Friday, February 17, 2012

Terrible guilt and feeling dysfunctional...

... these are the things that saved me.

I saw a friend for a coffee today and she told me about a friend of hers whose husband's drinking is causing immense grief.  He's boozing heavily, hiding it, lying about it.  She's trying to talk to him about it, and has threatened to leave and take the kids with her, but he's aggressive and in denial, and he says she's uptight and won't let him be himself.  He doesn't seem to feel any guilt or think of himself as having a problem.  I don't get that!  Is he lying to her or is he lying to himself?  This is an attitude that I just cannot relate to.

For me it was the overwhelming guilt and feeling of being a terrible dysfunctional drinker that got me to stop.  The guilt, the guilt, the guilt, it tormented me loudly and clearly after each drinking session.  I couldn't not be brutally honest with myself.  It was blatantly clear to me the increasing speed with which I was drinking and amounts that I was downing.  And of course the twisted internal dialogue I had going on with regards to my beloved wine.  It was a sickness in my head that I simultaneously embraced (while drinking) and repelled against (when not).

Thank fucking hell that the voice telling me that this was 'WRONG, WRONG, WRONG' was stronger than the voice that told me to 'Drink Mrs D! Drink!'.

Why did that happen for me?  And why doesn't it happen for others?  What can be done about this bloke who is ruining his relationship and damaging his kids (probably) yet doesn't or won't accept that there is a problem.  Does he really genuinely think there is no problem, despite that he pisses his pants on regular occasions?  I do not get it.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S.  Pissing my pants while drunk is one thing that I NEVER did - hooray for me (not).


  1. Candy's friend might find Al-Anon Family Groups helpful. There are meetings in NZ. There are also lots of Al-Anon recovery blogs. See my blog sidebar for examples.

    Meanwhile here's an Al-Anon saying that might help. "She didn't cause it, she can't control it and she can't cure it."

    As for the husband, he is in denial and lying to himself and his wife all at the same time. An alcoholic at that stage in the game is severely mentally ill. So nothing they do or say is going to make any sense to the onlooker.

  2. I think with every step you progress into alcoholism, the disease raises the acceptance level of what you view as normal behavior. "So what I pissed my pants, I've seen so-and-so do much worse." Alcohol tries very hard to convince you this is normal, this is not aberrant behavior and we keep finding someone that is worse off than us. For me, it was getting harder and harder to find that person that was worse off and I realized I had become the measuring stick that others compared themselves to. "At least I'm not as bad as old Kary May"

    I, too, find myself trying to convince my friends that I'm not judging them. I had my two closest friends over yesterday for a girls chat. One didn't drink at all since she had blood tests this morning and the other kept apologizing for every glass of wine she had. "You must think we're all such lushes now," she said. I said, "No, as a matter of fact, I can't recall ever seeing you really drunk." She said, "You must have been too drunk to remember." lol

  3. Oh, I soooooo remember the guilt. It weighted as heavily as my daily hangovers. I was telling a friend recently (one who is desperately trying to get sober) that for me, the best part of sobriety is being FREE of the guilt! Even on my worst days, oh I am so deeply grateful to be free of that kind of inner conflict and turmoil.

    Hope you are having a great sober night!

  4. You know, the husband may be in denial or blunted but he may also be someone like me who grew up in an alcoholic family.

    My earliest memories are of my mother with a glass in her hand. Tiptoeing around the house in the morning because my mother was not well and needed to sleep. My mother at parties. My mother laughing too loud or crying, stumbling or falling. My mother making a fuss of us for no reason or ignoring us.

    Alcoholic drinking was normality at home. Drinking was what made adults happy. Drinking caused fights. Drinking was for nights and weekends and holidays. To this day when I am around heavy drinkers, it feels familiar. I had no idea until I left home that not all children grow up with the roller coaster of parental drinking.

    What children internalise from an alcoholic parent is that habitual and chaotic drinking is a way of life. Unlearning that may take decades, and like your friend's husband, I didn't really understand what was wrong with it until my own drinking had gone far beyond acceptable. Even then, I kept thinking most people drank this way.

  5. Today, I have admitted that I have a problem. My journey starts here.

    I will come back to your blog, as it offers me hope.

    Thank you.

  6. That's part of my story, Mrs D, but come to find out, I wasn't fooling anyone. We convince ourselves there isn't a problem, and when someone attempts to intervene (come between me and my liquor, that is) or points out I may have a problem, then all of a sudden it's their fault! Even as I sat in jail (more than once), I would plot and scheme at how I was going to get back at the Police Dept. "how dare they rob me of my freedom to drink and drive"!!

    I was one fucked up piece of shit, I tell you! I'm lucky to be alive- LY Mrs D- Coop

  7. I think there is a long spectrum of alcoholics. Some are just more narcissistic and/or dishonest with themselves and others. We are a set of people with so many similarities but so many subsets. It makes it very difficult to diagnose ourselves. And easy to rationalize our continuing to drink!

    So grateful to be sober today.