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(originally posted by alex )

Is there such a thing as alcoholism?  Yes, actually.  There is apparently a certain kind of brain wave that reacts differently in alcoholic brains than in normal brains.  Alcoholism has been proven to be a physical disorder.  But what is alcoholism?  Well, that's pretty simple, actually: alcoholic brains react differently to alcohol than "normal" brains.  In alcholic brains, alcohol is processed rather like heroin, which should explain the following symptoms:

1) inability to quit drinking / drinking in excess

2) uncontrollable behavior during drinking

3) unexplicable desire to drink

4) drinking leading to dangerous situations

The two biggest indicators of alcoholism are drinking alone and drinking leading to dangerous situations (like drinking & driving or drinking and leaving the bar with strangers). "Normal people" (ie: non-alcoholics) simply do not do this.  Take a poll from your friends.  You will quickly sort out the alckies from the normies.

 

Now, am I calling YOU an alcoholic?  Actually, no.  But...I can tell you that *I* am one!  Just giving you a heads up on a certain possibility that I refused to believe myself for many years...until a cerain few brushes with the law, which led to an "alcohol awareness" class, which provided much of the information I'm now conveying to you.

 

It is very, very, VERY difficult to quit drinking because it is an addiction, and rooted in the subconcious, not the concious.  This is why you can come up with 1000 reasons not to do it (logic / concious mind) and then do it anyway (il-logic / subconcious mind).  Those subconcious desires are pretty strong, HUH?  Yup.  Alcohol hijacks the brain's chemical "reward" system.  The quote goes like this:

"First the person takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the person."

 

I used to drink on my medication.  I didn't really care.  I knew it made me feel good and I did it.  But, eventually, I paid for it in legal and financial ways, which finally started my concious (logical) mind winning the battle against the subconcious (again: illogical!) desires.

 

I don't really know what to tell you to get you to quit, except that if you have the desire to quit, you eventually will.  But, if you keep giving in to it, you will keep drinking until something ELSE happens to make you think about quitting.  Something that you probably do NOT want to happen (eg: injury / financial loss / legal trouble / loved ones turning away / fun stuff like that).

 

 

...Alex

P.S.

The active / addictive ingrediant in alcohol is ethanol, which I hear is actually produced by the body, so I'm not sure if its chemically present in alcohol before it is consumed.

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Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol or ETOH) is alcohol/grain alcohol (pure).  Just an FYI.

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I do not know what has changed in my body/brain chemistry, but for about a month I have been drinking more and more alcohol (I am 55, so it is a big surprise).  I keep thinking this is not serious, but here it is, and I am suddenly an alcoholic.  I DO know what I am supposed to do to stop.  But I cannot figure out what started this.  I did changed meds a few months ago, and started taking Lamictal (sp?) but I only took it for less than a month, and then switched ack to my old meds of Prozac (20) and Ativan (2). Has anyody else started having alcohol additction rather late in life?

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Well, even if no one on this Forum has had this happen doesn't mean it's not possible.

Remember that it's more important to curb & beat it than find out how or why it started.  My alcoholism kicked into high gear when I moved to a city where I didn't know anyone.  That made alcohol my good friend.

Also, I forget the exact number, but you start becoming physically dependant at about 50 drinks (shots or beers) a week.  Once you become physically addicted, quitting is much harder because you'll have withdrawl symptoms.  Try not to get that deep in!  Drinking that much per week can actually cause you to become alcoholic, even if you were not predisposed to it to begin with!  Alcohol and drugs have this nasty habit of actually physically changing your brain chemistry with prolonged use.

Another fun tid-bit from my alcohol awareness class a few years back.

...Alex

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One of my meds actually can increase alcohol usage. It increases the tolerance. It may be the Trileptal. I am also on Welbutrin, Effexor, and Restoril. Ativan is PRN. So that could be something for you. After 4 yrs of not disclosing my drinking, Pdoc now knows and said he will not treat me unless I stop. 4 weeks now but missing it. Holidays coming and no celebrations.

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there's the trickiness, though, of the phrases 'alcohol leading to dangerous situations' and 'uncontrollable behaviour during drinking'. i mean, those are sort of par for the course when anyone is drinking, no? whether you have a problem or not. almost everyone who's ever had a drink has wound up in a 'dangerous situation' thanks to alcohol, even something simple as driving home when they've had too much. and alcohol functions by changing behaviour, so 'uncontrollable behaviour during drinking' isn't really an indicatior, is it? people find their inhibitions slipping after just a drink or few. so it goes. is it fair to call either of those an indicator of an alcohol problem?

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Here are some things to consider. Of course they're not set in stone, but they've always worked for me.

