Monday, October 10, 2011

Blackouts and being "struck drunk"

Danny, one of our fellow "recovered" alcoholics in the trenches, posted this in a study session I'm subscribed to.  It brings up a very interesting couple of points with regards to qualifying.

Note: Have you had similar experiences; blackouts? Non-alcoholics and alcoholics BOTH experience this amnesiatic effect when too much alcohol is ingested.

Many non-alcoholics, who have no problems with alcohol, can recall blacking out when they had abused alcohol in the past. ("Don't remember a thing".)

That is because eventually everyone "blacks out" when over imbibing. Even non-alcoholics. It's a human physical fact.

Backouts are NOT symptomatic of alcoholism even though it is symptomatic of an alcohol abuse event. Some non-alcoholics blackout every time they drink! Drinking "too much" is not a qualification either. Sometimes we hear an alcoholic attempting to qualify as "One of us" with a history of "Blackouts". This means nothing to a real alcoholic because everyone blacks out when they drink too much – not just alcoholics. It is just incidental to this particular story, just as incidental as the whiskey/milk concoction in Jim's the salesman's story before it.

So, I've been wondering where my blackout experiences fit in here.
I think Danny just may have found my loophole for me.  I didn't black out each and every time I drank, but I damn well blacked out most of my drunks and about every third drunk throughout my life, I damn well could have been diagnosed with "accute alcohol poisoning syndrome" or some such thing.  But I don't really remember recall being "struck drunk".
No, I was that guy who started drinking again with the "vaguely sensed" that this might not be too smart, but here goes anyway.
So, maybe I'm not a real alcoholic after all.
And after all these years.
Wouldn't this be embarassing?  The waste of time and the ranting.

I'd like to learn more about the drinker who blacks out everytime they drink, but they aren't alcoholic.  How does this work for them?  They have the physical craving but not the mental obsession?  How do you know that they do infact not have the obsession?  I'd like to see some links to case histories on that one... maybe find more about this black-outer the next day.  If they don't have the mental obsession, then surely they can make their mind up to not drink any or it would result in the blackout.  How do they behave during the blackout and through the drunk... through the night?  Do they continue to drink while in the blackout?  I have experience with this.  I've been told I was cut off at the bar, but not kicked out yet.  So my friends tell me I just make friends two tables over and drink these new stangers' drinks for them.  I srsly don't know how or why I did that, but I did... as witnessed by two of my last co-workers.

Now, so since the dangerous amounts I drank doesn't qualify me, how do we explain the stipulation of physical craving in my case? Does my experience demonstrate that, or not?

I know that something doesn't pan out for me when I drink booze.  I guess the "my off button is broken" is no longer a valid qualifier and I should quit using that?

I've heard some of your stories and have tried to remember what makes you a real alcoholic.  Was it because you drank every day no matter what?  I was not a daily drinker.  Was it because you were a New York stockbroker like Bill W. and Danny S?  I was not.  Did you screw your secretary?  I did not. 

I'm getting confused here.  If I'm not a real alcoholic, then that means I don't need A.A., right?  That's ok.  I'm not too keen on it these days anyway.  I'm kind of burned on the steps too... but I'm willing finish up what I started.  I don't sponsor people, so no worries there. 

I still have the right to stay sober and seek spirituality, so I guess I see no need to shy away from the blog. 

We'll just not see eye-to eye on certain key issues so... no big change there either.  The biggest thing is that I would have to stop going to closed A.A. meetings for sure because I'll have to say, "My name is Patrick, and I just found out that I'm not really a real full-blown alcoholic, but I want to continue with my sobriety and seek God", akward.  I don't think that would go over in our MOTR open A.A. meetings either.  Maybe I need to shorten it up.  My name is Patrick and I'm just here to listen.  My name is Patrick and I'm a supporter.  No.  My name is Patrick and I'm in recovery.  My name is Patrick and I'm...  Any ideas?

Oh, and I just want to say one last time before I go... Foo Y'all!


  1. PAtrick,
    I think it is always good to look at the question "what if I'm not" fucked up thing about AA is that people are more afraid of finding out they are not alcoholic.

    "I'd rather be in AA by mistake, than out there drinking", what a pathetic statement. Nobody needs to flounder in AA, we have a way to diagnose ourselves.

