Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Almost Alcoholic

This is fourth in a series of blogs about the title of a book.  In last week’s blog we talked about signs two and three.  Today we will finish with signs four and five the last of the signs.  The fourth sign: “You Sometimes Drink in Order to Control Emotional and/or Physical Symptoms.  Clearly, Betsy drank in order to compensate for loneliness. Indeed, almost alcoholics often drink for many reasons that have to do with emotional discomfort such as
·         to relieve stress or “unwind”
·         to drown out grief or anxiety
·         to overcome social shyness
·         to try to overcome insomnia
·         to relieve boredom
·         to control pain or other physical discomfort” (pg. 34)
I tried to drink to overcome shyness, although it did not always turn out right.  I either blacked out or did not remember who I even talked to.  Alcohol it never helped me at all.
The last sign: “You and Your Loved Ones are Suffering as a Result of Your Drinking.  The suffering caused by almost alcoholics drinking is often more subtle than that of a full-blown alcoholism, but it nonetheless exists.  Because the process by which a person becomes an almost alcoholic is so insidious, the suffering is also insidious.  It can be years before the connection between drinking and the suffering is made—if it is ever made.  In every case we’ve discussed so far, however, it is easy to see when viewed in terms of being almost alcoholics—this connection.  And it is not just almost alcoholics who suffer, but their loved ones as well. (pg. 34)  We used to say in jail it was the families who suffered more than us.  The same is true with being almost alcoholic or being an alcoholic.  It is one reason in AA you try to make amends if possible.
The book goes on to say: “These questions are related to the formal diagnostic criteria for alcoholism; they are on the same spectrum—only a bit further away in terms of severity from true alcoholism.  Those who answer yes to these questions may not have yet suffered the more serious consequences of drinking; or if they have, they are not aware of the connection between their drinking and negative consequences.  On the other hand, they have definitely moved beyond normal social drinking. (pg.34)  I did not go out to social drink I had the intention of getting drunk.  I would suffer if I only had one drink.  If I started a night of drinking I would continue to I passed out or there was nothing left to drink.

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