My Lists

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alcohol and Lying

I read a post by another blogger recently where she was upset because she knew someone had lied.  I totally get that.  It bothers me as well when I know that about someone.

I've always prided myself on not lying.  It's not because I'm better than anyone else, and to tell you the truth, not lying is really more of a weakness than a strength.  I get physically ill at lying.

I could not look a boss in the eye and say "I was sick" yesterday.  It is easier for me to show up at work or to just say I can't come in.  Honesty can get me into trouble.

I can't even compliment someone on a hairstyle if I don't mean it.  I don't say anything bad but I have always avoiding saying anything as opposed to half truths.  I struggle with even the white lies.

I was betrayed in my first marriage and it was the lying that disoriented me.  It wasn't the fact that he had affairs and, since I always try to see every side to every issue, I probably even tried to own up to my role in them......what was wrong in our marriage?.....what could I have done different? ....etc.  But the lying killed me.  I couldn't understand how someone who supposedly loved me could lie to me.  I began to realize over the years that people who love you, whom you love, can lie as well.

My current hubby will lie.  He doesn't do it on big issues but he is capable and doesn't deny it.  If I want to get off the phone with a family member I usually just say "okay, I am going to go now but I'll call you later" or something like that.  I heard hubby the other night tell a caller from his alma mater that he was in a like 8pm.  I don't understand why he didn't just say "I am not interested right now in donating but, yes, you have my info correct."  His argument is that he doesn't want to be that brutally honest, doesn't want to make them feel bad.

So, that being said, after reading the post, I initiated a conversation with my hubby that went something like this......and believe it or not we are still together:  :-)

Me: So I read a post about lying and it's making me think.  Why is it that you can lie and I can't?
Him: You lie
Me: No I don't
Him: Okay, fine, you don't.
Me: But, really, I am so black and white and you are gray.  I wish I was more able to see the gray in things. What makes you different?
Him:  Well, I don't lie about major things, important things.  Maybe I'm not as skilled as you.

One of the remarkable things about him is that once he realizes I am not trying to provoke him on an issue, he has some insightful things to say.  He basically boiled it down to two reasons why I don't lie.

1) I am very verbal.  I am skilled at saying something close to the truth, possibly omitting the truth without specifically lying.  Not everyone may be as verbally comfortable as I am.

2) I am fortunate enough to live within circumstances that don't often necessitate a reason to lie.

It really forced me to think.  It's so easy to say "I don't lie" and to get my panties in a wad when others do.  He's right.  There are circumstances where I would lie and he caused me to think about them.

- if I was in Nazi Germany, I would have lied to protect others.  No doubt.  (Okay, yes, but I can justify any lying that is against evil.)

- if I worked for the CIA and had to lie to others as a part of my job I would.  (I argued I wouldn't take that kind of job, but, if I did, I could justify that as a necessity of the job, not my own character flaw.)

- if my son was in a school play that was very important for me to be there, I likely would have "called in sick" to see it.  I wouldn't have risked a job and putting food on the table by saying I needed to see the play if I knew I had a boss who wouldn't allow it.  (He got me there.  I have pretty much always worked for myself so have never had to make that decision, to miss things for my son that I didn't want to.)

My stepson visits and keeps walking off with my son's clothes.  2 visits ago,  I asked, before we went to the airport, if he could check to see if he had anything of my son's in his backpack.  (I realized some things were about to go missing.)  He goes into his backpack and was like "oops, are these his?"... and pulls out two shirts.  I made a big deal of thanking him and he said there weren't any more.  Then, when he went to brush his teeth, I looked in the backpack and grabbed the other shirt he hadn't pulled out.  He probably realized it when he got home but I never confronted him.

Then, this last visit, he packed his own bag and I just let it go.  But there went the same shirts again and this time they are MIA. It wasn't the stealing that got to me, it was the lying.  I told a work acquaintance about this and thought I would get empathy about the little lying cheat.  Instead the answer was "how flattering.  He clearly wants a piece of your son, someone he perceives as his brother."  and  "I used to steal my cousin's stuff all the time, it wasn't really stealing." That threw me.  Hmmm..  Other issues could be at play here too but it was an interesting answer.

Anyway, it made me consider being a little more tolerant toward lying.  Oh sure, some lies are intolerable, but maybe when we catch that person lying, it's not so important to make a stink about it.  We don't know what may be prompting that lie, we don't necessarily need to assume that it's personal against us.  Maybe I wouldn't lie in that situation but who am I to judge?

And......let's face it....clearly, I have much as I am in denial.  As my hubby said, perhaps more by being verbal and avoiding the direct lies, but he is right, I have done it.  And to those I love.

