Am I an alcoholic or not?!

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Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby odat12 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:19 pm

I've been going to AA for over 3 weeks now and I have not drank since July 22 due to blacking out and not remembering but hearing about awful things I did to my boyfriend. Due to past mistakes while drinking - being thrown in the drunk tank, spitting on cops, stealing, etc., etc., etc. - I've come to avoid the drink as much as possible. I went to Al-Anon for a long time because of my history of being in relations with drunks and drunks surrounding me in family, friends, etc. Since meeting my boyfriend, I've attempted to drink a glass here or there with dinner, and it can go well for days, weeks, perhaps even months but ends up with me getting to a point where I drink until I black out and do something really stupid, then I just don't drink for a while. So my drinking history in the more recent years isn't quite as bad as in the past because I'm aware that if I drink there is potential for problems that I don't want to deal with.

Today I visited the doctor and told him I recently started going to AA and he was highly confused asking me how much I drink on a given day and all these questions I'm aware are tell-tale signs of an alcoholic. I told him its as if I've been white-knuckling it and he had no idea what I meant by that. I've been really struggling with whether or not I belong here and him questioning me has really ticked me off because its hard enough for me to accept myself. In the past drinking has been a problem and the last drunk I had - thinking I could drink normally with friends - turned out to be a huge disaster. I know I don't owe anyone any explanations but its really hard to get through the Big Book right now because it is mostly talking about the everyday drinker. Even my boyfriend was shocked when I told him I was going to AA. We've talked about things and I've shed light on things that he's seemed to have ignored or chooses not to see. Instead of drinking, I've opted for pot but when I decided to go to AA, I've taken that out of the mix as well to really focus on the AA program.

Anyone?
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:34 pm

the Big Book right now because it is mostly talking about the everyday drinker.


But focus on the part where people struggle to stay sober. The car salesman. Couldn't stay sober. The peculiar mental twist takes him out. So does Jeff the account. He was clean and sober until he goes to Washington on business. Read those stories in More about alcoholism. They all SUCCUMBed to that desire and THEN the craving kicked in.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:00 pm

staying stopped is the challenge; and why we need the psychic change. Otherwise, alcoholism is just a life long merry go round.
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Brock » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:17 pm

Today I visited the doctor... I told him its as if I've been white-knuckling it and he had no idea what I meant by that.

Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of understanding among some doctors, who have not studied addiction and it's treatment. In another thread here we are discussing the doctors opinion from the big book, he is a doctor who worked most of his life in the field of alcoholism, in part he says this (I highlighted a few words) -
The classification of alcoholics seems most difficult, and in much detail is outside the scope of this book. There are, of course, the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable. We are all familiar with this type. They are always “going on the wagon for keeps.” They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions, but never a decision. There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment. There is the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger. There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written. Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people. All these, and many others, have one symptom in common:
they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving.
This phenomenon, as we have
suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.

If you can live happily without drinking good for you, but if as avaneesh suggests you are anything like the examples in the book, and probably everyone else in AA, you will drink again, as Spirit said that's the challenge, one we never win. And you know what happens after the first drink, as you said - “...ends up with me getting to a point where I drink until I black out and do something really stupid...”

It's not easy to accept, and many alcoholics doubt that they are, but once we accept the road ahead gets smoother.
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:51 pm

odat12 wrote:I've attempted to drink a glass here or there with dinner, and it can go well for days, weeks, perhaps even months but ends up with me getting to a point where I drink until I black out and do something really stupid


OK. So we’ve established that you cannot drink safely at all. I was in much the same boat … if I had 1 drink, maybe it would be just 1 drink, or maybe I would feel terribly thirsty and go for more. My last drink really was just 1 drink, at which time I proved the allergy theory (because the bar was closed and I wanted another). I found I have that allergy, or abnormal reaction. The only safe option is not to drink... we know of no other way to ensure we’ll never again get drunk.

But the real question is whether we can sustain not drinking on our own will-power. Or whether, in a few weeks or months, the old thinking kicks in of “just the 1. C’mon, nothing really bad happened before. This time it'll be different because we know better.” That’s the unmanageability and insanity that Steps 1 & 2 talk about.

The Big Book was written at a time when most alcoholics were last-gasp no-hope cases. Alcoholism back then wasn’t a trendy subject, it wasn’t even widely considered a medical problem. Alcoholics were mostly considered low-life scum who had a moral problem controlling their urges. They would end up hospitalised, strapped down to the bed, and then a couple of ex-drunks would turn up to offer a way out.

Nowadays, AA meetings are on every street corner, and folks come in at all stages of the decline. We can be spared that 10 or 15 years of hell. But by coming in earlier, our problem is slightly different from that of the end-stage alcoholic: “am I really alcoholic?”. Yet, do you really want to find this out the hard way?

So ISTM your real question is, “what is alcoholism?” You need to answer this question before being able to conclude whether or not you are one. Here’s a clue: alcoholism really has nothing to do with drinking. It has to do with thinking. Sure, every alcoholic got drunk, but not everyone who gets drunk is alcoholic. Alcoholism is a 2-fold condition: physical and mental. You have the physical. So what of the mental?

I prefer the DSM IV definitions. “Alcoholism” wasn’t listed in DSM IV. Instead, it had 2 separate entries: “Alcohol Abuse” and “Alcohol Dependency”. Everyone who ever gets drunk has abused alcohol. But I equate “alcoholism” with “alcohol dependency”. If you find you are preoccupied with drinking as a solution or feel-good for any sort of situation, you may be somewhat “alcohol dependent” (AKA alcoholic) whether you’re drunk or sober.

Then the only variables are the extent to which you’re dependent, and to which abuse has caused physical damage. I decided early on that there's really no such thing as "half an alcoholic". That's like being "half pregnant". There are different stages of the progression, but the condition is the condition.

