Talking to My Addiction


As my friend says, I have a “high-bottom” which makes me giggle, but there is a point. I drink. More than I would like sometimes. And, it is hard for me to abstain completely. But, I have never had serious consequences. no DUIs or jail time. No one telling me they will leave if I don’t stop drinking.

Smaller things. My children commenting that we have too much alcohol in the house. Drinking a little too much at parties and thinking I overdid it, to drinking way too much and embarrassing myself by getting sick. I have blacked out, and it frightened me. I had to ask my husband what happened at the end of the night.

I wasn’t drinking every night. I would not drink and drive. I would usually be at home, in the evening, when everything was taken care of and I had time to relax. It was my reward. To have “a drink or two.” My drinks consisted of about 2 shots apiece with a mixer.

I tried going to AA meetings but I didn’t feel comfortable at the few meetings I went to. They did seem religious to me. So, I asked around and discovered SMART Recovery meetings. There are only 5 live meetings in my county (there are a lot of AA meetings everyday). They have a website with on-line meetings, too. The tools are based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and self-management. You can use both SMART and AA, but I chose SMART as a secular alternative. I started going to meetings.

One of the first tools you learn is a Hierarchy of Values. I listed things that matter to me. Family, Friends, Career, Health, Stability. Nowhere on that list was alcohol. In fact, alcohol endangered those very things I value. Then I did a Cost Benefit Analysis. i listed the pros and cons of using and the pros and cons of not using. It was pretty convincing when you look at exchanging a short-lived “buzz” for a longer term good health.

But, I had trouble remembering why I was abstaining. After all, I wasn’t really getting into too much trouble. Yes, it wasn’t good to mix my medications with alcohol, it wasn’t good for my health or stability, but those things are so hard to measure. So, I would “slip”. I would have some wine with a meal and start going back to my old ways.

Then I talked to my friend who brought up the concept of the “high bottom”. I went to a meeting and met a woman. She was older than me and trying to rebuild relationships. I didn’t want to have to do that. I was lucky that i didn’t drink enough to need to go through any kind of detox. I didn’t feel great the first couple of days and I had a real sweet tooth, but that ended.

They brought up a different concept at a meeting I went to recently. It was a tool called DISARM. (Everything is an acronym). Basically it is talking rationally back to the little voice that tells you to drink. I think of it as a little devil on my shoulder saying “C’mon, one drink won’t hurt”. It lies. It tells me I will relive the best of times, but it doesn’t happen. I usually just fall asleep. So, now I can call the voice what it is, a liar. It makes promises it can’t keep. I won’t listen to that voice of addiction any longer.

Reposted From Medium

By Lori Bernstein

I am a mental health paraprofessional with lived experience. I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and social anxiety. I have gone from being reclusive to public speaking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.