    Here's a suggestion, sit with the 1st paragraph of We Agnostics and see what your experience is. If that doesn't do it for you, try some controlled drinking.

    My opinion is that you are a shitbag real deal alcoholic. It takes one to know one, and I can assure you I am the real deal.

  2. BTW Shitbag is a term of endearment we use on each other around these parts, no offense meant.

  3. Thanks. Is like to discuss this with Danny S the Real Live Recovered Alcoholic RLRA though.

    I don't know where to drop the topic in on him though.

    I'm not an alcoholic because I DO blackout lots and lots AND I DO drink way too much almost everytime I drink... but I never been struck drunk.

    Don't you see the logic? According to Danny, my biggest qualifiers don't spell out alky.

  4. Oh, and I want to meet the guy who blacks out everytime he drinks, but he ain't alky.

    Do you know what folks do in blackouts? I'm not exactly sure, but I'm told It's a bit like the Dr Jekyl Mr Hyde guy. He's a person you want to be careful of. I spose you tell him to just not drink and he decides to comply. Then a year later he says, "I'm going to get drunk and fuck your dog and drive your wife to Las Vegas." I don't see how that works

    So many questions for Danny.

  5. I take that back. I know when my mom is in a blackout. She talks really funny and flaps her arms like she's flying.

    I don't know exactly what I'm like, but you can guarantee that I'll eventually try to fight it, piss on it, screw it, and or eat it. But one thing's a given... if there's booze around, it'll get drank.

  6. Blackouts are merely a matter of how much alcohol you consume in a given period of time. We've been through this before and I'll dig up the references if anyone gives a shit.

    College kids on binges tend to blackout because they chug a lot of booze in a short time period. Consume the same amount over a longer period of time and you'll remember everything.

    Anyone can experience blackouts, not just alcoholics. But we'll experience more of them and they'll be longer lasting because of then quantities we drink and we're not too interested in stretching out the time frame.

    A person can act absolutely normal to those around him and be in a blackout stage where he'll remember nothing. I've know folks who have gone into blackouts that have lasted 2-3 days, one ending up on a subway in NCY. She lived in Tampa FL.

  7. Sorry, that was NYC, not NCY.

  8. Bit is see it as just another little quirk that we could add to the sufficient reason to stop or moderate list.

    There were times when I blacked out very quickly, even if I'd just started on a bender from a long time abstinent.

  9. Mental blank spots... now here's something I've had experience with... both when quoting drinking on my own and once when I was between a set of steps but drifting away from the group, and another time when I was trying to get back to sobriety after coming off a series of benders.

    The first case, I'd been sober for some months and we were in Texas and I decided it would ne ok to drink in Texas. Interesting experience.

    The next case was a doosy. I was sober in A.A. for almost 3 years ... the Monday Night Group... but had drifted away a bit for to the job. I must have been missing something and it wasn't because I had "cut back" on meeting. But I wasn't what you would call "in" either. I had called my "sponsor", one Dr. Death, and discussed doing the steps again. He said that I wasn't really in and should consider doing something besides A.A. I left that aside for the time and considered finding someone else to do the work yet. Maybe I'd felt betrayed but whatever it was, it was internal. Well one day I was winding my work up setting up the laser for cases in Longmont the next day and my boss came up to me and said, "We're going to get some beer and pizza and sit on my porch and knock a few down." I agreed and that's just what we did.

    Another time, I'd been going on bad benders after blowing out of A.A., wasn't able to get back, and had but brief reprieves from drinking... I had been sober for a short time and was traveling with my job a lot... but everytime we went to Durango, I was a bed dog. Well, I decided to go to the hotel and not join the group for dinner. Shane tried to talk me into going and I said I really was tired and I handed him the corporate card. He said, "Come on. We'll drink sprite." I said ok. We went to Randy's for dinner and I remember staring at Pat's husband's scotch. Just the color in the glass fascinated me. I felt like a sub human being.I remember wondering, why can't I? Why can't just have my fucking Goddamned shit together? So I walked upstairs to get some air, onto the balcony, and it was a beautiful warm early September evening... and some waitress asked if I wanted a pitcher of beer. My head just got really light and spinned and I felt like flying. I was so calm and at peace and knew I was going to drink... and everything was so fine. I already felt the buzz... the rush of energy... I was awake and alive. Shane saw me drinking and said we should go play pool. We went to the pool room, I got my bourbon and coke and us acre double shots of tequila, and Shane said we could just kick back there for a while. I told Shane, "tonight, we're gonna do it all". Later, we'd be at a college bar drinking huge jungle juice type drinks, and I don't remember anything after that. They said that at about 11 we decided to return to the hotel to get rested up for medical cases the next day... but on the way, I hoped a gate into a bar on a patio, sat down with some strangers and said, "I'll catch up to you. I'm just going to have a couple more with my friends." Later that night, I'd wondered what my wife thought about the drinking I'd been hiding from her and why I tried to destroy a hotel.

