Alcoholic-Schmalcoholic

I ran across this from http://thesoberschool.com/drinking-problem

If you’re regularly drinking more than you intend to, and it’s making you miserable, then yes, you might well be dependent on alcohol. It is not really about how much you drink, it’s how it makes you feel

So you see, it doesn’t really matter what you label it. It doesn’t matter if someone you know drinks way more than you. And it doesn’t matter if everyone else is happy to get hammered all the time. If alcohol is causing you problems then it’s causing you problems. You don’t have to wait until things get really bad before you stop.

When I first stopped drinking, I struggled with the meaning of it all.  What did it mean that I had to quit drinking, entirely?  Does that mean I’m an alcoholic?  Does this represent a new identity for me and how do I integrate it into who I think I am and how I see myself?  Over time, and through reading many blogs of women (and men) with similar stories to mine, I came to accept that I had a problem with alcohol.  It didn’t matter that my friends drink more than I did and they didn’t think they had a problem.  All that mattered was how I alcohol was making me feel, and how stopping was making me feel better.  That was all the validation I needed that being a non-drinker was (and is) the right thing for me.

I am convinced that some of us are just more sensitive to the negative effects of alcohol than others, and I am just one of those people. It’s no different from food sensitivities.  I have a sensitivity to dairy.  When I have it, it makes me bloated and very uncomfortable, so I don’t consume it.   I have come to see alcohol in the same way.  It made me anxious and bloated, and it made me much less likely to exercise and eat well, because once I had the first drink of the evening, I was on the couch watching TV for the rest of the night.Now that I don’t drink, I often walk out the door after dinner for a 3-4 mile walk at 8pm.

Whether I call myself an alcoholic or not is beside the point.  Do I feel better without it? Is my life better?  The answer to that is absolutely, yes.   I do consider myself an alcoholic, it’s not that I have a problem applying the term to myself.  I think I’m an alcoholic who had a pretty “high bottom” and is therefore quite fortunate.

For anyone reading this who is struggling with the question of long-term or “forever” sobriety…don’t get caught up in what to call yourself.  Don’t get caught up in what it means or how it will define you.  Just focus on how you feel.  Do you feel better without booze?  Great!  No need to put a name on that, just do what is good for you, and don’t worry about the “A” word.   For some of us, alcohol is an extra-nasty poison, it’s just a fact for us.  You will never regret giving it up if it’s making you feel bad.   If you had a gluten sensitivity, you wouldn’t continue to stuff bread in your mouth and make yourself miserable, would you?  Of course not.  Obviously wheat is not an addictive a substance like alcohol,  and I’m not talking about people who are in full-blown addiction who can’t quit without medical intervention.  This post is not directed at someone in that situation, nor do I intend to minimize the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with full-blown alcohol addiction. The point is, why continue to do anything that makes you feel bad if it’s within your total power to stop?

If  you question whether your drinking is a problem, consider taking 30 days away from it.  That will tell you very quickly whether you have a problem.  I know for me, 30 days was difficult, and it scared me.   For someone without a problem, this would not be that hard.  And what do you have to lose?

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2 Responses to Alcoholic-Schmalcoholic

  1. ainsobriety says:

    This is a great post. I agree. Labels sometimes prevent us from changing.
    And that’s crazy. Why wait until you have wrecked havoc on your life if you know alcohol is hurting you?
    Our natural state is sober.

    Like

    • Sober Geek says:

      Amen to that. I was just one bad decision away from life-altering consequences, and didn’t even realize it. It’s not a sign that I didn’t have a problem so much as it was a sign that I was just damn lucky. So glad I got off that ride before it crashed.

      Like

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