“No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. That idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” page 30 The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Many of us are quite familiar with the bizarre antics and destructive behaviors of those who partake in alcoholic drinking. Whether we are the alcoholic ourselves, or we love someone who we might fear is going down the alcoholic path, identifying the signs of the addiction is the first half of the battle.
According to the big book, there are three types of drinkers. Temperate drinkers (normal people), Heavy drinkers (people who definitely drink too much, but can stop if they actually need to) and alcoholic drinkers.
According to the Big Book, a heavy drinker is someone who “may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason… becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome”.
However, a full blown, real true alcoholic, who usually started out as a moderate or heavy drinker, eventually begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink. This is where the tell-tale signs come into play.
1. The Inability to Stop Once We Start
The number one, most full proof sign of an alcoholic drinker is that they are completely incapable, despite an even overwhelming desire to do so, to stop drinking once they have started. If a person goes to the bar or has a glass at home with the intention of only having one or maybe even none at all, always ends up spending all their money, blacking out, or getting arrested for public intoxication or nudity, chances are, they might be alcoholic. If a person shows the complete lack of ability to control the amount that they ingest, they might be an alcoholic drinker.
2. The Inability to STAY STOPPED
By this I mean, even after a few days or weeks of not having a drink, or heck, even a few hours, they find that they HAVE to have a drink in order to feel normal, it’s not a good sign. As alcoholics, we are maladjusted to life, and in order to feel that we are properly functioning, we must put some sort of mood or mind altering substance into ourselves to feel human. Normal people don’t need to do that. If you do, you might have a problem.
Now, on to some of the side effects that occur in the lives of people who struggle with alcoholism and addiction.
Their Drinking Affects Their Personal Relationships
Now, every alcoholic is different, and not every kind is going to be the loud, angry, physically abusive image that we often are portrayed by the media. However, if a person’s drinking or drugging starts to interfere with their ability to live a normal life, this can be a pretty big red flag.
The Presence of Withdrawal
As any good alcoholic or addict is aware, doing drugs and drinking enough will eventually create the dependence to a substance. Therein, when we do not have said chemical, we get sick. AKA, withdrawal. Excessive consumption wreaks havoc on the brain and on the body. It will present itself as the shakes, migraines, nausea, constipation, stomach cramps, inability to sleep, restless legs, depression, and anxiety.
When it HAS to Happen to Survive
It will always get to the point that a person MUST ingest their substance in order to feel comfortable in their own skin or even to get out of bed in the morning and take a shower. This is what constitutes the mental and physical obsession that we alcoholics and addicts suffer from. In our heads, we tell ourselves we can use, despite the known outcomes. In our bodies, we slowly die from the only thing that gets rid of the withdrawal. Alcoholic drinking and using is the most absurd catch-22, but it comes to be all we know, and we no longer seem to care.
While everyone is different, and each alcoholic and addict will think they are in control of their disease, the truth is that there is and will always be a way out. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous and its sister fellowships have been providing the black sheep of society like us with a new chance at life. During our using, it seems like we will never be able to be normal, or feel happy, or enjoy the sunshine, or take any joy in life at all. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As soon as we are finally desperate enough to admit that we cannot control our using and that we need help, the rooms of AA and the other fellowships will be there to prove to us that a new life is indeed possible. Alcoholic drinking and using no longer has to be the end all be all, alpha and omega in our lives. We can find a new freedom, we can find a new happiness, and believe it or not, we can actually recover from the hellish cycle that we have forced ourselves into.
In Need of Detox?
It can be intimidating to know that addiction and alcoholism are always right around the corner. Sometimes getting that little push and having medical guidance can be what it takes. Relapse and active addiction/alcoholism are only as preventable as much as we value the sobriety we hold in our hands. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 800-982-5530 or visit www.restoredtx.wpengine.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.