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Alcohol Intake to Be Considered An Alcoholic? (Page 1)

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Hi - for about 8+ years now I have been having a few drinks every night. I don't drink during the day, only before bed, and I usually drink them quickly. Lately I have been having a bottle of wine a night. I suffer from anxiety and depression (have seen a psychiatrist for these problems in the past) but have never brought up my drinking to them because I didn't really consider it a problem. But now I'm thinking about it all the time and I'm really worried.

I guess what I'm wondering is is the amount I drink enough to be considered an alcoholic? It's not like I have to have drinks all throughout the day, it's only in the evening.

Thanks Smile
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First Helper shadowalker164
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replied September 6th, 2007
Experienced User
mel-lou…
You may be going at this from the wrong point of view.

My name is Richard and I am an alcoholic, of that I am convinced. It isn’t about how much I drank, that isn’t the deciding factor on if I am an alcoholic or not.

Before alcohol could do anything TO me, it had to do something FOR me first. Most people never become dependent on alcohol. Why? Because alcohol doesn’t do for people like them what it does for people like me.

Most people who drink a few drinks stop drinking because they feel they are losing control. And they don’t like the feeling. They say something like…”I starting to feel a little tipsy, I’ve had my fill” I on the other hand, after a few drinks, feel like I am just starting to get control. And I want more of that feeling. A complete 180º difference.

Alcohol, for me, turned this world from a colorless, bland, and uninviting place into a Technicolor wonderland. It makes me more self contained and whole and the rest of the world smaller and less threatening. I loved the effect alcohol had on me, and I went back to it over and over, who wouldn’t?


mel-lou, in your post, you said that you didn’t mention your drinking to your psychiatrist. Normally we do nothing to put our access to alcohol in jeopardy. We never level with people like that about how much we drink. What if they told us to cut down, of God forbid, stop! Take away the one thing that makes this life bearable?

That is the last thing we want. So we keep our drinking a secret. We drink alone or we slip ourselves a drink or two when nobody is looking. Our lives are shot through with fear. Fear we are slipping deeper into dependence. Fear someone will know the truth about how much we drink. Fear we may have our access to alcohol threatened. Fear of what life would be like without our friend alcohol.

The question you might want to ask yourself mel-lou, what is your true relationship with alcohol? Can you identify with anything I have told you about my drinking career? Do you ever have any of these feelings?


In the end, it’s not about how much you drink or how often, it’s all about what alcohol does FOR you.

I don’t drink anymore, the pain became intolerable and I learned how to not drink one day at a time. Things are much better now.

Richard
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replied September 8th, 2007
Experienced User
That's really lovely shadowalker, very very deep and encouraging.
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replied September 9th, 2007
Drinking Every Night
I was drinking a few beers every night. Then, this year would open a bottle of wine when the kids were asleep and drink that whilst playing World of Warcraft. My wife would go to bed at around 10.30 and I would continue to play, and drink. At about 1.00, I had finished the bottle, got really thirsty and opened a can of beer or 2. Then I would go to bed at 2.00 a.m., having to get up at 6.15 a.m. My mornings were a muddled mess. I hated myself and what I was becoming. I did it to stop the stress of work (I have my own business). I worried that I was an alcoholic but wasn't sure.

I went on holiday for a couple of weeks and stayed in a summer house with our kids and in laws (both of whom are alcoholics). That was enough for me. I set the day to stop when I came back from holiday. That was a month ago and it has been difficult but rewarding. I don't know what an alcholic is by definition but I was certainly a problem drinker.

I have an addictive perosnallity, I think. I find it hard to do things moderately. Smoking was either 30 a day or none. (It's now none.) Gambling (when I was a kid) on the machines was everyday or not at all. Had to kick that one too. Now it's booze and Warcraft at the same time.

It's all about escaping but at the same time it's the knowledge that what you are doing is the road to failure. I had a hypnotist cure me of gambling. He said that I gambled to lose and not to win.

If anyone might be interested, I have started to write a blog at http://boozeaway.blogspot.com

I am sure there are many others who have the same problem of taking a drink every night and are worried about it. Good luck with your own problem. For me, I can never just cut down. I had to quit completely and tell people that I had quit.

B
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replied September 17th, 2007
I Agree With Burbfly
I am NOT an alcoholic, but I could drink alot! I didnt drink everynight but when i had drinks I pounded back atleast 13-14 beers that night. My body got use to this binge, where I would not drink all week, then Friday and Saturday I would pound a '24 in 2 days, I am a 33 year old woman..I guess my body got so use to this that I didn't feel buzzed til after my 7 pr 8th beer.
So I can't just have a beer here and there, that doesn't work for me Cause I can't stop once I start. SO I decided to stop drinkking completely and I feel 100%. I am not bloated anymore, dropped some weight and saved on $$, I chose to focus on other things.
It works.

N
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replied September 17th, 2007
Experienced User
Good For You!
Mychesthurts…
Good for you! If it were only that easy for me.

Sure I quit, but I couldn’t stay quit. Someone would shove a brew under my nose, and off I went.

