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|04-29-2012, 06:26 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South Boston
Blog Entries: 11
Why do alcoholics become alcoholics?
I don’t know if you ever really know the answer to this question…but did any of you ever figure out WHY you drank? Why you became an alcoholic? Why when plenty of other people have just as many issues, if not more, seem to be able to handle them without turning to alcohol or drugs or sex or other self-destructive tendencies?
I grew up pretty lucky. I had parents who loved me. They were tough on me. They’re controlling as hell. But they love me. I’ve always been taken care of, roof over my head, vacations for Florida, trips to Fenway Park…a great education... my Dad has worked harder than ANYONE I know to give us what he didn’t have as a child.
I’ve had some hardships but nothing too serious. I have a few cousins who are addicts/alcoholics and an Aunt or two but the majority of my family is…well normal. Middle class. Good families. I’ve known all my cousins my whole life, we’re wicked close… I am very blessed to have the family I do and live where I do. Sometimes my parents can be harsh, manipulating… but anything they say is out of love.
I have great friends who care about me a lot. I’m getting my Master’s in something, that while I’m not SUPER passionate about, I know it’ll serve me well.
And yet it seems I am never happy. I’ve been depressed pretty much my whole life. I have zero self-esteem. I do have learning disability and that was quite difficult in Elementary School, I didn’t have many friends, I felt stupid…I’ve always had to work so much harder then everyone else in school. But it got me where I am today.
And yet I always fall into these self-destructive tendencies. When I was 13 I started to harm myself and started having disordered eating. This got worse when I fell into a relationship with my first addict boyfriend. I was 92 pounds when I graduated high school.
In college the drinking started. By my 2nd year friends didn’t want to drink with me anymore because I would black out so often and be uncontrollable, falling down, etc. I had just gotten dumped by Addict Boyfriend Number 1 and I began using alcohol as a way to cope.
Then I met Boyfriend Number 2 who while not an addict has SEVERE PTSD and my world completely fell apart with his. That’s when the drinking REALLY started. It was all day every single day. I was using almost my entire paycheck to buy booze. I’d to class drunk. I’d be in the library with a water bottle of vodka… I’d look like I’d had a RAGING party every time I took the trash out…made some really horrible horrible decisions and put myself in some dangerous situations and let myself be horribly disrespected and used.
I hit rock bottom the night I chugged a pint of vodka, got in my car and ended up on the wrong side of the highway. I started to work on getting sober, got a 2nd job to limit my free time, put all my effort into school… and I was good for a while.
But then I started drinking again. This time it wasn’t really to deal with anything. I was still not fully over Ex Number 2 but I also wasn’t at a point where I felt I needed to self medicate. This time last year I was drinking a few nights a week. Getting drunk too. Alone. Justified it with I had a wicked long day or I’m in college it’s okay!
Anyways obviously it wasn’t. Then I met Addict Boyfriend Number 2. Only this guy who I’m currently with, had a LONG record to go with his addiction. As many of you know from my posts he was arrested last week. (Please do not discuss details on case in this thread) And I started drinking again.
Now it seems on the surface that these guys are the cause of my drinking. My self-destructive tendencies have gotten worse when dealing with someone in addictive addiction/ severe mental problems… but I know I am the cause of my drinking. Me. My alcoholism.
And I know my alcoholism is somehow intertwined with my very obvious very severe codependent tendencies but… it just seems I don’t know how to be happy. And it’s not like I have anything to be that miserable about…
Yeah I don’t make friends that easy, sometimes I feel like an outsider…sometimes I feel like I don’t know who I am or what I want in life but I’ve got it pretty damn good. Looking at my life you’d see no reason I’d need to drink the way I have and yet… here I am 23 years old and an alcoholic.
I just wonder why sometimes. I wonder why I/we turn to alcohol when others don’t. I guess it’s really something I need to explore with a therapist…but I just feel like there has to be a reason, some catalyst that started all of this… yes it got A LOT worse after my first serious love left me but it’s always been there, under the surface…waiting.
Sometimes I just wish I could be happy with me. Not with a guy not because I’m using or drinking or whatever…it seems like happiness is something you have to work for. And it seems like I have this fake sense of happiness whenever I’m in a relationship and then I lose it as soon as I lose that person.
The truth is if you asked me what makes me happy I’d tell you I really didn’t know. And it doesn’t make sense because I have NO much to be happy about. And yet I’m not so I drink and self medicate and fall into relationships with addicts and get hurt over and over.
I'm with them a few months, I'm happy so I stop drinking. Then something goes wrong and I'm right back to it.
I don’t really know what I’m looking for, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a novel… I’m just feeling very introspective tonight.
