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Old 10-14-2009, 07:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Confusion


Hi everyone,

I am just five days short of the 30 day mark, and am completely and totally confused about whether or not I'm really an alcoholic. My husband and I had a deep conversation the other night, and he expressed some real skepticism over my self-diagnosis. And now I'm so confused. There is a chance I dove into this because I got really scared, because I was drinking too much and was using alcohol to deal with stress instead of just having it be something I did to be social. But maybe I'm not actually addicted? Quitting was easy, very easy.

His mom is an alcoholic, and my best friend's father was a violent alcoholic, so maybe I saw what could happen if I kept drinking so heavily and panicked. I don't know. Everyone I talk to says, if you think you're an alcoholic, you probably are. But is that true in all cases? Is there a chance I'm simply a drama queen who was temporarily drinking too much?

I'm not going back to drinking, nor am I looking for an excuse to start drinking this weekend. I am happy being sober, and plan to stay this way for a good long while. I am so frigging confused ...

Penny
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I dont know. Maybe stop focuing on the label so much.
And look at the issues. Which you did in your post.
But you keep mentioning alcoholic. Like your afraid to be labeled.
I get that.
All that matters is that if you feel you were drinking too much. ANd now you have stopped. And dont plan on going back. Than keep the focus there. It doesnt matter really what category you are in.
Most addictions are progressive. And start with this very rationalisation. Am I or arent I?
It doent matter what anyone else thinks. Its how you feel.
If you feel liek you may end up down that path if you continue to drink. I would want to stop ASAP.
If drinking is making you feel bad or causing problems in your life. Than obviously its not a good thing.
You dont have to be diagnosed to feel the misery. All that matters is there is pain there. Issued involving drinking. So if it was easy. Count yourself lucky.
Alot of people told me when I first started racovery that I needed to stop thinking so much.
I knew my life was a mess. But I am the type that needs solid facts. Explainations, and had to just pick everything apart. That just really made it way more complicated then it had to be.
If you have a problem with drinking than stop. If your life is not effected by it. Then that is up to you what you do.
I hope you find some peace and understanding.
But dont make it more complicated than it has to be..
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Pennylane,

The definition I like best is given by AA's Big Book, page 44, as
Quote:
Originally Posted by AA Big Book, 1st Ed.
We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. 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. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.
Are you able to quit entirely? You're coming up on a month and having some creeping thoughts. Can you do that for a year? Do you have control of how much you drink when you do drink? Do you experience the phenomenon of craving when you drink? That is, is your body and mental reaction to want to drink more once you start.

I think, from a recovery standpoint, it's very important to understand if you are an alcoholic or not. Consider these questions carefully. It's easy to be dishonest with ourselves.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Penny there are plenty of nonalcoholics that either quit drinking or have never drank for numerous reasons.

Are you happier with your over all life not drinking? If you are then don't drink, be happy! Call your self what you wish, if you are happy so be it.

No matter what I think, your husband thinks in regards to whether you are an alcoholic is strictly your call and no one elses.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Some excellent advise on this thread today, Pennylane, I will stand with what has been said. My heart goes out to you.

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Old 10-14-2009, 08:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It may help to ask your general practitioner or any other doctor you use frequently for a caring and honest opinion. If you can recall, you could try explaining why you were drinking, how much you were drinking, how frequently, and for how what period of time. That could result in a very helpful "third opinion".
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There are different types and stages of alcoholism for sure. I like to use the blanket term "addiction" to describe my condition. But what really matters is: what I'm willing to do about my addiction. For me having a treatment plan and taking action is what makes the most difference. My treatment program is not a faith based program and yet I can recover depending not on my beliefs but on what actions I take.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree that the label is not important. If you're happier w/o alcohol, why ever consume it again? If it caused you one moment of unhappiness or confusion or anything negative, throw it away. Just because you may not be an alcoholic doesn't obligate you to drink!

I want to ask you something very gently. You say your mom-in-law has a big problem with drinking. Does you husband seem to lean that way? Or could he be so sensitive to the issue that the thought of your having this condition is unthinkable? Forgive me if I'm out of place here. :ghug3

