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Were You an Alcoholic Before You Started Drinking?

Old 05-11-2011, 11:16 PM
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Were You an Alcoholic Before You Started Drinking?

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?
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Old 05-12-2011, 02:36 AM
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I don't think it is possible to be an alcoholic before you ever drank.

That said, alcoholism is definitely a disease. A disease doesn't have to be something you "catch" like measles or diptheria - it doesn't have to be spread by germs.

People who are pack-rats or hoarders are also diseased, and you could make a good argument that this is learned behaviour. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The AMA, WHO and many other similar organizations have considered alcoholism a disease for years and years. Who am I to argue?
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:01 AM
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I don't consider it a disease, but that's just my opinion. I started drinking because I thought the people who drank were glamourous. I watched too many films, too much TV. I believe I learned the behaviour then got addicted.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:27 AM
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Its definitely not a disease. If its a disease, then why can it not manifest itself in the body and be treated as such, say, like, diabetes or any other ailment/disease/illness. Its all in the mind. Alcohol is an extremely addictive drug and for some, not all, when taken can then cause addiction. Alcohol is the all time favourite drug, it oils the social system, we are brought up to believe that one cannot have any form of social function whatsoever without the use of alcohol, people who don't drink alcohol are considered odd, either "you poor thing, do you have a drink problem?" or religeous. This is all perpetuated by the Government and the alcohol manufacturers. AA would suggest if you can't control your drinking there is something wrong with the person who is inherently "diseased", they don't look at it that we are dealing with a highly addictive drug and poison which, if taken enough of will cause diseases and eventually kill us.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:35 AM
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YES! Ive been going through memories of my child hood, teenage, early 20's. I showed alcoholic behavior before actively drinking. For me its a mental game. I wanted to be someone else for such a long time (dont know why) when i took that first drink I became that person. So i thought. I believe it is a disease but i wont debate that on here. great thread!
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:41 AM
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yes, also the banana has no meaning to this post I just wanted to see him dance
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:35 AM
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It is not a disease, per se, but rather a syndrome. In medical terms a syndrome is a grouping of symptoms or features that allow for a diagnosis. In SMART Recovery we believe that it is a complex set of learned maladaptive behaviors. To label it a disease does many a disservice by offering an excuse to escape responsibility for one's own recovery.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:23 AM
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I believe I wasn't an alcoholic before I started drinking . . . . however, I do strongly believe that my genetic combo is geared toward addiction and a host of other things often associated with alcoholism. I don't think this blames something for my problem; I think it's acceptance of neurobiology. But I'm not a scientist.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:30 AM
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A person susceptible to Celiac's Disease can go through their whole life never having a problem eating the gluten protein found in wheat, just as a person who is susceptible to alcoholism can live a life free of being addicted to alcohol.

If the first person has a series of overwhelming, life changing, emotionally draining experiences their body can "flip a switch" and suddenly recognize certain sections of the partially digested molecular strands of gluten as foreign invaders to the body. The immune system will then destroy those strands, and whatever cells in the digestive tract which absorbed them.

The second person could have a brain stem and limbic system "pre-wired" to have a strong dopamine release response to alcohol, and for generating more receptors if the consumption of alcohol increases. This person could get through their life without becoming an alcoholic, but just as emotions initiated Celiac's Disease in the first person, social inadequacies, emotional traumas, abuse, deprivation, or any combination of negative life experiences could "flip the switch" for a person becoming an alcoholic.

So no, you aren't a Celiac or an alcoholic before the symptoms of the disease manifest themselves. In both cases you can live a completely normal life by never consuming the substance which causes the sufferers body to destroy itself.

Murray
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray4x5 View Post
In both cases you can live a completely normal life by never consuming the substance which causes the sufferers body to destroy itself.
I should have said that in both cases, once the symptoms of the diseases manifested themselves and nearly killed the Celiac and the alcoholic, both could live normal lives by never again consuming the substances which almost killed each of them.

Murray
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:14 AM
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Absolutely. I won't get into the debate on weather or not addiction is a disease, though.

I had several addictions in my early childhood, years before I ever picked up alcohol or drugs, that began when I was 12 years old. In the form of eating disorders and self mutilation. I was unable to deal with the pain of my incredibly abusive childhood and those things gave me a sense of control, something I was unfamilar with and desperately sought out. By the time I was 17, I had discovered alcohol and heroin which was my DOC. It gave me a way to escape from the reality and escape from the immense pain I held inside. I had (and still have) deep self hatred for many reasons and I thought I had found the "cure" to all of my problems. Though I was successful in doing the impossible - running away from myself.

I have stated in other posts, that alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and SI were not my real problems. My real problem was ME.

But anyways, yes. I was already prone to addiction at a real early age...

-Jess
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:44 AM
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I gave up drinking 2 months ago and don't crave alcohol at all

I learned to lean on alcohol to sooth my anxious teenage self, I wonder if things would of been different if I was comfortable in my own skin
This snowballed over the years to drinking a bottle of wine most nights and binging if I went out

I do miss the ritual of it, that first glass of wine after work, and I miss the taste of it - I really did enjoy tasting different wine. These were learned things.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:52 AM
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I too miss the ritual of drinking wine in my favourite glass to unwind or before I went out...but alcohol was and is no good for me...I have accepted that. I think the drinking started because I thought it was a cool thing to do...all the adults around me drank...made me feel grown up....then it became a crutch...for everything..good or bad or anything in between, I loved the buzz that getting out of my skin thing...it was like there was another me that took over.....(at times I sure think there was) so I definetely think I was predisposed to be a drinker...an alcoholic probably that to...no amount is safe for me, I'm better having none than even attempting to have one! Life may not be as "exciting" I use that term lightly..but I'm much more stable and have my feet on the ground, and it feels good for the first time in my life..
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by iliveforyou View Post
Absolutely. I won't get into the debate on weather or not addiction is a disease, though.

