Can you really create boundaries between you and alcohol?
Five years ago I started making rules for myself when I realized that there were aspects of my drinking that would get out of hand. I had so many attempts to control my drinking that looking back now the attempts were so blatantly alcoholism that I can’t even believe I thought I was creating boundaries for myself and my drinking instead of highlighting my lack thereof.
I began drinking as a social drinker, but over 10 years of hard drinking, I had developed into an antisocial drinker. Legit, this is an actual thing. My favorite places to drink were at home… alone. It was my peace. For years I would drink at least 1.5 bottles of Copper Moon Malbec or Cab Sav a day- solo. So, I decided I would limit my drinking to a glass before bed and get busy in the evenings doing anything that took my mind off of alcohol. I thought I was in control. But, following the rule of "one glass before bed" turned into hiding my drinking, I mean, I’d pour until the wine touched the rim and I was unable to move the coffee cup until I sipped it on the counter, so technically I was still following my rule, but clearly, I was powerless.
Another attempt to control my drinking hides behind..."I do not have a problem over-drinking with anything else but red wine." This was a giant lie to myself and to everyone around me. So, I gave myself rule #2. I would not drink red wine. And, I didn't. This started a torrid love affair with whiskey. Neat, honey jack, whiskey sour, you name it. I miss whiskey; but whiskey took me on not only dangerous but utterly embarrassing journeys- most of which I barely remember. Ultimately, whiskey got me sober.
We all have our own journeys to sobriety. I would love to claim that these were my only two attempts at setting boundaries with myself and alcohol before I got sober. But my ass rode a roller-coaster of ups and downs for many, many years. Some years I did better than others. Some rules worked better than others. Ultimately, the thing that that all of my rules had in common were that they didn't work. I was definitely not in control.
I can honestly say that today, just shy of 3 weeks sober; I still crave red wine and the odd whiskey with a twist. And that’s usually on a particularly stressful day, at which time I’m forced to acknowledge my emotions and sit in my frustration to find another way to cope. But, I’m beginning to like that.