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.