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Old 03-19-2015, 05:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How does it really start?


I've been trying to figure out the reasons I've descended into alcoholism over the past couple of weeks, and it's just not really making much sense to me. I read about people who have experienced something traumatic in their lives, whether it be abuse or a sexual assault or maybe their parents were addicts and neglected them as a child, or any one of a number of things. All I know is that none of that happened to me. I've had an excellent childhood, a great upbringing, two parents that are still together today and, although they had their challenges, provided a great life for me. I never felt neglected, was never abused, wasn't bullied in school, wasn't anything. Why, then, did I spiral down this path?

I've come to the conclusion that trying to explain my alcoholism is far too big; far too broad to effectively explain or even understand. It's omnipresent. Growing up, alcohol was everywhere in my life, after I started drinking at 18 years old I suppose I was both aware of it and unaware of it at the same time. I don't know when the line was crossed, when I transitioned from being a social drinker (was I ever a social drinker?) into someone who depends on it to have fun, and then later into someone who just depends on it.. and even later to someone who can't seem to live without it. There are no lines in the sand explaining where you are in the process.. like running a marathon and passing the 1 mile, 5 mile, 10 mile markers to give your internal compass a sort of bearing of where you are in the big picture. It's so blurred and abstract.

I guess for me there was no single moment, no physiological event that pushed me from stage to stage. It's been a slow, gradual, insidious, elusive becoming that makes me unsure of everything except for one thing: that I have become addicted to alcohol.

I'm wondering if anyone else has thought about this? And if so, was it the result of a single experience in life.. or maybe the process was like mine?
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Old 03-19-2015, 05:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearMind View Post
I'm wondering if anyone else has thought about this?
Sure I thought about it, when I was first wanting to quit. Like the answer was the key to getting sober.

It wasn't. It didn't have anything to do with stopping drinking. So I stopped wondering "why me?"
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sure I thought about it, when I was first wanting to quit. Like the answer was the key to getting sober.

It wasn't. It didn't have anything to do with stopping drinking. So I stopped wondering "why me?"
I'm definitely not wondering "why me" as though I'm feeling sorry for myself.. not by a long shot.. It is more out of curiosity than anything else. More of an attempt to understand things. I realize it's not the key to getting sober, but it is interesting (to me) nonetheless.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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ClearMind, I didn't start drinking until I was older. I was bored, my husband was a big drinker and I just started to keep him company. My father was a raging alcoholic, as was my daughter. You would think with that I would steer clear, but no, vodka became the love of my life, slowly but it was always there for me. A few a week became everyday and here I am now.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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clear Mind,

Interesting post! In my case, I grew up in a volatile 2 parent household. My parents were not happy with each other & had no outlet for their pain. My mother took her pain & frustration out on me & my sister, my older brother was always a saint.

I look back now and see how I have always had an addictive personality. It started withe being a love addict, then a serial monogamous (always in a relationship, never alone), then weed, then alcohol. I never was a drinker & hated alcohol, until I started dating my husband. I knew he had an alcohol problem but I was arrogant enough to think it wouldn't affect me. I started binge drinking with my husband on weekends, then we got married & started living together - my drinking escalated to every night.

I look back now & can understand my addictive personality. It all boils down to wanting to be accepted & loved. When you grow up with a mother who verbally, emotionally, & physcially abuses you - you want acceptance. My father was emotionally abusive & emotionally unavailable. So I would morph myself into the person I think my partner wants - even if it meant drinking msyelf into a stupor.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've always thought it was inherited. My grandfather(mother's side) was an alcoholic,one uncle died at 42(alcoholic)..but, my mom and other uncle don't drink(because of their childhood with their dad, I'm told). I'd rather have inherited stock's or land than this!
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The latest thinking is that alcoholism is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It seems to run in families though it may skip a generation or two in the right environment.

I had a pretty good upbringing, no abuse or anything like that, and my mothers alcoholism wasn't really apparent to me until I got sober.

I gave up trying to figure out the why quite early. It seemed to me even if I knew why, it wouldn't help me much and would probably just give me someone to blame, which would be even less helpful.

Instead I concentrated on the solution I found in AA, and haven't needed to drink since, no matter what.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Interesting Post ClearMind, with a background similar to you, my addiction gradually sneakily crept up on me and bang... It had arrived. Didn't see it coming just binged away until I became an everyday drinker and when I stopped I suffered so bad with PAWS I really knew I was here. Still suffering and learning a new life. Good Luck.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My alcoholism was progressive too
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Alcohol dependance happens to some and not others but for those of us that find we ARE, we all developed it the same way--lotsa practice (repetitive raising of the glass/can/bottle to the mouth. It's sneaky, progressive and permanent but will have zero effect on your life unless you drink again or ruminate it's "loss". Try to think of it as a gain. As I tapered and quit I came across "AVRT Explained" here:Secular Connections - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information and it changed my view a lot. Maybe it will be useful to you also. Best wishes.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi Clearmind, I think its fairly normal and admirable to try and get to the root of it. But like you, I have no real trauma in my past that caused me to drink. The trauma in my life was self inflicted. Like many, I drank with friends for a long long time and never even considered alcohol being a problem. And it wasn't really. I didn't find myself thinking about it. Other things were more important etc...

