This post is inspired by and is a dedication to Little Ms. Jones and her post I’m Scared. I found so much bravery and honesty in her words. I was humbled by the way she shared her experience with the world and stood so vulnerable before us.
With this inspiration, I decided to follow suit and visit the Drinks Meter Survey Site in order to see what my numbers would have been had I taken the test two months ago. I actually took the inventory twice, but did not record/screen shot my data, so I had to go back and do my best to recreate my first experience. Candidly, I know my numbers were slightly higher the second time through. I believe my total intake was about 38 units the first time through, whereas in the following photos, you will see that I break 40 units. My regular consumption hovered around a bottle of wine a night, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. This was regular behavior for me for a decade. Seeing it broken down like this, it really is mind-blowing how absolute it was that I was my own worst enemy for so, so long.
For those wondering if you drink too much, the survey above is incredibly easy to fill out, nonjudgmental, and its results are easy to understand. I highly encourage you to visit the site. It may help you to answer the question ‘Do I drink too much?’ if indeed it is a question you struggle with.
Alright. Without further ado…. The truth about my drinking:
First, I was walked through a series of screens to determine how much I drank on which days, as well as how much money was spent on alcohol each of those days. I regularly bought bottles of wine between $8-$12, or ‘invested’ in a box, because they were cheaper overall, and so much easier to hide my level of consumption on a given night.
Next, the survey taker is asked to guess how they compare with others around the world. I knew I was on the high end, absolutely.
Looking at the results above, I did not realize I had been regularly binge-drinking on such a regular basis. When filling out my estimates, I didn’t consider any time out with friends, I assume my totals might be even higher with just one night of ‘partying’ included. … My stomach turns at the thought of the life I was living. And I was working so hard not to see it, not to recognize it, and not to acknowledge it as a problem. I did not want my drinking to be a problem. It was mine, my special thing, my ‘adult’ thing, my reward. I worked so hard to fool everyone around me – and to fool myself most of all.
Then, the survey takes the person on a walk through a series of questions to compound potential risk factors with the current level of alcohol consumption. So smart. These questions talk about family history, mental illness, medication use, and other similar factors.
Based on my history of bipolar with an emphasis on depression, possible family alcohol abuse, and my mood stabilizing medication, my numbers shot way up. I was surprised by just how much…
After this huge bomb is dropped in my lap, the survey then moves on to ask how the survey-taker feels about their drinking habits. I have included the questions and my answers below.
Looking at these, I want to say a few things. First, my normal drinking night usually included at least 3 glasses of wine, or 2 beers and a glass of wine, or something to that effect. It usually always equalled 3 (or more). Second, I am SO fucking lucky I, or my husband, or my children, or a stranger was not hurt as a result of my (heavy) drinking. Considering how long I drank, combined with how much I drank, I should have found myself in jail or detox at least once. I am so unbelievably grateful that no one was harmed – physically – as a result of my drinking. However, that is not to say my children or my husband or family was not hurt emotionally, mentally, or verbally on any given night. My temper was forceful and harsh, and my moods hovered around surly, pissed, and sad. So much pain. And now, so much regret. Finally, I answered ‘yes’ to question 10, because I have been talking about sobriety with my therapist for the past two years, but I never sought sobriety out, nor did I receive any actual clinical help for my drinking.
The survey then shows the user Reality. Here is mine:
Following the final results, Drinks Meter asks the user to estimate how many drinks he or she might remove from their weekly intake. The person is brought back through their initial inventory and can subtract however many units they wish. Since being sober on June 9, I removed all of my drinks because that is my Life now.
The results and changes are astonishing and give so much hope for the future….
The scale below is my favorite… To go from the very highest, most worrisome level of use and to drop all the way down to the lowest, healthiest level… It feels so good just to look at the change!
So there you go. From daily use to no use in two months.
Thank you again to Little Ms. Jones…. I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to take this survey in the height of my use, but I am grateful for the reality check, as well as the ability to see what was my truth from the vantage point of where I am now.
Day 56, I prefer the view from here.