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What makes a person addicted to alcohol?

Old 02-13-2011, 09:45 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I reckon people drink/drug to distract themselves from the pain/emptiness inside. I think there's a genetic component for many too. Put them both together and this can lead to alcoholism/drug addiction/insanity.

I'm going to use me as an example. When I was a teen/young adult, I drank alcoholically. Then I married and had kids. My ex husband is/was an A. My ex partner is/was an A. Whilst I was with them, my addiction to them (as an ACoA) overtook any addiction I could have to a substance and I was the 'sober' one. Due to my experiences with A's, I didn't drink and I hated alcohol. Now that I'm on my own and 'partying' with my friends on occasion, I've gone from a non-drinker to bingeing at times. It's like now that I feel 'safe' and now I don't have a diversion/distraction from my own sh*t in the form of an addicted partner, my own issues with substances/depression/anxiety /lack of self worth, are screaming out for me to 'fix' them. When A's talk about being alcoholic before they even started drinking, they're talking about their isms. The restlessness, irritability, depressions, fears and phobias. They talk about not feeling comfortable in their own skin. I can tick all of those boxes. I've had that for a life time. So, whether I pick up the drink or not, my depression/anxiety/PTSD etc is sitting there, below the surface. Now I understand that I've distracted myself from having to feel my own stuff and my own emptiness by filling the void with a person/partner. If this void is not filled with self-love, self acceptance, HP, a spiritual program etc, then substances and other addictions including people with their own addictions will be there banging on the door (my door) to be let in. Just my thoughts.........
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:01 AM
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Most addicts suffer some form of mental illness. Anxiety, depression, bi polar, sociopath, narc etc.......
One of my brothers is a paranoid schizophrenic, untreated chronic active alcoholic. My brother who passed away recently was just a garden variety drunk. I am too. As far as I know, I am not mentally ill. I am just an alcoholic. There are quite a few of us. But, I do notice in the rooms that when some people get sober, they discover they were medicating underlying issues like bipolar and clinical depression. They get treated for that with meds and become even better recovered.

But there is also the other large group of poeple sitting in AA meetings who don't suffer from mental illness. They just lost control over their alcohol consumption and became addicted.

I am also codie: guess to who? My alcoholic father and codie mother when they were still alive, then my 3 brothers. My kids, I am codependent to them. My husband is codependent to me.
Wow, sounds like a fun party, huh!!!???

I can't see codependence as a form of mental illness. I learned how to be codependent as the daughter of an alcoholic father and a major codie mother. Plus all alcoholic grandparents. My brother was born with paranoia and schizophrenia: he didn't sign up for that. I am not saying I signed up for being a codie, maybe that is not the right way to say it. I learned to be codie. But I feel I am emotionally healthy if I work the steps, work programs and learn about myself and stay aware of my codie behavior; I am both a recovering alcoholic and a codie.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
i don't mean to label people, and if i did i apologize. i was labeling behaviors in the context of my experience with alcoholics, with myself, and from duq's other posts. nor do I mean that everybody here is codependent, enabling, or controlling.

I would argue that, at any given time, many (but not all) of the people on this board are exhibiting one or more of these behaviors in their personal lives. I would also argue that, rarely, do these behaviors improve our lives and situations.

i will also front that i, personally, am codependent and controlling and in recovery for that. i also used to be an enabler, but have completely recovered from that. in fact, i may have over-corrected, but only because when in doubt i don't help.

so, to summer who I respect a great deal but am pretty certain i've pissed off at least twice, and also the rest of you, please note that when I use these terms I don't mean to offend and i don't mean to label specific people. again, i apologize if i offended or hurt anybody here.

cyranoak

p.s. i, of all people, have no business labeling other people.
no, no, you didn't get me mad at all. I was just venting my own ideas and believes. Seriously, it's cool. I like some good open debate.

My point really is, I think everyone would be much healthier if we stop labelling some codies and some "normies" that is so crazy! Show me one human soul who's normal!
Labels keep people in the victim role

My last step meeting was my last (after 2 months) because the group leader was adamant about defining co-dependency as a "disease". I ignored it at first, then had enough of the brainwashing. That is like telling a gay person they have a disease.
Humans are co-dependent by nature, We are pack animals! We need love, affection and our survival depends on some co-dependent behaviours.
If one takes it too far and allows another to seriously abuse them, then this is not codie, this now ventures into the mental illness spectrum.

One girl in that group went into 8 weeks of codie rehab and talked about how she still works with her ex and stalked him, and he would beat her
This is not codie, this is called MENTAL ILLNESS
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:57 AM
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Who knows really, but there is something different about their brains, that's for sure. Probably like most things, a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

I like to drink sometimes, but I always stop at one or two because I know I hate feeling out of control, dehydrated, and I get headaches. That knowledge is enough to stop me. My AH, on the other hand, can drink so much he gets stomach aches, blood in his stool, throws up, gets the shakes, and feels generally terrible and it doesn't slow him down one bit. Obviously there is some sort of mental illness there.

