AA In College

For the younger AA generation, some experience, strength and hope.

AA In College

Postby hucksley » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:40 am

Hello everyone, my name is Chad, I'm 21 years old and I'm an alcoholic. I haven't started attending meetings yet but will in the very near future (as in tomorrow). A little bit about my story/situation...

It all started last year in my junior year of college. I was excited to begin a new year in a new apartment with new roommates. The possibilities seemed innumerable and endless. I had been living in my fraternity house the year before, which could quite possibly be the worst place for someone with alcoholism to be on a regular basis. However, ironically enough, it started as soon as I moved out of that environment. Weird how this stuff pans out, huh?

Anyways, so after moving into this new place, one of my roommates decided that he wanted to drop out of school and get drunk every night, making ends meet by selling a certain herb to a certain group of acquaintances. Not exactly the best person to be around, and after awhile we grew quite sick of his shenanigans. Evicting him was discussed but never came to full fruition. After awhile, I started hanging around him more for emotional support, after all, he was my friend and I was growing very concerned for him. He had had a lot of issues with his parents and with the budding phases of alcoholism, so I figured I would do something nice for a friend in need. I started to go out with him to keep an eye on him, but after a very short while I ended up going out for my own enjoyment.

We would go to bars 4-5 nights a week, often spending ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol and other drugs. Soon thereafter, I started to drink during the day in order to stave off the hangover. Soon, my goals quickly shifted to, "As soon as I finish this class/assignment I'm going to go home and get hammered. I've earned it after all." Before I continue, it's important for me to note the true reason for why I drink.

I have social anxiety disorder, but not in the usual way. I'm actually and extremely personable and friendly guy, often very outspoken and opinionated. I've always had a lot of friends and can say without boasting that I am pretty popular. At least I was, until alcohol started speaking for me. I would self-medicate with alcohol in order to calm my nerves throughout the day, for my ADD medication makes me quite antsy and jumpy. Soon it would be to gain self-confidence around female interests, and for better performance later on (if you know what I mean). After awhile, I stopped realizing what my limits were. Every night, they seemed to change. One night, I'd pound shot after shot and not feel a thing, but yet some nights I feel like I'd have only a few and blackout. This was growing into quite the problem with my roommates and they demanded a change. They started to put up with it and just expect me to blackout every night, they'd even plan on getting me a ride after going out because they knew I wouldn't be able to make the walk back.

I felt terrible, but there was this thing growing inside of me, nagging me at every waking moment, trying to convince me to relax and find a drink. It manifested into a literal voice, and some might call it the voice of temptation. Junior year ends, I've developed this terrible habit, and I return home from school for a promising summer internship at a reputable firm in town. At first, I don't drink at all when I get back, as I am trying to get back in shape for the next school year and pool season. Then, I grow bored during work, and start to bring in water bottles of vodka to sip throughout the day. It helped with my nerves about work, for I was very self-conscious that I wasn't doing a good enough job. In hindsight, as an intern you should not be expected to be an expert on day one, but my self-consciousness is the prime reason for my alcoholism. By the end of the day, I'd be plastered but not enough to lose control. No one noticed, so I continued. This kept going throughout the summer until one day, my parents smelled it on my breath. They asked what was going on and I covered it up by saying I had recently used mouthwash. Once they caught me again, the first of many long talks into the night began.

Soon, it became apparent that I had a problem. I'd quit for about a week and then start up again whenever friends were involved. They didn't know about this problem, so they had no reason to deny me a drink. I wouldn't blackout or get hammered EVERY time, but enough times that I began to alienate many of my friends from home. They would be scared to invite me over, for fear I'd cause a scene or drink all of their alcohol. I became very lonely as a result and plunged further into the depths of alcoholism. I'd buy a bottle of vodka or gin on the way home from work and drink it to go to sleep. I then became unable to sleep without drinking, so my problems became compounded exponentially. I always felt like I had a handle on it though, and that I could quit whenever I really wanted to without much fuss. Boy was I wrong.

There's a quote from the West Wing I'd like to share, and it's stated by John Spencer's character Chief of Staff Leo McGerry. He is a recovering alcoholic relating one of his stories to a senior White House staffer. When asked if he ever wanted to drink again, he replied very frankly, "I'm just an alcoholic. The problem isn't that I want one drink. It's that I want ten. I don't understand how a normal person's mind works, it doesn't make sense to me." As soon I heard him say that, I knew that that's exactly how I felt. I didn't see a point in drinking unless it was to get drunk. I didn't want to drink like a gentleman, I wanted to drink like a drunkard.

