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You might not be an alcoholic!!!!

Old 02-01-2019, 07:35 AM
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You might not be an alcoholic!!!!

I said that to a friend....

He was wondering aloud whether he might BE an alcoholic.

He seemed surprised when I said that, knowing that I've been sober for 5 years....

I continued....

"You might not BE an alcoholic. But what difference does it really make? You've just told me about years of suffering. You've shared with me your sense of futility. You've expressed pain, despair, negative consequences...... you've told me you want more than this out of your life.... right?"

Yes.... he slowly nodded..... yes. Yes.

"So who cares if you are or aren't 'an alcoholic'. Who cares what you label it. The message you are unfailingly sending to yourself and to me and through the way your life is going is - ALCOHOL IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Is that true?"

Yes.... he looked up.... YES.

"OK. So if something is consistently getting in the way of the life you want to live..... regardless of what it's called...... do you want to keep carrying it? Do you want to stay in cahoots with it? Do you want to keep on dragging your life down by consciously continuing to choose it?"



You might be an alcoholic. You might not be an alcoholic. If this debate is causing you delay in CHOOSING SOBRIETY, then I'll ask you:

What would happen if you just set that question aside and asked a different question:

"HOW AWESOME COULD MY LIFE BE IF I EMBRACE SOBRIETY"?


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Old 02-01-2019, 07:48 AM
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Nice positive gentle persuasion.
Well sold.
Might try this on my friend one day.
Thanks
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:53 AM
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This is a fantastic post. Thank you. When people ask me why I dont drink, which is always with admiration rather than critisism, my reply is that it just makes everything easier. Which is so true.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FreeOwl View Post
I said that to a friend....

He was wondering aloud whether he might BE an alcoholic.

He seemed surprised when I said that, knowing that I've been sober for 5 years....

I continued....

"You might not BE an alcoholic. But what difference does it really make? You've just told me about years of suffering. You've shared with me your sense of futility. You've expressed pain, despair, negative consequences...... you've told me you want more than this out of your life.... right?"

Yes.... he slowly nodded..... yes. Yes.

"So who cares if you are or aren't 'an alcoholic'. Who cares what you label it. The message you are unfailingly sending to yourself and to me and through the way your life is going is - ALCOHOL IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Is that true?"

Yes.... he looked up.... YES.

"OK. So if something is consistently getting in the way of the life you want to live..... regardless of what it's called...... do you want to keep carrying it? Do you want to stay in cahoots with it? Do you want to keep on dragging your life down by consciously continuing to choose it?"



You might be an alcoholic. You might not be an alcoholic. If this debate is causing you delay in CHOOSING SOBRIETY, then I'll ask you:

What would happen if you just set that question aside and asked a different question:

"HOW AWESOME COULD MY LIFE BE IF I EMBRACE SOBRIETY"?


I love this 🙏
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:08 AM
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I've had this same conversation and it was great. This is one reason I follow the social media accounts focused on the choices people make about drinking (or not), alcohol's role in their lives, what they want to be like.....especially important for women because of the increasing numbers of women drinking in certain age groups along with the harsher effects of over-drinking (even if they aren't alcoholics) on our bodies.

I think conversations about anyone who is questioning alcohol habits etc is so valuable.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:25 AM
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My 5 years sober sponsor said the same thing about himself when I told him I wasn't sure if I was an alcoholic. It is a grey area because there is no clear line where problem drinker becomes alcoholic. High school students start drinking during the experimentation stage. Some slowly progress down a road toward a dark place, and no one can identify at one point they became alcoholic.

In my AA group, I never heard an old timer tell a newbie that he was an alcoholic. No one told me that during my first six months where I continually introduced myself, not as an alcoholic, but as a person who had a problem with alcohol. Whatever I was, my stories painted a picture that I likely was, but there seemed to be an unspoken rule that the diagnosis should be left to the sufferer, and that makes sense to me.

Telling someone he is an alcoholic sounds accusatory, and is a lay person's opinion without definitive knowledge. Telling him he is not an alcoholic is the same thing an enabler would say, and may even delay recovery (how many here have heard from peers at one time or another?) On the other hand, telling someone there is a way to stop drinking and still lead a happy fulfilling life is helpful.

Starting a thread called, "What is an Alcoholic," would get a lot of varying responses, because it's not an easy thing to define or even diagnose.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:46 AM
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Acceptance of my alcoholism was and is crucial for my recovery. Unless I was totally acceptant of being an alcoholic then I couldnít have stayed stopped, especially in the relatively early days and months. I have to know I react differently physically and mentally to most people where alcohol is concerned. This is just my experience.

