This continues my story with alcoholism. Post #1 here: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/alcoholism-1/
By now it had become apparent that I could no longer keep alcohol where I lived. Whenever I started, it was too much of a crapshoot when I would stop, and occasionally it would be everything I had on hand until I blacked out.
I still thought I could control it and started to do what in hind sight was some very troubling behavior. Basically I would buy those little shot bottles they sold at the gas station on my way home from work. First it would be just three, a dollar each. I’d pound them to get a good buzz that I would enjoy for a bit before turning in for the night. Mainly would spend the time by myself playing video games. Eventually 3 bottles crept to 4, then 5. On the weekends, I figured out what would be a sufficient amount to drink for cheap that would give me a buzz for the whole afternoon. Usually it’d be a pint of cheap whiskey. As long as I didn’t leave home, I figured I was controlling it and no one was the wiser. Work seemed to be going fine, I was a highly-functioning alcoholic.
I also talked about my past drinking problems at work events. There was a lot of kudos for that, people said I was brave. It was an expression of my internal guilt though, I never talked about how I was still drinking.
An incident happened here that really troubled me. I had to take a post-deployment health exam where they asked if I was drinking and how much. I really, really didn’t want to go back through the alcoholics program and get forced back to AA meetings. I also felt it would be potentially career impacting. So I lied about how much I was drinking. I had tried to mentally justify it at the time, that I didn’t trust the military system, but I couldn’t get past that it was a lie. This was a big deal to me. Integrity is a foundation of being a military officer, and I would have been kicked out of my commissioning source if I had ever been caught lying about something, it was something I had did my best to internalize. But I had lied to cover up my alcoholism. This broke me in a way, I was alone and being an officer was the last thing I had and I was a sham, a drunk and a liar.