Blogs


Notices

Alcoholic or Abuser of Alcohol

Old 12-02-2009, 08:54 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Not all better, getting better
Thread Starter
 
tyler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: The Beautiful Inner Banks of NC
Posts: 1,702
Blog Entries: 8
Alcoholic or Abuser of Alcohol

I've pondered this for quite some time. Lot's of people abuse alcohol for varying reasons and lengths of time, but are they alcoholics? If you go buy the WHO (World Health Orginazition) "test" you take online, I'd guess 75% of the population under the age of 30 would come back alcoholic, and a good many above that age. Darn near everyone in college would be alcoholic!!

I started drinking in college and have continued over the past 20+ years. Varying ammounts over time, sometimes heavily for a period of time, sometimes occasionally, over a period of time. What is clear to me is that the repeated heavy drinking IS A PROBLEM. However, I can also go out and have a couple of beers, maybe a shot or two over the course of an evening, and be just fine. It doesn't send me on a weeks long bender or anything. Never missed a day of work because of it, never any trouble with the law (though that probably involved a good deal of luck as well!!)

I had been going through a "heavy drinking" period for the last few years. It was becoming a problem. Though marajuana has always been my DOC and the sourse of most of my substance issues, the alcohol was really starting to rear it's head as well, especially after I finally quit smoking the pot. My doctor put me on Naltrexon and it really put almost an immediate stop to my desire to drink wrecklessly. I do still drink "normally" 2-3 drinks over the course of the evening (I'm 6'3/250, so I'm a good sized guy!!) on occassion, but even on nights I buy a bottle with the intention of drinking the whole thing, I usually lose interest after a couple of drinks. BTW, I am not suggesting anyone else go this route, it is just how things have been for me, and they are working out better than they have in a long time. I don't even know if anyone else would even have the same experience as I, so please just take it as MY personal experience.

Perhaps it's just semantics, but I ponder, am I an alcoholic who is successfuly dealing with alcholism with the help of medication? Am I someone who just abuses alcohol when he has no pot to dull the pain in my life? Some groups use the term "real alcoholics". I never really liked that term. It always seemed exclusionary. Like if you weren't a non-stop drinker who went into the DT's if you didn't have a drink, you weren't a "real alcoholic", so perhaps you didn't "belong". It just seems that the term "alcoholic" is thrown around very liberally amongst some people and rather exclusionary amongst others, like a battle trophy.

I guess at the end of the day, perhaps it comes down to me disliking "labels". I feel that everyone is an individual and though we may share similar characteristics, everyone is different. Too often it seem that people with "addiction issues" are lumped together and treated in cookie cutter style. I guess that's why we have our little secular corner here!!

Anyway, just musing a bit, and in case you were wondering...no I haven't been drinking!! I have far too many drunken posts here in the archives already!!! So if anyone would like to comment feel free. Alera, if you find this inappropreate for any reason, feel free to delete it. (Not like you really need my permission!! )

Hope everyone is well and dealing with their various "issues" as best they can. Take care.
tyler is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 02:23 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: far left of center
Posts: 237
Hi, my name is basIam, and I am a recoverED alcoholic (which is how AA sugests I introduce myself, btw.)

First about DT's, and other withdrawal symptoms: any and all human beings who drink enough alcohol will become physically dependent on alcohol and suffer possibly fatal symptoms upon stopping. Therefore, while many heavy drinkers are alcoholics, addiction to alcohol has nothing to do with alcoholism.

So what is alcoholism. . . I can only relate what I learned in AA, as it is the only thing that made sense to me.

Alcholism is a three prong disease - body, mind, spirit. Yes that sounds trite, but lets look at it. . .

Body: The alcoholic has an alergy, i.e. abnormal reaction, to consuming alcohol. The action of alcohol on the brain of an alcoholic produces a craving for more alcohol. This craving never occurs in a normal drinker. Furthermore, the craving begins once the alcoholic takes a drink, and not before.

Mind: The alcoholic, at certain times (not all), is incapable of recalling how bad it gets. The mind lies to them, tellling them "this time won't hurt, you can handle it." Othertimes, the mind fails to even warn them at all - there is absolutely no premeditative thought as to the possible consequences. And often times, the alcoholic is obsessed with getting the next drink. This failure of thought is extremely subtle as, typically, an alcoholic is extremely intelligent and capable of excelling in any other activity to which they apply themeselves.

Spirit: When trying to not drink, alcoholics are typically not comfortable. Restlessness and irritability set in. Sometimes they are overcome with feelings of self pity and indignation. They look at others drinking and feel "why cant I do that?" There is a nostalgic longing for experiencing the "good old times." Its not unlike being rejected by one's lover. This malady is so overwhelming that, at some point, they are capable of taking a drink despite everything they know about themselves.

