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First time...Am I an alcoholic?

Old 10-29-2017, 07:26 PM
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First time...Am I an alcoholic?

So this is my first attempt to stop drinking. I am 31 years old and have been drinking nightly for 9 years. I usually go through a handle of vodka a week. Drink of choice is White Russians where I usually have about 10-20 units a nigh, roughly. So where I am confused is that it doesnít effect my life a whole lot. I wake up early, I donít drink where I get sick, I donít act crazy, I recently graduated with my Bachelors, climbing at work, hunt, fish, great father, great husband, you would never even know. Itís psychological though; I have to have my few drinks every night (strong strong drinks). So a few questions, how bad was it on my liver to drink that much every night for nine years? Any concerns? I am on day three right now. I have been feeling a little sick, no appetite, headache, dizzy, dehydrated feeling. I canít tell if these side effects are real or my brain is making me feel this way because I read about it too much. I was also getting over being sick so maybe it was that? I still am craving a drink, especially right now. Itís my routine-itís how I shut down for the night. Any suggestions? Any supplements I can take? Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Timd1286; 10-29-2017 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:41 PM
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I think the general consensus is that if you suspect you have a problem then you probably do. I'm not an expert, but I think you have to look within yourself to determine how you feel about how much alcohol you drink. Various programs of recovery offer different perspectives on alcoholism, and I would suggest that you diligently research different viewpoints and look honestly at your consumption and whether you think you should quit.

People in my life told me for years that I could not drink alcohol. It took me a long time to accept my own problem and to take responsibility for my decisions. This is a good place to find supportive voices that will help you as you determine whether or not you should quit drinking. You don't have to have three duis and three divorces to be an alcoholic. I hope you can find some answers on this forum.
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:47 PM
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Hello and welcome.
I'm afraid only you can decide if you're an alcoholic.
Experiencing withdrawal, if that is in fact what you're going though, is a sign of alcoholism.
But, it's up to you to decide.
There was no doubt I am an alcoholic. I drank alcoholically for many years.

Try stopping, like you are, and see what transpires.

Best to you.
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:48 PM
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Whether it affects your life or health or not isn’t the issue, it can take awhile for that to happen.

The issue is that you can’t seem to drink moderately and you can’t seem to drink Infrequently. You drink every night and you binge. 10-20 units is a binge. That tells me you are not able to cut back to drinking normally or moderately. That is alcoholism.

You’re young so it has not caught up with you yet, but it will. It’s hard to quit when the consequences have not piled up, but you don’t have to wait for that. You can just move on to a different kind of life. Best wishes.
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:52 PM
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Hi Timd and welcome.

I can't say whether you are an alcoholic; that's up to you. Doesn't really matter, though. If you are concerned, that's all you need to start addressing that you are drinking more than you ought. "Normal" drinkers would be aghast at the thought of drinking for 9 years straight and a handle/week is a hefty amount.

About ten years ago, I was approximately where you are now. Job was fine, no ramifications in the morning for my alcohol consumption, basically no downside. Except - I was concerned.*

If I could go back there and shake me up a bit, I might not have gotten to the point of throwing up my first drink in the morning so that I could get the next drink down. I might not have found myself driving to work then turning around to drive straight back home again (after a stop at the liquor store) because I could not stop shaking. Perhaps I wouldn't have landed in the psych ED twice because I was paralyzed with debilitating depression and simply did not want to live.

Your day 3 sounds much like my day 3s were. You will likely feel much better tomorrow. Beware of the voice in your head that says, "I feel great, let's drink!" That's your addiction/habit/whatever you want to call it talking to you. And that guy is a b**t**d.

Stick around, read a lot, post as much and as often as you like. We're good company.