1. If you have to control it, it's out of control.

2. If you think it's a problem, it probably is.

3. If you're drinking when you don't want to, it's a problem.

One of the things they say in AA is that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. If you have that desire, why not try a meeting or two? At worst you'll get some free coffee and cookies. And yes, it is totally possible to develop a dependence on alcohol late in life (though 55 isn't all that late, my friend). 

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I used alcohol every day to solve my bipolar II problems for years(32 now).  Comatosed no problem. I just thought I was normal and couldn't cope with everyday problems. Shame all those friendships ahd girlfriends just thought I was a drunk. Shame I hurt them so much. Now it's just a left over I have to deal with, maybe I deserve it. Just pour myself another 2000 cab sav, and maybe I can forget for another day.

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Hey Guys,

Although I can't speak for all Bipolar II's, I know it's safe to say that I have drank (drink,drank,drunk) to quell  those goofy cycles I feel at one time or another.  Oh yeah, I'm definitley an *alky*.  That being said, I cannot say enough for Topamax (the stuff is like magic for me), but of course, your mileage may vary.  Hope I'm keeping in the theme of this thread, if not, sorry alex.

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hmmmm...

lets see, oh, yes, i qualify for all of the above criteria...

woke up in a hospital in croatia, when i was sixteen and that cured me pretty well

at least the europeans are a little easier going on that kind of thing...oh wait the no legal age may have been what got me in trouble...

but better to make a complete ass out of yourself for two months straight and get it out of your system overseas when you're young and return to your real world, then to do it where all of your 

"i need to make a good impression on you" superiors are

mmmm alcohol.....it's hard now that all my friends binge drink and i don't, especially b/c of the meds

my REAL advice (because that was a really SCAREY and DINGY hospital) - take up dancing, worked for me!!

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Yes, I was shown a video about this in a treatment centre.

They showed C/T scans of alcholics, the frontal lobes of the brain had no responces. 

Even in new borns that will have a predisposition to alchohol.

 

Thanks for the info.

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Bipolar Alcoholic Road Trip

I took off in the fall for an intensely mindful journey into the southwestern united states.  I wired my van to run the blender for margueritas and a laptop to write reflections and meanderings. 

I read Travels with Charlie by Steinbeck and Blue Highways by Heat-Moon, and was fired up to write. However, I had a very solitary experience, not mindful but manic, and sometimes intense, traveling alone in the company of Jose Cuervo.

To announce "bipolar" or not to in A.A.?  You have to make that call for yourself.  At the beginning I think it makes more sense to just sit and watch and listen.  I haven't found a guideline.

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I come from a long line of alcoholics, the type that drink every day but never seem drunk. They were all self-medicating MIs. 

The only time I slip into the drinking routine is when I try to quit smoking. The longer I quit the more I drink. I guess it's a toss-up between my liver and my lungs and my lungs are taking a beating. I can't get fired from work for smoking but drinking is a positive no-no.

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Hi,

I like that, "toss-up between my liver and my lungs."

In 1968 my mom died of lung cancer over an extended period of time.  I was walking down a corridor beside her oncologist and we were chit-chatting.  He noticed a pack of cigarettes in my shirt pocket and he said to me, "How much do you think those cost you a year?"

I took some time to do the mental math and I answered him, about $300.  (this was when they were cheaper). 

He said, "Imagine what you could do with that much money and the right girlfriend?"

(Now I have this money and I can't seem to find the right girl)

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at meetings many of us would nod when reminded that we "brought a lot to our first drink"--& each of us is different.  some morso than others. tho i didnt know at the time i started by trying to drink the symptoms of my BP & ADD away ( think this is common here)  my dad who was a common alkie, stayed sober 20 some years, couldent understand why i struggled for years, even tho i wasnt drinking & was working the steps.

now i know why (after my dx), & even tho he's gone i think he knows why too now.

being an alkie is part of this package that i am.

i did self-med so long that i did become physically addicted & im careful to make sure that any new dr.

of mine knows that.

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I work at a club so I can drink while I am at work. I tell myself that I'm not going to have a drink because I need to work out that day or something but then I end up having a drink anyway and then I have 2 and 3. I don't ever drink more than 3 or 4 through the day but just the fact that I say no and then say yes is bothering me. Could this be the start of a problem? I can tell you this about me. I know when to say when. If I feel myself start to get too much I will say no and I don't fight that with myself. I don't like to get DRUNK, I only like a buzz and I don't like getting sick.

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It could just be you have learned to be a responsible drinker and are sensitive to your limits.  Some people get a DUI and are ordered by the court to attend AA meetings and do it grudgingly, some never really take a hard look at their drinking and whether or not it is a habit that is an addiction.

