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When Drinking is too much- The line to alcoholism



 
 
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CIRANDELLA
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6/21/13 6:54 P

I'm with you, OBIESMOM. Wine-drinking has become the latest fad in the U.S. - particularly among women. And "tipsiness" (when does it become drunkenness, though?) is deemed "cute."

What a colossal load... I abstain entirely. As someone who takes acetaminophen for pain, I'm not about to drink alcohol on top of that.



DRAGONCHILDE
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6/21/13 5:48 P

That's exactly what my husband used to say. :)



DADOFSPARKGAL
Posts: 453
6/21/13 12:07 P

I truly believe that wine is one of the great pleasures of life - I will have a glass of wine or two with dinner about four times a week. I love trying wines from around the world and sharing them with friends. Alcohol is absolutely a destructive thing for those people that abuse it but for me it enriches my life.



OBIESMOM2
SparkPoints: (61,119)
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Posts: 4,472
6/20/13 4:00 P

I was at a retirement party last night for DH's boss. He's also my former boss.

Lordy, that is a drinking group of people! Too many bad memories for me. I don't think I can ever go through watching that particular destruction again.





DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,424)
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6/20/13 3:59 P

Honestly, OBIESMOM? I'm getting to where I'm the same way. I had an argument with a friend today who is a major enabler of her husband's alcoholism. She's actually convinced it's okay as long as he isn't "too" bad. She tried to convince me all you have to do to reverse the effects is stop drinking.

I've reached the point where addictions of any kind are a no go. IF something ever happens to me husband, I leave him, or he dies, or whatever, I will never, ever be in a relationship with someone who smokes or drinks again. I hate it that much. I used to be willing to drink now and again; I liked wine coolers, and it was kinda fun, though I never got drunk.

I'd rather vomit, and the mere idea of alcohol makes me sick.

I don't care if wine cured cancer, the destructive nature of it is just too much for me to accept anymore. I've seen too many people, heard too many stories, lost too many loved ones, and struggled too much with it in my own life to ever put up with it again.

I'm tired of the lies, the justifications, the glorification. I don't even want it in my life in "moderation."



THERESACHANGED
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Posts: 1,330
6/19/13 1:28 P

I think, just like all addictions, it crosses over into alcoholism when that drink becomes more important than keeping the rest of your life in order. Excuses, rationalizations, and secrecy all send up red flags. Really, every person has to decide for themselves if they have crossed that line where the servant has become the master.

In our house there is no drinking at all. I have no opposition to it, but my husband's father was an alcoholic so for him alcohol is about the worst drug out there and he wants no part of it around our kids. It is an extreme view, but I can understand it with his upbringing.



OBIESMOM2
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6/19/13 12:07 P

some people would consider me over sensitive on this topic. I've received some grief at company functions because I rarely drink.

we lived with my maternal grandmother for a while after my parents divorced. She was an alcoholic. Her 2nd & 3rd husbands were both alcoholics (mom's dad died when she was a child).
mom's 2nd husband was an alcoholic.
my XH was an alcoholic.

I've seen way too much destruction from alcohol. I tend to err on the side of caution.

those studies that drinking wine is good for you make me so angry! They need to start and end those articles/news stories with "this does not apply to alcoholics". I know it wouldn't make much difference because those in denial would just say that statement didn't apply to them. But MAYBE it would make a few people pause. And make it very clear (with pictures!) that a 'serving' is NOT a 16 oz water glass.

rant over emoticon



JGIRL5799
Posts: 538
6/19/13 9:58 A

I just lovvveee the insight and comments that were made, Love Dragon's response and so many others, it makes so much sense and as for myself, I never was one to drink and I do get made fun of a lot just because I am not a drinker and because I am a lightweight. I will buzz on half of a wine cooler LOLOL. I am very (naive) when it comes to things, especially about things I never have done nor even been around.

Even if I do drink, it is rare, I will usually have fru fru girlie drinks like grasshoppers or blue UV, or even orange fuzzy navels, and margaritas, I can count on one hand how many times I have drank in my life...I have really had one really bad hangover and that was enough for me to say no thank you..... as for marrying into a family that drinks, I am very uncomfortable being around them and it is a huge like mini home bar there in their garage where the neighbors, co workers, other family will come and just hang and talk bull.