This year, senior year, I got a breathalyzer installed in my car to curtail my drinking when, if anything, it only made it worse. Instead of driving to class, I'd have a few drinks in the morning and not be able to operate the car. Oops, I guess class isn't happening today, oh well. Now, my grades have reflected the very serious decline alcoholism is putting on my life. I'm not sure if I'll ever get better, but I'm going to try. Hopefully AA is the answer, I'm a bit of an agnostic though, so I've always had my reservations. To me, rehab is absolutely NOT an option. If I don't graduate in the spring, I will not be hired through the company that I interned at this summer, and this economy, it's not feasible to take off a month or however long a program would be in order to get better. I have to do it through other ways, and hopefully through a support group, I will be able to achieve my goals.

One day, I hope to be able to drink beer and enjoy life like I used to, because in all honesty, I don't think I want to live in a world without alcohol entirely. I'm not sure that's something I'll ever want, it just doesn't seem right. What do you all think? Is it possible to control yourself at any point, especially if you've been sober for a long period of time? I never have problems when only beer is in the equation, just liquor. Is it possible I'm just addicted to liquor? Is there such a thing? Thanks for reading if you bothered, and I look forward to some great discussion.
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Re: AA In College

Postby johnd » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:40 am

Hello Hucksley,
Welcome to the forum I do understand your cicumstance. I too wasn't able to perform to my potentials as an active "Alcoholic". I encourage you to attend that meeting and listen and introduce yourself to
the members there. My name is John I have been sober for over 26 years. i say that not to impress you but to let you know that AA works. Your last paragragh really got me and believe me I understand where you are and looking toward the future :D the thing is I stay sober just for 1 day that is it I had to cling to that concept early on. I can tell you I haven't found it necessary to take a drink, a drug ,or a subistitute in these 26 years.
For me drinking has nothing to give me any longer, I couldn't fathom not drinking at anytime in my life. but I had to surrender to the fact that when it came to alcohol I couldn't drink it even when I wanted to, Alcohol had taken control of my life. Everyday I would find a drink or I would be thinking about where the next drink was going to be, I have to be honest with you. Will I be able to have a beer ? The answer for me is NO only because I can't have a beer, once I start I can't stop. If I were to drink at this point in my life I would have no idea where I would end up. Would I like to have a beer or a rum and coke or a shot of Jack Daniels You Bet I would. but it isn't going to happen for me. alcohol was killing me inside and out. I am not cured by any means. I still attend meetings and I stay involved in AA. There is a lot of help here so please give yourself a break and get involved and go just one day without a drink and your life will get better. of course if you choose to drink everything you feel now will be fully refunded it's up to you you have to make it happen. again i am only one person saying this just listen and read some of the post that are on this site. Thanks for being here and reminding of what it was like getting sober. If I can Help let me know Thanks John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous
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Re: AA In College

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:40 pm

Let me be the first do spoil your ambitions. Once you are alcoholic you will always be an alcoholic. There is no way, you can drink beer and enjoy life, cos you will go back to right where you started or even worse because its alcoholism is a progressive disease.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: AA In College

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks for the shares, guys...

Funny how the Alcoholics Mind works...
"The idea that somehow, some day, he will control and enjoy his drinking is the Great Obsession of every Abnormal drinker. The persistence of this Illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of Insanity or Death." (Big Book, pg 30 http://www.aa.org)


That is the Truth of my tale... I didn't always get in trouble when I drank, but I had been drinking every time I was in trouble.

The insanity of MY mind in doing the same things over and over, and expected it to turn out differently is what I suffer from. Like a Diabetic signing up for treatment with the goal to be able to suck down donuts later on, or a Cancer Patient going through Chemo & Radiation with the hopes he can smoke again..

The Great Obsession of the Abnormal Drinker - that's me. "Normal" just don't want to hang out with what's going to kill them.

Alcoholism is a Fatal, Progressive Illness... Over time, it Always gets worse, never better. That's the experience of those who have gone before me, and what I have seen in the many 24 hours since I joined AA.

As was said, it was made manageable for ME just to take it One Day at a Time... I haven't sworn off forever, I just am Not drinking or chewing my booze Today, taking whatever action I need to in order to make another 24 hours sober.... That's the decision I have been making every day since I was 20 years old... I'm over 50 now.

Those fears of 'all the good times I would miss' have been replaced with a life that is better than anything I could have imagined. AA gave me something worth living for, and I honestly never had it so good, thanks to what I get through AA.

Welcome to the site, thanks for the share, and best to you.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: AA In College

Postby Belle » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:42 pm

Hello,

Thank your or sharing your story. Welcome to AA.

My name is Belle and I'm a 19 year old alcoholic going to university at this time... in my 2nd year. I got sober 7 months ago and AA really has completely changed things in my life. For you concern about not being able to drink again, the answer to that in the program is... just don't drink today. Thats what we aim for. It seems, with the old-timers i've met, that the days add up and the with many - they speak about the desire to drink completely leaving them, so those thoughts- the fantasies about a cold beer once you've been sober long enough - they might just go away.