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|04-29-2012, 06:44 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Just livin' the dream
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Somewhere Out There
I don't know the answer. I wonder the same things, sometimes. I had no reason to drink, but my father was an alcoholic and started giving me beer on a teaspoon when I was just a toddler. When I was a little older, he'd take me to the bars with him and give me money for the jukebox and let me have sips of his beer. That was legal back then. The taste of beer always reminded me of my dad. I grew up loving the taste of beer.
I know that I didn't just drink it for the taste, though. I liked the effect. I didn't like to be drunk though. I didn't like to be out of control, but I would still drink beer for the buzz. It just got to where I wasn't able to stop when the buzz hit. I kept drinking because I guess I became addicted. It had become a habit and I always had a beer in my hand after work and pretty much all day on the weekends. I didn't drink because I was depressed and I didn't drink because I was unhappy with my life. I liked my life just fine. I just liked beer and drank for many, many years before I realized I wasn't really enjoying it anymore. I was drinking out of habit, so I decided to get help.
I hope you continue this line of introspection. It could be the first step of figuring out what you need to do to get yourself straightened out. I wish you all the luck in the world.
"The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the character of the person walking the path."
- Travis Alexander
"So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key."
- The Eagles
|04-29-2012, 07:31 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: northern michigan. not the U.P.
welp, for me it's pretty easy, but took a long time for me to get it. i drank because i'm an alcoholic. i have the disease of alcoholism. i can recall a time about 3 years before getting into recovery. i was sitting in my recliner in my living room, with my cooler of beer on one side of the chair and an empty milk jug on the other( it took less energy and time to stand up and pee in the milk jug than to walk/stumble to the bathroom) and saying to myself," i know i'm an alcoholic, but why cant i stop drinking?" well, i had no idea what it meant to be an alcoholic.
in 2005, i got into recovery through AA. the BB taught me the whys of it all. and it also taught me how to not take another drink, which involved a LOT of footwork.
i learned i was an egomaniac with low self esteem. it was a major factor why i always got into relationships with women just as sick as me. i was also a codependant, havin someone as sick as me kept me from lookin at me and seein what was wrong with me, which is something that used to scare the crap outa me. but then again, i wouldnt have been able to know what was wrong with me because i was usin my own thinkin.
i cant say i'm always happy today. theres some rough spots in the journey where i've had to trudge( kinda hard to be diagnosed stage 4 melanoma 13 months into recovery and be happy with that and all the treatment over the last 6 year). i do know what happiness is for me and i dont think i can explain it other than to say it's an inside job, one that comes from putting God 1st in my life. all i had to do is put in some footwork and try different things and see what makes me happy. but one thing i learned is i dont need another human to make me happy.
|04-29-2012, 08:26 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Detroit, MI
This is pretty much the same question as "Is alcoholism a Disease?" which has been an ongoing moot point around here for ages:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...m-disease.html (Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?)
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...a-disease.html (AA and disease.)
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...y-disease.html (Is Alcoholism Really A "Disease"?)
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...addiction.html (Disease of Addiction)
>>> If it makes sense - It ain't spiritual!
- All Big Book quotes are from first Edition -
|04-29-2012, 09:24 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Thanks so much for this question. I've been thinking about this a LOT lately. I first thought may be it was because I'm not in a relationship that I used to drink. But soon I realized that's not it, because I never really wanted a serious relationship. I just liked to have fun with friends and drink. Also I didn't drink everyday, it was mostly weekends but I would drink a whole bottle of whiskey and few beers and would sleep the entire day next day. So why did I drink. I think for me the root is in my childhood and my way of thinking.
When I was a child, my father used to drink (not that much) in parties. When the parties ended, I would always think we were having so much fun why didn't we stay at uncle's place. I always wanted to have more fun. As I grew up, I started this notion that "Work hard, party harder". And I used to go all out enjoy every moment when I was in a party and drank every chance I got. I really enjoyed my drink, the pouring down into the glass full of rocks...and talking laughing all night and even the taste. Now that I think of, things went downhill but I always used to manage. Going to exams drinking the night before and still getting good grades. On vacations, I used to drink simply because I was bored. Oh I was so bored. Even recently few months ago, I didn't have anything to do. I used to finish my work quickly and there is nothing to do. Alcohol was always there. Different bottles with different tastes, it was like a toy for me.
