Why does it mean to be an alcoholic?

Old 04-24-2015, 12:38 AM
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Why does it mean to be an alcoholic?

I understand that once I take that first drink there's no telling when I will stop. I know moderation isn't possible with us alcoholics but why do alcoholics drink? Do they crave alcohol or just crave being under the influence of something. Do people drink because they are alkies? Does being an alcoholic make me want alcohol more than a regular person? Or is it just when I start drinking I cannot control the amount I drink.

I understand myself being an alcoholic, but I just wanted to know a little deeper. I know all of you will have wonderful answers. Thanks!

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Old 04-24-2015, 12:43 AM
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Hi SoberLife

I'm not sure it's a universal answer but I craved oblivion. I wanted to escape everything.

I'm not sure about how normal people think about alcohol. My relationship with alcohol was never normal.

what's driving you to ask these questions SL?

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Old 04-24-2015, 02:11 AM
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I think the vast majority of people who drink too much have some emotional or psychological problems that alcohol can temporarily bring some relief from.

This is why for most people simply "not drinking" isn't enough to remain sober.
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:42 AM
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I wanted eternal bliss and beatitude, never ending happiness without one moment of discomfort and pain . alcohol and drugs seemed like the way to get that .
As i sat upon my mountaintop of isolation it seemed all right temporarialy.

All the time life was happening around me without me in the driving seat , i made poor choices and got more wrapped up in myself and how i could keep the "magic" lasting .

In the end both drinking and not drinking stank . I thought i was a harmless drunk , but I realised how wrapped up in myself and selfish i'd become with drinking, being terse and nasty with people i loved because i wanted to disengage and chase my high .

3 years on and i'm a nicer person than i was , not perfect but progress , thats pretty good .

Bestwishes, m
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:48 AM
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I think some people have an uncontrollable affinity for alcohol from the first drink, but most people build up a dependence as a way of escaping life or a problem. After a while they develop a physical addiction, and once that happens it never really goes away. The only way to deal with it is stop drinking.

I'm sure there's a genetic component in all this, but not necessarily expressed in everyone.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:02 AM
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Alcoholism is a treatable illness for me. Abstinence is key. Abstinence remains the successful option when I likewise treat the driving factors: selfishness, self-centeredness, impulsiveness, isolation. I've found the best treatment for those factors is a combination of belonging to a group of like believers, doing service work, and meditating. Meditating goes easier if I have filled my head with words along a spiritual nature from folks who've walked that path before me. Meditating also goes easier for me along a shoreline while I pick-up litter. Left-brain/right-brain activity I reckon it's been helping. That combo: abstinence, belonging, reading, meditating, shoreline-patrol -- all working one-day-at-a-time since 2000. Will work it later today and we've got sunshine...yay!

Last edited by Yonder; 04-24-2015 at 03:03 AM. Reason: spell check
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:44 AM
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I agree with this:

Disease of Alcoholism
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:48 AM
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The body has an allergy to alcohol and the mind has an obsession to drink alcohol. Dangerous combination.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:49 AM
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Here's my version:

I drank because it felt good. It would release brain chemicals that made me feel better. The same brain chemicals that make me feel better after I eat when I am hungry; hydrate when I am thirsty; sleep when I am tired; have sex when I feel randy.

I like to feel good, so I drank often. At some point my amygdaloid complex correlated drinking alcohol with all of those other activities required for survival, and my addiction to alcohol was born. When I haven't eaten for a while that part of my brain compels me to seek food; water when I am thirsty; air when I am holding my breath; alcohol when I am sober. My amygdaloid complex can no longer differentiate between alcohol and the other things I need for survival.

My frontal cortex can, though - the part of my brain that does the actual thinking. The part of my brain that makes me me - the part where logic, morals, memory, and motor skills reside knows that alcohol is NOT required for my survival. While it cannot control the compulsion to drink (the feeling that I need to drink) that the amygdaloid complex generates, it can absolutely control whether or not I put a bottle to my lips.

Unfortunately, my amygdaloid complex can't be retrained to respond differently to alcohol. But it can be starved - and by starving it the compulsion decreases markedly. It takes a few months, but the compulsion to drink abates.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:58 AM
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Rather than list all the 'reasons' why (some alcoholics drink), I'll just post one of my favorite lines from AA's Big Book...............:

"...Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol..."