They are heavy drinkers and are always having a drink in hand. My hubby knows for a fact that much drinking bothers me and if he even goes to that line it will be a huge issue for us, even if he gets that far, I will shoot him first LOLOL that was a line with me to which I will go, and he knows it..so he limits his drinks LOL but he is not an alcoholic compared to them.


I just really love to see where others stand on this, and what things stand for.

It just amazes me that people really don't take into consideration on how dangerous drinks are what drinking does to the body. I see see ER charts and coding medical records all the time and I see a lot of damage to the body that alcohol takes toll on the body.

Is it really healthy especially if we invest all this time working out, eating right and wanting to live the healthy lifestyle that a person drinks? To me, it just defeats the purpose.

I have also found that drinking also is like a skeleton in the closet... No one ever wants to admit they have a problem or even the fact that it can turn into one because they see it as a social thing. Getting help?? To them that is a death sentence and why would they want to go through that?

For those that do drink a lot or for me that don't know, Do people really know in the back of their mind that they really have a problem and they just tend to ignore the issue?

Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 6/19/2013 (10:05)


FENWAYGIRL18
Posts: 5,853
6/19/13 12:29 A

I agree with the original poster, when it starts to hamper your life and people in it, when your getting DUI's and in trouble with functioning then you have a problem.
My dad was an alcoholic when I was a kid every holiday was ruined, he left work and went right to the bar.
He'd say how we had no money and we'd be eating lettuce and mayo sandwiches for 6 months but yet he always seemed to have a few bucks for a drink everynight.
Thats why when it was time to find myself a man the first thing I asked if he was a drinker, because I didn't want that in my life.
I had , had enough of it in my childhood and didn't want to be with a drunk or have my children being fathered by a drunk and having the same kind of childhood I did.



JANIEWWJD
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6/18/13 11:48 P

When you feel you need it!!!!!



ANARIE
Posts: 12,376
6/18/13 11:40 P

For me, the definition of any addiction is that you do it even though you know that it is going to make your life worse, not better.

When I was about eight or ten years old, my mom started to drink sherry. She had one tiny glass every day, maybe four ounces, as she was cooking dinner. One day she said, "I need my sherry." I was going to get it for her when all of a sudden she yelled, "Stop!" She had heard herself say "need," and it scared her to death. That was when she told me that my grandfather was an alcoholic and she didn't want to be like him.

I was stunned. I had never seen him drunk, and in fact I had never seen him drink more than three martinis (the only thing he drank) in a whole day. He was never mean; if anything he got a little more cheerful and jolly after the second martini. He wasn't sloppy in any way; after the third martini he *might* take off his suit jacket, but not his tie. He didn't drive, so that wasn't an issue. I asked Mom how he could be an alcoholic when he didn't drink very much.

She said, "I had to go to the 'Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance' with Cheryl Martin's daddy because mine couldn't go, even though he'd promised." And she cried. Forty years later, it still hurt that much.

And I understood. My mother was a very adored only child. She got pretty much anything she asked for, especially from her daddy. If she asked him to stay sober that night and he didn't, it was because he *couldn't.* He didn't forget, he didn't change his mind; he just couldn't NOT have those martinis, no matter who he was going to disappoint.

So she didn't have her glass of sherry. She does still drink occasionally, but she makes sure it's never two days in a row. And when I was a teenager, I didn't need the MADD car smashed on the high school lawn to warn me about alcohol. If I find myself thinking about getting drunk on purpose, I remember a daughter crying over a 40-year-old disappointment. I never took a chance of becoming addicted, because I don't want to hurt anyone that way.

If you promise to do something for someone you care about, then have to back out because you drank, you're an alcoholic. If you know that you're going to have to drive or do something else dangerous and you shouldn't drink, but you drink anyway, you're an alcoholic. It's not about how much or how often you drink; it's about whether doing it stops you from doing something you should want more.



DRAGONCHILDE
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6/18/13 8:08 P

SLASALLE - simple. Because it's more socially acceptable to be addicted to nicotine than to alcohol. There's no law against smoking and driving, and it doesn't impair you the way alcohol does.

