I get asked the question, ‘How do you know that you’re alcoholic?’, and the quick answer is ‘I didn’t until I was taught to open my eyes and my mind to the insanity of the world I created around me’.
Some ask because they have a general interest, others because they are questioning their own drinking habits and subsequent behaviours/ consequences.
The full answer is far too in depth and involved to answer in one blog, and would easily fill many books, so I will try to keep it simple.
I have a physical, mental, and spiritual allergy to alcohol. When it enters my system, it has a very different effect to that of so-called ‘normal’ drinkers, whether they be light, moderate, or heavy. It’s a tough one to diagnose in yourself because unlike other allergy’s, when I drink I don’t come out in a rash, my throat doesn’t swell up, and an anaphylactic shot won’t reduce the symptoms. In fact, the effect of supping a drink on me made me feel like a million dollars!
‘Normal’ drinkers can have a few, relaxing drinks and know that the state of sedation has been reached, stop, and go to bed. I would have a few drinks, feel buzzy and fearless, and want to go out. I would be freed from my worries, anxiety, and responsibility and in it is place would be filled with confidence, bravado and ego. I would want more and more, because all of a sudden, this state of mind is where I needed to be. And the only way to reach and increase this ‘Super’ me was by drinking another, and then another.
With every drink, my care of myself and of others would dissipate. Work the next day didn’t matter because that was the next day and in a drunken state I would be able to tackle that head on when it arrived. My fears for the future would turn into incredible successes – some of the plans that I came up with in my head when I was pissed would make Richard Branson look like a used car salesman! My worries of the past didn’t matter, in fact, they were character building and made me the man I am today! And don’t forget the man I was that day was a drunk man,
And don’t get me started on people that ‘pop out for a quick pint’ and literally just have one pint! What’s the point? The first pint never touched the sides. The initial few gulps would take me to half a pint left, and that meant that the pint was as good as finished so I would be fumbling around for change to buy the next one. I was so eager to get to that state of mind, the drink and the sociable aspect would just pass me by.
And if the people around couldn’t keep up, I would go and find people who could, invariably fresh meat that hadn’t heard my incredibly witty, hilarious and risqué anecdotes, and who wouldn’t judge me for drinking a shooter with every pint.
I would disappear from my own social circle and wake up in a strange bed or an uncomfortable couch, and come up with a plan of how I would explain my actions to the loved ones I had deserted the night/ days before.
That behaviour played out so many times, I can’t tell you…hundreds would be a dreadful underestimation…thousands would be more accurate.
And when I wasn’t drinking, I was thinking about it – the next drinking session couldn’t come to soon.
Towards the end, my self-worth could only be found in a bottle.
‘Normal’ drinkers stop to keep control, I drank to lose control because I felt I couldn’t control anything when I was sober.
It starts with the first drink, everything else just follows. That’s why one is too many, and thirty never enough. That’s why I cannot drink again. I’m allergic to alcohol. If you are allergic to peanuts, or shell fish or anything, you stop eating them. I cannot drink. All the above happens when i do!
There is so much more that I can point to that makes me an alcoholic, but this hopefully gives you an insight into the effect/ cause of alcohol has when it enters my system. If you have any concerns about yourself, or a loved one, then just run through the checklist below – it could provide the answers you are looking for…
- Cravings for alcohol
- Loss of control
- \Drinking alone or in secret
- Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure
- Feeling the need or compulsion to drink
- Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn’t available
- Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car
- Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances
- Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms