We all pick up drinks and drugs for different reasons. Many scientists and psychologists argue it’s because of a “broken brain” which has difficulty coping with difficult issues in life. Some argue addicts and alcoholics are born addicts and alcoholics, their first drink or drug being a matter of time. Others claim trauma is the source. More argue that untreated mental health disorders are the problem. Millions feel that the answer provided by the 12 steps, a “spiritual malady” is the reason we reach for mind altering symptoms. As The Big Book says, “Our liquor was but a symptom.”
What makes an alcoholic an alcoholic?
Turning to a drink to cope is something hundreds of millions of people do every day after work, after dinner, or even during a lunch shift. When does drinking to cope become alcoholism? A revelation for many alcoholics in recovery is realizing it isn’t how much you drink which is a problem, though it can be a very big problem. What makes an alcoholic suffer from alcoholism is when they lose their ability to control and manage their drinking. Their mind, body, and spirit get tied up in alcohol. It isn’t how much an alcoholic drinks, but the fact that once they have one, just one drink, they cannot help themselves from having more. Eventually they lose sight of what “more” means. Blackouts, losing memory, and feeling that daily lament of how did this happen, again- doesn’t have a quantity.
How Do I Know If I’m An Alcoholic?
There are questions one can ask themselves if they are concerned their drinking has gone beyond recall. Many of these questions are available through the diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorder in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders.
- Do you feel you have to drink in order to function?
- If you don’t drink do you start to experience symptoms of withdrawal like shaking or sweating?
- Is your mood dependent upon whether or not you’ve consumed alcohol?
- Does your drinking get in the way of your job, your relationships, and your ability to fulfill your responsibilities?
- Have you tried to stop drinking, but couldn’t?
It is the ignorance and denial, in addition to the severe lack of information regarding alcoholism, which leads many alcoholics to continue to drink. Unaware of the severity of their problem, they think it hasn’t gotten as bad as it can be. If you feel you have become physically, mentally, or spiritually dependent upon alcohol in any way, it is time to ask for help.
You don’t have to do this alone. We understand the shame you’re feeling. Calling for help is not a sign of failure. If you’re seeking the freedom of recovery, Design For Change Recovery has the solution. Offering a refuge of healing through tiered levels of treatment, we’re providing a platform for taking action and creating change in your life. For more information, call: (877) 267-3646.