That doesn't mean that it ISN'T a disease, only that it's a more socially acceptable form of alcoholism. We don't dare talk negatively about things that so many perfectly "normal" people do.



SLASALLE
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6/18/13 6:13 P

I agree that this is all good discussion and we need more of it. I come from a family that has a long line of alcoholics. My closest family members (mother, brother, sister) were/are all in 12-step programs of some type.

Just a few additional comments/questions:

I've heard it said in AA that it's not how much you drink, or how often you drink, but how you are (your behaviors/actions) when you drink. Not sure I totally agree, but that's neither here nor there.

Here's my bigger question. Everybody seems to agree that alcoholism is a disease. Well, alcohol is an addiction. So is smoking. Why do I never hear anybody saying that smokers have a disease?

Very confusing ...



ITALIABELLA1
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6/18/13 4:36 P

I am a drug and alcohol counselor and am asked this at least once a week. And I always say the same thing, when it starts to interfere with your life. Whether you are avoiding certain people or situations because you can't drink or you don't like to drink with them; or people start avoiding you because of your behavior when you are drinking; or you start to suffer at work, school, driving, etc. When your life starts to revolve around drinking.

There are very specific definitions in the DSM that would tell you what someone would need to actually be diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence (which are two separate addictions). But in the end I'd say if you are asking the question, you probably already know the answer.



PT.JEFFGIRL
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6/18/13 4:05 P

Anarie you are right on the mark on this. I applaud your speaking out. And you are so right that their is nothing funny or sexy in any way. I have never seen it glorified. It is an ugly, heartbreaking disease. Those who have it did not ask to have it and all members of their family suffer something awful with them. In some cases, before the person can "get it", it gets them. They die first.



SINGERA9
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6/18/13 3:55 P

Addiction has nothing to do with the substance, weakness, willpower, or quantity. It is a disease.

Yes, there are signs that a person needs to seek help. In fact there is a standard test that experts in the field administer, and is easily accessible online. If a person is concerned for oneself or for a friend or loved one, I suggest doing research online from resources or speaking with professionals in the field. Also, calling a treatment facility or attending an open meeting for a support group can be extremely useful.

I agree with a previous poster that there are way too many folks who are addicts of some form, and that our society glorifies addictions. It's not funny, it's not a punch line, it's not sexy. It's a horrible sucking thing, a literal hell on earth for anyone in it or close to it.

I applaud the original poster's courage in asking the question. We need more honest dialogue about all forms of addiction.





HICKORYRN
Posts: 277
6/18/13 2:36 P

When a person has to stay within a 5 mile radius of their home when going out due to drinking.



KDSTAP
Posts: 661
6/18/13 2:18 P

I don't think anyone has the right to define it for other people. Being honest with ourselves, and listening to that internal questioning voice. Too much for me may be Ok for another person.



LOVINGAFRICA
Posts: 1,066
6/18/13 1:22 P

DRAGONCHILDE, that says it all. Thank you for your insightful reply!
May your DH find the road to help health and happiness he needs.

You know what scares me. If you change your post and replace drink/alcohol with food/chocolate, it would have been me a couple of months ago. Food also changes our brain chemistry. It is just as dangerous, and we cannot ever quit cold turkey.
That kind of sucks



DRAGONCHILDE
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6/18/13 9:58 A

Alcoholism isn't about the number of drinks you're having. There's this idea that you can't be one if you only have one or two during the week, or only drink on the weekend, or whatever the arbitrarily set limit is for that alcoholic. This isn't a numbers game. The number of acceptable drinks per person is always higher than the alcoholic drinks at that time.

I'm married to a "socially drinking" alcoholic. I would have told you a year ago that "yeah, he's an alcoholic but he's not that bad."

I've learned differently. Volume-wise, he was never a big drinker. Honestly, some people you'd claim as "alcoholics" would laugh. In fact, he got a lot of backlash from his "friends" when he decided to stop drinking and get help because they said he didn't drink enough to be an alcoholic. What they meant was, "You drink less than I do, if you are, then so am I!" He didn't get drunk, black out, or pass out. Sometimes, he went days without drinking. He never drove drunk. He always stopped at a "reasonable" amount.

