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Is there a cross-over point from normal drinking to being addicted?

Old 10-04-2011, 07:37 AM
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Is there a cross-over point from normal drinking to being addicted?

I understand that once you're addicted alcohol, you can never drink it again. But have you ever heard a therapist say that you've been drinking too much for too long to consider normal drinking?

I've had two therapists speak about this as if I wasn't addicted in the first place, but I drank myself into the addiction after a certain period of time.

Has anyone had any experience with this? They say no one really knows whether or not it's a disease, but why would these therapists seem to be under the idea that there's a "crossing over point" in your drinking career where you switch from normal drinker to addicted drinker?
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:43 AM
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Nevermind.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:46 AM
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I tend to go with the idea of the crossing over point as well. I would guess that therapists tend to feel this way because by nature, most of them don't see things as black and white as either "you are or you aren't" or "you were born with the disease of alcoholism or you weren't". As a whole, therapists seem to be into root causes for problems. I would say that most of the therapists I had more or less felt I became an alcoholic because I started using alcohol to cope with life stressors at a very young age. I think I just as easily could have become a food addict, but given my mom was one and it had forever annoyed the sh*t out of me, I thought booze was "cooler" (at the time) and it suited the crowd I hang out with as well.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
It doesn't sound like your therapist is trained in alcoholism. You would do much better and get help more attuned to your issues if you found one that is. Any therapist that tells someone to just stop drinking so much or to consider "normal" drinking doesn't have a clue.
I'm not seeing where you are getting this from? She never said her therapist told her to consider "normal" drinking.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:50 AM
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You are right, freethinking. I read her first paragraph wrong.

Nevermind.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:02 AM
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Thanks for the response! Yeah, I actually kind of favor this thought now of being that you can push yourself into it. At the time I heard them say that to me I was paranoid and wanted to start bawling because I'd found out I'd just ruined my chances at ever drinking normally again and it was all my fault. lol But then I'd just joined that-which-is-not-to-be-named and they said I was most likely born this way and it wasn't my fault which was a great sigh of relief. But I think I'll go back to agreeing with the therapists side...when I started drinking to get drunk I had like 4 close people to me die and I'd just started college and was on my own...I was at such a point of vulnerability that I think addiction would've been at a prime time for development and it did...but I guess there's no take-backs in life, and "if I'd only known then what I know now", but there's no need to beat myself with a baseball bat over it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:35 AM
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Just by pure common sense I go with Allen Carr's analogy of the pitcher plant. If you're not familiar with that the idea is that if any given person drank alcohol for long enough they would become an "alcoholic". Why people fall at different rates and why some never reach the bottom is down to a number of things: standing in society, job, family, finances, religion, health, etc. Some people just hate drinking and only have the odd social drink so they don't feel like a pariah.

Even people who society would class as moderate drinkers still have to go to great lengths to do so (drink moderately), whether they admit it or not. They impose 'I don't drink during the week' or 'I don't drink before 7PM' or 'I have one month off drinking per year'. If it's not causing them a problem you have to ask yourself why people set such rules. I read an online journal of a guy who white knuckle through 28 days off not drinking to prove he wasn't an alcoholic! He was proud of his achievements but to an outsider he proved the exact opposite.

So I see it as a slow progression rather than a black or white thing and not down to a disease but down to the fact some people's circumstances mean then ingest more than others. Just because someone doesn't die as what society would claim an alcoholic that doesn't mean they wouldn't have become one in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 1000, years.

I think the real acceleration starts once you drink to medicate or to do all the normal things alcohol has robbed you off: ability to relax, socialise, courage, confidence, etc.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by AprilMay1895 View Post
But have you ever heard a therapist say that you've been drinking too much for too long to consider normal drinking?
Could be your therapists way of telling you that your drinking pattern isn't normal and that you should consider quiting because you probably can't drink normally. Just sayin'
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:06 AM
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It is not uncommon for therapists and psychologists to recommend moderate drinking. They believe that "underlying issues" cause addiction, and that once those issues are resolved, you can go back to drinking, since you won't be driven to drink alcoholically. Even Albert Ellis' book, "When AA Doesn’t Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol," which is on the SMART Recovery reading list, implies this, and describes a few examples of people who return to moderate drinking.

I'll send you some links on moderation via PM shortly which should knock that idea out of your mind, though.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:15 AM
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I actually tried moderation management before I went back to the other group's meeting. Well, moderation was simply a way for me to get drunk. I set a number of drinks for myself to have and then I had twice or three times that number, thinking "I'll try harder next time". lol I saw the chart in Trimpey's book and it makes total sense. The more you drink, the more your "I" loses its inhibition and the more the "it" has a freaking good time and urges you to drink more...and your "I" is "out to lunch" so the "it" just simply gets its way without any fight. So one drink exponentially leads you to another.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:26 AM
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Charon, Actually a couple years before I even met those two therapists that had mentioned the notion, I was told that if I were to keep drinking, it would become a problem in the future. I was in the hospital and they gave me some sort of drinking evaluation because I was in college at the time and they typically think a drinking problem is related to severe depression. The test came back that I was "alcohol abusive" but not "alcohol dependent". At which point, everyone (even the dean of students oddly enough), told me that I needed to stop or severely control my drinking or there was a great chance I'd develop a serious drinking problem. I straight-up ignored them because to me, I thought I was just drinking like a normal college kid, just like my friends were, and of course any "adult" would tell me to stop having so much fun. lol

So I guess that's part of why I have this curiosity. Maybe if I'd listened to them, it wouldn't be an issue today. No way in hell, I would've listened to them though, drinking was far too fun.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:40 AM
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I recall my therapist once telling me that she didn't believe I was a "genetic alcoholic", that my drinking started as a way of dealing with my dysfunctional family and eventually took on a life of its own. When asked if this meant I should consider moderate drinking, she said "given your 25 year history of daily, blackout drinking, I would absolutely NOT recommend that you take any chances with drinking!" I think that was excellent advice. Besides, I'm comfortable with abstinence. Why mess with what's working so well?
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:47 AM
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I'm not saying I want to try moderating my drinking again...I'm sufficiently convinced after my 8 months of doing whatever I wanted, that I clearly can't handle the stuff. I just feel compelled to wonder "why, how, etc." That, and I have a family and relatives that kinda think fishy things about people who don't drink (I'm born and raised in northern WI, it comes with the territory. lol), I just want to solidify my comprehension of the problem so if it ever comes down to someone really wanting to know why I've stopped drinking completely and that I'm not being an arrogant ass about their drinking, I can explain myself and be confident in it.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by AprilMay1895 View Post
No way in hell, I would've listened to them though, drinking was far too fun.
Yeah, I remember an incident when I was about 26. I was drinking with someone and she said "If someone saw us they would think we're alcoholics". I said "Don't know about you - but I am, so what!". I thought I was invincable, that my body would last forever, that my mind could handle it forever, and that I'd never have to stop. Yeah, right. Wish I knew then what I know now.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:26 PM
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I agree with what kanamit said about Carr....he made a lot of sense to me.
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