So, to make a long story short. . .

If you take a hundred men and women and pour enough alcohol down their throat, over enough time, each and everyone of them will become physically dependent on alcohol and require medical attention to withdraw. But they are not necessarily "real" alcoholics.

If you take them all and dry them out, 90 out of the 100 will say "Whew! I am glad that is over!!!" And never take another drink. But the other 10 will say, "Well, that really wasn't that bad, I just did too much, or in the wrong combination, or in the wrong place with the wrong people." and try it again.

Still, these 10 are not necessarily "real" alcoholics, because out of these 9 will finally get it through their thick skulls that they can't drink safely and stop. But one of them will feel as if life has cut them a short deal. They will be depressed and despondent. And despite all the evidence and reason to not drink, they will drink again. This is the "real" alcoholic.

Alcoholism has nothing to do with the amount one drinks. It has to do with the action of alcohol on their brain, the thought process that precedes the first drink and the way they feel when not drinking.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by basIam; 12-03-2009 at 02:47 AM.
basIam is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 03:06 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 4,682
Blog Entries: 8
Was talking about this yesterday, it was shared that a big difference between an alcoholic and an alcohol abuser/heavy drinker is that if you met the alcohol abuser at 10am and then met him at 10pm after a full day of drinking he would be the same person you met at 10am but very drunk...if you met the alcoholic at the same time after a day of drinking you would swear you were talking to a completely different person...take it as you will;-)
yeahgr8 is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 07:39 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 18
There is no one drug that is the source of substance abuse issues. The source of our addiction lies within our mind and heart, in our reactivity to what life brings us, the habits of our thoughts that get us caught up in a self-centered world where we drug ourselves because we don't get what we want and get what we do not want. For people who drug themselves, there is no statute of limitations on past wrongs and perceived wrongs; we refuse to let go and let be. These mental obsessions cause such pain we drug to temporarily ease the pain, until we are ready again to resurrect them and repeat the cycle. This is why constantly working with our thoughts and emotions helps. All you have to figure out about any drug you are using is to be honest about you are relating to the drug and its effects. This is my experience only.
DharmaQueen is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 08:39 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Big Idiot Man Child
 
windysan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: La
Posts: 5,664
That "allergy" term always cracked me up. That and "wet blanket" and "getting tight". LOL.
windysan is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 08:42 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Not all better, getting better
Thread Starter
 
tyler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: The Beautiful Inner Banks of NC
Posts: 1,702
Blog Entries: 8
Thanks for all the comments everyone!!

Bas, that was one of the best explainations of AA's approach to alcholism I've ever read. I've been to plenty of meetings over the years. I guess my problem has often been the people more than the program. I use some of the programs principles in my own recovery, as do many here on the Secular boards. I just couldn't deal with many of the people I had to work with at the meetings. Thanks.

BTW, please, please, please don't let this develop into a 12 step v secular thread. It certainly hasn't yet, but nothing bothers me more here than when that happens to a perfectly good thread. Thanks guys (and gals!!)
tyler is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:01 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
☯ ⓌⒾⓁⓁ☯
 
Zencat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Posts: 8,279
Blog Entries: 12
The Medical Definition of Addiction


The medical definition of addiction has seven criteria. This definition is based on the criteria of American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) and the World Health Organization (ICD-10).(1)

Answer the following seven yes or no questions. Most questions have more than one part, because everyone behaves differently in addiction. You only need to answer yes to one part for that question to count as a positive response.
  1. Tolerance. Has your use of drugs or alcohol increased over time?
  2. Withdrawal. When you stop using, have you ever experienced physical or emotional withdrawal? Have you had any of the following symptoms: irritability, anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting?
  3. Difficulty controlling your use. Do you sometimes use more or for a longer time than you would like? Do you sometimes drink to get drunk? Do you stop after a few drink usually, or does one drink lead to more drinks?
  4. Negative consequences. Have you continued to use even though there have been negative consequences to your mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family?
  5. Putting off or neglecting activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of your use?
  6. Spending significant time or emotional energy. Have you spent a significant amount of time obtaining, using, concealing, planning, or recovering from your use? Have you spend a lot of time thinking about using? Have you ever concealed or minimized your use? Have you ever thought of schemes to avoid getting caught?
  7. Desire to cut down. Have you sometimes thought about cutting down or controlling your use? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use?