I'm in no way there yet, I am living in residence surrounded by alcohol and often crave it intensity. But its getting better, because there is an answer now.

Get to a meeting, and then another, and another, until you find that one that fits!

Easy does it!

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Re: AA In College

Postby kenyal » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:37 pm

Hi Hucksley, welcome to the forum and it's great you're looking at this problem as it can colour our lives for as long as we drink.

I didn't get sober until 28, which allowed for many adventures during and after my years in the college dorms. If I had less of them I may not have been as reasonable when it came time to get sober, but there are some back there I could as well do without. I was obvious to several of my professors to the point of them asking me point blank about it, and lots of classes were missed meaning my education could have been much more meaningful. Alcoholic drinking always carries a price, and some costs are not immediately apparent.

You might be surprised to find an on-campus meeting. I started one at my uni that's still going 27 years later. If not then you won't need to go far...AA is handy and you may find you've been passing by meetings all your life without knowing they were there.

Regarding your question, no I don't care to drink and haven't wanted to drink again after I became involved in AA and saw the truth of my past and the part alcohol played in my various troubles. Understanding too that alcohol (whatever beverage) has little to do with alcoholism helped me to lose my focus on the most visible symptom of what was wrong with me, and learn more about what it takes to live life without the illusion of relief it provided me. I was always a guy who needed release and relief but didn't understand why that was.

AA has worked well as an answer for me for over 30 years, which means I've been able to function as any non-alcoholic person might in the important realms of life. With a lot of side benefits that most people never receive. No complaints here.

If you need a lasting answer, go get it from a member who has it. We pass it on when asked.
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Re: AA In College

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:43 am

For you concern about not being able to drink again, the answer to that in the program is... just don't drink today. Thats what we aim for.


I would say that is the answer of the todays' fellowship. If you work the 12 steps as laid out it in the big book, sobriety will be given. You just have to work on being spiritually fit. The defense against the first drink must come from your higher power and thats exactly what happens when you work the program, you get connected to the power and that power takes care of your issues.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: AA In College

Postby Jimmy B. » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:29 pm

Hey Hucksley,

I'm Jimmy, and I'm an alcoholic.

I definitely understand how hard it can be, being a recovering alcoholic in college. I've only just started my college career, and already I've run into some difficulties. Luckily, the dorms I am living in have provided to me a bit of an advantage, starting this year they have banned alcohol inside of people's rooms, obviously people still find a way but it is still a comforting factor nonetheless. There have been a lot of things I've had to turn down in the past because of alcohol though. Just a couple weeks ago my friend's band was going to play a show in a town a little bit north of our college, and bring some of his friends along. I was invited. I was completely willing to go, and I was getting really excited when I remembered that this group of friends had a bit of a reputation for getting drunk after every show they played. Doubling this, with the fact that I would be spending the night at the drummer's house I decided to stay back. Because I knew that I would potentially be putting my personal sobriety at risk, and I knew where that lead before.

A part of the big book tells us as alcoholics to remove people, places and things that are going to get in the way of our recovery. I know that's not exactly word for word, but I was just paraphrasing. :)

Anyways, as much as it might be a bummer at times to accept this as fact, and know that you are going to have to turn down a number of opportunities to drink again, it was the initial problem drinking that led it to that point. The way I personally deal with it, is I will simply get a clear head, and say to myself, "I have a problem with drinking alcohol, they don't. So for my own sake, and with the help of god, I'm going to turn this down." I promise that with repetition, and reminders like this to yourself every day, it will become much more of a thing you won't even have to think about.

Also, I don't know how 'program-centric' you are, but if you own a copy of the big book I would suggest reading Chapter 3: More About Alcoholism. It really helps me in those times I feel tempted by drink, and gives me an opportunity to really weigh my options and to get out of my own alcoholic mind. Here's just a small excerpt that came to mind when I was reading the bottom paragraph of your post.

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such inter- vals—usually brief—were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incompre- hensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progres- sive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.


You can find the rest of the chapter here if you want to read more into it -- http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt3.pdf

I really hope this helps, if you want to talk more, feel free to shoot me a message. I'm more than willing to help you out, or even just talk!
My AA Birthday: December 6th 2011

Still taking things One Day at a Time.
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Re: AA In College

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:46 am

A part of the big book tells us as alcoholics to remove people, places and things that are going to get in the way of our recovery. I know that's not exactly word for word, but I was just paraphrasing.


Actually it tells you exactly the opposite:

We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything! Ask any woman who has sent her husband to distant places on the theory he would escape the alcohol problem.

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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