O

* Also, ten years ago my girls were noticing my drinking. They just weren't saying so. They were 9, 11 and 14. Not so great to be absent just when they needed me most.
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:39 PM
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I agree with what's said above. You are young but it sounds like your problem has already started. You have to be very careful as your drinking could start to slowly destroy the things you love most in your life. Regularly drinking the units you do is alarming. I would say that shows alcoholic tendencies, especially with black-outs. Just my 2 cents. I have been there around 10 years ago. It's also worth noting that alcoholism is a progressive condition so the sooner the treated, the better. Welcome and good luck!
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Timd1286 View Post
So this is my first attempt to stop drinking. I am 31 years old and have been drinking nightly for 9 years. I usually go through a handle of vodka a week. Drink of choice is White Russians where I usually have about 10-20 units a nigh, roughly. So where I am confused is that it doesnít effect my life a whole lot. I wake up early, I donít drink where I get sick, I donít act crazy, I recently graduated with my Bachelors, climbing at work, hunt, fish, great father, great husband, you would never even know. Itís psychological though; I have to have my few drinks every night (strong strong drinks). So a few questions, how bad was it on my liver to drink that much every night for nine years? Any concerns? I am on day three right now. I have been feeling a little sick, no appetite, headache, dizzy, dehydrated feeling. I canít tell if these side effects are real or my brain is making me feel this way because I read about it too much. I was also getting over being sick so maybe it was that? I still am craving a drink, especially right now. Itís my routine-itís how I shut down for the night. Any suggestions? Any supplements I can take? Thanks in advance.
The first time I quit drinking I was 29 and your story sounds a lot like mine did. I had no major problems but I sensed some dark clouds on the horizon. I hadn't lost a job over my drinking, I hadn't had any run ins with the law over my drinking and I hadn't had any physical issues from my drinking.

YET

I did end up quitting for several years at age 29 but ended up going back to drinking. Within a year all of those things that had never happened to me started happening one after the other. Lost my job, lost my wife, had a run in with the law and my health was declining rapidly. All of those "yets" that I had avoided by quitting at a young age were just waiting for me when when I started back drinking.
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Timd1286 View Post
So this is my first attempt to stop drinking. I am 31 years old and have been drinking nightly for 9 years. I usually go through a handle of vodka a week. Drink of choice is White Russians where I usually have about 10-20 units a nigh, roughly. So where I am confused is that it doesnít effect my life a whole lot. I wake up early, I donít drink where I get sick, I donít act crazy, I recently graduated with my Bachelors, climbing at work, hunt, fish, great father, great husband, you would never even know. Itís psychological though; I have to have my few drinks every night (strong strong drinks). So a few questions, how bad was it on my liver to drink that much every night for nine years? Any concerns? I am on day three right now. I have been feeling a little sick, no appetite, headache, dizzy, dehydrated feeling. I canít tell if these side effects are real or my brain is making me feel this way because I read about it too much. I was also getting over being sick so maybe it was that? I still am craving a drink, especially right now. Itís my routine-itís how I shut down for the night. Any suggestions? Any supplements I can take? Thanks in advance.
From your discription you have become dependent on alcohol and are experiencing the common physiological effects of withdrawal from the addiction. Let's call it mild alcoholism. But alcoholism never goes away. After a period of abstinence, when one returns to drinking, they find they return to the preveous levels of consumption and often worse.

Alcoholism is progressive and eventually fatal.
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Old 10-30-2017, 05:27 PM
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There are self tests to help you sort out where you are on the spectrum (it's not either/or, it's a spectrum). Trick is, you have to answer them absolutely honestly for yourself, if you dodge the questions or try to warp the meaning you can get any result you want. A couple good ones are here,

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publicati...et/dsmfact.pdf
https://www.ncadd.org/get-help/take-...olic-self-test
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Old 10-30-2017, 06:14 PM
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I spent a long time in denial about my condition. I knew that I had a bad relationship with alcohol, but I always loaded the conversation in my favour because I didn't want to admit that I was an alcoholic. Like you, I looked at the fact that I was doing ok at work, keeping my family together, not drinking in the morning, not drinking alone, not living under a bridge, etc., etc.

Two things finally convinced me to take action. The first has already been advised on here. Try giving up. If you can and it's easy, you may be ok. Normal drinkers can just take it, or leave it. If you can't and you get major cravings, there is something amiss. I feel quite fortunate that I now have this mentality. I take the cravings as the reason that I absolutely shouldn't drink. Normal people don't get cravings, as far as I am aware.

The second was writing a list of my 'tendencies'. Waking up on the settee, blacking out, trying to moderate but being unable to, etc., etc. I spent a lot of time compiling my list, adding different things that occurred to me over a period of days. Once I thought it was exhaustive, I looked at it - imagining that it was describing a good friend of mine who I know drinks too much. When I read it, I knew instantly. It was describing an alcoholic, and if it had been describing my friend's behaviour, I would have had no hesitation in concluding that he was an alcoholic. I showed it to my wife, and she agreed that it was describing an alcoholic. Quite a turning point for me.