Great post and a great message though. Keep up the great positive message of recovery 🙏
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:59 AM
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When I tell people that I don't drink, I get a mixed bag of replies. Here are the most common:

1- Good for you, that's rare.
2- Why?
3- Oh, you're a recovering alcoholic?

This thread got me thinking a little. I know I can never drink again, nor do I want to, but was I an alcoholic? Often times, people say "oh, you went to rehab? You go to AA? You have a sponsor? You have constant withdrawal?"

No, no...no and no. I quit drinking because I was "over it". I didn't go to rehab, never been to an AA meeting, and experienced very little mild withdrawal symptoms. I just quit, and went about my day like nothing changed. Was I not an alcoholic? If I was truly "addicted" or "dependent" on alcohol, why was quitting that easy for me?

Then the flip side of it...those who know my story know this....20 days after I decided to randomly quit, I was admitted to the hospital and learned I was dying from the years of alcohol abuse. Does that mean I WAS an alcoholic?

I know putting a word to it doesn't matter....but it just has me thinking.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:23 AM
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Great conversation you had! My exAgf often questioned the same thing after a night of drinking...then the next day..the next..ect.. And I too continued my drinking while pondering the "am I"? Once I got into recovery I realised it didn't matter at all. If someone is stealing my money from my bank account, am I gonna continue to grant that same person access to my bank? So silly looking back,but also a staunch reminder of how twisted/at times 'subtle' addiction can be.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:40 PM
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I donít care for the alcoholic label either. For me it brings to mind people much worse off than me, and that kind of thinking can easily lead me to make excuses to continue drinking. (Does that make sense? Not sure I explained it well.)

Whether or not it technically fits doesnít matter to me. I do know that when I drink, I almost always drink more than I set out to, sometimes way more. The only way I can control my drinking is to abstain completely.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:44 PM
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Thank you for the post FreeOwl your friend sounded alot like me 32 days ago. I am so glad I finally did something about it once and for all. Living in a world feeling trapped and tricked by alcohol is a miserable existance.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:04 PM
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Perfect! Love this post because your friend could easily be me.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:54 PM
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Great post. I am constantly told by many many people that they don't think I'm an alcoholic, but the label doesn't matter to me. Once I finally quit drinking for good and probably about 18 months into my recovery my life went from black and white to technicolor. I waited for the magic to happen. The magic was I was finally free and no longer enslaved to the demon alcohol. I have no desire to add alcohol back into my life even though I could most likely get away with it as the majority of those close to me don't think the label "alcoholic" applies to me.
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:07 AM
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This reminder post today is important for me to see..... just recently this same friend told me "I tried to stop.... it turns out, I can't".

I will send him this post. Perhaps it will be helpful in his journey.

Perhaps today, someone here needed it too.

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Old 02-17-2021, 05:33 AM
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As I move further along down this road of sobriety the label does not matter to me.

I suffered from alcoholism. I am no longer suffering.
Complete abstinence is the only way for me to obtain freedom from active alcoholism.

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Old 02-17-2021, 06:33 AM
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I’ve found a lot of people are envious I don’t drink.

When alcohol had me by the short and curlies, I’d have been envious too.

A lot of people can’t imagine life without booze. If they’re drinking within healthy limits - about the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine per week - that’s fine, but anyone on more than that is heading for big health problems and has to stop.
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Old 02-17-2021, 05:41 PM
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When I drank I was constantly ashamed, but when I decided to quit I was ashamed, too! Ashamed mostly because I should have "been able to handle it" better. In retrospect I was a fool. I agree, the label is meaningless to the goal of living life in a deeper, more meaningful way. Was I an alcoholic? I dunno, maybe maybe not. But by every meaningful standard my life got better when I quit drinking. That's the important thing not the label.
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Old 02-17-2021, 06:16 PM
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Great post Free Owl. I knew early on that I had a problem, and made several half-hearted attempts to quit. I did in fact quit for two years during my marriage in my 30's, but went right back to it when we separated because, well, dating, lol. And because I was able to mostly control it I kept on drinking and numbing the emotions for a couple more decades after that, until I got sober here in 2013. I won't say they were wasted years, and I managed a few wins, but if I'm brutally honest, I came nowhere close to realizing my personal potential. The worst sort of self harm.
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