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Drinking: Can You Take it or Leave it?

Addiction – from

  1. the quality or state of being addicted
  2. 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?

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at

You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.



  1. Great post! It took me a long time to realize that normal drinkers don’t constantly think about or question their drinking – far from it! Such a good reminder of the cunning and baffling part of the disease.


    • Hi Chenoa! So nice you see you here! Yes, it is so cunning and baffling, isn’t it? It is so strange to see the obvious now, which back then seemed so normal!
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re doing well. Hugs.


  2. I was in such deep denial that I never asked myself if I was an alcoholic until the days before I stopped drinking. I never tested myself because I was too good at justifying why I needed a glass (to start) of wine. There is nothing normal about that! Great post Maggie.


    • Hi Karen! Thanks for the Tweet! Yes, I can relate to the justification too, I mean if you had my life you would drink like me too, right? I was always amazed at people that seemed to been able to go without a whole lot more than me and yet not drink, that just didn’t seem normal, or possible.


  3. yes this is true…we alcoholics give ourselves tests to see if we’re “normal” not “problem drinkers” I know for me, when my days consisted of planning what time I would begin drinking, checking the level in the bottle, making plans to abstain for a week, feeling this profound need to drink…I knew I was sick Or had a problem others didn’t have. in the end, I drank to get drunk exclusively. I struggled through hangovers, beat myself up with the self-talk and vowing to “never drink again” But of course I eventually went back to booze. I’m finally sober (15 months) and although every day is not wonderful, I live with the knowledge that drinking won’t make it any more wonderful. That rememdy is no longer an option. If it ever was a “rememdy'” of course not. Sobriety isn’t easy. It’s easier if I stay grateful and remember why I dont’ drink. Meetings help with that. Prayer and meditation. You given me a nice reminder that I am an alcoholic. Those days of testing myself, Thank God, are over.


    • Hi, thanks do for this great comment. Lol, yes we are testing if we are normal and not problem drinkers- no, it never occurred to me test if I was a problem drinker? I suppose I knew the answer to that. And yes, sobriety is not as easy as one may think, but dag, I don’t miss those crazy drunk days for sure. And living sober does get easier, And life becomes full and busy. Support is crucial for me too, I have to stay connected to other alcoholics, otherwise drinking starts looking like a good idea.

      Congrats on 15 months! Awesome!


  4. This is good stuff Maggie! I also ran numerous tests, implemented all sorts of controls found new and exciting ways to rationalize my drinking but in the end all the results, ramifications and outcomes remained the same… subject Glenn Watt is an alcoholic who cannot drink in safety and continues to drink despite the negative consequences of his actions. Don’t get me wrong, I kept trying to find a way to show myself how I wasn’t addicted to chasing altered states as if chasing a mythical dragon. Welp, seems I may have gone off the rails a bit here but I am pretty certain you understand that I can relate to what you are writing.
    Thank you for sharing this Maggie and be well.


    • Mythical Dragon! Love it. Yep me too. It never appeared again though, or like I wanted it. It just become a dragon, vicious and angry. Ugh. Thanks Glenn, great comment.


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