I think the test is easy and simple.  Go for 90 days without any alcohol and see what it feels like.  If you can do that and it's a piece of cake, then you don't have a problem yet.

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Keep in mind that if you're using it as a form of self-medication the fact that you feel the need for a drink may not mean that you have a drinking problem.  It might just mean that sometimes it hurts to be sober.    IMHO, the 90 day test is really only aplicable if you have your meds worked out.

You don't sound like a problem drinker to me, but then I don't consider myself a problem drinker either and up until very recently I was drinking a six pack a night.

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My $.02...

I think the problem drinking starts when you can't stop drinking.  When the two or three beers becomes six, or twelve...when you have blackouts and DUIs, etc...  THEN it's a problem.

As far as I"M concerned, anybody that can call it at two or three, doesn't have much of a problem, even if they start off by saying they won't have any.  Not much different than saying "Oh, I'm not gonna have that dessert/second helping/candy bar."

Addiction?  Maybe.  Harmful?  Not so much at this point.  It's not out of control.  It's not harmful.  It's a vice, like a million others.

And hey, they say that level of drinking is good for your heart, too.  And I think it's preventative for cancer.  So there ya go...FWIW

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I'm with ya on that post. Moderate drinking isn't necessarily bad.

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alcohol is an addictive drug and it ruins peoples lives .Most alcoholics are moderate drinkers at some point. My dad was an alcoholic it made him crazy and he would point guns at our heads and tell us he was going to blow our brains out ,he would threaten to kill our dog , he would lock us outside  so we coldnt get in and take parts out of the car so my mom couldnt take us away from there, he finally killed himself when I was 28 after he told me he didnt want to see my fucking face again. I married a guy that didnt drink he started going to happy hour with his boss ,he went from a non drinker to a moderate drinker to an alcoholic.He was abusive , he broke my nose , I had stitches in my eyebrow and always bruises. I divorced him and the smell of alcohol on anyone makes me ill. Its another addictive drug and a way of coping its a choice and unfortunately its legal.

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I'm very sorry about your dad. My dad was an alcoholic himself and I grew up in constant fear. But your dad and my dad aren't the only dads out there. There are plenty of people who drink and moderation and have complete control. I've been hooked for short periods of time myself but I was always about to kick it.

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Such a powerful statement.  It's when we get to the point where we have a clear potential to hurt ourselves or hurt another person that we need protection (or others need protection from us).

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And therein lies the problem with some people and their view of alcohol, which has led to things like Prohibition.    The FACT of the matter is, some people take badly to alcohol as they do to any drug (hey, I can't handle freakin' BENADRYL). 

Many people are able to drink just a couple of beers and...stop.  This is called "moderation"  They don't feel an overwhelming urge, or maybe even ANY urge at all, to drink more, to get drunk, to chase that high, which is what defines alcoholism.  For them, a beer or a glass of wine, a simple apertif or an after dinner srink, these are a pleasure, something to be enjoyed here and there, a treat.

Not the necessity they become for the true alcoholic.  Even in AA, this is recognized.  Even the sad, lost souls in AA realize that, gosh, there are those that can drink normally.  Even if they can't anymore.

I realize that alcohol has, vicariously, ruined your life, as it has so many others.  But this does not mean that nobody can handle it.  Yes, there are those who, for whatever reason, genetically, because they just hit it too hard for too long, whatever, get hooked on it.  Then the problems ensue.

But there are those who do not, and will not, have a problem wtih it.  Good on them I say; let them have their good times.  Cheers, y'all!

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And until a newbie in A.A. gets really solid in his/her sobriety, we usually see being with people like those as being in a "slippery place" or place where they're vulnerable maybe.

I'm bipolar and stopped drinking because alcohol was making it difficult for the meds I take to cope with my bp disorder to work properly, and my life became chaotic even though not a full 3 sheets to the wind

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I've spent several minutes reading and re-reading that statment, and yet, can make NO sense of how it goes with what I said...

All I'm sayin' is, alcohol ain't evil, some people are weak, some people can handle it.  Some people stop drinking because they want to, need to, are forced to, or just cuz they feel like it.  Some can't, or won't, or just don't, for whatever reasons.

Such is the nature of the beast.  And thusly people will take strong, often hysterical, sides.  Sad, really.

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Hello,

It's a many speckled beast.  I miss it.

