Self-fulfilling prophecies – how much is too much?

I used to say my life needed to be broken up into three parts. Like any good memoirist, such as Augusten Burroughs or Chelsea Handler, I had to have the epic story of my childhood, the account of my ultimate addiction, and then the book about how my life turned to awesome. I literally gave this tons of thought, down to the point of nearly identifying which addiction to choose (alcohol, sex, cocaine, shopping, anorexia, etc.); all considered as if I had to have more life struggles to make myself anyone.

As I’ve realized over the last year or so though, my life is already hella-awesome. I’m also pretty prone to making goals come true. Which leads me to think I should probably focus on something good rather than a terrible disease millions of people face. I was also young and stupid, coming from a place of such privilege to methodically ruin all I had for what, a good story? It also came from a wealth of depression, which doesn’t justify it but at least provides more context.

This brings me to the recent commitments I’ve made and my inability to fully keep them. I didn’t realize how deeply I would think about my monthly resolutions. I pulled them together based on what I thought would make me a better person. Eat better, drink less, do more towards my goals, and exercise: simple, right? Well, no, which is why I wasn’t doing it already.

Completely eliminating carbs/gluten isn’t really feasible. Well, it is, but I don’t have to and it didn’t make me feel any better so why should I because I love both those things a lot. I also found out earlier this week that I have an allergy to dairy. So, if I can’t have milk or ice cream or yogurt or cheese, I better damn well get my burgers and boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings.

And then there is alcohol. How much is too much? Where is that line of totes-normal-drinking versus alcoholism? The problem is, there isn’t one. Have I self-fulfilled the prophecy of becoming an addict? The quizzes I took to try and determine if I do have a problem led me to believe that any and every college student would fit into the problem area. But then, I’m not in college anymore. So like any rational person, I started reading tons of memoirs of people who had drinking problems, trying to figure out if I have similar symptoms or signs. Again though, there isn’t a clear cut answer to any of this. Sometimes I have more than three drinks in a night. Sometimes I drink alone, if you count writing at home with a glass of wine “drinking alone”. Some nights I don’t drink at all and sometimes after a long ass day at work I just want to sit on my balcony with a beer.

There is also the genetic component too. I wouldn’t say my entire family is full of alcoholics, because there are tons that are not. Like my grandma. She drinks maybe a bottle of wine a year. I’ve heard rumors that my grandpa may have been one, but I never got to meet him. Then there is my biological fathers side who I never really knew but based on what I know about him, they probably form a long line of alcoholics. While this doesn’t mean I automatically am one, it means I’m more prone to it and need to be more mindful. Are my considerations of my drinking now then signs of me being actually concerned or reacting too much to stories I read? I’m I trying to gloss over excuses now or truly evaluate if I have a problem?

I went to a networking event on Wednesday where they had free beer. I abstained given my goal of the month and had a fine time. I met some people, enjoyed the content, and went home at a reasonable time. Last night though, I went to another networking event at Macalester, and had two glasses of wine. I’m not sure how this affected my experience. I had fun, met some new people, chatted with those I already knew, and left early. And I enjoyed the wine.

Who knows what March will do to me, reading a book a week. Especially now that my last four Kindle downloads have been drinking-memoirs.

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One thought on “Self-fulfilling prophecies – how much is too much?

  1. I have a lot of those same conversations with myself about alcohol and my drinking habits over the years. Ultimately it was getting pregnant and 9 months of pregnant sobriety that forced me to examine my relationship with alcohol — and here’s the conclusion: I didn’t miss it. At all. I felt great, I had fewer headaches and less heartburn (and I was PREGNANT), and I had an easier time maintaining my weight WHILE PREGNANT than I did on a normal day, while drinking a fair amount of wine and beer on a regular basis. In the past, when I’d considered going dry for a month or whatever, it always kind of freaked me out – the social anxiety of it,maybe? – but then I quit for 10 months without even batting an eye. So my suggestion to you is to just quit for 30 days and see how you feel. The booze will still be there when you get through the month, and you will learn about yourself. My relationship with alcohol is totally different now (both for reasons of having to be a parent but also because quitting for 10 months was kind of a “reset button” and changed my tolerance and how alcohol effect me).

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