Again, Congratulations on a wise decision.

Richard
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replied September 17th, 2007
Re: Good For You!
shadowalker164 wrote:
Mychesthurts…
Good for you! If it were only that easy for me.

Sure I quit, but I couldn’t stay quit. Someone would shove a brew under my nose, and off I went.

Again, Congratulations on a wise decision.

Richard


Oh trust me I wanted to stop a loooooooong time ago, But in the area where I live its very hard, beer is like water here and SHooters are like nothing. I just finally realized that at 33 yrs old its time to Bloody Grow up and take control..But it wasn't easy at all doing this, cause all my friends Drink everyday.
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replied September 17th, 2007
Experienced User
Mychesthurts, did you hear the one about the guy that dies and goes straight to hell?

Well, this guy, he dies and he goes to hell. Satan meets him at the brimstone gates and starts giving him the nickel tour.

As they walk through hell, the guy notices a pit, covered with great flaming iron bars. “In that pit is where we keep all the murderers,” Satan tells him. They go a little further in, and he sees another pit covered with more heavy iron bars. “That is where we keep all the rapists”, Satan tells him.

They walk a bit further and the guy sees a shallow pit, not two feet deep, full of people, but with no iron bars covering it at all. He asks Satan, “Who is in that pit?” Satan tells him that pit is where we keep all the alcoholics and drug addicts.

The guy asks Satan, “How come you don’t have any bars over that pit? Aren’t you afraid they will try to escape?” Satan says “I’m not worried about any of them getting out, whenever one tries to get out, one of his buddies always drags him back in.”

Richard
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replied September 18th, 2007
SO true!
WIllpower people!!!
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replied September 18th, 2007
Willpower
I have had really mixed reations from people when I have said I have stopped drinking. Most are really supportive but some people actually get a bit aggressive. They don't understand, think I'm stupid or ask me when I'll start again. I am just happy that I wasn't a complete addict. To date, giving up has been nothing but positive personally. Dancing at a party is a bit difficult when you don't have a couple of drinks first and watching people get trashed all around you makes you feel a bit boring but with a family we don't go to that many parties anyway.

I have a question too. Why can't alcholics say that they used to be an alcoholic but they are fine now? To say you are an alcoholic all the time even when you don't drink seems to associate negative connotations to something fantastic that they have been able to do.
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replied September 18th, 2007
Experienced User
Blurbfly, the reason I was told early in my sobriety to call myself an alcoholic is because even if I go years without a drink, (and I have) if I were to pick up that first drink, it would be like I never stopped.

It seems we are different, we metabolize alcohol differently from non-alcoholics. Something about converting alcohol to acetone. A web search can give you a lot more on that.

But for me, it is more like a disfuncunal love affair. I love it and it kicks my s##.

I love the effect alcohol has on me when I am drunk. It always worked, it changed my outlook and changed it fast.

But the problem was I couldn’t stay drunk. I kept waking up in the morning, and despising what I had become. That and the fear of not having more booze to take those feelings of self hate away.

Around and around it went.

I am off that insane merry-go-round, but if I were to start drinking again, it would start all over. I have seen it in others. Guys with years of sobriety, who chose to pick up that first in an endless string of drinks, and all the reasons they quit in the first place immediately reassert themselves.

As much as I may want it to be otherwise blurbfly, it seems once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. For my sake, for my wife’s sake, for my kid’s sake, I need to remember that!

Thanks for reminding me.

Oh. One last thing… will power had actually very little to do with my getting sober. Other than the willingness to start, it doesn’t have the staying power to fix me.

Richard
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replied September 18th, 2007
Thanks
Thanks for a great reply. I think you are right about willpower. Do you have friends that try and get you to drink still or are they all understanding enough not to?
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replied September 18th, 2007
Experienced User
In my experience there are basically two kinds of people when it comes to not drinking.

#1 They pat you on the back and say how proud they are of you. They ask if it is alright if they have a drink in front of you, of just don’t drink in front of you at all. They are most supportive. For the most part, their lives aren’t consumed with alcohol, and they are glad you are doing something positive with your life. Stick around these people.

And then there is #2
Many of them see your sobriety as a clear indictment on their drinking. When I was drinking, I looked for people who drank like me. They didn’t make me look bad. Some people want you to fall. If you go back to drinking it makes their continuing to drink look OK. And now that you have stopped, they think you are saying something negative about their drinking with your sobriety. Avoid these people.

Some of them are just waiting for you to come back, they can’t see life without alcohol, and they can’t see you living without it either. They just want their drinking buddy back. They don’t want bad stuff to happen to you, first and foremost, they just want the circle restored.

And some don’t think about it at all. They drink, and they want somebody, anybody to drink with. And you will do until someone else comes along.

None of these people can help you stay sober, for that, other people staying sober just like you are your ticket.

When I first got sober, the guys who got sober before me told me many useful things. One of them was, “You may need to change your playpens, and your playmates if you want to stay sober.”

