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I have a problem, but am I an alcoholic?

Old 04-28-2009, 02:18 PM
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I have a problem, but am I an alcoholic?

I have a problem with drinking, but don't think I'm an alcoholic...

I'm not dependent on alcohol, I can easily go long periods of time without alcohol, and I don't particularly think about drinking and never "ooh I could really do with a drink"


But... my problem is just when I go out. I'm 22, and finished uni about a year ago. The problem is when I go out to a club or whatever, I always drink, and always get drunk to ridiculous levels.

I very, very rarely can even remember the whole night. I don't usually know how I got home for example, and I have to talk to the friends I was with to piece bits together for me and find out.

Twice in the last year I've had to go to hospital after a night out (the next day when I've sobered up, rather than when I'm drunk that night) for minor injuries. Well, fairly minor... I still have multiple scars from one of the incidents.

The problem is when I drink on a night out, I basically don't stop until the bar closes. I used to stop when I ran out of money, but now I just end up getting more out and paying on my card. But it's only when I'm on a night out. If I have a beer during the daytime, or when I'm watching football or something then I am fine to just have 1.

But when I'm out, I can't stop.

It's getting ridiculous though... last night was the last straw almost for me... I was at a work staff party (they'd hired out a local bar) and I made a complete fool of myself and eventually got dragged out by a bouncer for being too drunk.


I don't want to stop drinking though... I just want to be able to get a "buzz" when I'm out and stop there... rather than getting to this point where I have no idea what I'm doing.

I worry that one day I'll hurt myself more seriously... or get myself into some kind of trouble... or that one day my actions will hurt someone else!


I just need to learn how to moderate my drinking when I'm out, because at the moment it's EVERY night I'm out, I can't remember it the next day.


(I didn't know where to post this so put it in the alcoholism forum as well)
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:30 PM
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Hi,

Alcoholism is not about how much you drink or how often you drink.

Alcoholism is about what happens to you when you do drink.

It sounds like what happens to you is that you lose control. I can't tell you that you're an alcoholic, but to me, it sounds like alcoholism. Alcoholics cannot control their drinking. I think we have all tried doing that, not wanting to give up drinking completely, but found that things only get worse.

Take a look around and read and learn.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:41 PM
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Welcome to SR Curious.
I don't think you should get too hung up on what to call it. You know you have a drinking problem so you have to figure out the solution to the problem.
I have the same problem as you do. If I go out drinking at the bars it almost always ends up with the same results which are never good.
I tried to moderate for several years with very little success and eventually came to the realization that the only solution for me is not to drink.
Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:50 PM
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See, I think for me if the option is to either continue as I am or completely stop drinking, then I'd end up continuing as I am...

I enjoy going out and getting a little bit drunk... I just don't like the complete mess I get myself into.

I can stop after 2 or 3... but it's when I get a bit drunk that I just keep going. But I want to be a bit drunk when I'm out, because I'm quite shy and so self aware that when I'm in a club I feel really awkward if I'm stone sober... I won't dance for example until I'm drunk.

Maybe it isn't as much of a problem as I think it is, maybe I'm overplaying it. Most of my friends just seem to think it's funny, and I seem to end up as the life of the party almost...

I've spent the whole of today on a massive downer from last night though (which quite often happens after I've been really drunk the night before)... just feel stupid and ashamed and annoyed at myself for the mess I got into. I made an utter arse of myself with some girl I like, who I'd already told that in a subtle way and kept quiet from other people... but apparently after last night everyone knows it because I just didn't stop... Idiot.

But then tomorrow I'll be fine... and next time I go out I'll probably be right back on it..., but I am getting tired of being the drunken fool.

This is just rambling really.


I have this like in built guilt meter thing almost as well.... like I'll wake up the next morning, and KNOW when I've done something stupid, like sending inappropriate texts or whatever, without having a clue what I've done... so I then have to check my texts and facebook etc to see what stupid thing I did.... but it's weird, because I always know if I have done something, even if I don't know what it was
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:54 PM
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welcome!!!

My best definitions of my alcoholism, I didn't get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got into trouble I had been drinking. When I drank, I absolutely could not guarantee the outcome, I might have 2, I might have 20.

Whether or not we think you're alcoholic is immaterial, what conclusions you come to on your own are the ones that will make a difference. Folks tried to tell me for years, the legal system had a go at me on many occasions, it did absolutely no good at the time.

