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Stages of Alcoholism

Old 01-17-2011, 12:21 PM
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Stages of Alcoholism

Hello all,
I was wondering if someone could tell me what the stages of alcoholism are. A person very close to me started drinking about four years ago a couple glasses of wine and she now her tolerance has increased to over a bottle every night. I can't remember the last time there hasnt been any alcohol consumed for an evening. Doesnt appear to have any withdrawl symptoms. Doesnt drink in the morning. Most of the time is fairly pleasant after the alcohol is consumed. She has had a few blackouts, but not recently. I and other members of the family have tried talking to her, but she isnt interested. Is she an alcohlic or just an abuser? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:26 PM
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There is a book, titled Under the Influence look it up online or check it out at your local library. It goes through the stages from beginning to end. It is very informative. I would say wonderful, but you probably aren't going to like what you are reading. She sounds like an alcoholic. She won't have withdrawal symptoms if she drinks every day......
Good luck. You may have a long, bumpy road ahead of you!
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:44 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Please make yourself at home by reading and posting as much as needed. There are permanent (sticky) posts at the top of the forum pages. They contain some of our stories and lots of wisdom.

Here is the link previously mentioned that contains excerpts from the book "Under the Influence":

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html

Here is another link that is one of my favorites:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:56 PM
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Thank you for the replies. I am finding this is a very confusing and lonely road. Another nightly ritual is falling asleep at 8:00 - 8:30 every night. She says that she is tired.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by grizz View Post
Thank you for the replies. I am finding this is a very confusing and lonely road. Another nightly ritual is falling asleep at 8:00 - 8:30 every night. She says that she is tired.

From what you've described, it sounds like alcoholism. And it's progressive as you've already noticed. Falling asleep 'cause she's tired sounds like alcoholic 'quacking' (there's a current thread on quacking) for she's off her face and passes or crashes out. And yes, you're right, it can be a very confusing road. At least here on SR, you're amongst friends who understand...Welcome and all the best grizz...
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:13 PM
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Sounds like there's cause for concern. It's hard to diagnose someone else's drinking. Some people overdrink situationally, because of depression or personal problems.

You've expressed your concern to her, so until she's ready to quit you've done about all you can do.

If this is affecting you and your life, Al-Anon is a great resource, as are these boards. The bottom line is that only the drinker can decide to quit drinking. Denial is what makes it difficult to get through to the drinker. NOBODY wants to accept that he or she is an alcoholic.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:08 PM
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Hi Grizz,

I'm in the same boat as you. I've seen her go from a glass or two to a full bottle on most nights. She may go a few days without drinking or only have a few. But it always seems to increase. Maybe I'm a lightweight but two glasses of wine is my limit. Unfortunately, somewhere around the middle of her third glass Mrs. Hyde starts to come out and she'll get confrontational (common from what I hear).

You've gotten some great advice. She may be an alcoholic. She may be an alcohol abuser. I guess only she can say.

What you do know is that while her drinking isn't an issue for her, it has become an issue for you. Please take care of yourself and get to an Al-Anon meeting. You'll learn the tools you'll need as well as meet some wonderful people.

In case no one has posted them yet, here are 'The Three Cs"

You didn't Cause her drinking
You cant Control her drinking
You can't Cure her drinking

Take good care. You're worth it!!
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:31 AM
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Steppingup,
Thanks for the three C's. For the most part she says that her reasons for drinking are my fault. We had some fairly serious marital problems about five years ago. We went to counseling for a long time. I was accused of a lot of stuff I never did. My fault was that I was too passive and didn't stand up for myself. For a time she would turn into Mrs Hyde or worse, but that seems to have gotten better the last six months or so. She is the only one that doesnt see her problem. The kids all see it. Thankfully they are all older now and are self sufficient. She has never driven after she has been drinking, is a great cook and a lot of fun to be with until about 7:00pm. I guess you would call her functional.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:15 AM
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I found this article to be VERY helpful.... hope you do too.

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...lics-make.html
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:10 AM
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What happens to the bottles? A bottle a night seems like a lot. Especially if they're rattling around in a recycling bin - after a week even she must notice there are many wine bottles.

I stopped drinking because I didn't like the fact that I drank 2 glasses every night. Every so often it would be 3. Only once in awhile it was a whole bottle. Of course everyone is different. It is the person who has the drinking problem who needs to face it and everyone's different and everyone's "bottom" is different.

And you know what, I joined Al Anon because of my ex (alcoholic/addict) husband...and while I was in Al Anon I realized that I needed to take a look at my own drinking.