Every time my son remarked that I seemed really "tired" or "dizzy" last night, I agreed.  I never said "Mommy had too much to drink".  One night I had had too much and then went to bed.  About an hour later the dog needed to go out and woke me up out of a passed out but still drunk sleep.  I stumbled to the door and forgot the alarm was on.  Woke the house up.  Then, I was still too drunk to figure out how to turn it off.  Hubby came and got it.  I was walking around dizzy and waiting for the alarm call.  My son saw this.  Finally we all went back to bed.  But the next morning I brought it up and said "wow, did you get back to sleep okay after my alarm debaucle?"  He looked at me funny.  It had only been 11pm, he hadn't gone to bed yet.  Oops.  I said, "wow, I was so tired and it's weird how I react from waking up in a deep sleep, I was so disoriented".  He gave me another look and said "yeh, you seemed really dizzy".  I said "yes, it's how I am sometimes when really tired."

Yep, I lied, pretty much no doubt about it.  This post was a good reminder to me that I'm not a perfect person.  That I may need to get down off my high horse a bit.  That's great that in general I may try to not lie but really it's just because that is where my comfort zone is, not my capable zone.

Also a great reminder of how alcohol can bring things out in us of which we aren't proud.  Not dealing with that is so much easier!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It's been a long, long road...

Peter Mayer sings two songs that have really resonated with me over the past year.  One is MUSICBOX and the other is FAITH IN ANGELS.  The general chorus to each is like such:

It’s been a long long road but I’m coming back to find you
It’s like tumblin’ down Jericho breakin’ the walls that bind you
I’m comin’ back to find you


Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me

In my journey with alcohol over this past year, these words resonated with me.  Not as love songs as I think they were intended, but more about coming back to find the girl I used to be, who was carefree, confident and never needed alcohol as a crutch.

A year ago this weekend, I gave up alcohol for a period.  I had had a phone call with a friend and didn't remember much of it the next day.  It was time to get my alcohol drinking under control.  I thought it would be really hard.  It was amazingly easy.  I just switched to sparkling water and alcohol free beer.  But giving up alcohol is in some ways like giving birth.  It's amazing how quickly one forgets the pain! 

After two weeks I was bored with abstaining.  I had just wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I was initially skeptical I could go for very long but amazed that two weeks had passed.  So I started trying it again.  Before long, by the end of April, I was back to drinking over a bottle a night.  Oh, I would drink less, even a lot less, some nights, but, apart from occasional exceptions, I would drink every night. 

That darn muscle memory.....with drinking it feels like my brain is acting like a muscle and I can just get right back to it...

Wiki says: Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a musical instrument,[1] martial arts or even dancing.

It's funny how there is no mention of getting back into addictive behaviors.  But to me it's no wonder that if we can get right back on a bike after 20 years, no doubt we can get right back into bad drinking behaviors.

Finally, in April, I tested myself one night.....and failed.  That was my cue to be more drastic.  So I went 125 days.  Then, I went right back into drinking mode.

The difference was that I was super aware of every sip.  I felt guilty but thought "hey, no problem".  Then I would drink more frequently, higher quantities.  I was able to keep myself to a certain point but only because I think I finally admitted that there was a threshold where I KNEW I would have a problem if I continued.

I have experimented over the last 6+ months with hitting that threshold and backing off.  There have been very few occasions where I felt I stepped over the threshold, certainly nothing like in previous years.  But I haven't liked this game I've been playing.  I justify the game as an experiment but really it's just damn hard to think of fully abstaining again.  I totally understand why people say it's get harder and harder to quit again and again.

There is not the same level of excitement in quitting again.  Been there, done that.  I may know what to expect on the positive side but, worse, I KNOW what to expect on the negative side!

It's like hitting the beach and jumping into the ocean full of cold surf.  The first time you run in, deal with the shock of the water, and then, well, you are already wet so might as well enjoy it.  The next time, while you will still enjoy it, it may take you longer to dive in because you know the first jump is going to be a cold one!

Right now abstaining still feels like the place to be.  I liked that I slept well last night, that I was efficient last evening, and that I had a reason to be up at 4am this morning which I was able to do with ease.

For those still considering or fighting the obvious, I think it goes like this.  (For those who have followed this blog you know I will try to quantify everything so forgive me as I do it yet again....)

1) you get to a point where you need to abstain for awhile
2) you do it and it may not even be as hard as you think
3) you either stay start again
4) you realize you are escalating even if not back to your former levels
5) you may have another alcohol related episode of some sort that wakes you up, or you may just subtly realize that you are not feeling good about the experience and really, kinda, sorta want to be somewhere else with alcohol but can't seem to get there.
6) you finally decide to give it up again but it's harder perhaps until you get to the last time.
7) you repeat the cycle for however many times you need to
8) you may be able to get back to some level of drinking that works for you (the majority will admit they just need to quit)
9) the last time you finally quit for good, it feels different.  It's somehow easier to not fight anymore and to just move forward.  (so I hear :-) )

I know I am stuck between 7 and 8.   I freely admit it.  But I'd rather be at #7 for a bit than back at #1!!  

Congrats to all the #9s.  You continue to inspire me with your comments and with your support.  It really sounds like such a lovely place to be!!!  I have watched many go through the above process.  Many who were at #7 while I was at #1.  Many who have made it through to #9 and many of those same who were at #7 for quite awhile first!!  There is hope for all of us!