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Rock Bottom?

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Am I an alcoholic? Did I hit rock bottom? The juiciest Quit Lit memoirists detail all their heinous, regrettable blackout deeds: picking fights with their partners, cheating on their partners, waking up in strangers' homes, waking up naked in strangers' beds, driving with their kids while drunk, crashing their cars while drunk, calling in sick to work, showing up drunk to work, drinking before work, drinking at work.

Well, sorry to disappoint, I never did any of these things and don't have particularly juicy stories to tell. I was just drinking too much. From one year to the next, my daily (yes, daily) intake was steadily rising, reaching a point where I was drinking more than 4 times the recommended weekly intake for women. This wasn't intentional, of course. I didn't set out aiming to build my alcohol tolerance to match my husband's, who outweighs me by 50%. I didn't set out to awaken at three a.m. every night with tachycardia and a dry mouth, nor to wake up every morning fuzzy-headed and regretful, vowing to take a few days off, never to be hungover again, only to start all over again when the clock struck five.

I finally realized I didn't want to hit a rock bottom. I didn't want my kids growing up thinking that my level of alcohol intake was normal, and I didn't want so many of my hours with them to be fuzzy in my memory. Any time I had stopped drinking in the past, even for a few days, I had marveled at my morning clear-headedness, my improved sense of well-being, and my improved self-esteem. Why wait until I crashed my car or embarrassed myself at a work party? Why wait until I started drinking even more? Why not draw the line?

What about moderation, you may ask? Well, if you've found yourself here reading this, I suspect you've had as much sense with moderation as I always did. I always intended to be a "normal," "social," "moderate" drinker: the kind with supposedly reduced risk of heart disease compared to nondrinkers. Turns out I'm an all-or-nothing drinker. Why would I want just one? What's the point? So here I am, too. Now at 75 days dry.

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