You are right to be concerned about her. You have some work cut out for you and it will help you so much. Her disease turns into your dis-ease. Get help and good luck!!
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:03 AM
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It's great you are concerned, I know for a fact you can't get somebody to quit drinking..no amount of love will do it...she will have to do that on her own....you have the choice whether you want to be around her while she is drinking.. I have been sober for almost a year ( in one week) and my boyfriend is still drinking and I have some decisions to make.... I hope you get the help you need.... Blessings xo
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:40 AM
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The bottles go in the garbage ( I know I should be a recycler). I dont have pick up and instead go to the dump. After reading a lot of the different threads, it seems like I dont have it near as bad as some. My typical routine is up at 4:15, off to work by 5:30, home by 5:30, dinner at 6:00. the wine doesnt start until dinner, but the bottle is gone by 7:30. Most of the time it is just one bottle sometimes another half and rarely two. The kids go to other rooms in the house or on Facebook. I need to know how to get on with life instead of sitting on the couch waiting for her to fall asleep so I can have a bit of relief. I do have a couple of hobbies: motorcycles and a bit of wood working or mechanic work. It just seems after we were done raising the kids we looked at each other and said now what. She has been home the whole time with the kids...doing a great job with them. That is what makes it so hard. She is an awesome person, the love of my life when she is sober. I dont want to go to the pitty potty with my sob story so I am sorry if it seems so. This is the first time I have ever talked about it, other than to a very close friend
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:08 AM
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When you mentioned that she says her drinking is your fault.....that really hit a nerve with me. My XAH always said that too. But here's the thing. No matter what/how I tried to change my behavior (which I now see is codependent behavior, and extremely unhealthy) the drinking never stopped. This will be very hard on you and the kids. It sounds to me like the "coping" has already started. And while it seems like it's not affecting your kids, just hearing you say that they go into another room or on facebook, to me, clearly states that it is already affecting them. It doesn't sound to me that your at the "thinking of leaving her" stage, hopefully for you and the kids it won't get there. Alanon has been a lifesaver for me. They don't tell you what to do, but just hearing other stories and having people understand yours is extremely comforting. I also get that, and more, from this site.
I wish peace for you and your kids.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:11 AM
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Depending upon the age of your children, too, you might want to consider looking up "Alateen". It's like Al-Anon, but for children, and only facilitating adults are permitted to attend. That way they can talk openly about the issues they are having, including things they may be uncomfortable voicing around a parent.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by grizz View Post
Steppingup,
Thanks for the three C's. For the most part she says that her reasons for drinking are my fault. We had some fairly serious marital problems about five years ago. We went to counseling for a long time. I was accused of a lot of stuff I never did. My fault was that I was too passive and didn't stand up for myself. For a time she would turn into Mrs Hyde or worse, but that seems to have gotten better the last six months or so. She is the only one that doesnt see her problem. The kids all see it. Thankfully they are all older now and are self sufficient. She has never driven after she has been drinking, is a great cook and a lot of fun to be with until about 7:00pm. I guess you would call her functional.
Wow Grizz, sounds like it could be me writing this! Our stories are nearly identical!

Once I realized that we teach others how to treat us I made a concerted effort to stand up for myself and stop being a doormat. It was scary but it worked! When she would get abusive I would tell her, "I won't be spoken to this way" and walked away. She began to treat me better and, best of all, I started to feel stronger and better about myself.

Blame-shifting is a very common tactic. It takes the attention away from her and gets you thinking about yourself. Then you start to take this stuff to heart and wind up apologizing to her!

Once I started to detach (by getting more involved with my hobbies) and spending less time with her when she was drinking, the accusations started. "You're having an affair". "You want to have an affair". "You don't love me any more". "I disgust you"...

The confrontations and accusations are simply her way of keeping you engaged. It's also a great occasion for her to go on a little binge and blame you!


Detachment was the key for me. Here is an excerpt from the Al-Anon pamphlet on detachment:

In Al-Anon we learn nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone elseís drinking. We are not responsible for another personís disease or recovery from it.

Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with anotherís behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves. We can still love the person without liking the behavior.

IN AL-ANON WE LEARN:
∑ Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people
∑ Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of anotherís recovery
∑ Not to do for others what they can do for themselves
∑ Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit
∑ Not to cover up for anotherís mistakes or misdeeds
∑ Not to create a crisis
∑ Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events
∑ By learning to focus on ourselves, our attitudes and well-being improve. We allow the alcoholics in our lives to experience the consequences of their own actions.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for all the posts, they are hitting home. I know that I have been dealing with all this for awhile, but it seems just lately I realize that I have been an enabler.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:20 PM
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Another question I have is what is the next progression in this disease that I will be in line for. I know that each person has different timelines and progression differ from person to person, but are there some general characteristics to watch for? Right now there are no shakes or any symptoms of withdrawl, no morning drink to get started. I havent come home from work to find her drunk....

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Old 01-18-2011, 03:54 PM
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Hi ... I'm a recovering alcoholic (19 years). It's a slow progressive disease unless you take drugs, which really hastens your bottom. I never drank in the morning and could go days without alcohol with no withdraw. I think -- but may be wrong -- that only alcoholics have blackouts (I sure had many).
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:47 PM
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It's different for different people.

One thing most have in common is that it becomes harder and harder for the alcoholic to "keep it together" or at least the APPEARANCE of "keeping it together". They start screwing up and it becomes harder and harder to hide it. They might get really defensive, making up BS excuses for why this or that went wrong, when it is really the fact that they are losing it.

Some people get physical symptoms quickly, and some get very few for a long time. A lot depends on the individual--her overall health, for one thing.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:53 AM
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As her disease progresses one thing you may notice is either an increase or a decrease in her tolerance. I have a friend who has drank heavily for 30 years (and yes, I am very concerned for her) and I recently noticed that only after 2 glasses of wine she is very drunk. I was perpelexed by this until I read in Under The Influence that it is because her liver is not functioning as well as it used to and she's not able to metabolize the alcohol as efficiently as before. Scary. But as Lexie said, for your wife this could happen next week or next decade.... <shrug>
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