If you're alcohol-dependent, we’re here to help adopt another way to live, another way to learn to deal with situations without the old dependency … to find a new, healthy dependency. If you were to offer me a drink today, even if you gave some guarantee that I’d not get drunk, my reaction would be “what’s the point?” Sure, I might not get drunk today, but you’d perhaps start a time bomb in my thinking for next week or next month when your no-drunk guarantee had expired.
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Patsy© » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:47 pm

Hi Odat,

Its not how much we drink or how often, its what happens to us WHEN we drink.

There are many in the Medical field who have no clue what alcoholism is. So the truth of the matter is this, that its up to you to decide if you are alcoholic or not. We simply can't answer that question for you.

On page 44 in the Big Book it asks the following:

We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic.
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby desypete » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:36 am

as you have mentioned that you can not get anything out of the book i thought i would post this little bit, this is my favourite part of the book from there is a solution p 21
as it was my first time i ever found out i was not the only one in the world who was like i was once i took a drink
it decribes me to a t,
the dr Jekyll mr hyde, the why questions that everyone else wanted to know as to why i would become like i would once i took a drink was huge. i finally found others like me in the world

But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.
Here is a fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control. He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk. His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social. He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept.

my drinking started off like yours when i was in my teens and my 20s and the troubles i got into when drunk were embarrassing and hurtful and shameful, waking up the next day with the hang overs from hell and the fear of what i might of done last night. trying so hard to remember what i had done, what i had said ? who had i upset ? etc

only in aa did i find people like me and the book describes me better than anything else i know of

i could stop drinking me 20s if the trouble was big enough or shameful enough and i would swear i would never do it again

until time would pass and i would have yet another go at trying some controlled drinking and i always lost.

in my 40s i had lost that ability to stop drinking as i was now drinking every moment of the day,i was hiding away from the world in my little grubby flat with my cheap bottles of cider, only coming out to either sign on for benefits or if i needed booze
the fear i had of the outside world was huge the paranoia was crippling all these things are what happens in time to an alcoholic as it progresses to get worse.
i used to think i wasn't as bad as some in aa many many years ago as my drinking had not gone down that far in my early 20s YET

infact i think i thought to myself i couldn't be an alcoholic as i was to young and i didn't need a drink everyday or i wasn't a tramp yet

but that little 3 letter word yet was told to me
so i had to remember i haven't been to prison yet
i haven't been to a dry out ward yet
i haven't lost my family yet
i haven't lost my job yet
i haven't lost my driving licence yet

people dont have to lose those things anymore thanks to aa being world wide and available we are the very lucky ones indeed that it is here for us who suffer and it gives a great chance to stop the progression and the damage much earlier

i only wish when i was first 12 stepped in aa at the age of just 18 that i had just done what they suggested and kept on coming back
my life would never of ended up in the mess it ended up in that is for sure and i wouldnt of hurt so many people who loved me

but i had to do what i had to do to get to that point were i am now convinced i am an alcoholic and that i can not do this on my own anymore
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:56 am

its what happens to us WHEN we drink.


Thats just 3rd part of the problem. An alcoholic, will drink again. In forced sobriety, he/she will be miserable being.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby odat12 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:58 am

Thank you all. This is so helpful. My smart sponsor had the bullying urge to tell me to go out and test it if I felt I needed to. The option is always there. I will not be testing it. I've come too far and lost too much. I'm right where I need to be. Thank you all so much.
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Patsy© » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:46 am

avaneesh912 wrote:
its what happens to us WHEN we drink.


Thats just 3rd part of the problem. An alcoholic, will drink again. In forced sobriety, he/she will be miserable being.


It was that very sentence when I was at my first AA meeting that helped me to identify, and I will be forever grateful for my first AA meeting, what I received is HOPE and Identification...
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:29 am

Yeah, thats all we hear in meetings. No wonder people think if they dont take the first one, they dont get drunk. They dont need the 12 steps.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Patsy© » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:32 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Yeah, thats all we hear in meetings. No wonder people think if they dont take the first one, they dont get drunk. They dont need the 12 steps.


If you read it, what I shared is that was from my first AA meeting. Not sure that taking a newcomer through the 12 steps at their first AA meeting actually works! And the truth is, that if one doesn't take the first one, they can't get drunk! Imagine that? :lol:

We are posting in the "For The Newcomer". Are you even aware of that?
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:50 am

I like to share all three traits of the disease. According to your statement alcoholism is just when we drink. Which is incorrect.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:32 pm

And the truth is, that if one doesn't take the first one, they can't get drunk! Imagine that?


No kidding. But Alcoholics cannot keep away from that 1st drink.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Am I an alcoholic or not?!

Postby Patsy© » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:58 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:
And the truth is, that if one doesn't take the first one, they can't get drunk! Imagine that?


No kidding. But Alcoholics cannot keep away from that 1st drink.


I like to share all three traits of the disease. According to your statement alcoholism is just when we drink. Which is incorrect.


You have misunderstood my statement, but that doesn't surprise me.

Actually, active alcoholics can not keep away from that first drink, because they have lost the ability to choose to NOT drink, they have no defense against the First Drink.
Untreated alcoholics at AA meetings can keep away from the first drink, but they are miserable, and without recovery, will probably drink eventually.
While untreated alcoholism Kills, whether we drink or not.

Those who have worked, applied and are practicing this simple program of AA and taking the actions to pass it on at AA meetings, are sober, happy and free.... because they have Recovered.

So in keeping it simple:

I am a recovered alcoholic, from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. No I am not cured of alcoholism. I will be recovering Spiritually one day at a time, because what this alkie really has is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my Spiritual condition.
Last edited by Patsy© on Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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