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hi, not sure if Im an alcoholic or a heay drinker or if there is a difference

Old 02-05-2010, 07:48 AM
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hi, not sure if Im an alcoholic or a heay drinker or if there is a difference

Hi everyone,

my name is shaun. I come from a family background were alcohol misuse was part of the furniture... In addition I have always suspected that I have what I see as a propensity to addictions... In the past I have been addicted to smoking, gambling even playing computer games. I am the sort of person that when I develop a habit it tends to get bigger and bigger until I reach a point where I need to re-evaluate and stop!

Given all of the above I was concious that I should be careful around alcohol... Saying this when I look at things now I see that my relationship with alcohol has been to misuse it... I started drinking when i was 16 or so... The circles I moved in menat that my friends and I would drink to get drunk mostly... Not every night but most weekends... Throughout my 20s I would drink most weekends and would often have been tipsy or drunk... Throughout this time it was always social never in the home... Then when I got married I stopped going out as much so didn't drink much at all... I could take it or leave it... I seen a period when I opened a bottle of wine and eventually threw it out as it had sat so long...Things stayed like that until probably about 5 years ago when I started drinking at home.. I developed a taste for wine, and would drink a bottle at the weekend with my wife... Somewhere along this path we both began to drink more frequently and we were opening wine most nights... After a while my wife cut down and only drank at weekends but I kept drinking... I would say I was drinking a bottle every night for the past 2 years...

I never tried to cut back... I thought about it but never tried... Then this new year, I reviewed my life and thought I needed to stop for a while to prove I could... I also knew my lifestyle was not good and I was feeling under pressure so I stopped.... The next day I hit what I can only describe as an emotional wall.... I had terrible anxiety for six days... It was the longest six days of my life... I could not function,,, crying was a comfort to act as some sort of a release and my wife supported me greatly. I went to my gp and told him all. He did not think it was alcohol related he felt I hadnt been drinking enough... I don't know... Part of me thinks I was drinking too much and was misusing alcohol but the other part is scared of the anxiety (which thankfully has not returned)... I go on holiday for a week tomorrow with a few guys, I have never went on holiday before in my life where alcohol has not played a big part...It is how I socialise and I feel strange thinking of not drinking (I havent had a drink in 5 weeks and largely speaking have not missed it) but at the same time I wouldn't want to re-awaken a monster and I know my wife wants me to leave it at least six months to give my body and brain time to recover...

I am interested in what others think , does this sound familiar and what would you do if in my shoes.
thank you for reading
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:20 AM
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Hi dprovan!

Well, I have read numerous times that if you think you have a problem, you probably do. You might ask yourself what alcohol does for you. And, very importantly, IMHO, once you start drinking, do you feel a compulsion to drink more? Is your consumption affecting your life negatively? You sound as if you can take it or leave it, but under social pressure (and maybe just because this is your habit), it seems foreign to live without alcohol. I guess, for your own peace of mind (because of your concern about your inclinations), why not give it 6 months and then reevaluate. If you can live without it, why do it?
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:22 AM
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Welcome to SR Dprovan. There is an online test you can take to see how your drinking compares to one of an alcoholic. I didn't have to take the test because as hard as it was to admit it, I knew I was an alcoholic. I tried several different tricks to remain drinking, but to no avail. When I finally surrendered I felt relief. No longer worried about my actions or the fact I was worrying my husband so much. I now had an addiction to staying sober.

I do agree that we seem to have addictive personalities. It seems to go with the territory. I was addicted to this site in the very beginning. I go through ebbs and flows with this site presently, but I couldn't turn it off when I first became sober. I now like to return here to give back what this site and the people here had so freely given to me. I couldn't have made it past one day without the help here. You found a great place to start your journey.

I would concentrate, if I were you, on staying sober and not worrying about the label of alcoholic. You will be able to decide whether you are or aren't in the future, if its important to you. Some people just decide to give up alcohol because its no longer serving a positive purpose in their lives and that can be reason enough.

Good luck and I wish you happiness and self discovery.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:24 AM
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Best definition I know.

Originally Posted by AA BB, 1st Ed.
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.
Entirely means entirely. Or, you can try some controlled drinking to see if you experience the phenomenon of craving. Try having 2 drinks per day, no more no less, every day for a month. See how you feel about that.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:24 AM
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Hi and welcome.
Nobody can tell you you are an alcoholic, only you can do that yourself.
Heavy drinking can lead to alcoholism and anxiety attacks can be a symptom.
Your wife seems a very smart lady. Why don't you give the six months a shot?
It certainly will make things more clear for you. Also keep reading the other posts, a lot of inside knowledge on here.
I can't give you advise on your holiday, I know I couldn't have stood the temptation that early. Probably not even now, but that's just me.
Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:37 AM
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thanks

thank you for the posts guys,

every pot enhanced my thinking... If I am honest with myself I know I shouldn't drink for the reasons you have all described... I also know that I may not have had obvious physical withdrawal but I would have struggled to have had two drinks and stopped... I prefer not drinking at all and how I feel now as opposed to the feeling of believing I could only have one or two.....

Aside from the above, the fact that I perceive holiday, having a good time with drinking does also suggest that I need to do more work on my relationship with alcohol...

You are right my wife is a smart lady, she also has the patience of many saints....

Thank you for giving me the insights and wisdom I needed at an important time.... I am committed to coming back at the end of the holiday and being 6 weeks alcohol free...

take care all
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:56 AM
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It really doesn't matter if you're alcoholic or just a heavy drinker. If it's causing problems in your life why not just leave it alone. I tried to moderate my drinking more times than I can remember, but could never do it. For me it's best to just leave it alone.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:53 AM
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I was a 12-pack+ a day lady at my worst. My first therapist advised me to cut down one a day until I stop. <--- ha, ha, ha. I got down to 9 beers and that was the end of that little test.

You could try drinking and stop yourself right when you start to get a buzz. If you can't do it WITHOUT it on you mind... Just walking away without another thought of a drink that night. You might be an alcoholic!
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:51 PM
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Hi Dprovan

I'm guessing you've already tried many ways of testing your resolve

I'm with the people who say the label doesn't matter as much as recognising you have a problem, and what you do about it.

Have you got a plan for your holiday?
Good to have you with us.

D
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:21 PM
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thanks for the replies..

Dee, this was helpful. Have I made a plan? I guess I have, three of us are going and one of the guys doesn't drink which I think will help. I have told the guys already that I wont be drinking alcohol, I made an excuse about stomach problems... We are playing golf so this will be my focus... I also plan to try to relax as much as possible plenty of reading, walking, chilling etc... Other than this I have been reminding myself how well I have felt the last 5 weeks... and also reminding myself that if i dont have an unhealthy attitude to alcohol then it won't be important for me to drink... On top of all of this I know I can phone my wife if I have cravings and she will talk sense into me...
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:37 PM
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Hi and welcome to SR

Originally Posted by dprovan View Post
I also know that I may not have had obvious physical withdrawal
I think you did have withdrawal. People tend to think that withdrawal symptoms only happen in the later stages of alcoholism, when the body and brain as so fully addicted that people have tremors, seizures, DTs etc and need medication to detox but there is a stage before then.

The fact that you needed to drink every day and could not limit it shows that were were already physcially addicted. At this stage withdrawal symptoms are more subtle - one of them being anxiety. I had really bad anxiety every time I came off the booze. It would start a few hours after my last drink as my blood alcohol level started to drop. I was jittery, heart racing. It was horrible. I don't get it now.

I work the 12 steps of AA. It's a great programme of recovery.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:41 PM
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If you are a hard-drinker, the problem stops after detoxing.

If you are a alcoholic, the problem starts after detoxing.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:08 PM
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Your story sounds that exact same as my own. I started drinking around 13, same thing with friends and everything. I had a bad anxiety period out of the blue last spring, and man did it suck! I went on and off drinking, and made it a point to stop 3 days ago, when I started to feel the depression/anxiety coming back. Good luck, the old friends are the hardest for me, and I too will have a test of my metel this weekend. Take care
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