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Were You an Alcoholic Before You Started Drinking?

Old 05-13-2011, 06:05 AM
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Hi Crew-

Yes, I born an alcoholic. My father died from crashing his car into a lightpost. He was an alcoholic. His brother is an alcoholic and addict.

On my mother's side, my grandfather died a slow, alcoholic death, and his two sons (my two uncles are both alcoholics). I have cousins, many, who are alcoholics.

That's just going back two generations. There are many, many more and will be more coming.

Coincidence? I think not b/c now that I'm knowledgeable about the subject, I can see my "alcoholic" behavior begin at a very early age and WAY before I ever drank.

Also, as soon as I started drinking, I didn't just have a good time that night, my whole world changed and I thought I found a secret for my life, a "cure" for me if you will. I hung on to that until the very end, destroying almost everything and almost killing myself, but it was that important to me.

Even with all the damage going on around me, I was terrified to lose my "cure", even though that SOB had betrayed me

Kjell~
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:11 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Kjell, your story sounds very similar to mine. Alcoholism runs in my blood lines, and this statement:

Also, as soon as I started drinking, I didn't just have a good time that night, my whole world changed and I thought I found a secret for my life, a "cure" for me if you will. I hung on to that until the very end, destroying almost everything and almost killing myself, but it was that important to me.

Describes me to a T. But if I never drank, alcohol would have never affected my life.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Supercrew View Post
But if I never drank, alcohol would have never affected my life.
Hear me out on this though - was this even possible? To grow up as we did, with our biology already set from our parents and they from their parents (and on down the line), and in our enviroments, and who we learned from, to not ever drink?

Kjell~
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Kjell View Post
Hear me out on this though - was this even possible? To grow up as we did, with our biology already set from our parents and they from their parents (and on down the line), and in our enviroments, and who we learned from, to not ever drink?

Kjell~
I have a friend with this background....both sides of his family littered with the destruction of alcoholism. When he was in his early teens one of his cousins died from drinking too much alcohol. At the funeral my friends grandmother made him promise he would never drink...he is now in his late 20's and has never had a drop of alcohol.

So, imo, it is possible to come from an alcoholic family tree and not become an alcoholic.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
I have a friend with this background....both sides of his family littered with the destruction of alcoholism. When he was in his early teens one of his cousins died from drinking too much alcohol. At the funeral my friends grandmother made him promise he would never drink...he is now in his late 20's and has never had a drop of alcohol.

So, imo, it is possible to come from an alcoholic family tree and not become an alcoholic.
Hi Lafemme-

I totally get it and we are, of course, speaking in "what ifs". That's an amazing story and there are always exceptions for sure. My sister didn't become one, though we share different fathers and I don't expect all my cousins to become alkies, but I do expect some of them to.

I also say this with much respect, but your friend is still very young and there is much life ahead of him.

Kjell~
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:22 AM
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Kjell, possible yes, probable no. But what I'm saying is without alcohol I am not an alcoholic. I wasn't an alcoholic before I started drinking, I was just a human with problems and issues, when I drank, alcoholism became one of those issues and problems and caused a few more. When I stopped drinking I went back to just being a human with problems and issues who used to abuse alcohol and was once addicted to it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:44 AM
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I definitely had some dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors before I began drinking, but I was absolutely not an alcoholic. Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, and by definition one cannot be addicted to something one has never ingested.

OTT
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Supercrew View Post
But what I'm saying is without alcohol I am not an alcoholic. I wasn't an alcoholic before I started drinking, I was just a human with problems and issues, when I drank, alcoholism became one of those issues and problems and caused a few more. When I stopped drinking I went back to just being a human with problems and issues who used to abuse alcohol and was once addicted to it.

Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I definitely had some dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors before I began drinking, but I was absolutely not an alcoholic. Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, and by definition one cannot be addicted to something one has never ingested.
I agree wholeheartedly.

We may be born genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic, or have life experiences which make us seek numbness, but that doesn't make you an alcoholic. You may want to drink more after your first ever drunk, but you have to work really hard to become addicted to alcohol...it takes time and regular drinking to rewire and alter the chemistry in your brain.

If I had known back then what I now know about addiction and how my life was going to be affected, maybe I too would have chosen not ever to have that first drink, like the person LaFemme mentioned.

