Friday, December 9, 2011

What makes me an alcoholic?

I loved alcohol. Mostly whiskey, Brandy, Rum, Wine and… oh hell. I loved alcohol in most flavors and tastes. I really could not care what I drank as long as I had it. But I don’t think I would have been an alcoholic if it tasted bad... duh!!

That is not the point though; I think what made me an alcoholic is what happens when I put the stuff in my body. I never drank uncontrollably as if it was my last drink ever… except that is, for my last drink.

When I drank, my body, mind, and being told me that I needed more. I have often seen people who can have a few drinks and when they start feeling it say that they have had enough and that they are stopping now. That was not me. When I reached that point I needed more drink, I needed to get to that feel good place that I found safety in. Where life was good and I did not have to face reality or any of the things that I had to face daily. I did not want to grow up. I wanted to be a kid forever. Enjoy life and play. Really like a kid would want to play with his toys constantly.

I understand that it is different for everyone. You have binge drinkers whom will justify their alcoholism with the fact that they don’t drink daily. But what sets them apart from other alcoholics is that it is probably more difficult for them to stop. As the constant self ratification and the justification to drink is found in the fact that they don’t drink every day. I drank every day and I know that at stages I did exactly this; however the bad things that happened when I drank did not stop when I binged. They still happened. And this is also true for binge drinkers. This is but one example of the diversity of types of alcoholics.

I believe that you get as many types of alcoholics and addicts as you get people. Each of us are unique in our personalities and our beliefs, disbeliefs and our outlook on life. I will never know what it feels like to be the next person, as I can never feel the next person’s elation, pain and general discourse in life. In the same way I can never "feel" another persons addiction. I can identify though and I do know that when I drink bad things happen. And the more I drink and the more regularly I drink the sliding scale of the fuckups I cause or get involved in changes its gradient dramatically.

I have heard a lot of people asking how they would know whether they have a drinking problem or not. The test for this in my mind at least is simple.

Ask yourself these questions.

  1. Do bad things happen when I drink?
  2. Can I start and stop drinking at any given time while drinking?
  3. Can you go to a function where alcohol is consumed by others and not drink without it bugging you?
  4. Can you stop drinking for extended periods and not crave a drink?
  5. If you have to ask yourself whether you are an alcoholic; is that not reason in it self to admit to yourself that you have a problem already?

I think that if you answer the above questions honestly to yourself the answer to your alcoholic status becomes glaringly obvious.

There are a lot of misconceptions about alcoholics and what they are. 

An alcoholic is not necessarily someone that finds his residence on a park bench. An alcoholic is not someone that has lost everything. An alcoholic is not necessarily an aggressive wife beater. An alcoholic is not necessarily someone that drinks during the day. An alcoholic is not necessarily someone that is uncontrollable in the presence of alcohol. An alcoholic is not necessarily irrational. An alcoholic is not necessarily someone that has lost everything in life. An alcoholic is not necessarily a man.

Although the above may be true, if an alcoholic does not do something about his condition; he might become any or ALL of the above. There are very successful people whom also carry the active alcoholic badge.

I never hit my wife, I became aggressive yes, and I drank uncontrollably at times. I almost lost everything in life on more than one occasion. I did lose people that I love very much, long after I stopped drinking even as the effects of our actions while actively drinking has long lasting effects on our lives.

It is the lucky ones like me that find a way to stop, that find a way to become a functioning human beings again. We learn to live with our addiction; we learn to grow and to face life without our crutch. We learn that life happens and we learn most of all that our best day drunk does not touch our worst day sober in terms of happiness and contentment.  

I became the Godless Alcoholic because I learnt to live this live as a functioning human being with mistakes and good and bad points like everyone else does. I learnt to be human. Because of the gift of sobriety.

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