Drinking: Can You Take it or Leave it?
Addiction – from Merriam-Webster.com.
- the quality or state of being addicted
- compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful
Whenever there was alcohol in my house I always drank it to the end. I never had a liquor cabinet all stocked up, or a wine rack filled with wine, like many people have in their homes. Whatever I bought got drank that night, and actually towards the end, I only bought what I intended to drink that night, otherwise I would drink it all and then I would be in real trouble, and out of control. I had a compulsive need for more and more and more! It was my daily habit and I knew that it was harmful!
When I first speculated that my drinking was a bit off, I decided to conduct a test to see if I was really addicted to alcohol. The test was to find out if I could just take it or leave it like normal drinkers can. I wanted to know if it was controlling me or was I controlling it! So, I bought two bottles of wine, and stuck them in the fridge. The experiment was to not drink any alcohol for as long as I could, and see if the presence of the wine in my fridge would end up causing me to drink. Why did I buy two bottles of wine? Well, I was trying to see how much control I actually had, and two bottles seemed more dangerous than just one. Or, maybe, subconsciously, I knew that one was not going to be enough.
So, after an entire week of not drinking anything alcoholic, and occasionally staring at the bottles in the fridge, and wondering how long I was going to do this to myself, and how silly it was, and I should just drink the damn wine…. I decided that I definitely had control over it and that I was not an alcoholic! Then I proceeded to get drunk.
What’s wrong with this picture?!
Normal drinkers don’t do these kind of things. They don’t test, speculate, rationalize and dwell on whether they can take it or leave it. They don’t agonize over why they have little or no control over alcohol or drugs, or whether they can control it or not, or why they can’t drink like others. They are not constantly thinking about when, where and how. They don’t try to figure out new methods to moderate their drinking. Nothing ever worked for me! Sometimes it would work initially, or maybe second, even third time. But then, the next time it didn’t and I ended up drunk and in a blackout! The truth was that, the minute I put alcohol in my body all bets were off! No clue what would happen, no clue when it would start and when it would stop, and if at all!
I found this really interesting excerpt in an article called – Why is Recovery So Hard? by Floyd P. Garrett, M.D.
Addictive process, illness, disorder or disease
The term “addiction” derives from the Latin addictere, one meaning of which is “to be bound to another.” This refers to a process in Roman law in which a person, formerly free, was given over to another as a servant or slave. The modern understanding of addictive behavior is thus that the individual afflicted is not wholly free in his choices. To a greater degree than is the case with the non-addicted person, the choices of the addict –if they can even be called choices- are constrained or determined by factors at least partially outside his control. According to this view, the addict acts the way he does, not because he is unwise, stubborn, foolish or bad, but because he cannot help doing so. Whether it is called a disease in the strict sense of the word does not matter so much as does the conviction that in such cases there is something wrong with the addict that is not wrong with other, non-addicted people. In some fundamental way, according to this point of view, the addict is different from the non-addict.
Have you conducted any tests to see if you were addicted?
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