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I started drinking heavy after first son died, it was a case a beer a day and a half of fifth of rum each day, this lasted aproximiately from julyof 91 to october of 92. I come from a family of alcholics. On Ocober 12, 92, was my last drink, AA was my route of sobriety. I sobered up  eight months before my second son died. Bothe sons had a terminal condition , borne withe. There were alot of misfortunate incidents, as i like to call them, one was publized in local paper. Lucky me! But i was masking my pain, i did not want to feel what was right in front of me. Thats no excuse I know. Its been many years since my last drink, but i will not go back to that bottomless pit(that dark freaking hole) for anything . I am of the opinion that this life is not a dress rehearsal , anymore. I do not beleive in god, so while i was going to AA i substituted that word , for another. I am left withe severe depression, withe a great deal of anger, im trying to keep at bay, thru meds and "the right thinking". My hope is for anyone who will read this is, " there is a way, folks".

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I don't know if I have posted in the right topic. But I have lost my mother to the disease. I feel a lot of guilt and I was hoping someone was in the same boat as me.

I know a lot about the disease, but I still have a lot of questions.

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alcoholism and/or addiction is not a disease. it's a mental/physical disorder.

I'm inclined to agree with you - I think addiction is a "maladaptive coping strategy", not a disease. But either way, it can be extremely powerful...

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alcoholism and/or addiction is not a disease. it's a mental/physical disorder.

I'm inclined to agree with you - I think addiction is a "maladaptive coping strategy", not a disease. But either way, it can be extremely powerful...

Ditto on that. My second-oldest sister has been coping with her ever-present feelings of resentment towards many people (especially me) so she started drinking in her teens. She thought she was hiding it but I saw her drinking my parent's Bacardi (which they only had in the house for guests) and she would fill the bottle with water after she drank most of it. Now she has stage Iv liver failure, cirrosis (sp), kidney problems, etc. She was supposed to go on the liver donation list but she couldn't manage to go six months without drinking. Most recently, she went on a binge with her {friends) and was unconscious for 20 hrs. before they called her husband, who was at work and HE had to go over to their house to call an ambulance. She was bleeding from her nose, her kidneys had shut down, you name it. It was a miracle she ever woke up. But it took awhile. They kept her sedated for over a week to 'sober her up' and when they took out the tube she was not a happy camper.

She has an adult son and a high schooler. And why didn't her husband not notice she was not home for 20 hrs.? Because he has given up on her.

She has never had any self esteem and I wish my parents had recognized that when she was younger so she perhaps could have gotten some help. Now it is far, far too late. She won't even talk to me anymore as I feel she still feels resentment towards me because I didn't screw up my life as she did hers. Sheesh, so sorry my husband and I take care of eachother.

Yeah, yeah, alcoholism is a disease. Sure thing, Dr. Phil and your stupid accent that wants to make me drink. Anti-FREEZE.

Cancer is a disease, folks. I have Epilepsy. We don't like to call it a disease, it's a disorder. But alcoholism? As far as I'm concerned, sorry, if it's something you can control, it's not genetic, something that just popped out of the blue...like adult-onset epilepsy...it's not a disease.

Edited by dumdum

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This was a real eye opener, sadly. I guess I've been in denial. I use alcohol to numb my anxiety but I didn't think I was an alcoholic just a "circumstantial abuser." I have been drinking alone lately and it keeps winding me up in dangerous situations.. in fact ever since I started drinking it's done this. 

 

Sigh well time to look into nearby AA meetings I suppose.

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Oh and what of the dreads of PAWS and Kindling?

 

I understand you only live once, but...I just know people who simply need the release to continue living. Makes me wonder if they are subversively suicidal in seeking out a self-destructive habit.I know I was.   

 

Oh and drinking does make anxiety worse over time.

Edited by dustin scarsdale

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I'm Lara and I'm an alcoholic.

 

There is a meeting tonight.... I may go to it.  Not sure.  You say there will be coffee?

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I agree 100%. I'm an alcoholic/addict, same disease. I have a physical allergy to drugs and alcohol.

      EXAMPLE: My mom and her sister are having a glass of wine at thanksgiving dinner. My mom puts down her second glass and it's still half full. She starts drinking water and dumps the remaining wine in the glass down the sink! This is crazy to me. So I asked her why she dumped it. She told me she was getting buzzed and didn't like the feeling of losing control. My mom is obviously NOT an alcoholic. When I start to feel that buzz I feel like I'm GAINING control and drink one after another, then I need to get a bag of coke and more booze etc etc! I'm what the big book of AA refers to as an "alcoholic of the hopeless variety". But there is hope because millions of us,including myself, have found long-term sobriety.

Edited by Ironman7
Typo

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I'm probably one of the few people in my family who doesn't drink at all, my sister has issues...

The ironic thing is lately I feel like I should start...My anxiety/depression have gotten out of control, but I probably haven't had a beer in 6 months at least...never was into it, always felt sluggish while drinking.

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