Keep coming back, you'll find a lot of support here.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:54 PM
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You may or may not be an alcoholic, but you certainly exhibit the characteristics of one. Blackout drinking, the inablility to stop once you start drinking, the desire to learn to "control" your drinking....This is alcoholic behavior. Normal people don't do these things. Normal people don't have control their drinking. I recommend that you stick around this web site and read what others have to say. I'd also start going to AA meetings (they're free) and listen. The first step in AA is to admit that you are powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable. Sounds like you fit the bill here. Give it a try. Oh, and I recommend that you try stop drinking for awhile. See if you can do it.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:04 PM
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But how do you know when it's a problem?

Where's the line between having a drinking problem, and just getting stupidly drunk?

Practically everyone I know, both at home and at University, gets drunk most nights when they go out, and the next day everyone's like "oh I'm never drinking again".... until the next night out.

That's the same for most students I would think... I don't think all my friends are alcoholics. Where's the line?
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:08 PM
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The problem is that line is invisible.

Don't you know, that if I could have seen the line, I would never have crossed it.

And, once you cross the invisible line, you cannot go back.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:08 PM
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Welcome Curious Fox.

I hope you find your answers.

I can tell you that for me, I thought like you for a long time:

I think for me if the option is to either continue as I am or completely stop drinking, then I'd end up continuing as I am...
So I took it to the MAX and at just shy of my 36th birthday I died while detoxing (yes they had the TOD on my ER medical chart). Oh I am here, so I was given a 2nd chance.

As I started to get over that horrible experience, I again started thinking well maybe, just maybe I am not.

Now back when I found recovery there was only one game in town and that was AA. I found something in the Big Book of AA in the first paragraph of chapter 4:

If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if, when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic.
Well there I had it, short, sweet, to the point and describing me perfectly. That convinced me!

I am an alcoholic. I started working on my recovery and staying sober, and in just over a month will celebrate 28 years continuously sober and clean.

Had I had a wee bit more sense when I was your age, I would have listened to that 'niggling voice' in the back of my head and done something about it, and saved myself 14 years of PURE H*LL.

Only you can decide, what is best for you.

I will suggest you read around the site, check out the 'stickys' at the tops of the Alcoholism forum and the Alcoholism 12 forum. I hope they help you decide.

Love and hugs,
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:21 PM
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Like the others said it doesn't matter what you call it, maybe you have the makings of an alcoholic or maybe you have the makings of a hard drinker. Only you can decide when enough is enough. I was like you for many years, when I drank I generally drank too much but there were occassions where I had just 1 or 2. I was very quiet and alcohol opened me up, people liked the friendly flirtatous me, they liked me so much I often woke up in the morning with one beside me in bed and didn't even know their name. As the years went by the drinking took more and more a toll on me and the drunken things I did in my 20s that I could laugh off weren't quite so funny when I was in my 40s... I missed out on so much life because I was either drunk and don't remember or I was hungover and not a participant. If you think you have a problem then you have a problem. If you can learn to drink in moderation then good for you, just know that it you would have to be alert to your drinking at all times and not let down your guard.

Judy
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by curiousfox View Post
Where's the line between having a drinking problem, and just getting stupidly drunk?

Practically everyone I know, both at home and at University, gets drunk most nights when they go out, and the next day everyone's like "oh I'm never drinking again".... until the next night out.
JMO, I don't think there is a line. I believe I was born with that genetic abnormality-anecdotal evidence perhaps, but if you take a close look at the number of alcoholics in my family tree-and that what some would describe as an 'invisible line' was merely the progression of the disease through it's stages.

As a practicing alcoholic, I didn't hang out with non-drinkers, so 'practically everyone I knew' drank excessively. It was one of the mechanisms I used to maintain my denial, comparing my drinking favorably to those I thought drank more than I did. I try not compare these days.

I'm not going to tell you that you're an alcoholic, it's a label that only has value to folks that come to that conclusion on their own.

My name is John, I'm a grateful recovering alcoholic.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:35 PM
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Hey there Curious!

That was me 20 years ago too! It started out with teenage partying in which everyone seemed to be on board with me and continued on through the years until I was the only one left making an ass out of myself. I still grapple with the question "am I an alcoholic or not?" because I, like you, can go for a long time without drinking and don't really crave it. However, when I get in one of those "moods" - watch out! Like was stated above - it is not how much alcohol you drink, it is what it does to you when you do! I'm a newbie here and am slowly starting to "get it". I have tried AA and it really is reassuring to talk to people who know where you are coming from. My temporary sponsor said something that really rang true for me yesterday. We were talking about this very thing and I am struggling with it all and she said that I should consider it a gift that I am recognizing the danger signs now before alcoholism progresses any further and I lose everything like she had. I had never really looked at it that way before. I wish I had the sense to talk to someone 20 years ago before it had progessed as far as it had for me but I consider myself very lucky anyway.