Interesting thought isn't it...to share our experience with young young teens...to give them the ability to recognize the signs. Maybe after our daughter gets out of high school..........

Murray
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:59 PM
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I developed alcoholism. I did so from liking to drink alcohol...to often and to much. Being an alcoholic before I drank alcohol sounds kinda crazy to me. Its like asking did I have asthma before I started to smoke.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I definitely had some dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors before I began drinking, but I was absolutely not an alcoholic. Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, and by definition one cannot be addicted to something one has never ingested.

OTT
Exactly! To think otherwise is like going off into the strange space in my mind where I'm the mayor of the city called Lala Trippyout...LOL. Where the effects come before the cause .
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:24 PM
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After reading some of the post on this tread. I can not remember a time where I behaved like a drunk without being actively drunk. As a kid I didn't have any slurped speak, wobby bobbly walk or fast to fall down and remain down crawling on my hands and knees...oh wait, I do remember pretending to be Otis of Andy Griffen Show as a kid.

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Old 05-13-2011, 05:05 PM
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All good points, but there are a lot we simply don't know about alcoholism and will probably never know.

I think we can all agree on that.

It's just not a simple disease, illness, condition, mental problem - whatever you want to call it.

For so many people to be affected all over the world for so long, I'm so grateful there are solutions though!

Kjell~
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:12 PM
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Kjelll...I agree my friend (will) is awfully young...but he's also a missionary and heavily involved in church...somehow I can't see him picking up a drink

If I were blessed with a child I would try and put the fear of God. And addiction in that child well before they were in high school...I remember drug education in middle school scaring me to death and I was always too scared to try anything other than a few puffs of pot...thankfully!
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:09 PM
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My ex husband is an alcoholic. He is literally drinking himself to death. His grandfather was an alcoholic. He spent his days sitting on the bar stool. He was one of those who made the decision to quit and did. That was that. His son, my ex father in-law remembers his father's behavior and vowed never to touch alcohol and to this day has never touched the stuff. Interesting...if he had, would he too be an alcoholic? Grandfather to grandson while skipping a generation due to the choice to not drink.

For myself, I think I always had tendencies. Even as a child I noticed a certain amount of "discontent" and often turned to food. When I took my first drink, WOW, this was amazing and from that day forward I lived for the next drink and I hit it hard when I could. That was when I was a teenager. I always loved to drink. Loved it to much to be considered normal.

Over the years it progressed and I turned into a full blown alcoholic who became a drinking machine. I lived to drink and drank to function while slowly killing myself and destroying the life I built. Once I got the booze from my system and worked on the reasons why I turned to alcohol, as a coping mechanism, I haven't had the desire to drink.

However, I am still extremely obsessive compulsive and have to keep an eye on that. I will use shopping in the same way that I drank. There is something within me that won't keep my brain on an even keel. When I get on to something, I want to run with it to the point of becoming ridiculous. The good news is...having 30 eye shadows or 30 lipsticks isn't going to kill me. I like to refer to it as being prepared and having a life time supply. You just never know...
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:32 PM
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I loved reading this thread. I have been thinking a lot about alcoholism this week.

I think I have a strong genetic predisposition to alcoholism and lots of emotional pain from childhood trauma. I never drank moderately. As a teenager, I started with excessive drinking to try to obliterate reality/pain. I initially quit very young and have not drank much in my life, so I am intrigued by the huge problem I developed this past year (2 periods of relapsing and lots of cravings/urges). I do think alcohol has a particular effect in my brain- different from social drinkers, because I have so few negative physical side effects from drunkenness (hangovers, nausea). I also tried pot several times and had no real interest in it.

Both my parents drank a lot.

I'm not sure how I would define disease so I am not sure if alcoholism is a disease. However, I think genetic predisposition and environment/nurturing/exposure are factors in most or all diseases.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Kjell View Post
All good points, but there are a lot we simply don't know about alcoholism and will probably never know.

I think we can all agree on that.

It's just not a simple disease, illness, condition, mental problem - whatever you want to call it.

For so many people to be affected all over the world for so long, I'm so grateful there are solutions though!

Kjell~
My thinking revolves more about what I think is fact and what I think is fiction. I think we as individuals have many individual problems aside from alcohol. And many of our alcohol problems are very different as well. The commonality we all have is if we want our alcohol problem to stop we need to stop drinking and learn/retrain ourselves to accept and be happy with that decision.

