Am I an addict or an alcoholic ?

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’ve had a difficult week blog wise. But only blog wise.

Or maybe my managing director prayed to his higher prayer and got his prayer answered of “more productivity from my horrible staff, dear Lord”.

Maybe he flagged his prayer priority? Point is, my internet is playing up at work – to my bosses favour ! – and thus I have not been able to blog at liberty.

Grumble grumble.

From a personal perspective, the week has picked up since Monday which was a right shitty day. Won’t bother with an explanation there.

I took some advice from a daily reading I received  (you can subscribe to one from Hazelden’s website which is an amazingly good daily reading). Hazelden being a rehab centre in the US (Ozzy went there I found out when reading his book !)

The gift read alone the lines of:

Practice having fun.

We can let ourselves go a little now and then. We can loosen up a bit. We don’t have to be so stiff and rigid, so frightened about being who we are. Take some risks. Then, take another risk. Pick out a movie and then call a friend and invite him or her to go along. If that person says no, try someone else, or try again another time.

This reading – received yesterday – egged me on to stick to my pizza date with a girlfriend and – unexpectedly – it turned into one of the best pizza dates for ages. I was feeling like I would rather stay home and feel sorry for myself. Isolation however is never good for my soul.

The restaurant – unbeknown to us – was hosting a book club evening  for ladies which the owner invited us to gate crash. An author was there to discuss her book for a short while (not too long so I was not bored stiff) and my girlfriend won one of quite a few lucky draw prizes. I feel my higher power had rewarded me for trying to follow the program.

Any sort of social engagement always leads to the same question in my head at the beginning of the evening. Do I have a glass of wine or not ?

This is the little by-the-by question relating to daily social life, but the bigger question and one I do not have my concrete answer for yet is – Am I an alcoholic or addict myself ?

Historically, yes. Now – I don’t know.

From age 16 until age 40, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there have periods of time when I have been a full blown active addict or alcoholic.

For periods of a few years at a time. Usually when a single girl about town. I went through one very dodgy patch from age 22 until about 26 when I was very much into booze, drugs, sex and rock and roll and I was game for anything. Before that it has just been booze and grass.

It got to the point where I had some very bizarre behaviours around drug use. And – in hindsight – it was obvious I had a problem, but I didn’t see it at the time and I just lived it as it was.

Doing coke on my own, using at work on a Friday afternoon – a hors d’oeuvre for the subsequent nights proceedings of more booze and drugs and a nightclub , going to my drug dealer on a Friday lunch time to avoid the rush and to get a bigger portion, using drugs when it was not appropriate like a baby shower, a wedding or a first date, going back to the dealer at 2am for more, having the dealer deliver, having a relationship with a female – (something I don’t think I would do sober) – mainly because I was usually on drugs and didn’t mind if it was a male or female (I substantiated it at the time as having bad luck with men so I’d try a female for a while and a face was a face to suck no matter what gender), driven into parked cars and driven off, climbed over my electric fence because I’ve lost my keys

Going out on dates with the Nigerian drug dealer, Ike. Only years later did I realize he was trying to butter me up as a drug mule. They wanted me to take marijuana somewhere, good job I didn’t do it, having a gun toting Hells Angels boyfriend for a few months, driving around after 5 bottles of wine (coke keeps you sober), moving onto crack, heroin, LSD, going out to dinner, but being the only one not eating because my appetite had been removed by a gram or two of coke.

Taking sleeping pills to come down. Living on my own and waking up a few days later, not knowing what day it was (this is the days before cell phones with a date were around), missing work, telling lies because of my absence…..

The list goes on…..

I managed to get out of all this ….on my own….with no rehab….purely because I fell in love with another addict …..who was worse than me……so my ACOA characteristic of caretaking another kicked in and “we” tried to get clean. I succeeded. He didn’t. He was an active addict for a further 12 years. My child’s father.

I haven’t had any hard drugs since I was around 26…..(I personally feel marijuana is harmless).

I also had another dodgy patch around age 33 – 37 involving more so alcohol. By this time I was a single parent. More of that another time.

Fast forward to present day. I did start going to AA about a year ago. I had started to notice. No…let me be honest….I had decided to be truthful with myself and admit that I had alcoholic tendencies in my current life. When going out to a family dinner, in the middle of my second glass of wine, I would feel restricted by Porra, who may or may not have been watching the amount I was drinking. A sneaky alcoholic part of me thought ….. mmmmm……the bar is just over there round the corner near the loo. I can have a quick tequila without anyone knowing.

I never had that tequila by the way. But the scenario is a perfect example of how my brain sometimes works. Sometimes…..and not all the time…..I have an inner alcoholic….and other times…..I am a normal Southern Suburbs girl that can have one or two glasses of wine with her girlfriends without going completely APE SHIT !

An ex boyfriend committed suicide and that’s how I ended up at an AA meeting. I was so upset that Hairy Hannes died. I felt like I should have done something more for him. For days I thought of him (he’d been a kind and thoughtful boyfriend who adored me. We had not dated for very long as he was too nice for me – you know what I mean…..a behaviour of mine is to usually only like the bad apples, I can sniff out an addict in a crowded room and date him, hell, I’ll have a child with him to – maybe just for a good measure of chaos 😉

Anyhoo. Over this period, I had gone out on a binge nightclubbing. I had a blackout. Not so unusual in my life, I’d had before. The point was…..I was in adult child recovery. I didn’t want to be like that anymore. It was time to be honest with myself.

My status now. I don’t know. 80% of the time I don’t feel like an alcoholic. But I know there is a dormant party time drink until I vomit alcoholic in me somewhere. I do have a glass of wine or two with dinner maybe twice a month. But I am extremely careful to stay at 2 glasses. Sometimes I choose not to drink. Like at a braai. Do I feel that dribbling feeling of wanting more ? Do I think mmmmm I would like more. Yes. Sometimes.

Status – unknown, yes or no, but aware and careful.

  1. Jerome says:

    For interest sake, where are you? Are you in Johannesburg? The reason I ask is, you mention the Nigerian drug dealer, Ike. On our recent relapse, weeks ago, Megan managed to find a dealer by the name of Ike, where we live in Lyndhurst. Anyway, she’s in Cape Town now, still in active addiction, and I’m here, now 18 days clean. Early days yet, but going pretty well considering.

    And thank goodness I didn’t get Ike’s number from her before she left. So I still haven’t had any contact with drug dealers in Johannesburg, and I’m keeping it that way.

  2. diddy says:

    Ike is from JHB days. I relocated to PE 1996 and then to CT 2000. So Ike could still be around your neck of the woods. He and his brother had a flat in Hillbrow where they used to deal from (Hillbrow at the start of going dodge in those days) and I lived in Yeoville. I seem to remember his brother being older than him. Could be the same guy.

  3. Bearskin says:

    Hey Diddy
    Thanks for sharing. Must say, for myself, I find it easier not to question my status. That way there is no danger of having my status confirmed by having my life turn to shit through unmanageable drinking. Also I don’t think I loose out at all by not drinking – I definitely prefer to be clear minded nowadays.

  4. This post really moved me. Made me think a bit as well.

    We shall take it slow and steady on Saturday X

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