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Is alcohol abuser different to an alcoholic?

Old 09-26-2017, 07:16 AM
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Is alcohol abuser different to an alcoholic?

I found this forum after searching the internet for advice on my problem.

Sometimes when i drink (at weekends), i cant stop at a few beers, I go overboard and get really drunk. When my wife points this out to me (when im drunk) I get really defensive and angry and say the harshest of things to her. I always wake up feeling regret and shame.

I don't drink every day, but like an occasional beer through the week after work. But when i go out with friends or when at a party i always drink to excess.

Im 38 and have a loving wife and 2 young kids. I hold down a good job, which is stressful at times, but not overly. My home life is idylic and i couldnt ask for more from my wife and kids, but for some reason when i drink too much i become this angry, evil guy that im not any other time and cant relate to at all. Some of the things i say to my wife are things i dont feel at all when sober....some really cruel stuff that i wouldnt say to someone i hate, let alone the mother of my kids who i love with all my heart.

I went a couple of years there when i could control my drinking, and whenever i went out i could have just a few and go home early, lately though whenever i go to the pub i just get **** faced and usually cant remember what ive done until i wake up and my wife is so upset.

When she tells me what ive said to her i feel so ashamed and embarrassed. Its got the point now where my apologies and promises dont mean a thing to her anymore and fear i could lose her.

This is the last thing i want and i think i need help...anything else ive read about alcoholics says you know when you're one if the first thing you do when you wake up is crave a drink. I dont.

Whenever i have a night out lined up though, i cant wait to go out and my blinkers come on and its all i can think about.

Am i an alcohol abuser, or an addict? Can you pigeonhole it as simple as that?

Any advise would be great, i need it to save my marriage and my life.

Thanks
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:29 AM
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Hi, mickyc.
Welcome.
Lots of support here. Hope you will benefit.
I would worry less about labels and concentrate on the fact that you feel alcohol is becoming a problem for you and your family.
There is lots of good information here on the "stickies" posted at the top of the main menu.
Lots of good info on the web, too. Search "alcohol use disorder, " which is the clinical term now.
For many of us, including me, recognizing that we had a problem with drink was the first step to embracing sobriety and recovery.
If you don't like the person you become when you drink too much, then perhaps it's time to make some changes.
Good luck.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:31 AM
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First of all, Hello, and Welcome to SR!

Honestly, does the label matter? It isn't the label that is potentially ruining your marriage and life. It's the drinking, and something needs to change.

I can relate to you A LOT. I would drink every day, and I would get mean. I recently ruined my relationship with the women I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with....because of drinking, and getting mean, and saying the worst of things. We were in love and had a lot of plans for our future. And I destroyed my future, my life, everything that mattered to me. That's what brought me here.

Bottom line, alcohol is having a negative effect on your life. Why do you drink? What do you gain? Is what you gain worth what you could lose? We can only apologize to the ones we love so many times, words mean nothing. Our actions define us. Your wife needs to see you spend the weekends home with them, waking up early, being the husband and father she fell in love with.

I've come to the conclusion absolute sobriety is what my life has to have. I can't treat people this way anymore, or I will be alone my entire life. I use all the guilt, shame, embarrassment, depression, anxiety, to fuel my sobriety. I have already lost enough, and to see the one women I love walk out of my life, and I have nobody to blame but myself, was(is) heartbreaking.

Don't do this to your family.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:36 AM
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Well, you are ticking all the boxes, my friend.

My inability to predict with 100% certainty exactly how much I would drink on any occasion was pretty scary to me. Since I tried and failed repeatedly at drinking moderately, my decision was to eliminate that problem. Full sobriety is far easier and much more rewarding than drinking or trying to limit my drinking. Anyway, what's the point in one or two drinks? I drank for the buzz.

Blackouts are a good indicator, as well. If you aren't remembering parts of your night, that's a blackout and indicates a progression in the illness/addiction.

I hope you decide to put down the drink permanently. It is far better on the sober side. It doesn't matter what you call it (and boy do we try to sidestep that "alcoholic" label) - if it 's a problem, it's a problem. The solution is to stop applying alcohol.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mickyc79 View Post
Any advise would be great, i need it to save my marriage and my life.
Then quit drinking. If you aren't an alcoholic, you should have no problem. If you are an alcoholic, you may need help to quit and stay quit.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:46 AM
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Thanks for the replies...I agree that a label doesnt matter. I guess in a way im still in denial as although ive admitted and identified i have a problem with alcohol, i cant quite square with the fact that im an alcoholic? If that makes sense?

Sorry to hear that you lost your relationship...I hope that by getting help i can hold onto her as she is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am a very active dad and my wife works very early mornings at weekends, so i have no choice but to get up early!

My problem is when on occasion, and its not every weekend, i drink waaaay too much and become mean, never physically so, but sometimes our words can hurt more than any fist. I can see in her eyes that ive broken her heart and her spirit.