He also suffers from terrible anxiety and has a generally negative attitude toward life. I don't know if that's why he started drinking or if he developed a bad attitude because of the alcohol. Probably a downward spiral, really. Bad feelings cause drinking, drinking causes more bad feelings, etc. It's a sad way to live.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by littlefish View Post
One of my brothers is a paranoid schizophrenic, untreated chronic active alcoholic. My brother who passed away recently was just a garden variety drunk. I am too. As far as I know, I am not mentally ill. I am just an alcoholic. There are quite a few of us. But, I do notice in the rooms that when some people get sober, they discover they were medicating underlying issues like bipolar and clinical depression. They get treated for that with meds and become even better recovered.

But there is also the other large group of poeple sitting in AA meetings who don't suffer from mental illness. They just lost control over their alcohol consumption and became addicted.

I am also codie: guess to who? My alcoholic father and codie mother when they were still alive, then my 3 brothers. My kids, I am codependent to them. My husband is codependent to me.
Wow, sounds like a fun party, huh!!!???

I can't see codependence as a form of mental illness. I learned how to be codependent as the daughter of an alcoholic father and a major codie mother. Plus all alcoholic grandparents. My brother was born with paranoia and schizophrenia: he didn't sign up for that. I am not saying I signed up for being a codie, maybe that is not the right way to say it. I learned to be codie. But I feel I am emotionally healthy if I work the steps, work programs and learn about myself and stay aware of my codie behavior; I am both a recovering alcoholic and a codie.
Mentally ill is a scary term, it's probably better to say, mental issues.
I don't believe in "Garden variety drunks".
Who in their right mind would abuse themselves both physical and emotionally and hurt others in their path, if they didn't suffer from some form or mental "issue"?
Self abuse in any respect is not just someone drinking to much and ooppsie, they just didn't know when to stop.
If you abuse any substance, it's more than likely, there are some serious mental pains someone is dealing with.
And really, there is NO shame in that. In fact, I think everyone has some form of mental "weakness". Just the way we're built
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Summerpeach View Post
Who in their right mind would abuse themselves both physical and emotionally and hurt others in their path, if they didn't suffer from some form or mental "issue"?
People with addictions. Addiction is not just a mental process. Addiction has a biological base too.

Also, whether or not a label keeps someone in a victim role is dependent on the individual. My personal experience is that the label empowered me.

I agree with you that I do not think of co-dependency as a disease. I see it as learned behaviors and thought patterns.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:08 AM
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How did you feel empowered by it and how did it help in your healing?
For me, the label weakened me and I became empowered when I stopped putting a name to being human.

Yes, addiction can be biological, but addiction is really a side effect of something biologically misaligned.
Whether someone is a food, sex, drug of booze addict, these are all addictions which are side effects from something deeper.
I don't differentiate addictions.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:09 AM
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Who in their right mind would abuse themselves both physical and emotionally and hurt others in their path, if they didn't suffer from some form or mental "issue"?
Boy, that is the million dollar question!
I believe in the disease theory because alcohol is not addictive to normal people. Most people never develop a dependency on alcohol. But between 3 and 10% of the population in cultures that drink, do.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:28 AM
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You know, so hard to really know, but I believe in the disease theory as well, just not the "said addiction" as the disease. I mean, to destroy oneself with any substance does disease the body, but there is a core issue to why someone wants to hurt themselves.

In our clinic, we do have recovering addicts as patients, and they come in to want to try to heal their bodies from the damage they've done. And each and every one has a diagnosed mental health issue, Most of them; depression.

I have panic disorder and never became addicted to anything. But I'm a recovering control freak and critical person <--- this is how I dealt with pain.
This is why I think addictions are just self medication. We all do it in some form.

We may never know, just my theories really
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:40 AM
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How did you feel empowered by it and how did it help in your healing?
I felt fundamentally flawed in many ways. I felt unable to love and be loved in a true sense. I didn't really understand it. While my childhood was not perfect there was not a lack of love so I'm not on any extreme end of the curve.

When I began learning about codependency I was able to see that I was not fundamentally flawed. I was approaching life in ways that were unhealthy. I have thought patterns and coping mechanisms that are not healthy. I was attempting to meet my needs in ways that did not work, at all. I can change those. They are not hard wired personality traits. I can understand myself and set myself free of the roles that I lived in, I can work at and become a healthy person. I do not think I would have ever done that had I not learned about co-dependency and identified myself as being co-dependent.

Yes, addiction can be biological, but addiction is really a side effect of something biologically misaligned.
Whether someone is a food, sex, drug of booze addict, these are all addictions which are side effects from something deeper.
I don't differentiate addictions
I believe that addictions manifest differently in different people. Some people are self-medicating an underlying issue - I do believe that. I also believe some people are just partying to much and find themselves addicted. The addiction itself creates other issues. Some people like the affects of being drunk (or stoned, or high, or whatever) - even if they have no mental issues at all. Others do not. If addiction results from a biological misalignment, then I believe that it can begin with only that for some people. For other people it may be a psychological basis. Certainly non-drug addictions have a strong psychological basis. I don't think there is any one answer.

