Drinking – A Love Story – It’s a Hunger!

Chapter 4 of Caroline Knapp’s book is entitled “Hunger.”  In this chapter she talks about the development of her hunger for alcohol, from its earliest drizzles to its raging torrents.  She describes her obsession over getting her fair share of whatever alcohol was offered, how the whole idea of turning down a drink was preposterous and how she tied early behaviors to the need to satisfy that hunger. Where did my hunger originate — my need to be in control — my need to fill that hole in my soul?  I remember first hearing about people having an “oral fixation” and secretly laughing at my perception of the sexual connotations to that phrase.  Having spent some time recently studying some of the more famous psychiatrists, I seem to see a connection between a fixation of some kind and the need for the drink.  As a young child, I was very… Continue reading

“Drinking – A Love Story” – Looking at Similarities Not Differences

I almost didn’t have a story to write this week.  I was reading Caroline’s book and finished Chapter 3.  The majority of the second half of the chapter was about her family and their relationships.  They were upper-middle class.  Both parents were highly educated and came from wealthy families.  Her father was a functional alcoholic. He was a well-respected member of the university and health care communities.  They had cocktails before dinner in a very proper New England home.  Dinner was subdued and there was very little emotion of any kind — positive or negative. Periodically, her father would ask how she was doing, with the piercing look of a psychiatrist, as if she were one of his patients. But never any long, heart-to-heart deep conversations over a bowl of popcorn while watching a movie on TV.  Her father was married previously and there was drama associated with that part… Continue reading

“Drinking – A Love Story” – I’m Not That Bad!

Finishing Chapter Two and starting Chapter Three, this week’s reading focused on two parts of alcoholism with which I could readily relate. First, that no one ever saw my real drinking and second that denial allowed me to stay out there as long as I did. The author spoke at length about how she drank when she was with others and when she was alone. She would go out for drinks with her colleagues after work to the bar across the street. After one or two drinks, she would “have to run” and no one knew that those first two drinks were only the start of her night. I can recall going to the bar/restaurant on the mezzanine floor of our office building. There was always a core group of colleagues, along with others who would join once in a while. Made up mostly of bankers, the group also included… Continue reading

Chaos – I can’t quit you! – By Jo Black Sullivan

Chaos has been in the fabric of my being since I was five years old.  I didn’t understand it then but I was most definitely cultivating the art of creating it, developing an eye to spot it and seeking out people who responded to it. Chaos was my safe place long before booze and drugs took over and it has remained so long after.  In the years they were both in my life – I was a constantly twisting crescendo of ecstatic misery.  Living life in a cycle of artificial highs, sick and craving hours that served their own purpose to fill my soul and the brief moments of reality which were completely unacceptable.  So I wrapped it all in chaos and mayhem in an effort to never ever – even for one moment – be alone with myself. It started when I was a child.  There was on older… Continue reading

“Drinking – A Love Story” – The Functional Alcoholic

By Jackie S. The next installment of Caroline Knapp’s story digs deeper into the life of the functional alcoholic.  She talks about the difference between perception and reality.  How it looks to the world like she is holding it all together, but inside she is falling apart.  Like the Smokey Robinson tune, she used humor to hide her tears. By deflecting her depression and sadness through humor, she was able to hide her depression from everyone – even from herself. I was a young lawyer working for a large financial institution and a woman married to a very controlling perfectionist.  Therefore, I lived in two completely different worlds.  The only place I would refuse to drink was on the job, but I had to do that part of my life perfectly.  I appeared for all intents and purposes to be a workaholic ( c’mon – do alcoholics do ANYTHING part… Continue reading