My Bottom

bottom 2

I read the blog post “Bottoms Up” last night, and it hit me like I had been punched in the stomach.

For so many years, I had rationalized my drinking by comparing myself to others.  Characters in a movie, authors or memoirs I had read about drinking, or real life alcoholics I had known.  I kept telling myself that I did not have a drinking problem because I had never been fired, never been to rehab and never had a DUI.  These are the things that happen to real alcoholics.  So I went on my with my life, happily consuming 1.5 liters of wine each evening.

I never looked up how much alcohol that was equivalent to.  I wanted to remain intellectually ignorant to what I was doing to my body.

I am an extremely health conscious woman.  I run 4 miles or more every day.  I am diligent about what I eat, no junk food, ice cream or candy.  I limit red meat, added sugar and packaged foods.  I had myself convinced that if I ate right, and exercised, the effects of what I did at night would be minimal.  I had even started squeezing loads of lemon into my wine coolers, as I had read that it detoxifies the liver.  (Talk about juicy rationalizations, huh?)

In June of 2013, I went for my annual physical.  I had done a fasting blood test, and my doctor and I were going to discuss the results.  I had been going to my doctor for about two years.  I had done the normal thing that patients do when asked about alcohol consumption, I lied.  Unfortunately, blood tests don’t.

My liver enzymes and my sugar levels were extremely high for a woman my age, and in my physical condition.  I had to fess up.  It was one of the hardest things I have done.  I had to admit how much I was drinking, out loud, to a doctor.  I also had to admit to my family history of alcoholism.

She challenged me to bring my numbers down, to quit drinking.  I am always up for a challenge, so I took her up on it.  I did not think of it as a life changing challenge, just a temporary change, only until the next blood test.

Quitting drinking even temporarily was not easy.  It was summer!  How could I not drink?  We went on vacation for the month of July, so I told myself that when we returned, I would quit.  Again, only temporarily, as we were going away again in October.  I figured, 60 days would be more than enough to reset the levels, and I could go on with my life of drinking.

I only made 22 days in August.  I gave myself permission to drink when I wanted, so I did.

Thing didn’t get better, they got worse.  My doctor quit, so I had no reason to stop drinking, I wasn’t going to go back, not for a while anyway, so I drank, and drank and drank.

Then the fight happened with the hubs, and he called me a drunk.  Truthful as it was, it still hurt.

That was my bottom, my own personal bottom.  I wasn’t in rehab, living in a box on the street, I hadn’t lost my drivers license, but I had hit my own personal bottom.

I didn’t recognize it until I read this in Rachel Brownell’s book “Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore”

“The concept of a bottom, the spiritual or physical end of the line, the place people reach when they finally decide they’re through with drinking or drugging, is a powerful one.  Your bottom is whatever point at which you’ve had enough, whether you’re under a bridge with a bottle in a bag or president of your own company.  Your bottom is your bottom.”

When I read that, I began to cry.  I was looking for my bottom in all the wrong places, I was there.

The next day, I was handed a back issue of Good  Housekeeping magazine.  I read the story of Amy, and found Belle and her website, Tired of Thinking About Drinking.  I signed up for the 100 day Challenge, and after 60+ days, I got my nerve up and went to AA.I began reading sober blogs, reaching out to sober bloggers, getting advice, getting the help I needed to get sober, one day at a time.

I was sick and tired, or being sick and tired.

I took me until today to look up how much alcohol I was consuming each evening:

1.5L X 0.09 = 135ml 

Therefore, 135ml of alcohol is in the 1.5L 9% bottle of wine. 

A standard shot is about 45ml and a standard shot of tequila or vodka is 40%. Therefore, there is about 18ml of alcohol in a shot. 

.045L * .40 = 18ml 

135/18 = 7.5 

Therefore, the bottle of wine is equivalent to 7.5 bar shots.

shots

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21 thoughts on “My Bottom

  1. Oh honey…I could have written this myself. Our paths are so alike it’s scary. My blog has lots of posts like this as I’ve told my story over the last couple of years but suffice to say…it follows the same path as yours (even down to the argument with the hubs) with one exception…I drank two bottles plus a night. I’m not trying to compare but to let you know you’re not alone. We’re all out here following a similar path and ready and willing to help whenever needed.

    AND ready to cheer and encourage and WOOT for all of your successes!!!

    You are rocking this thing!

    Sherry

  2. I watched a movie “Factotum” last night on Netflix. It stars Matt Dillon. I think it is about Charles Bukowski or one of his stories. Anyway, the guy is what I always picture as an alcoholic. Can’t hold a job. His main focus in life is to get drunk. Even after DUIs, I thought I just needed to plan my drinking better. After ruined relationships and years of blacking out, I thought just one of the normal side effects of a fun life.
    Still hoping I have reached my bottom.

  3. You’re right. We all have our own bottoms and we all know when we get there. That moment is an important one but what is more important is what we decide to do about it. My bottom was when I started adding a shot of something in my early morning coffee to get me through my hangover. I only needed to do it 3 times to acknowledge that that was as far I was going to take it. That’s when I discovered Belle too. Let’s be grateful that we are where we are today, determined to claim better lives for ourselves.

  4. This reminds me of so many things I experienced- not least how difficult it was to quit for a short space of time. I did a similar amount of days in August, and then things got worse.

    We’re out of it now, on the right path. Let’s stay where we are eh? On the sunny side 🙂

      • 4 months after you quit? How much and how many yrs did you drink for? Asking for a friend 😉. Thank-you for your blog.

      • I had been drinking since I was a teenager. But I always kept it under control. When I quit working in 2007 it started to go off the rails. In the end I was drinking a 1.5 liter bottle of Sauvignon Blanc a night. But I have to say I still ran everyday and ate right. So I don’t know if that helped with it going down quickly or not.

  5. Thanks for this, may I ask how long you were drinking 1.5 l? I assume your levels only went down after stopping. I am starting day one today…

    • I would guess 2-2 1/2 years. Some nights it was more. Some nights less. I lied to my doctor. I have no idea why quitting worked this time and not any others. It is very hard in the beginning. Feel free to contact me any time. I have 15 months now. I don’t know a ton but I know how hard it is in the beginning. It is one of the best things I have ever done besides my kids. If I had known this 10 years ago life would be just fine without wine I would have done it then.
      Welcome to day one. Remember you only have to stay sober today. Then repeat. It really is only one day at a time. Don’t get wrapped up in future thinking. Just get through each day and you will see the benefits. My email is patriotgirl0@gmail.com. You can do this. 🙂

      • Well day one didn’t happen on Friday, but it’s happening tonight, no wine in the house and just back from the gym, proud of myself as their is a wine store by the gym, I deliberately left my bank card at home. And thank-you for your encouraging words, they mean a lot.

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