I truely believe that some people become alcoholics really fast and easy, not necessarily because they have mental issues. It just happens. IME others can drink really abusively and for all the wrong reasons, for a very long time, and escape alcoholism. That more then anything is my basis for believing there is a strong biological basis for some people. You got it or you don't.

I also really believe that some people do have 'mental issues' that put them at extremely high risk of addiction problems, regardless of physical biology, so I agree with you there. Studies proove that.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:49 AM
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I agree with Summer-I feel that any person, addict or not, if someone is going out of their way on a daily basis to either mentally or physically abuse another person, there are serious underlying issues there and they are releasing these issues through putting others down. I feel like I am in general a happy person and I don't think I've ever woken up one morning and said "Who can I beat down today"....I agree that addictions can be a side effect of something deeper, just as abuse is a symptom of something much deeper.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:54 AM
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Well Cyranoak labeled my post as jaded and I was only trying to help with something to tell the kids! Jeeze! Well, I am not going to bother dispensing any more remarkable wisdom anymore.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
I felt fundamentally flawed in many ways. I felt unable to love and be loved in a true sense. I didn't really understand it. While my childhood was not perfect there was not a lack of love so I'm not on any extreme end of the curve.

When I began learning about codependency I was able to see that I was not fundamentally flawed. I was approaching life in ways that were unhealthy. I have thought patterns and coping mechanisms that are not healthy. I was attempting to meet my needs in ways that did not work, at all. I can change those. They are not hard wired personality traits. I can understand myself and set myself free of the roles that I lived in, I can work at and become a healthy person. I do not think I would have ever done that had I not learned about co-dependency and identified myself as being co-dependent.
It's imperative to change our thought process to create a healthier life, totally agree,
I've been working on this in therapy and al anon as well, but when I associated myself with "being " a codie and not just someone with flawed thinking, it made me feel broken.

When I broke free from calling myself anything and just saying "I'm human, I was raised a certain way, I loved certain people, I made such and such mistakes and yes, my thinking is not always healthy" I started to accept myself.
But this just shows how we all use different techniques in thinking to become healthy. For you, using the label helped, for me it hindered.
And it's all good whatever way works, but I think what irks me comes in the defining who's a "normie" and who's not!
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:05 AM
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I don't see alcoholics (or at least not the one's I've been intimately involved with) going out of their way to mentally or physically abuse anyone either. I do not think they get up and plan to ruin anyone's day. They follow their addictions instead of doing right by themselves and others but that is different then targeting people for abuse.

I'm co-dependent (the label again, lol) and I'm quite sure I've ruined some days because of those 'co-dependent' traits going unchecked. I certainly didn't wake up planning that. Do you see those co-dependent traits as symptoms of something deeper?

I've always thought of the co-dependency as the deeper thing, not that there was something deeper then the co-dependency. On the surface I was a rigid, joyless, controlling wacko that couldn't figure anything out. Look deeper and there was co-dependency.

My xah wanted to treat his anxiety. I saw the anxiety as manifestation of a deeper issue - alcoholism. He reports that he never had anxiety problems before. Not as a young person before drinking (he started drinking in his 20's), and not as a young adult before the drinking had turned into an addiction. I do know that he suffers from anxiety a great deal now and lengthened his rehab stay to learn to cope with it. It seems like a chicken and egg thing. Is anxiety the deeper issue? Doesn't really seem like it. Mabye co-dependency is! That I might believe.

Interesting discussion - I hope it doesn't seem like I'm arguing or trying to hijack.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:13 AM
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I agree with Summer-I feel that any person, addict or not, if someone is going out of their way on a daily basis to either mentally or physically abuse another person, there are serious underlying issues there and they are releasing these issues through putting others down. I feel like I am in general a happy person and I don't think I've ever woken up one morning and said "Who can I beat down today"....I agree that addictions can be a side effect of something deeper, just as abuse is a symptom of something much deeper.
That matches the profile of some alcoholics, but lots of them go off and isolate and slowly die alone without having much to do with other people. I see that a lot with the park bench drunks who obviously are very alone and have lost social contact almost completely.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:21 AM
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I think it's a combo of genetics and about any type of psychological component.

My AS was never raised around chronic alcohol use so he's got little or no background there. His biological father (whom he only saw on weekends for maybe 2 years out of his life) and paternal grandfather were both drunks, in fact the grandfather died from his disease before my son was ever born. On my side of the family, my mom is a functional alcoholic, but likewise, he wasn't raised around her and she's never been a sloppy or uncontrolled drunk. No nurture vs. nature argument here.

I sincerely believe that my son became addicted to alcohol while he was trying to self-medicate for depression and his genetics took control. He had a lot of money issues and relationship issues about 3 years back. In three years he's become a card carrying drunk.
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