I had several addictions in my early childhood, years before I ever picked up alcohol or drugs, that began when I was 12 years old. In the form of eating disorders and self mutilation. I was unable to deal with the pain of my incredibly abusive childhood and those things gave me a sense of control, something I was unfamilar with and desperately sought out. By the time I was 17, I had discovered alcohol and heroin which was my DOC. It gave me a way to escape from the reality and escape from the immense pain I held inside. I had (and still have) deep self hatred for many reasons and I thought I had found the "cure" to all of my problems. Though I was successful in doing the impossible - running away from myself.

I have stated in other posts, that alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and SI were not my real problems. My real problem was ME.

But anyways, yes. I was already prone to addiction at a real early age...

-Jess
Jess I appreciate your reply, but being that you had an abusive childhood wouldn't you think that your issues stemmed more for your circumstances rather than you being addiction prone? I agree that your past abuse and situations may have caused you to look for a mental escape, but should that situation really be considered "alcoholism", or should they be considered an enviromental/abuse problem that manifersted itself into a substance abuse problem to escape the pain?
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:39 PM
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I can see now that the same obsessive behaviours, the all or nothing black and white thinking, and the utter recklessness and disregard for myself was always with me....

it was with me when I smoked pot too, before I started drinking....but it came to full fruition, if that's the right word, when I started drinking.

I reckon my problem was never alcohol, or pot, or whatever else I've done.
I reckon the problem was me

D
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:13 PM
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Well Dee, that being said, do you feel some recovery programs may be geared more towards helping to fix "the me's" rather than fixing the alcohol abuse issue? Or maybe trying to fix both as one problem?

I was born a normal person, but I moved alot because my Dad was in the military and I had low self esteem for a while which always made me want to fit in. In the 4th grade I got made fun of because I came from a different area of the country to the Mecca of cool California, and I got made fun of and picked on because I had short hair and dressed funny. My Dad was out to sea alot, then when he was finally home he started his own business and I felt he never really spent quality time with me. My Mom was a disiplinarian and was harsh keepingh us inline so I started to rebel around 11 years old. Then I proved I was an outstanding athlete and even with short hair girls started liking me. Then I got very popular, although I wasn't considered "cool". Then my first girlfriend broke my heart, then I lost 4 scholarships because I got into legal trouble at school, then I quit the college football team and failed out one of the top schools in the nation on purpose because I hated it, then I married someone that my family didn't approve of, then I quit a very high paying job because I hated it because I thought I could do better, but I struggled for 7 years, then I had part ownership of a company that was about to make me millions of dollars, but the other owners ran us out of business because of poor money management, then I lost my home, then I got a DUI. Then I almost lost my marriage 2 or 3 times.

Now these are many of the problems I have had in my life, there are many more, but some are more personal and others are more trivial. Now although some of these problems might have caused me to drink, and others were caused by my drinking, I don't consider any of them part of my alcoholism. If you take alcohol away some of the problems would not have occurred, but most of the issues and feelings from my younger years would probably still be a part of me. Did I drink heavily because of these issues? Maybe, but I drank because I loved to drink. I learned to cope with many of my feelings and problems using alcohol, but it didn't erase them.

I think one of the major misconceptions is once we get sober or abstain from drinking all of the past issues and problems and feelings are going to disappear, and we will finally be happy. I have been lucky because I have matured and come to grips with most of these past feeling and problems and regrets and I am OK with myself, so by taking away alcohol, which was my biggest problem I am a very happy person. But if you take away alcohol from a person who is still an emotional wreck who hasn't comes to grips with their past you will probably find and unhappy discontent person. But alcoholism has nothing to do with it in my opinion, it was just one of the problems in the persons life.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:25 PM
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I can only speak from my experience, 'crew...but I absolutely had to work on my alcohol abuse...but I also had to work on those 'underlying issues' if I wanted any chance of staying sober.

From what I've read here, and experienced elsewhere, over the last 4 yrs, most people who are successful - and happy with it - have done both too

D
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:35 PM
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Thanks for the input Dee! Sorry for being so active on the board lately. I think I have been reading and thinking too much!
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:37 PM
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no need to apologise for that P.

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Old 05-13-2011, 03:17 AM
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Sheesh....I never apologized for being a posting fiend crew

I pretty much agree verbatim with what Murray said.

I had a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that when I began drinking was just waiting for the right set of circumstances to manifest itself.

When I quit I thought I would miss wine...the ritual of it and the taste...can't say that I do. I went to an alumni Happy hour last night and only after I left the bar did I realize a drink never even occurred to me.

I am as close to cured as humanely possible....but like many diseases it could come out of remission were I to take a drink.

Last Saturday There was a drunk driving accident near my home at 6:00 am...the driver was fine but two innocent people died...the highway was closed for half the day....I can find other forms of excitement.

Working with a therapist should have happened when I was 14 and asked my parents for therapy...the two are related but not mutually exclusive.
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