Source: Drug and Alcohol Dependence/ Addiction DSM Criteria

I personally see if a person answers yes to just one of the above questions, its time to change. Regardless if one thinks of them-self as a; real alcoholic, fake alcoholic, abuser, dependent, weekend sipper, two time dipper or whatnot.
Zencat is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:12 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
☯ ⓌⒾⓁⓁ☯
 
Zencat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Posts: 8,279
Blog Entries: 12
Originally Posted by windysan View Post
That "allergy" term always cracked me up. That and "wet blanket" and "getting tight". LOL.
Me too, like 'glugging the jug' some wacky stuff fo'sure.
Zencat is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:16 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
☯ ⓌⒾⓁⓁ☯
 
Zencat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Posts: 8,279
Blog Entries: 12
Originally Posted by tyler View Post
BTW, please, please, please don't let this develop into a 12 step v secular thread. It certainly hasn't yet, but nothing bothers me more here than when that happens to a perfectly good thread. Thanks guys (and gals!!)
Just as reminder folks.

Originally Posted by SoberRecovery.com
12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
Zencat is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 11:52 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
I got nothin'
 
Bamboozle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: My house.
Posts: 4,889
Blog Entries: 14
Originally Posted by tyler View Post
Some groups use the term "real alcoholics". I never really liked that term. It always seemed exclusionary. Like if you weren't a non-stop drinker who went into the DT's if you didn't have a drink, you weren't a "real alcoholic", so perhaps you didn't "belong". It just seems that the term "alcoholic" is thrown around very liberally amongst some people and rather exclusionary amongst others, like a battle trophy.
I heard that.

I wasn't a non-stop drinker. I rarely called off of work. No DUI's. No DT's. No jaundice. Etc...


I drank every night...sometimes also in the day...but I didn't do that every day.

I drank a good bit...not as much as some...but dang...way too much.

There's no question that I was hooked. I had a heck of a time giving it up.

I think that severity of addiction varies...and I was certainly on my way to getting much worse. Who knows how long it would have taken for more serious things to happen...the crap I've been through has been quite enough.

'Real alcoholics'...meh. I'm not proud of being an alcoholic/person with an addiction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I don't see it as a badge of honor...the rest of society certainly doesn't care.

What I am proud of is changing my life and taking care of myself.
Bamboozle is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 11:57 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
I got nothin'
 
Bamboozle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: My house.
Posts: 4,889
Blog Entries: 14
Just read Zencat's post. I answered yes to all 7.
Bamboozle is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 01:00 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: far left of center
Posts: 237
Point of order: the OP asked about Alcoholic v Alcohol Abuser.

I have never had a DWI
I have never lost a job, girlfriend, home due to drinking
I have never been addicted alcohol.
I have never been a heavy drinker
As a matter of fact, I don't really care for the buzz I get from alcohol

Still, I am alcoholic.

Alcohol Addiction is NOT Alcoholism

proof, by reductio ad absurdem
Contention:
1. Alcohol Addiction is Alcoholism
2. EVERYBODY who drinks enough alcohol will become ADDICTED to alcohol.
3. By 1 & 2 ⇒ EVERYBODY IS ALCOHOLIC

#3 is absurd. Therefore 1 or 2 is absurd. . . #2 is a medical fact, therefore 1 is a fallacy
basIam is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 01:46 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Is it hot here or am I crazy?
 
Mrak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Planet Zirchon 9 (which is near Milwaukee, WI.)
Posts: 38
This is my opinion: I have always been a firm believer that the "title" alcoholic is overused and misused. Someone does not have to be clinically deemed an alcoholic to have problems in their life due to drinking. Some people want to belong to this exclusive group to gain sympathy or attention. Or they like holding this title so others will show them compassion and forgive their behavior. Calling oneís self an alcoholic also seems to allow people the opportunity to offer an excuse for their behaviors such as, "Oh I know I'm such a screw-up, but I can't help it... I'm an alcoholic." Or, "I can't quit drinking. I've tried but I'm an alcoholic." I often used the title "Alcoholic" so I wouldn't have to accept responsibility for myself or my own decisions.

Itís nice to be able to blame something else for my mistakes, indiscretions and failures. ďI'm normally not like that, it was the alcohol,Ē or "I was drunk, I didn't know what I was doing" and "I can't help it, I'm an alcoholic" are great excuses. And the best part about using alcohol as an excuse, alcohol canít defend itself.

The harsh reality is that "I'm an alcoholic" is not a valid excuse and I donít have to be an alcoholic for drinking to adversely impact my life. Anything that gets in the way of me performing my daily responsibilities or creates conditions in my life - that I don't like - is a problem. I also believe that if you think you have a problem, you probably do have a problem.