You don't need to be confused, just don't drink!
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennylane2009 View Post
My husband and I had a deep conversation the other night, and he expressed some real skepticism over my self-diagnosis.
I've had people tell me in the distant past that I wasn't an alcoholic-they all had one thing in common, these were people I drank with.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I really never thought of myself as an alcoholic until I started reading this website. I have been a closet drinker for quite awhile. I didn't know that was a standard practice of an alcoholic and to drink until I passed out. I didn't know how much I was drinking I would just keep drinking one double shot of vodka until it was gone or I passed out. I have told people that I love that I believe that I am an alcoholic and can not drink because I can't stop myself and I don't know why. I am on day 10 and proud of myself but also feel foolish when everyone else is talking about months and years!
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesToTravel View Post
I really never thought of myself as an alcoholic until I started reading this website. I have been a closet drinker for quite awhile. I didn't know that was a standard practice of an alcoholic and to drink until I passed out. I didn't know how much I was drinking I would just keep drinking one double shot of vodka until it was gone or I passed out. I have told people that I love that I believe that I am an alcoholic and can not drink because I can't stop myself and I don't know why. I am on day 10 and proud of myself but also feel foolish when everyone else is talking about months and years!
Welcome!!!

We all have to start somewhere!

Keep coming back, you'll find a lot of support here.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi Penny

I don't think the label matters.

I think the fact you came here for help, and the fact that life seems to have been better for you in the last 25 days or so, is what matters.

A lot of ppl here can quibble about the label, but it would be a mistake not to acknowledge the reasons that bought you here IMO.

You're doing well - keep it up
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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((Penny))
Could it B the alcoholic mind telling U that U R not an alcoholic? Almost 30 days; could it B that the mind/body wants the poison? Just a thought, I could B wrong.

PS: Keith, thanks 4 the reminder. AA's bigbook, pg 44. I'm a alcoholic. When I was drinking and before I even finished that beer was still thinking, I'm gonna have another one.
Stay strong Penny.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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it was easy for me to quit too. I don't know, nor do I care if I am an alcoholic. I know 2 things for sure, the first is that I would have never done the shameful thing I did sober, so by staying sober I can guarantee no repeat performances. The second thing I have learned, is that my life was truly missing something. By hanging out here on SR, I came to remember my spiritual side that I had drown out so long ago, and I never want to be without it again.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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One of my favorite quotes about the "Am I an alcoholic?" question comes from the book Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp.

When you question your alcoholism, you say to yourself:

If I am an alcoholic, I shouldn't drink and if I'm not an alcoholic, I don't need to. That's a nice piece of logic. You say: People who aren't alcoholics do not lie in bed at two-thirty in the morning wondering if they're alcoholics. A good reality check.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Penny....
I'm glad you are taking good care of yourself
and realizing that alcohol is not in your best interest.

Perhaps that will allow the confusion to clear?
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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LovesToTravel .....Well done on your new sobriety
Welcome to SR.....

I was never a closet drinker...rarely drank alone
Drinking was fun for years ...until it was not.

That last 5 years of my drinking I consider I
had crossed the line into alcoholism.

Outwardly....I still had all appearances of success.
Inside....cold...numb....empty.
When I was diagnosed with situational depression
my doctor recommended abstinance abd AA.

It was the wisest move I ever made.

Please do continue to move forward
All my best
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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My confusion over whether or not I'm an alcoholic has kept me drinking longer than I should have. In some ways I fit the definition and other ways do not. I can moderate SOMETIMES. Since I never fell into any classic pattern, I kept trying to tell myself I'm not an alcoholic.

I think I have finally realized that I am (an alcoholic). I have the genetic makeup for it, too, which just makes it seem more plausible. Also, I have ALWAYS been a problem drinker (going way back to college). I was just able to control it at various times in my life. I have never done many of the things people have done on here (such as drink in the morning to help a hangover, etc.) but I don't think that means I'm not an alcoholic. Following the definition Keith quoted, I am an alcoholic. I have had trouble quitting, big trouble, and many times I end up drinking more than I plan to.

I just attended my first AA meeting yesterday -- related SO much to what many of the people have said about their drinking, so there is no question to me now. I have kind of de-mystified the concept of alcoholism in my mind and it makes a little more sense to me now.

Penny, I hope you are able to find answers to your questions and alleviate the confusion you are feeling. My only response is that I think it takes time to get there for some of us. It has taken me a good year of thinking, reading, talking, planning etc. to get to the feeling I have today.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for your support. I'm not looking for an excuse to drink; I'm happy right now being sober and don't plan on changing that anytime soon.

You all have given me a lot to think about. Thanks.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I would like to reiterate that regardless of whether you are or aren't an alcoholic, you may be better off avoiding alcohol. If you want to find out whether you are or aren't, try some controlled drinking. Try it more than once. If you are an alcoholic this may be dangerous, but it should be worth it if it eliminates that doubt from your mind. Besides, I believe that if you're not convinced, and you still believe somewhere in your mind that you're not an alcoholic and you may someday be able to take a drink, it is only a matter of time before you do so. Very important IMO.
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