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Old 04-24-2015, 04:04 AM
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It's different for every I suppose.
I personally will drink 6 to 8 beers a day for no reason. I felt driven more than a craving - probably a bit of psychological damage. Sometimes I felt like a beer, sometimes I felt required.
BUT, binge drinking I loved but not on my own. If I didn't feel driven to drink daily I'd love to be able to binge occasionally but if I did tonight I'd immediately start drinking daily. Alcohol free days etc didn't work so it was game over or destroy myself.
I go to AA occasionally just to remind myself not to stop giving up. Some people there after after months say everytime they drive past a bottle shop they have the urge to pull in. Everytime they drink they must get smashed. Others talk about drinking up to 3 bottles of spirits - usually vodka for those types and starting in the morning.
So, ultimately it's different for all of us, as are the reasons we started and kept going. Where I remember just wanting to drink as a kid and hating beer when I started at 17 I felt driven. Others at AA talk about being sucked into daily drink usually due to work but some because of social circles.
So ultimately the way we drink and the reason etc are all different. The only thing we have in common is the realization that it is something that will destroy us, that we can't manage like 'normal' people and therefore must refrain from it. The incidents that helped us find realisation also differ. Some people hit rock bottom, some lost or were about to loss family and jobs, others ended up in hospital and some were living on the street.
I had a few indicators (blood tests) showing my liver was struggling, night sweats, a few other things but most of all a lot of alcoholism in my family. It plagued my mind for a few years. Finally drinking with my alcoholic neighbour who had severe diabetes and lecturing him made me look at myself. So thankfully I didn't fall as hard and far as some, but again we are all different in reasons for starting and stopping, the extent, effects etc etc
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Old 04-24-2015, 04:33 AM
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I would drink to get away from the stresses of life and all things I didn't do and should have, or things I'd done and shouldn't have. By the third or fourth beer all was well and the worries and stresses would recede into an alcohol cloud of "it's not that bad really" or "you'll get it all sorted tomorrow". But of course then I wouldn't stop drinking until all the beers were gone and I would always buy enough to ensure oblivion.
Of course the reality was that I the "cure" had turned into the cause of the worries I was trying to escape from.

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Old 04-24-2015, 05:16 AM
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A speaker at my treatment yesterday put in a simple way that I identified with:

Alcoholism is an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body. When I'm not drinking I'm constantly thinking about it. The allergy is that once I have one drink it's nearly impossible to stop.

And that was totally me, and I think it applies to anyone who is an addict. To treat this takes much more than simply ceasing to use the substance, but to treat the underlying obsession.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:06 AM
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I heard this once and it clicked with me -

Alcohol was not my problem, it was my solution. It was my solution to washing away those feelings I had of being of less than, socially awkward, low self esteem etc. From a young age alcohol and other things simply became a tool to "get ready" for the day or the event/party - get ready for life.

The sharps edges became a little more rounded and allowed me to mask fears and anxieties I did not even know I had.

At some point this coping method became mandatory. The first drink lead to craving more and more. Others would say good night and go to bed - I could not. It was then a crap shoot of if or when I would stop. I guess like a light switch being flipped on but broken when trying to turn it off - it did not work till the bulb burned out.

Today I have begun to understand who I am and to deal with this wonderful, short, temporary life we have. I can start to truly be present in the moment and engage those I love in honesty.

I do no ponder too much now the physiological or psychological causes of my addiction - I nod at it, know it's there and respect not opening the cage.

Glad you're here, thanks for the post!
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:26 AM
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What D said
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:27 PM
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I think it can be a lot of different reasons for different people. For most of the alcoholics I know it is based in things like ptsd, adhd, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, self esteem issues, child hood trauma get the idea . You can look up the statistics online of how many alcoholics are dual diagnosed.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:29 PM
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Oh and the cravings can be things such as candida or other glucose/sugar problems.....or I want to say...... hypoglyCemia. Or hyperglycemia
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:52 PM
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Thanks everyone. I guess I was just curious how deep that obsession really was. It is strange that am alcoholic will always think about alcohol...and I imagine a drug addict will always think about drugs. I was just thinking deeply. That's all. Thanks for the help. I'm always open to learning more to help me stay sober.
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