I prefer to call myself what I am - a recovered drunk.

I agree with tyler that the "principles" are good and have been a great reference point for me. It can be some of the people involved that I have had difficulty with. I have also been to many meetings and experienced statements like; "You have to accept... You have to turn your will/life over to... You have to read... You need a... or you're going to fail!" This is not support - those are threats. I am NOT bashing, just sharing my own experiences. Maybe I need to try some different locations?

I have been sober for over 4 years, 1 month, 21 days (but who's counting?) I respect alcohol for what it is and what it was designed to do - get me drunk - so I don't play with it anymore.

Strictly my own opinion and I reserve the right to be wrong.

SR is a great place to help each other stay sober. Best of success and happiness to everyone here.
Mrak is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 04:05 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Morning Glory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 10,657
Blog Entries: 2
Posts have been removed per forum description.

Please keep it on topic.
Morning Glory is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 02:50 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Reach Out and Touch Faith
 
shockozulu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On a Sailboat
Posts: 3,871
Please read what Morning Glory, Zencat and Tyler posted. I really don't want to have to close this thread for breaking the rules. Thanks!
shockozulu is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 04:46 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: TX
Posts: 35
I think that zencat is correct. If you answered 'yes' to any of those seven questions, changes need to be made.
agrippa is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 06:28 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
☯ ⓌⒾⓁⓁ☯
 
Zencat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Posts: 8,279
Blog Entries: 12
Originally Posted by tyler
I guess at the end of the day, perhaps it comes down to me disliking "labels". I feel that everyone is an individual and though we may share similar characteristics, everyone is different. Too often it seem that people with "addiction issues" are lumped together and treated in cookie cutter style. I guess that's why we have our little secular corner here!!
Labels can be confusing that for sure. Am I an alcoholic, alcohol addict, alcohol abuser...yikes! And when people come up with their own interpretation of what constitutes a label that describes their or my relation with alcohol...more yikes! Then add in some bickering about who's right and who's wrong...forget about it...lol.

I like to think of myself as someone that has issues with addictive substances and my life suffers when I use them. I recognize I have a problem that needs addressing. I'm not concern about the attempts of other that would try to classify my problem for me. Very early on in my addiction I knew I had a problem well before I learned about labels.


I can see the usefulness of having diagnostic tools as to help people identify problems. I can also see how the same tools befuddle people as well.
Zencat is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 08:09 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Taking5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LA - Lower Alabama
Posts: 5,069
Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
Just read Zencat's post. I answered yes to all 7.
Yeah I am perfect on that one too
Taking5 is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 08:10 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 26,407
Blog Entries: 1
I'm with you all on this. The bond I share with alchoholics/hard drinkers/etc. is that I beleive I react differently to alchohol and therefore cant drink well.

Outside of that what I have are human traits and I have more in common with all humanity than is different...then again I'm an individual....crp... lol ... I get confused...

being contentedly sober is alot about living with the paradox's for me

Ananda is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 05:30 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 2,126
Cool

"...I beleive I react differently to alchohol and therefore cant drink well..."

I'm with ananda on this one. Yes, I can see myself in AA's BB description of a 'real' alcoholic and it's differenciation from a 'hard' drinker and/or alcohol abuser.

I've always loved the little story [allegory (if you will)] that shows, to me anyway (and many others also), the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic (to heck with the 'real' 'hard' 'abuser' *&^$)( stuff).......:

Tom and Bob are friends and are going to meet after work for a couple of drinks, and to catch up on what's new in their respective lives. Now, Bob is our alcoholic, and Tom is our non-alcoholic.

When the first drinks are served, both Tom and Bob sip at their drinks and chat. HOWEVER, after a couple, when they start to feel the effects of the alcohol on their systems, Tom (our non-alcoholic) pushes away what's left of his current drink, and may even ask the bartender for a cup of coffee. Quite the contrary, Bob (our alcoholic) gets a big smile on his face, gulps down the remains of his drink (and may even reach over and grab what's left of Tom's), and then will announce to the bartender to........., "I'll have another (and another, and another, and another.....)."

Well, that was me......Bob. I still remember, while waiting for our wine to arrive at our table (in a fancy French restaurant in SF), reaching over to the table next to ours (these folks had left) and grabbing what was left of their wine (how could folks leave w/o finishing.....bacchus/dionysus would be so disappointed.

For me, it was real simple; I either was an alcoholic or I wasn't; no if's, and's, but's, real or unreal about it...............I WAS a real alcoholic....Now, I am recovered. See......? Simple.
NoelleR is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:28 PM.