I understand finding spirituality may make many of us happy, and feeling like we have a guiding light and a purpose will also make many of us feel content with our problems, but alcohol abuse is something that we learned and can unlearn. There isn't "untreated alcoholism" left over after you abstain from drinking, there may be many personal problems and broken relationships and even wrecked lives, which I think many recovery programs try to address, but anything other than the the abuse of alcohol should not be considered alcoholism. I agree these other issues may lead people back to their addiction or maybe a new one, but it was important for me to know in my recovery that although other problems may remain, when the alcohol is removed so is the alcoholism.
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:06 AM
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Sheezh, I go away for a days and you guys have great conversations without me...WTF?

A tomato is not very round compared to a ball, and it is not very red compared to blood. Yet a tomato is a round red fruit...errr...vegetable... Truth is experiential - defining what alcoholism is, or what a tomato is, not that useful beyond my experience of it. Was I an alcoholic before I started drinking? Well, from day one I obsessed over getting buzzed from until my body could not process ethanol. (My response is: "That's great recycle, now write it down in a little book somewhere and be in this moment.") The answer to Supercrew's question probably does not have any value beyond the confines of my left ear and my right ear, but answering it is very valuable and so is sharing it. My answer maybe entirely different in a year from now. I think the absolute truth of that answer will be of similar value, and it will be interesting to see whether I am still answering the same question.

Thanks and take care.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:10 PM
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I wasn't. I learned to believe I needed alcohol to have fun to socialize to cope to mourn, and I learned to love alcohol more than life itself. Now I don't know when to say when, because when I am under the influence I always want more, but as far as the mental obsession with drinking and needing alcohol in my life I think I learned and trained my brain to believe that. So if that is the case is it really a disease, or something that we learned?Thoughts?

So, what came 1st, the chicken or the egg? No, I can't say that I was an alcoholic when I was born, but I definitely believe that I was born with alcoholic tendencies and as soon as I began putting alcohol into my body, it was off to the races.

I'm no medical expert, and cant tell you the difference between a disease and a malady, but I believe that alcoholism is a physical medical condition, if not a disease. From as early as I can recall (13 yrs old) as soon as I started drinking, I craved more alcohol and did not have the ability/willpower/self-restraint (call it what you will) to stop drinking until I was intoxicated ti some degree. The mental obsession to drink is a different subject. That came about after having drank for a period of time and realizing that by drinking alcohol, I would get the feeling that I desired. Eventually, after drinking for years, it did get to the point that I physically needed to drink... I was getting the shakes, hang-overs, etc, and knew that a drink would be a brief relief.

Although I don't spend much time worrying about it, I do believe that alcoholism is a physical and mental disease. I think the physical allergy (addiction) comes 1st once you (innocently) drink alcohol. When I did, I blacked out the 1st time and had a great time, and wanted to drink as much as I could get my hands on. Then eventually, I developed the mental obsession to drink in order to deal with life's situations, and eventually due to WD's.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:50 PM
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I don't think I was an alcoholic before I drank, but I also think alcoholism is more like a symptom of a disease, rather than the disease itself. I only say this because, often you see more than one addiction in people, or you see people replacing one addiction for another. So I question whether "addiction" is possibly the disease and drinking too much is a symptom of this. Like for example if you take a disease of the mind, such as schizophrenia, the symptoms are not going to be the exact same in everyone, but have a scope. So would it be fair to say that some people with "addiction", drink, while others gamble, or use drugs or, often enough have a combination of these symptoms.

Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) as "a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations."
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I think this definition needs to be re-examined. No wonder there isn't a cure!

Just my opinion though...
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BHF View Post
[B][I]Although I don't spend much time worrying about it, I do believe that alcoholism is a physical and mental disease. I think the physical allergy (addiction) comes 1st once you (innocently) drink alcohol. When I did, I blacked out the 1st time and had a great time, and wanted to drink as much as I could get my hands on. Then eventually, I developed the mental obsession to drink in order to deal with life's situations, and eventually due to WD's.
But even if you look at it this way, you still have to ingest alcohol before the addiction occurs.

It is impossible for anyone to be addicted to a substance they have never put into their body.

It is of course possible to have a predisposition to become addicted. But that is not the same thing as actually being addicted.
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