Working On The "why"

How is it possible that almost every time I drink now, I drink to excess, and I get into some sort of altercation or disagreement. WTF is wrong with me? I really thought I had this alcohol thing under control. However, the past year has seen my drinking get progressively worse and my behavior while I'm drunk get progressively more antagonistic, belligerent, and downright unfriendly. Lately, after I've had a few drinks, I start to feel – unexplicably – like people are "out to get me", like trivial comments are insults or snides directed at me, and like my friends don't really care about me and are using me in some manner. I planned to taper my drinking off as soon as I returned from Christmas break, but the lack of gainful employment and constructive use of my time has given me room to hit the bottle hard.
 
Don't misunderstand: I have plenty of things that I could be doing instead. I usually have an incredibly busy and involved schedule that leaves me little time to take care of  "the small things." I have an entire Excel spreadsheet of "to-do"'s that I've barely made any headway on. I have a stack of about 40 books that have needed reading for years and I've barely read at all the past week. I haven't run in over a week. The only time I've hung out with friends is to drink. About the only constructive things I've accomplished were to – somewhat – service my truck, to move my leather sofa back into my apartment, and to clean up my apartment. I'm even having a hard time doing dishes right now. I drank two bottles of wine and two vodka tonics last night, didn't get to bed until 2am, and didn't really leave bed until about 6pm, That's 14hrs of laying in bed, give or take. I can't even remember the last time I did that.
 
I think a lot of this is my mind saying "too much, dude." I had a similar experience after I got out of the military. I took almost 4 months and just traveled, acting like a serious bum, sometimes laying in bed half the day. I saw most of eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Central America during that trip, but I also drank far more alcohol than I'd ever like to admit. It took me that long to get ahold of myself, start working out again, start accomplishing things again, and feel "OK" again. Putting things in perspective, I spent the 11 months prior to that sleeping 4 hours a night – if that – and working an incredibly stressful and dangerous job in eastern Afghanistan. I got through it, I did my job admirably, and I came home in one piece. But I was pretty effed up in the head for a bit. It was my third trip and I think the stress finally got to me. I know lots of people that have died over there, lots of people that are missing limbs, eyes, worse. I should count my blessings. I'm pretty sure that I've got some unresolved issues (ya think?!) and it is somewhat contributing to my drinking and my hostility.
 
While college certainly was no Afghanistan, it was still stressful enough for me, both academically and socially, that I achieved some level of "burn-out." I was far older than most other students and it was very difficult knowing that all friendships I made were limited to one-way relation, ie I can relate to where they come from, but they can never relate to where I come from. I graduated with a BS in biochem from a "top 10" program with great grades and great experience. But the very idea of starting grad school right away kinda makes my stomach churn. Fortunately, I found a good job, I don't have to move, and I can keep my research position if I care to. I know I should probably give myself more credit than I do, but I consider myself  very lucky to have found a job within my field immediately after graduation. I start on Monday and that is a big motivational step for me. I can't keep drinking like this. No way in hell it won't affect my work and/or my health.  
 
The funny part for me is that I don't really know why I drink. I know that the first few drinks feel good. They take the edge off the social anxiety I usually feel. But I've been blaming social anxiety for far too long. It's hard to pin it on social anxiety when I drink just as much by myself at home. In fact, I often drink more a home because I have the bottle to myself and there's no dent in my bank account for drinking extra. How do you begin to go about resolving an issue you don't understand? That's a large chunk of my presence here. It's easy to say "just stop drinking. Look at how destructive it is to your life." But that's not a solution in and of itself; it's just an alleviation of the symptoms. I told myself I was going to drink only wine this year, hoping that would help control the issue. Instead of moderating my drinking, it simply gave me an excuse to start bingeing on wine. So much for that. My next tactic, starting today, is to limit myself to one drink, no matter what the circumstances, no matter the occasion. Wish me luck.  
myabsolution myabsolution
26-30, M
1 Response Jan 8, 2013

How is your drinking now that it has been some time? Your story in some ways is similar to mine. But I have realized I can't drink anymore. I have to be done.

Hey there, thank you for your response. It has been some time since I've stuck my nose in this place. My drinking is...about par for the course. This year has been particularly difficult for me, and alcohol has made for an easy escape. I've had 2 surgeries, a reasonable hospital stay, and months and months on various different pharmaceutical drugs.

I don't - ever - let my drinking get in the way of my work or my life aspirations. If I set my mind to something, alcohol becomes a thing of the past. But being sick and debilitated has really done a number on me. I'm sipping on Chimay as I type, in fact.

One major difference I've noticed is that my angry spells seem to have passed. I used to get drunk and get angry. This lasted for a long time. These days, I tend to just drink to socialize or to go to sleep. I'm slowly losing things in my life to be angry about. Good sign? I dunno. Anger is so motivating!