fucking hard. 

It’s time to go to bed. Things will feel better in the morning. 

Binge Drinking & Alcoholism — Questions from a Brother: Vol I, issue 2

Are binge drinking and alcoholism related?

I’m sure there are people far better qualified than me to answer this question, but I’ll share some insights that I’ve gleaned from my own reading and I’ll share my own experience.

Let’s begin with a definition of binge drinking from the CDC’s site:

Binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours.

NIAAA doesn’t discuss “alcoholism” but refers to the problem as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).  NIAAA categorizes AUD as having three phases, mild, moderate, and severe as defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently DSM-5).  A diagnosis is made based on the number of positive answers to 11 questions regarding a 12 month period.

Severe AUD is probably the stage that most people think of when they here the term Alcoholism.  It certainly was what I thought of as the Alcoholic.  Picture the guy in dirty clothes on the street corner with a cheep bottle of booze in a bag.  Picture the person who gets up and starts the day with a drink instead of coffee.  Picture the person who can’t stop shaking without a drink. One of the later stages of alcoholism/AUD is physical dependence upon alcohol.  That’s when your body can’t function without it.  That’s what most people think of when they hear the term “alcoholic.”

But here’s the thing:  The CDC says that most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent

So, binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a correlation between binge drinking and alcoholism or AUD.

In October of 2015, Scientific American published a blog post titled “Why Binge Drinking May Wire the Brain for Alcohol Dependence.”  In this blog post, the author discusses protein bonds that are formed in the brain as a result of binge drinking.

 “Neuroscientist, Amy Lasek, at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues, report that after binge drinking, neurons in brain circuits responsible for alcohol addiction become encased in a protein material, called a perineuronal net. The impenetrable coating cements neurons involved in alcohol addiction into a circuit that is extremely difficult to break.”

When I look at the definition of binge drinking above, I can’t help but think that this describes ALL the drinking I did in college.  And it was in college where I learned to drink, and it was all binge drinking.  Though there were times in my life when I could drink without binging, they were rare (very, very rare).

Did binge drinking cause my alcoholism?  I don’t know.  The truth is, science isn’t clear on what causes this problem.

Did it contribute to my alcoholism?  Most definitely.  In the end, I was binging daily.