Keep coming back!
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:03 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I appreciate it. But to be honest, I don't think I'm ready to stop drinking altogether yet. I don't know if I need to. That could be denial, but it could be the truth.

I need to try and make more of an effort to control myself when I go out. I need to try it a couple more times at least, going out and controlling how much I drink.

I might be back here in a few weeks saying it didn't work and realising that I am going to have to stop altogether, but I'm not at that point yet.

Cheers. And good luck/well done to all of you
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:18 AM
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Hi curiousfox ,


For me you are really brave and wise young man .
You enjoy parties like I did . I used to go to clubs 3 times a week at my 20's ...
Btw I've completed university at 22 ... and at this age I couldn't imagine not to drink at all !!! .
10 years later ... I went to the first AA meeting in my life . I didn't like it . I didn't want to admit I was powerless on alcohol , on anything .
Another 10 years later ... I am recovering alcoholic , father of 3 boys and happy man .
You are great young man you are here and found SR forum .
Well , see you in a few weeks ,

vicc ,

PS. Sooner or later you will be here .
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:47 AM
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But how do you know when it's a problem?
Curious let me welcome you to SR first of all. One of the ways to tell if it is a problem or not is answer yourself a question. "Do I think people who do not have a problem with alcohol come to places like SR asking if they have a problem.

The medical community states that alcoholism is one of the very few diseases that one of its symptoms is a denial of the problem.

Here is a simple test to take, think about each question and answer then honestly Alcoholics Anonymous : Is A.A. For You? . You see the most important step for an alcoholic is to determine them selfs whether they are an alcoholic or not.

I will say this, in AA we say "It is not how much you drink, how often you drink, or how long you have drank that determines whether or not one is an alcoholic, it is what happens to one when they drink that determines that.

I am an alcoholic and when I was your age I was not physically dependant upon alcohol, nor did I crave it, but I did enjoy drinking & when I drank........ I DRANK!!!! When I drank I almost always drank until I was drunk.

Do some reading on alcoholism, you will find out that it is a progressive disease, as lonfg as one drinks it gets worse, I can attest to that, I was like you, by the time I hit my 40's I was drinking daily, the last 5 years of my drinking I did not draw a sober breath. The only thing that stops the progression of alcoholism is total abstinance.

I will tell you this, for me it is a whole lot easier not drinking at all then trying to control my drinking. In my alcoholic mind if I have one drink I am going to keep drinking until I am drunk and then continue to do so until I reach oblivion. To stop drinking after one or 2 is torture.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by curiousfox View Post
But how do you know when it's a problem?


when you end up in the hospital after drinking....and do the things that you described....that is when it's a problem.

i think i detect you dont want that answer....and i can understand and relate to that as well.

for me the word "alcoholic" means something different than what it means to many others. I hear the word used a lot because people talk about it here and at meetings and in books. but i had to get over my "differences" of opinion in the meaning of the word.....and come to terms with that I had a problem.


we all have the choice to furthur develop our relationship with alcohol and become the definition that's in our mind.....i guess that's one way to get to your "bottom"

anyway ... great questions

follow your heart
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:27 AM
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I have no suggestions on controlled/moderate drinking. Sorry.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:35 AM
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if you have doubts............i think your right ...i think you need to try some controlled drinking.

Commence drinking and stop abruptly.......do this several times over a period of a few weeks..

while you think you can control it you have little chance of stopping drinking total.........imo.

do i think your alcoholic.........???

yes mate i do...........BUT it isnt about what i think.

You said something that summed up the whole share that makes it plain to me.

"WHEN I GO OUT.........I CANT STOP".........

Think about what you said for a minute.........my wife who is a social drinker has never ever ever said......i cant stop........ever......thank god.

good luck with it.........and god be with you.

trucker
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:25 PM
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Good luck to you.....hope your future is all
you expect/desire it to be......
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for the support guys.

I've decided I'm going to give myself 3 more nights going out, really really make a conscious effort to try and control myself with how much I'm drinking (which to be fair I havn't really tried that hard to do in the past I don't think), and see how I get on. I feel I owe myself that.

It might not work, and those 3 nights out I might end up as just as much of a mess as usual... but I think it's worth a go. If it doesn't work then I'm going to have to look at stopping altogether I think.

But here's hoping it doesn't come to that! What harm can 3 more nights do? (let's hope that's not famous last words! lol)

Cheers. Will let you know how I do
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