My most recent outburst was sunday night, i was off work yesterday, but was too hungover and my wife, so fed up with my excuses and broken promises, that we never really spoke on monday.
I came to work today and she sent me a long message about how my putdowns and drinking has made her feel, how she has lost all confidence in herself. I had to make excuses and leave work, for which i know i will have to face the consequences of, and go home to speak to her. I admitted to her that i have aproblem and i will not drink again if thats what it takes. Every argument we have ever had has been related to this, besides this we are a perfect couple, in our own way.

She suffers with depression, but been fine for a while, but im afraid what i've been doing will send her back into the fog...been there myself also a couple of years ago, not surprisingly after a drunken night out when i blacked out and didnt make it home until 5am, when she was due to go to work at 6am. She had to call in sick to look after the kids as i was in no fit state. I was so guilty and depressed i went to the GP who prescribed me citalopram and i stayed off drink for about 6 months.

She wont listen to my promises as i have broken them too many times and lost her trust. What can i do to make her believe me this time?...i really could go for the rest of my life without alcohol if it meant keeping her.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:46 AM
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It's just a label. It's not important.

Does alcohol cause problems in your life? It sure sounds like it does. So, the solution is to stop drinking. You will find lots of support here.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:48 AM
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You can't make your wife believe you. I think many of us have been where you are. I was. My family lost all faith in me and wouldn't listen. You will have to show your wife with your actions that you are changing. Patience on your part will be essential.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
Well, you are ticking all the boxes, my friend.

My inability to predict with 100% certainty exactly how much I would drink on any occasion was pretty scary to me. Since I tried and failed repeatedly at drinking moderately, my decision was to eliminate that problem. Full sobriety is far easier and much more rewarding than drinking or trying to limit my drinking. Anyway, what's the point in one or two drinks? I drank for the buzz.

Blackouts are a good indicator, as well. If you aren't remembering parts of your night, that's a blackout and indicates a progression in the illness/addiction.

I hope you decide to put down the drink permanently. It is far better on the sober side. It doesn't matter what you call it (and boy do we try to sidestep that "alcoholic" label) - if it 's a problem, it's a problem. The solution is to stop applying alcohol.

Yeah, i guess i am trying to side step that particular label! Hopefully ive realised in time and can keep my promise this time, this is the first time i have admitted that alcohol is actually a problem for me, so kind of a eureka moment...

In a strange way i actually feel very positive about the future without alcohol, but only if my wife accepts that i mean it this time and really show her i mean it...I like instant forgiveness and can't seem to cope with the cold shoulder routine,, but maybe i just need to suck it up for a while and prove that im worth keeping around.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:52 AM
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IMO, yep.
In 1 word: denial.
Welcome...you're a "weekend warrior".
If you can't stop drinking, you can't control yourself, do cringe worthy things in a blackout and you think your wife may leave you does it really matter that you don't crave a drink upon waking? (Yet, btw, it will come)
I think you know the answer.
The good news is you can quit and save yourself from slipping into total misery. I hope you will. I'd see your doctor, be totally honest, get some withdraw meds if need be and save yourself and your marriage. Both worthy.
GL,
Jules
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Anna View Post
You can't make your wife believe you. I think many of us have been where you are. I was. My family lost all faith in me and wouldn't listen. You will have to show your wife with your actions that you are changing. Patience on your part will be essential.
Thanks Anna, patience is my problem though. I like to get forgiven quickly and move on as if nothing happened, but i realize that this time i have really broken her heart and i do need to be patient and show her how committed i am to giving up booze.

We have a wedding at the weekend that we were really looking forward to going to, got a hotel room booked for overnight, just the two of us...I suggested this would be a good place to make a clean start and for me to prove i dont need alcohol (everyone else there will be drinking)...shes not sure if shes going to go. Said she doesnt feel like it now..I hate myself for this as we dont get away often and she was sooo looking forward to it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Jules714 View Post
IMO, yep.
In 1 word: denial.
Welcome...you're a "weekend warrior".
If you can't stop drinking, you can't control yourself, do cringe worthy things in a blackout and you think your wife may leave you does it really matter that you don't crave a drink upon waking? (Yet, btw, it will come)
I think you know the answer.
The good news is you can quit and save yourself from slipping into total misery. I hope you will. I'd see your doctor, be totally honest, get some withdraw meds if need be and save yourself and your marriage. Both worthy.
GL,
Jules
Thanks Jules...wise words truthfully spoken.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:59 AM
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The only way you can make your wife believe you is to....stop....drinking. If you told her again you will quit drinking completely for her, now you need to stop drinking completely, or it's another broken promise, one she likely expects you to break. Like most of us, you've put your wife through a lot, more collateral damage, somebody that doesn't deserve it.

It's time to accept you DO have a problem with alcohol, and possibly a big part of your wife's depression. It isn't easy to hear. Her road will be difficult for her too. Time, and proving you can be sober, is the only thing that will help you now.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by SaturatedSeize View Post
The only way you can make your wife believe you is to....stop....drinking. If you told her again you will quit drinking completely for her, now you need to stop drinking completely, or it's another broken promise, one she likely expects you to break. Like most of us, you've put your wife through a lot, more collateral damage, somebody that doesn't deserve it.