I realized there might be an alcohol issue from about 2007 to 2012. Drank every night, same on weekends, started to feel some physical effects, wife sat me down and talked to me. Changed my drinking habits and life immediately started to improve. the last 3 years with the exception of a 2 month period last winter, have been 10 times better in terms of my own mental health, my marriage and my business. I'm trying to get past the last hurdle as I have a tendency about once per month to drink excessively on the weekend. and I hate myself for it. At the moment I do drink on the weekends, but usually not excessively. I am trying to stop, which is why I joined this site. Since I am sober all week, and really really like it and see positive things, carrying it through the weekends I would imagine would be even better. just my 2 cents
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Read the following quote shortly after I quit, and it explained it enough for me to quit wondering how my alcoholism started:

"Some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction, but because it involves these basic brain functions, everyone will become an addict if sufficiently exposed to drugs or alcohol."
--Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I had a pretty good upbringing myself. Got drunk once and fell in love with it .Next thing you know it's 15 years later and I'm physically and mentally hooked on the stuff. I'm just glad I'm doing something about now. I'm 36.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I liked the effect too much and I didn't realise in time that I had a problem. When I finally did it was a BIG problem. Nothing complicated really.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:09 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I liked the effect too much and I didn't realise in time that I had a problem. When I finally did it was a BIG problem. Nothing complicated really.
Yeah I'm beginning to agree.. I don't think it's anything complicated. Just a steady progression of those with possibly a predisposed genetic composition. For me, anyway.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Good question. I'm also currently trying to find my "great why". I plan to seek out a therapist that specializes in addiction. But that's just who I am. For me understanding how something works or why it is how it is not only helps me accept it but also helps me see the importance of it. So, if I can figure out "why" I chose to drink then I can accept THAT and figure out how to deal with it in a different way. I do believe I may be genetically pre-disposed as my paternal grandparent had a PBR in their hand, literally, everyday until the day they died. But that is onkly one small piece of the big picture and no excuse. Go figure, I'm Irish. LOL. But, that doesn't mean that I can't find ways to not drink. I've just got to find activities that I love more than drinking itself. Maybe I'll start tap dancing again.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:18 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Yeah I'm beginning to agree.. I don't think it's anything complicated. Just a steady progression of those with possibly a predisposed genetic composition. For me, anyway.
I should perhaps add that the reasons why alcohol has been so appealing to me do matter if I am not to live a cycle of relapses, which I have for many years. I suspect it is to do with its effect on my experience of depression and alcohol's ability to lower anxiety levels . The bummer is of course that after a while your anxiety levels go through the roof when one is not actively drinking. A real ratcheting effect.

Anyway to that end I am seeing a specialist addiction counsellor and hoping to gain more insight.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:42 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi Clearmind:

I had an idyllic childhood and to this day I meet people from my childhood who always envied me having such wonderful parents. They always wanted my parents. And yet here I am addicted to alcohol. It started benignly enough. I really didn't start my professional drinking until around age 40 and then in the last couple of years it was just downright bad.

Personally, I'm not going to dwell on why because it's not going to change the fact that I cannot drink. I'm moving forward. You can too.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hey, Clearmind! I have in fact thought about this and believe it wasn't one particular thing in life that led me to my alcoholism.

All I know is I'm an alcoholic and something changes within me when going into my system. The first time I picked up a drink it was like instant magic and I wanted to experience it over and over again.

After many years of drinking it was harder to capture the buzz I wanted and it took more alcohol each time. I've caused myself and others way too much pain over the years and refuse to go back to drinking. I also don't want an early death because of alcohol. I just want to live a happy and healthy life. It's also nice having a clear mind too.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I've wondered this, too, although more in a "poor me" kind of way. I'm not and never really have been a daily drinker. My issue is with volume, not frequency. I was an angsty, kind of depressed, shy teenager, although also pretty smart with a good enough family life. Alcohol, getting drunk, made me feel cooler. It was fun. The first times I can remember drinking, I got drunk. One of the first times I got drunk I wayy overdid it, knew I was overdoing it and kept going until I was no longer in control and ended up in the back of an ambulance on New Year's eve. I was 15. I suppose I should have seen that as a red flag?

Well, now at almost 30 and after spending the last couple years realizing how problematic this is and it is STILL hard to truly accept that I can't drink normally. I don't drink every day, so I'm not an alcoholic right? I don't physically depend on it so it isn't a REAL problem, I could control it, blah blah blah. Whatever I've been doing hasn't been working, so I'm back on the abstinence train and hoping to remember not to get off.

I just always got blotto drunk. It's like the only way I've ever known how to drink. What was the point of drinking if not to get tipsy? And if you're going to get tipsy, why not get a little drunk? And if you're already drunk, why not just drink until the morning or until you pass out? For better or worse that is my mindset and as much as I have tried to control it, I only can control whether or not I take the first drink, because it takes over after that.

Well, I don't know if I answered your question, but I am starting to believe that absolutely anyone can develop drinking problems. I'm sure genetics play a part, but I think that alcohol is just addictive and feeling good is addictive and alcohol feels good... until it starts to feel so bad. I've got a lot of friends and acquaintances that are either sober now or have tested the waters in AA or other recovery methods because of alcohol. They are all very different people with one thing in common. So I don't know that everyone has a trigger moment that changes everything, I think alcohol is just a dangerous thing and some people handle it better than others. But I think it can happen to anyone for lots of reasons, or no reason in particular.
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