I don’t see my old drinking buddies much anymore, And on the odd occasion when I do cross paths with one, it’s like looking into a time machine. They are still in the same place. Nothing much has changed for them. It has been years since I was drinking with them and I will hear… “Good to see you ol’ buddy, haven’t seen you in months!”

Early in our sobriety, making sound choices on whom we hang out with makes all the difference.

Richard
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replied September 21st, 2007
I disagree.

I have not had a drink in a long time, But that doesn't mean I stopped hanging aroudn with my friends. I am just stronger around them cause booze is around me all the time I just choose NOT to drink.
I think excluding everyone is wrong, I put myself back in my setting and it shows how strong I am.

SO far so good here Smile)
N
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replied September 24th, 2007
Hi am new to this site and am sure will find it helpfull..My husband is a heavy drinker, what I would like to know is how is the decision made without doubt as to whether or not a person is a alcaholic. Is it X amount drank within a period and on a daily basis? also it is a myth to say "oh I dont drink in the morning or in the day, only at night" so I carnt be labelled an ALCAHOLIC
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replied September 25th, 2007
Experienced User
Barbara…
Here is an experiment your husband might want to perform…

What is his favorite drink? The one he likes above all others? Take that drink and make up a bunch of it. Maybe 20-25 drinks worth.

Now have hubby sit down one evening and drink two of them. That’s it! Just two! Put the plug in the jug and don’t touch another drop of alcohol in any form for the rest of the evening.

Leave the jug setting in plain sight, just don’t touch it.

The next day do it all over again. Just two stiff shots of his favorite, then nothing for the rest of the evening.

Do this experiment each evening (just two drinks) until the jug is empty. If your husband can do that, he may be OK.

I would have found that experiment very difficult to do when I was still drinking. In fact, I would have gotten angry if someone suggested it to me. That sort of thing is NO FUN for an alcoholic like myself.

After a drink or two, the phenomenon of craving sets in, and we REALLY, REALLY want to drink more. I could tough it out maybe a day or two, but to go 2 weeks tormenting myself that way? I wouldn’t have made it. After day two, I would have drank the lot.

But that’s just me.

It’s not about how much we drank, or how often we drank, or how long we drank, it is about what happens to us when we do drink. It has been my experience that a real alcoholic like myself can’t/won’t do this experiment successfully.

Richard
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replied November 2nd, 2007
Experienced User
Hey...if willpower does it for you?? Great. Unfortunately, fro most people who can't seem to stop drinking, for whom at a certain time each day ro night their favorite drink fo choice just kind of calls out to them, willpower is NOT the issue.

For most people like this, it's like shadowwalker said--we jsut react to alcohol differently than other people. and the thing is, if you are beign treated for other psychiatric conditions such at despression, you NEED to tell you doctor about this problem, too. Th eproblem is that alcohol affects teh way most of these meds work in our bodies. Not to mention the fact that ALCOHOL IS A DEPRESSANT, in and of itself. Most people with depression problems have a lot better time ofit when they stop drinking. And it IS possible to stop drinking.

The gauge of whether or not you NEED to stop drinking is whether or not you think you do. If it's drinving you nuts. If you awake every day with guilt and remorse. With hangovers so bad you can barely function. I fyou are ruingin all your relationships...i fyou have lost your job because of drinking---or you are about to. IF it is causing you a major problem. if you can't stand it one more minute. If your spouse is threatenting to leave with the kids...

It's up to you. But there IS help. You don't HAVE to live like you've been living. YOu don't even have to go to a fancy hospital. You jsut have to have the desire to quit and maybe a dollar...front of the phone book. Someone might even give you a ride.
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replied November 29th, 2007
Experienced User
i think for myself i can agree with every single thing that was said in this forum. i too have wondered if i have an alcohol problem as i have a whole family of alcoholics. my mother is one who can't put it down when she picks up. and i like to have a few beers at night before i go to bed. i can't figure out however why i do it? i've been a recovering codependent for almost 5 years now, and recovering from relationship addiction, sex addiction, and other things. that i would hate to have to recover from alcoholism as well. i can say that most days i wake up with so much anxiety that it takes me a long time in the morning to get centered. and i don't crave beer during the day. i think maybe it's because my husband and i like to have a few beers at night to "take the edge off", but it's taken a toll on us financially, and i'm just now starting to realize that it's because of buying alcohol every night. i fear being judged as a "bad person" for drinking a few at night. but it seems like even the nights that i don't feel like drinking, i still do it. and it's a habit by now. i don't very often feel like i NEED a beer, but i do it because i fear change in my life. what would it be like if i didn't have drinks every night before bed? i decided today that i'm done with it. it's taking a toll on our finances, and i don't need the stuff. i certainly don't want to end up like my family, and not being able to put it down. i think that i just don't like myself very much, and it makes it so much easier to have a few at times. other times, to keep the system going.
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replied November 29th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
I agree also with evey poster. Admit you have a drinking problem, that is you first step to sobrieity.
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replied November 29th, 2007
Experienced User
thank you for the feedback MsCarrie Smile it is very much appreciated Smile
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