Many people spend the first part of their drug or alcohol addiction in denial about the severity of their problem. We’re usually able to hold things together at first, maintaining our careers and relationships, while still in relatively good physical health. It isn’t until all of these things inevitably fall apart that our addiction becomes undeniable. In the meantime we’ve already started doing repairable damage. If you think that you might have a problem with alcohol (and most of us drug addicts do at some point), why not try to fix the problem before it’s too late? My general rule of thumb is, if you think you might have a problem, you probably (definitely) do. When you go to the doctor to get diagnosed with something like, say ADHD (eh, hem, you know what I’m talking about, meth addicts), they give you a check list of things that might point to ADHD affecting your life. In that same manner, thefix.com recently published a similar checklist for alcoholism. Take a look at this list and see if any (if not most) of these things have happened to you recently. If you can relate to a good a portion of them, you might want to rethink your relationship with booze. Alcoholism is no laughing matter. It destroys lives, pulls apart families and debilitates your body, not to mention the fact that comes with the worst and most deadly detox. Make no mistake, alcohol addiction is drug addiction, plain and simple. If you feel that you might have a problem, seek out the advice of your doctor and maybe find a local AA chapter where you can attend meeting and find other people like you. No one is saying you have to put down booze for the rest of your life this very second! That decision will ultimately be up to you. But why not see what your community has to offer and weigh your options for moving forward with your new awareness of the negative impact it might be having on your life? The choice is always yours. Just keep an open mind and check out the resources available to you.
These were first published on thefix.com, by Beth Leipholtz 07/01/16
1. You often don’t remember parts of the night before, or can’t recall the night as a whole. I know when I was drinking, I often brushed this off as normal, even comical in a way. But now if I stop and think about it for a moment, it’s absolutely terrifying that I have moments in my life where I have no idea what happened to me. For all I know, I could have said something awful or had something awful happen to me. One time I went to a party and the person hosting it was incredibly upset with me, yet I had no idea why. I still have no idea why. All I know is it had to do with something I said when I was blackout drunk, and I never found out what that was. That’s bothersome. If not recalling parts of the time frame when you were drinking doesn’t bother you, I urge you to reconsider. It SHOULD bother you.
2. You engage in meaningless hookups or wake up with a stranger. I don’t often talk about this because it embarrasses me still, but when I was drinking, I sought reassurance and validation through hookups. I saw it happening all around me, so I didn’t think anything of it when I also took part in that college hookup culture. I’m lucky no one ever took advantage of me, at least not that I know of (see number 1 above), but it’s still really unsettling to think I physically engaged with people I barely knew, or knew well and didn’t think of romantically. Today, physical aspects of a relationship are important to me and really, truly mean something. I despise the fact that I wasted time and energy on meaningless hookups when I was drinking. It was yet another repetitive situation that should have clued me into the fact that alcohol and I did not mesh.
3. You often wake up with physical injuries. Most people can spend a night out drinking without falling repeatedly or running into objects around them. But not me. After I spent a night out drinking, I often woke up covered in bruises with no recollection of how I got them. At one point, I ended up in the hospital for stitches. At another point, I woke up with self-inflicted cuts on my arms and no reason for my actions. On top of heavy drinking, I played rugby, so I was often covered in bruises everywhere and just had a general unhealthy appearance. I look at photos now and cringe. When alcohol begins to take a toll on your physical appearance and well-being, it’s time to part ways. I only wish I had come to that conclusion sooner than I did.
4. You do anything it takes to get a drink. Since I got sober before turning 21, I couldn’t always obtain alcohol easily. As such, I had to rely on others and was probably a pain in the ass about it. I stole alcohol from friends occasionally, and paid others to buy alcohol for me. I honestly didn’t care what it took, I just wanted to have alcohol at my disposal. Now I realize that most people don’t have this desperation when it comes to drinking. That feeling of “needing” alcohol was yet another indication that I had a serious problem.
5. You drink in inappropriate situations. For me, this was class. There were days in college when I felt like drinking, so I did. Then I went to class, thinking I was being sneaky and no one would know I had drank beforehand. In retrospect, I’m sure my pre-class actions were obvious. I felt that alcohol made me a better and more interesting person, so I drank. In reality, alcohol made me obnoxious and annoying, but I refused to see that side of myself. I felt good when I drank, so I just assumed it came across that way to others as well.
6. You wake up the morning after a night out and have to make apologies to numerous people. I always dreaded this part of the next morning after drinking. I often said and did things that I didn’t mean when under the influence of alcohol, and as such, had to make amends the following morning. Sometimes I remembered doing what I had done, while other times people had to tell me what had happened. It never got any easier knowing I had hurt people I cared about, yet that realization didn’t keep me from drinking. It should have, though.
7. Your relationships begin to take a toll. Towards the end of my drinking career, I had burned many bridges. Certain friendships had ended, while others were on the brink of falling out. Luckily, sobriety had allowed me to repair many of those relationships. However, I shouldn’t have let it get to that point. The minute my relationships started being negatively affected by alcohol, I should have said “enough” and put down the drinks for good. But in that time frame, I cared more about getting drunk than I did about the people surrounding me. I regret that immensely, even three years later.
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