One of the most common misconceptions about alcoholism is that people believe they aren’t an alcoholic unless they drink daily and have received at least one DUI. Sorry folks, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many alcoholics who have never been arrested, do not drink daily, and may actually function relatively well on a day-to-day basis. If you are waiting for a DUI to determine if you suffer from the disease of alcoholism, you may actually die from the disease first. We think we can offer a better solution to figuring out if you are an alcoholic or not.
Those who drive drunk are not always alcoholic, and those who are alcoholic don’t always drive drunk – or at least don’t always get caught. Yup, you heard me right, that is the raw the truth of the matter. In many states, if you are caught driving drunk, you may be required to attend a fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – and it works if you are an alcoholic. If you are just a casual drinker, or even a heavy drinker, then you most likely will not need AA long-term.
So how do you know if you are a heavy drinker or an alcoholic? Well, while you may be forced via court order to attend meetings, the real diagnosis has to be left up to you. After getting a DUI, heavy drinkers will usually stop drinking a lot and stop driving drunk. If you’re an alcoholic, you’ll continue to either obsess about drinking or go right back to drinking, even after suffering such a grave consequence.
What is Alcoholism, Really?
The alcoholic suffers in both mind and body, which means they will not only obsess over drinking, but when they do drink, their body reacts as if it’s allergic to it. What does that mean? It means that the alcoholic body processes alcohol differently, and they experience something called the “phenomenon of craving”. It almost feels like you need alcohol to survive.
When an alcoholic is not drinking, they are thinking about drinking (more like obsessing). Many will try to control this, but since alcoholism is progressive, it usually comes to a head at some point. Some may experience an emotional/physical bottom in a matter of years, while others may go on for decades trying to control their drinking.
Consider it this way – if you’ve struggled for years trying to control your alcohol consumption, then you might just be better off not drinking anymore.
Which brings us to our next point – recovery from alcoholism is a “want” more than a “need”. Is it true that alcoholics need to recover in order to live happy long healthy lives? Yes, that part is very true. But, if the alcoholic cannot accept they are alcoholic, then it doesn’t really matter what they need, because they don’t want it. Usually the pain has to be great enough, like a physical illness as a result of drinking, DUI or legal consequences, the abandonment of family, loss of job, etc…for the alcoholic to want to quit, but no person has to go through all that to decide if they are alcoholic. You can be an alcoholic if your body and mind suffer from the disease. It’s pretty simple.
If you feel like your drinking is controlling your life more than you are controlling it, you may be an alcoholic. If once you stop, you can’t stop thinking about drinking or can’t stay stopped for long, you may be alcoholic.
The main thing that stops most alcoholics from accepting that they truly do suffer from alcoholism is not just the fact that they have to stop drinking, but that they have to admit that they are different from normal people. That is in itself is just another excuse to not get sober.
The stigma of alcoholism
Has to be smashed and those who are attempting to enter recovery need to be aware that alcoholics are just like any other person; the only difference is that our bodies are allergic to alcohol. Once you remove the alcohol and take certain steps towards recovery, we are just like anyone else.
Stop identifying the alcoholic based on these misconceptions, because you may miss an opportunity to recover if you are waiting for certain rules to be broken in order to be classified suffering from alcoholism. You don’t need a judge or a doctor to diagnose you; you can do it on your own, and you can do it today.
If you need help determining if you are an alcoholic or not, click here. If you want to talk to someone about what alcoholism is, click here. The great news about alcoholism is that there is hope and you can recover.Tags: causes of alcoholism, disease of alcoholism, DUI