It's time to accept you DO have a problem with alcohol, and possibly a big part of your wife's depression. It isn't easy to hear. Her road will be difficult for her too. Time, and proving you can be sober, is the only thing that will help you now.
I agree, and i do blame myself (quite rightly) for her depression. I only hope its not too late for me to have caught this thing!
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:07 AM
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I drank to be drunk, everytime. I told myself I was relaxing or having fun, but when everyone else stopped, I didn't. I didn't, because I couldn't. It took 20 years to realise this. I always drank to be drunk, not just a little bit drunk, as drunk as I could possibly get, and then some. That is abnormal behaviour, that impacted negatively on me and those around me, no matter what label you give it, binge drinking, alcohol abuse, alcoholism etc.

I will point out I also didn't drink in the morning for all of 20 years drinking. Then one day the hangover was so bad, I decided to use hair of the dog to take the edge off the anxiety and feeling so low, and then I knew I was getting in deep and not far from physical dependency.

We try not to use the word alcoholic because it has such a cliché stereotype, and in our heads we don't fit that. It also brings such feelings of shame and embarrassment, and it 100% shouldn't. No alcoholic looks the same, or drinks the same, my husband was a different drinker to me back in the day, he drank all the time, a slow slurper, but never drunk. He classed himself an alcoholic, and gave up 30 years ago.

Don't worry about the label, yes I do now class myself as an alcoholic, because I cannot control my action after alcohol has passed my lips, that's the truth of the matter. One sip and all bets are off as to where its taking me. But I don't feel the need to wear a sign declaring it. Only people that need to know, know. The rest I couldn't care less what they think, it takes a strong person to admit they need help. If they cant respect or admire that, that's on them, not me.

Life gets much easier and peaceful without alcohol, believe when people say it. Best of luck
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mickyc79 View Post
We have a wedding at the weekend that we were really looking forward to going to, got a hotel room booked for overnight, just the two of us...I suggested this would be a good place to make a clean start and for me to prove i dont need alcohol (everyone else there will be drinking)...shes not sure if shes going to go. Said she doesnt feel like it now..I hate myself for this as we dont get away often and she was sooo looking forward to it.
This could be a good thing, to not go. Weddings are notoriously difficult for someone in very early recovery.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:11 AM
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Show her with your actions that you've quit drinking for good. Words won't do it but action will. There's lots of support here. I hope we can help you get sober for good.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by noturningback2 View Post
I drank to be drunk, everytime. I told myself I was relaxing or having fun, but when everyone else stopped, I didn't. I didn't, because I couldn't. It took 20 years to realise this. I always drank to be drunk, not just a little bit drunk, as drunk as I could possibly get, and then some. That is abnormal behaviour, that impacted negatively on me and those around me, no matter what label you give it, binge drinking, alcohol abuse, alcoholism etc.

I will point out I also didn't drink in the morning for all of 20 years drinking. Then one day the hangover was so bad, I decided to use hair of the dog to take the edge off the anxiety and feeling so low, and then I knew I was getting in deep and not far from physical dependency.

We try not to use the word alcoholic because it has such a cliché stereotype, and in our heads we don't fit that. It also brings such feelings of shame and embarrassment, and it 100% shouldn't. No alcoholic looks the same, or drinks the same, my husband was a different drinker to me back in the day, he drank all the time, a slow slurper, but never drunk. He classed himself an alcoholic, and gave up 30 years ago.

Don't worry about the label, yes I do now class myself as an alcoholic, because I cannot control my action after alcohol has passed my lips, that's the truth of the matter. One sip and all bets are off as to where its taking me. But I don't feel the need to wear a sign declaring it. Only people that need to know, know. The rest I couldn't care less what they think, it takes a strong person to admit they need help. If they cant respect or admire that, that's on them, not me.

Life gets much easier and peaceful without alcohol, believe when people say it. Best of luck

Your first paragraph was me, before i met my wife 5 years ago. Recently ive been slipping back into this and dont want to go there again. Hopefully i have wised up in time and by realizing and admitting my problem I should be able to save my marriage.

I have to say, the support on this forum in unreal! I never thought i would get such an immediate response and to feel like im not alone. Genuinely touched by all your replies and kind thoughts...I hope i can be of help to someone else like all of you are to me.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:14 AM
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I agree with Anna. Not going to this Wedding is a good idea. It's *very hard.
Maybe just spend time working on things with your wife? Walking and talking. No booze, no kids, no festivities...just back to basics...you and her. That might set the tone positively for you both.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:18 AM
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Well, people have pretty much laid it all out there for you.

Just wanted to say that you drink like me... Weekend benders, drinking till the lights go out, doing and saying things I'm not very proud of and can't remember, causing my husband unhappiness.

I've been wondering about all that labelling business as well. It's hard for anyone to call themselves an alcoholic.

In the end, I decided it doesn't matter what I am, because I knew the following:

- Once I start drinking I can't say for certain how many I'll end up having.
- My behaviour and my relationship with alcohol are problematic
- It's causing me anxiety rather than fixing it
- I want it to stop
- The only way to stop is to not start drinking (see point 1)

That's why I'm here, alcoholic, or problem drinker, or alcohol abuser or just a person who can't handle her limits.

Looking forward to reading your updates!
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