It's hard giving up something that you (often) enjoy without there being a huge downside, but I have come to the conclusion that the only difference between a potential alcoholic and a fully fledged alcoholic is time. I was only going one way. I could feel it getting worse and worse until it slowly dawned on me that the only way to arrest the inevitable was to bite the bullet and stop altogether.

Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2017, 08:53 PM
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Hi and welcome Timd - I hope we can help a little to help you make that determination.

Drinking nightly and heavily for 9 years is a pretty long stretch of time and it sounds like you might be suffering from what I recognise as withdrawal.

Only your DR can tell you there's been other damage. I hope not.

From my experience, I think perhaps you might be better off without drinking.

D
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Old 10-31-2017, 05:02 AM
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How are you doing, Tim?
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:37 PM
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My first thought also is, only you can say for sure.
What I will say is that that is how is started for me, too. Now I cannot have a single drink even after years of sobriety or gradually (and then snowballing) I will be right back where I left off: drinking to the point of blacking out, waking up in the morning and have a few glasses of wine before work. It took me years to live a fulfilling and sober life with no desire to drink, but one slip because I thought foolishly "I can moderate now" took only 3 months to get me back to Hell.
If you want to know more about Alcohol Dependency Disorder, there are a lot of resources out there, but I recommend the documentary, "Risky Drinking" which is on YouTube. Through the lives of different alcoholics on the progressive continuum of ADD, it explains the physiological changes that occur. If anything resonates there, that might be a red flag.
I think, alcoholic or not, sobriety is truly a beautiful and fulfilling way to live. Challenging at times, but we become so much more self-aware and motivated without dulling our senses and authenticity.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:51 PM
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Hi Tim, from my own experience I would say yes you are because you're craving, you don't skip a night, and you don't have any ill effects (that you can detect) the next morning. That shows a high level of tolerance. You'd expect a normal drinker to have a hangover.

You self assess as a great husband and father. I don't think a marriage where one partner is affected by alcohol every night is ideal. Do you drink before the kids go to bed?

You don't say why you're on day 3. Is it because you're worried about your drinking, or because your wife has said something? If she has, take her concern very seriously. Wives can and will put up with a lot, but they have their limits.

If you're worried about the amount you drink, do some research online about safe drinking levels (spoiler: you're way over) and the stages of alcoholism. Along with other factors this info scared me sober.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:32 PM
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Welcome Timd1286,

Asking alcoholics if you're an alcoholic is going to get many different experiences and probably not a clear answer for you. So here is my experience and why I claim I am an alcoholic, I can NOT control my drinking. When I have a couple of beer with the intent to have one or two, I end up drinking until I run out, pass out or kicked out. So when people say "only you can say you're alcoholic" means only you know if you crave another drink or just want another drink. Non-alcoholic heavy drinkers don't have the compulsion to drink when they don't want to drink. They get drunk and drink copious amounts of booze but they don't have the obsession that alcoholics have.

One thing normal drinkers or non-alcoholics don't do is worry about their drinking. It takes tremendous amount of honesty to look at yourself and surrender that you are an alcoholic and need help. I commend you on taking a proactive step to find out if you need help. If you are or not an alcoholic, you're in the right place to get help, answers and solutions. Good luck Timd.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Acheleus View Post
I think the general consensus is that if you suspect you have a problem then you probably do. I'm not an expert, but I think you have to look within yourself to determine how you feel about how much alcohol you drink. Various programs of recovery offer different perspectives on alcoholism, and I would suggest that you diligently research different viewpoints and look honestly at your consumption and whether you think you should quit.

People in my life told me for years that I could not drink alcohol. It took me a long time to accept my own problem and to take responsibility for my decisions. This is a good place to find supportive voices that will help you as you determine whether or not you should quit drinking. You don't have to have three duis and three divorces to be an alcoholic. I hope you can find some answers on this forum.

Good rule of thumb. If you suspect you have a drinking problem you probably do.
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Old 11-12-2017, 03:57 PM
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I once heard someone say they suspected they had a problem and went to an AA meeting. At the end of the meeting an AA told this person he had not experienced his "rockbottom" yet and they would be sure to return. The person said this comment stayed with him and as the years went by it turned out to be prophetic. This story resonated with me. I wish I would have stopped instead of drinking in denial for 20+ years. I hope this helps and good luck to you.
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