For me it was the hedonist thinking and boredom/loneliness that triggered the love of alcohol. And I kept on drinking because I simply loved it. Until the ER incident when I realized I had to choose between the love of alcohol and love of life. I'm choosing the later and I'm here. I'm still bored though and I know I've to find something to do in free time...if there were no free time and I was inefficient and occupied by work I would never become an alcoholic or may be it's my nature. Because even at work I always finish quickly and want more...I guess it's just the nature of an addict. If not alcohol, there will be something else, work or hobbies. Hopefully, I find something that will not eat my life.
|04-29-2012, 11:39 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: « USA » Recovered with AVRT (Rational Recovery) ___________
I used to think I drank a lot because I was 'coping' with work stress, but lo and behold, when I lost my job, I drank because I didn't have a job. Same when I was in school. Lots of school stress, but when the school stress went away, somehow the drinking didn't. If I didn't have enough money, I drank because I was broke, but if I got money, I drank top shelf stuff. And on and on the list goes.
Can you think that simple, Fenway? I drink because I love to get loaded no matter what? It simplifies a lot if you can.
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|04-29-2012, 11:50 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: South Seas
A coping mechanism gone amoke. This is how I understand it now. Yes, I believe many are true 'alcoholics' that drink and can't stop and then it progresses. That wasn't my path, but I see that I've now adapted my coping by grabbing a few drinks each night. Then it became a habit of the mind. So now need to unravel that and re-wire my head into new ways of being and behaving.
This I can't do alone and now know I need help in the rewiring, so looking forward to getting a longer term therapist to work with as this is psychological work not just going to AA meetings which don't go deep enough in my opinion.
Best of success and happiness!
|04-30-2012, 04:13 AM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
I wonder myself why I drink so much. I never liked the taste of alcohol but I started because I used to be shy, especially around people I didn't know very well. Alcohol gave me confidence, made me feel relaxed and helped me loosen up. I remember the first time I drank so much and didn't remember the night before really scared me, but somehow didn't put me off. Now it's normal. If I go out and have a drink and do remember the night, I think how weird! I can't remember at exactly what point I started drinking too much. I never intend to get so drunk, never! I always plan to get to that 'merry / tipsy' stage and stay there. But once I have one drink, that's it. I crave another drink, and another. It's uncontrollable. If I go out and I'm tipsy, I never feel like I should stop. I don't feel satisfied, I always think I can handle one more, then another one, then another.........until I black out. The urge to have just one drink I think is social, created by culture and society. In the west drinking is encouraged and expected of people. Friends meet in pubs and go to night clubs, or stay at home and watch a dvd over a bottle of wine. That part of drinking is social. I think the urge to continue drinking once it has started is biological / physiological.... something to do with the brain. That's how I feel anyways.
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|04-30-2012, 04:18 AM||#10 (permalink)|
So it goes
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Manchester UK
Blog Entries: 74
I dont hold a lot with the DNA gene theory of alcholism, alcohol is an addictive drug, it will make you an addict if you drink too much
I never liked the taste until I went to France on holiday at 15. We had access to wine at meals there, and whilst I didnt like the taste, I liked the buzz, so I probably had a weakness for the addiction (which could be in my make up)
Although even then I could drink sensibly. It is only when things went bad, and I drew in on myself, it became a crutch and I drank too much
Then I was addicted
Stopping is the best thing I have ever done. I realised that all my problems whilst they did not derive from alcohol, were fuelled by it.
Stopping drinking gave me the ability to cope with them. Going to AA and sitting on SR has given me the insight to look at problems and think them through
I now no more think of drinking wine, than a horse does. The wine upon the table is no more for me, than for the dog that is under the table.
Samuel Johnson from Boswell's Life of Johnson
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|04-30-2012, 04:24 AM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
The "why" was harder in some ways to deal with than the actual quit.
The "why" is essential to face full on.
The "why" is the real war in sobriety.
Deal and fix the why, enjoy long term sober living.
|04-30-2012, 05:11 AM||#12 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2011
Thanks for taking the time to write that FenwayFaithful
I can relate to a lot of what you have said, I was depressed a lot as a child, had low self esteem, vague eating and exercise disorders, self harming, bad relationship choices. No hardships to speak of, happy childhood and all that.
But when I first drank, it really was like 'where have you been all my life!'. I don't think I drank because of my little problems, it was just the most convenient coping strategy and it seemed like that's what everyone else did too. But then everyone else didn't quite take it to the extremes I did.
I have no idea what the answer to your question is and I look forward to reading other's replies.
I think you're right when you say happiness is something that you need to work for though. I'm using my time now to work on other coping strategies... it's fun. I kind of feel like I've just woken up and now I can get on with my life x
“The future you have tomorrow, won't be the same future you had yesterday.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Rant
|04-30-2012, 06:00 AM||#13 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks for sharing, Fenway.
Personally, I don't think much about the 'why' anymore. There was a perfect storm in terms of why I initially began to drink at a young age. I had many family members who were alcoholics and drug abusers. My father died due to his alcohol abuse. I had an alcoholic abusive stepfather to deal with during adolescence. I'm sure I had many reasons to experiment with alcohol, and possibly had a genetic predisposition towards chemical addiction.
