How is this a question I've never asked before????

I asked both Pat and Jesse, the only two people in my life (at least in the last 20 years) having seen me in the drunken, rageful, hateful place I go into when drinking, a question. One that I can't ever recall asking before, even in the first rounds of recovery 20 years ago. Like, I'm seriously amazed it never came up before.

The set-up was this: I am not a violent person. Sometimes mean and with no small shortage of anger management issues, but verbally and physically, what went on that night does not happen at all. I want to think that the monster I become when I hit the bottle does not exist until that chemical is introduced into my body. I want to think that horrible person does not exist without a few too many shots (which in my case, equals, like, ONE shot).

But accountability holds a much greater weight than it ever did before, and I have to she there all the time? Buried though she may be, chained to the walls she may be, is she just waiting for the time when I'm my weakest, alcohol being what weakens the chains enough for her to break loose?

I once heard someone say that whatever we are capable of when drunk, we are also capable of doing sober. Sobriety simply makes it easier to not repeat the actions we do when drunk.

Is this true? And if it is, am I the monster for what lies beneath, or am I victim of myself and a mix of bad chemicals? Do I really feel the awful things I said and did, or is it the lies of addiction that revealed themselves?

We already know the beast of addiction is carried in my veins. I learned that 20 years ago. But is what happens when in the throes of it something that I usually simply bury in the guise of peaceful human interaction? Am I that hateful a creature by nature and the only thing that keeps her at bay is abstinence?

I don't know. Jesse and Pat gave different answers, Pat saying that those traits have always been a part of me, and alcohol simply removes the barriers around the awful drunk. Jesse says it's more a a press of stress and addiction, things that are intrinsically part of me, but the actions are twisted things that I normally don't feel.

It leaves me confused, though the answer to either answer is the same - sobriety. I have simply become painfully aware of the intent of addiction and am not sure where to place those intentions.

And why did this never come up before, in my days of drinking an entire bottle of vodka a day and then putting needles in my arms? How in the world is this something that never crossed my mind when I was younger?

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Your question also predisposes the assumption that we are all set individuals and are the same internally all the time.

And I think some of us are and some of us aren't. Some of us are pretty set, some of us are more malleable and drift and change with the seasons.

My own experience of it was such that when Ella drank, it certainly unleashed her inner demons. Then her sober self would twist herself up in knots to try and self justify the shitty awful things she did when drunk. I think she got in trouble trying to rationalise it away, rather than facing up to the fact that yeah, when she drank, she was a shitty cruel horrible person. So instead she started creating multi layered illusional realities, and probably very quickly lost control of what was real and not real in her existence.

And that cliche exists for a reason, when people drink, their inner demons frequently come out to play.

So yeah, you've probably got this in you. We're all mixtures of good and bad and cruel and kind and generous and selfish. We've all got it in us somewhere.

Is it possible it never came up before because you weren't around people who might have challenged you on being cruel and making you think maybe your behaviour was not okay?
You hit on something here - I think when I got sober all those years ago, the focus was on not dying from my addiction and not necessarily *what happens* when I'm using. So yeah, I think you're right, no one ever really questioned the things I said or did during that time. The pressure was on something entirely else.

I'm trying to be different than E, because what she was like is what I am like when I'm using. Rationalization galore. Owning up to it is what allows someone to be sober. Twisting yourself into knots trying to say that it did it, (alcohol), not me, just rips apart yourself and everyone around you.

You're right, too, that all of us have the capacity to be whatever we are in any state we are. I want to say that's the human condition, but I worry that is another cop-out.
And I don't know who the people were you were hanging out with back in the addiction days, but probably other addicts?

And people tend to take on the characteristics of the social group they hang around with. What is acceptable behaviour in a peer group of addicts is not acceptable in other groups. (And the problem there is when somebody tries to move from one peer group into another peer group, they find they are not accepted because they still have the old peer groups behaviourisms.)

It reminds me of something M. said to me once, when she was hanging out with her drunken abusive alcholic drug using ex, and her behaviour became very bad as a result, and she angrily hurled at me that not everyone could be a fucking saint like me. And it's like... no, it's different peer groups. When you hang out with arseholes you become an arsehole.

Identity is really fucking malleable isn't it?

It's hard to know how to rationalise something like that without it seeming like a cop-out. It was you, it was the drink, it was your illness. It was all you.

The thing that would have mattered to me with Ella is if she had genuinely made an effort to change. If she had genuinely gotten help. If she had genuinely stepped away from the booze and pills. If she had made an effort to be genuinely kind.
Just my fucking reason to always stay away from chemicals which an alter my judgment, already in the younger years which were the most dangerous time. 'Cause I've feared what this may set free - or what this would make me vulnerable to and then I don't take care of myself as much as I usually do.
Stayed away from parties that class-mates made or which were school-related class events for that reason out of a couple of others. Biggest fear was that once they all come to you and press you into drinking while you would already want to chop their heads off just for putting that stupid demand to you because that already was a harm of your personal sphere. But when a bunch of teens stands around you, pressing you to do a certain behavior, it's a bit utopic to think you can all fight them back all alone...
So, never exposed to that scenario, and I think it was for the better. Never had the impression to miss something. These days it's a bit easier - if someone doesn't drink, then he doesn't drink. Who knows for whatever reason. People have a better way of accepting it. You can already be an addict having gone on the wagon when you're not even 30...
And seriously, I don't even need it to be someone or something. My brain's already enough for that.
The beast within can be held back much better with a sober mind. You can also better work on raising the requirements when it only starts to feel talked to in that state.
(Still I don't want to know if something can knock out my inner calm. Do my best to not let this happen.)
Let's not put too fine a point on it: you have a lot to be angry about. It's not particularly illuminating anger, anymore, but it sits there.

You put a certain amount of energy into looking after your boundaries so that you don't have even more to be angry about. Thus, out of habit, you're always on the lookout. You notice things and filter them, but you rarely forget them. Was that a pattern or a mistake? you ask yourself, probably ten or twenty times a day.

...But then, when you drink, well. FILTER GONE NOW. And you don't really have the acuity of judgment required to look out for yourself like you do when you're sober, so everybody's unsafe.

It would seem that you know all of that, even if you've struggled to come up with the words.

So go my 2¢.

Edited at 2017-08-07 05:03 pm (UTC)
yeah im a total dick to my gf when im drunk, sometimes. I got an ultimatum, if it happens again, shes out. I stopped drinking-not because of that, but because im falling apart.
i dont think i turn into a different person when im drunk,exactly-i have the same resentments sober-but i deal with it better sober.