  10. I was a bad dog. Not entirely sure what a "bed dog" is.

  11. Acre double shot? Sounds interesting too. This darned Droid auto-fill is special.

    I think what I meant was a "couple" of shots. But acre shots does sound more appealing.

  12. Being struck drunk for me is a very similar experience to "suddenly" as described in the Big Book. Just going about my day no plans of drinking and then bam, I'm drunk even though I have plenty of sufficient reasons as to why I shouldn't be.

    I have countless stories of going about my business when suddenly the mind said, go get some beer. It's like being on auto pilot. The mental obsession kicks in and its on. This happened a lot when I was still somewhat functional. The last few years I was always drunk, in the end I was struck sober. God doing for me what I sure as shit couldn't pull off.

    As far as bed dogs go, I have current experience with this. I have a bed dog. He's my 4 year old yellow lab, he's of the mind that he owns the house and all the furniture, that he actually lets my wife and I live with him.Whenever I try to nudge him off my side of the bed he groans and acts very put out. I should have a talk with him, he's mildly delusional.

  13. Yup. You should talk to him. Good luck with that.

  14. I spoke with him, I don't think it was very productive, he licked himself and walked out of the room. Reminds me of some of the new guys I work with.

  15. It's been pointed out to me that I am considered by a couple of folks an asshole commenting here. Y'all are ruining my rep.

    Today I'm here with a question for Robb. There is a sushi buffet somewhere near Manchester, and I forgot the name and exactly where it is. I can't find it on the net. I lived in Goffstown while I was in grad school, and used to see ads for it. Do you know the name or where it is?

  16. My God, my God, how did it ever go so terribly wrong?!?!? Drinking is a symptom, it's the spiritual malady that is the problem weather black out drinker or alcohol dependency at the bridge club. The Danny worship stuff around here is bizarre!


  17. Ha Ha funny Colter. I'll assume you're being facetious. Good joke I get it. Mutual respect for Danny S, sure. Worship? No. He works his ass off on this stuff... for whatever reason. I suppose it's for the same reason we do it.

    If drinking is a spiritual malady, then why not do it all fucking balls out?

    Anywho... Sorry MA. What's even funnier is how this blog is so below them that they can't see our lack of activity over here... yet they seem to catch our every word when it serves their interest... the h8rs I mean. But I notice a chink in the armor... as some are dropping the hatred a bit... the pouring of the acid on their very souls... oh, but Anger is still good, right? Nothing wrong with anger and resentment... until we start to "harbor". You folks from the northeast ought to know about harbors.

    Anyway, until Rob comes through what he knows or doesn't know about sushi, I like me some fresh scallops. And you?

  18. I live in the land of fresh scallops. We get some really good ones when they are in season. I love scallops, yes. Pretty much all seafood. A couple of years the bottom fell out of the lobster market and we were getting it for $2.99 a pound. It was cheaper than hamburger. That was great.

  19. Robb knows nothing about Sushi, Robb does know a great Brazilian steakhouse in Manchester,called GOucho's. When I go out to eat, I like to eat. I'm not much interested in the aesthetics of how my food has been placed on my plate,nope, don't care. I want food and lots of it. (Nobody ever accused me of being classy)


    This place is incredible. Manchester is about an hour from where I live, if you were ever in the area, we could grab a bite. Funny thing is, I bet we would get along pretty well.

  20. Thanks, anyway, Robb. Next time I am down that way, I'll let you know. I really loved living there, and will likely move back. I haven't been to that steakhouse, but it is some place I would like. I was just telling my friend yesterday about the Rum Jungle at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. They do the Brazilian steakhouse thing. I used to take clients there a lot when I lived there. Vegas is a fine drinking town, by the way.

    There is a Brazilian steakhouse in Nashua, too. The one time we went there it was closed.