But now that I'm in my 30s the initial reasons don't matter so much. For many years the reason why I drank was simple: I was addicted to alcohol. I drank because I was an alcoholic.
|04-30-2012, 07:30 AM||#14 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cleveland Ohio
I'm a recovered alcoholic and my name is Christopher
Take my advice, I'm not using now anyway.
|04-30-2012, 08:29 AM||#15 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2012
Low self-esteem, lack of confidence? Family history? Who knows? Went to my first kegger when I was 15 y.o. and never looked back. College was a blur. Been drinking my whole adult life, primarily wine since my mid-20s. Except for pregnancy and the occasional (short) stint of drying out I always went back.
Not this time. I truly feel different about it in my soul. Maybe because I wasn't in a place of "desperation" or needing to dry out when I decided this time. I was just appalled and alarmed at the quantity and frequency to which I had escalated. And have accepted in my heart that I have lost any ability to moderate myself, if I ever had that in the first place.
Truth be told, I don't care why or how I got here. Maybe that's not a good approach? What I do know is that I haven't been craving it at all. Feeling very calm and at peace. Now this could be that initial feeling of euphoria or whatever. But I don't think so. I hope not. Looking better, feeling better, and peace of mind...can't ask for anything more than that. Just making a concerted effort every day to reaffirm this decision and take the right steps to uphold it.
We'll see if this resolve holds when I have some challenges to it. And they are coming, later this month and in June. Hopefully I will have enough stability under my belt to stand strong.
Day 8 today.
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|04-30-2012, 08:56 AM||#16 (permalink)|
Paradox, Humor, Change
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Naples, FL USA
Blog Entries: 72
Fenway, I too appreciate the question. I also have struggled with low self esteem and codependent relationship issues. I have a family history of alcoholism as well. For me drinking was a solution, and the problem was life. Life most of us, I drank for the effect, I like the way drinking made me feel it worked for me. That would not be an issue except that for whatever reason, alcohol is a stimulant for me. I have 12 beers and I am ready to start drinking, no matter how much booze I pour into my gut, I want more more more. Then came the horrible hang overs, dui's lost jobs, jail etc...And booze stopped being a solution and became the problem. From my point of view there is nothing can define success for me more than being a sober person. Everyday I am sober I am a success, and I protect what I value, and I vaulue being sober more than anything in the world. Knowing that booze is a stimulant for me, and that the reason it is a stimulant for me is rooted in having somthing abnormal about my central nervous system (the allergy as the Big Book calls it) reminds me that no matter how long I am sober, or how spiritual or healthy I become, if I put a drink in me, it will still be a stimulant. So, I will always spree when I drink, no matter what woman is in my life, how happy I am, how long I have been sober.
So what do you do when your not visiting funerals?
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|04-30-2012, 09:25 AM||#17 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Sometimes just because we can. The independence that becomes enslavement under its sedation.
"Here's to the few who forgive what you do, and the fewer who don't even care" — Leonard Cohen
Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. -- G. K. Chesterton
|04-30-2012, 09:25 AM||#18 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Austin, Texas
I figured out that I got drank and became an alcoholic when my problems seems to stay rather than get on and move one with it (which was the idea before of drinking, to get pass you problems).
But since it did not, I realized I just took with me another greater problem which is becoming an alcoholic and it took me a long period of time before I fully recovered.
|04-30-2012, 10:20 AM||#19 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South Boston
Blog Entries: 11
Thank you all for your input. I guess at the end of the day you drink because you're an alcoholic. I am just always looking for the deeper meaning. I personally feel it's important ,to the healing process, to find out what problems lie underneath that caused to start drinking in the first place. I feel to truly recover you need to learn to deal with the pain that's making you drink. Or personally for me, why I drink and why I constantly end up with men who are no good for me... perhaps it's the Psychology BA in me but I just feel like "Because you're an alcoholic" isn't the whole story.
And I feel personally until I truly deal with my issues, I will never TRULY recover.
|04-30-2012, 11:13 AM||#20 (permalink)|
12-Step Recovered Alcoholic
Join Date: May 2010
Everytime I'd narrow in on an answer, I'd be able to come up with a half dozen or many more situations when things were different yet I drank again.
Eventually I gave up my search for WHY and concentrated more on THAT I AM an alcoholic (and) what am I going to do about it?
AA's book has a sentence that discusses crossing an invisible line into alcoholic drinking. I've gotten a little clarity on when I crossed that line....but not much as to why. Frankly, I don't even care "why" anymore.....THAT I crossed it is really all that matters to me.
"We can't solve our problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein
/-all BB quotes-1st. Edition-\
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