Monday, March 17, 2008

St Patrick's Day

Today is St Patrick's Day. In days gone by, this would have been a day of celebration. It would include seeing if we could get to a parade in some town and drinking beer.

Today, however, it strikes a little fear in my heart. I am not sure what to make of this St Patty's Day any more. I have come to fear alcohol and it's addiction. I have seen it hurt people very close to me. As I go to Al-Anon, I see husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, still struggling to become people and determine what is right and what is wrong in life that they couldn't get when they were growing up.

I have stopped drinking. I stopped almost a year ago. For in one of the Al-Anon pieces of literature it states that Al-Anon has no opinion on whether the person attending Al-Anon drinks or not.

But does state, "'But for the Grace of God,' we could be alcoholics, too."

I share this sentiment. I was a Family Night Rehab program one evening when this one woman said, "My father was an alcoholic. I ran away from home. Then I married an alcoholic. I divorced him. Then I became an alcoholic and then I found myself here."

10 comments:

FrannyGlass said...

Joe, I'm struggling with this, too.

I know that al anon refers to this as an "individual matter" I can't help recoiling at the thought of holidays that focus on institutionalized drinking -- like St. Patrick's Day and New Years. Even the business I work in condones and even encourages that kind of excessive drinking.

I feel a heightened vigilance -- like my standing on guard will help the alcoholic in my life stay away from the booze. It's almost like my not drinking will make it easier for me to control the situation. As I write it, I realize how ridiculous it sounds.

As a newcomer, I am very interested to hear other member's experience and strategies for coping with this.

Joe said...

Franny-

My eliminated all the alcohol from the house when I found out about my wife's issue (it was a "potential issue" at the time). I stopped drinking to show my "support." I eliminated all the alcohol - well almost. My wife is a "wine" drinker. She said she would drink nothing else. So I left some beer and alcohol. I found this beer (which she stated she would never touch) around the house - empty. I never thought she would drink the beer. But it's an addiction.

But the two points are: I eliminated all achohol to eliminate the temptation. But like they say in AA, you could be at the North Pole, and A would find an eskimo with a bottle of scotch.

Second: I don't want to have the "switch" turned on in my head and become an A. So I chose to elminate all chances of that ever happening.

I have to entertain clients in my job and go out to dinner with colleagues. I chose to drink diet coke and have found no one has looked at me strange. If they do, my plan is to tell them I am in training for the Olympics and my regimen will not allow drinking.
;-)

Joe

Anonymous said...

Good Morning All,

I didn't think she would drink the beer either....

How wrong was I.

Peace this Monday.

KevinB

Syd said...

I have a glass of wine occasionally at dinner. I know that if my SO wants to drink she will and that I am powerless. I didn't cause it, I can't cure it, and I can't control it.

Pears for Bears said...

I definitely find myself thinking out of both sides of my head on this one (if that's an expression). Part of me feels like I have a right to keep a bottle on hand for when friends stop over, or to have a drink myself if I feel like it. And the literature supports this, saying that pouring out the alcohol or hiding it is really no solution.

But another part of me feels that having alcohol in the house just provides the avenue for drunkenness and the basis for a fight. "You drank my wine? But my girlfriends are coming over to watch the oscars!!"

"How Important Is It?" is one of the slogans that I lean on a lot lately. "It's not," would be the answer. Now, everything has been consumed and the house is dry. If the ladies come over, they can bring a bottle. If I go out, I can have one with dinner. At home, I don't miss it. As for my qualifier, he's on his own. I'm not buying him any more drinks!

Laurie said...

I also detest alcohol now. I used to like to have a drink every once in a while, but now it has such horrible memories associated with it I don't want it, don't miss it and don't need it.

Some situations are uncomfortable...my parents always offered a beer or a marguerita and we accepted. They don't offer anymore which is helpful.

I find myself listening to other people's conversations about drinking at a party or gathering and I think someone should warn them the stuff is addictive!

Ashley said...

I've gone through a whole range of emotions on this issue. At first, I removed all alcohol from the house, and didn't bring any in it myself. Of course, he did, and I just got to the point that I resented him because I felt like I couldn't have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer on the weekend. Then I decided if you can't beat them, join them, and started drinking quite often at home - not anywhere near the amount he did, but I found myself having 1-3 beers 3 or 4 nights a week. I found it much easier to deal with him after I had a beer. This scared the hell out of me.

So now, I choose to not have alcohol in the house except for very rare occasions. But, if I'm out with friends, I will have a beer or two and not feel guilty over it.

Bottom line, it really doesn't matter what I do - I can completely abstain or get drunk every night, and it won't make one bit of difference to his drinking.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ashley on this one. I have gone both ways. I have drank with my A and I have also quit drinking to support him. In each case he got drunk anyway. I do drink with my girlfriends sometimes on a weekend and I dont feel one bit of guilt because the way I drink has no comparison to the way my alcoholic spouse drinks.

Anonymous said...

I rarely have a drink any more. I made that choice some years ago in the belief that my children needed to see that you could have a good time withour alcohol, and that I would provide that example for them

This is particularly funny given, although they have no memory of me ever drinking, they have not ever seen me have fun either!

Now in retrospect, I think I may have provided a better example by demonstrating how it is ok to have one or two and then stop.

Ashley said...

Anonymous from this morning. I'm sorry, but I can't help laughing at your post. It is so something I would do - have done - but never really put into words!

"although they have no memory of me ever drinking, they have not ever seen me have fun either!

I'm making a point of keeping my kids aware of what's going on - how alcohol can affect you. I'm particularly aware that it could affect them the same way it does their dad, since I firmly believe there's a genetic link to the disease. I can only hope that making them aware helps them to make smart choices when they grow up.