It's also not about trouble with the law, or DUIs. That just means you're sloppy enough and deeply sick enough to get caught.

Here's what alcoholism is:

When you are focused on alcohol as a treatment for stress, or as a reward for something you've done, then you may be an alcoholic.
If your standard respond to a rough day is "I need a drink" then you may be an alcoholic.
If you hide or lie about the amount you're drinking, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you can't say no when someone offers you alcohol, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you can't "have fun" without alcohol, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you NEED the alcohol, ever, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you spent an inordinate amount of your check on alcohol, then you may be an alcoholic.
If your first stop after work is the fridge for a beer, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you feel the need to justify how "little" you drink because "it's not like I'm a drunk", then you may be an alcoholic.
If you HAVE to have it, every weekend, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you have ever told yourself that you "deserve" to drink, then you may be an alcoholic.

Sparkpeople specific:
If someone has ever suggested alcohol as a way to cut calories and you react with "I am not giving up my pinot!" or something similar, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you have to switch alcoholic beverages because your drink of choice is too high in calories and the thought of giving it up altogether isn't palatable, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you're hunting ways to have your alcohol without impacting your calories, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you regularly exercise heavily to "work off" a weekend drinking session, then you may be an alcoholic.
If you have ever thought "I'll just walk longer on the treadmill" to justify one more drink, then you may be an alcoholic.

None of these is a diagnosis. But they're signs. Warnings. If you're not a "serious" alcoholic yet, these sorts of behaviors mean you could very well turn into one.

Functional alcoholics have jobs, families, lives. They don't get in trouble with the law, they don't drink at work. They play with their kids, they talk to their wives.

But still, they can't do any of that without a drink in their hands.

Personally, I think a lot more people are alcoholics than are willing to admit it. It's a slow, slippery slope to self destruction, and personally, no "good feeling" I get from it is worth it. I don't drink. I was never big into it, but after the bloody mess my husband's "occasional, social drinking" has made of our lives, I will never drink. I will never let someone off easily if they try to justify their "need". If you can't deal with life without altering your brain chemistry? You're an alcoholic. Period.

Drinking isn't fun. It kills people. Some, in a fiery, dramatic car crash.

Others? It's a slow suicide of pickled livers and obesity.

Our society absolutely glorifies alcoholism. It's a joke! The cast of "Cougar Town" absolutely revel in their wine-soaked alcoholism. Serious alcoholism is the punchline, because "we're totally not that bad! How can we be alcoholics? I'm successful, have a happy family, I just like to destress on the weekend."

If you're not an alcoholic, why can't you cope with the stress without a drink?

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 6/18/2013 (10:00)


DMJAKES
Posts: 1,581
6/18/13 8:48 A

If drinking interferes with your everyday life, you (or someone else) tells lies to cover it up, or you get defensive when questioned about it, you may well have a problem. You don't have to drink every day to be an alcoholic---it's the inability to control the consumption once you start.



KJFITNESSDUDE
Posts: 15,787
6/18/13 8:25 A

alcoholism runs in my family (maternal) and my Mom always said, "If someone feels they need to have a drink then they might just be an alcoholic."

ME: I like beer, two per night is my limit anytime I DO drink (rarely), everyone calls me a lightweight....whatever. (btw, are you sure you read my last sentence correctly, lol).



JUDYAMK
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Posts: 1,392
6/18/13 8:16 A

there is such a thing as a weekend alcoholic. I never knew that. A family member was in rehab for alcohol , he drank every day ,but he told us there are weekend alcoholics.
Judy



TENNISJIM
Posts: 9,630
6/18/13 6:06 A

For me, the definition of alcoholism is when someone must have a drink even when they don't need one



LOVINGAFRICA
Posts: 1,066
6/18/13 6:00 A

I don't miss alcohol at all.
I think when people start forgetting about their inhibitions, read manners, politeness, aggresiveness.
If they start doing or saying things that they would never do or say sober.
That is when Alcohol becomes a problem.
When someone start thinking and looking for excuses to imbibe, then it is alcoholism. They need to get help.
When someone can't be social without drinking, then it is alcoholism. They need to get help.
My opinion, what do you think?



EOWYN2424
SparkPoints: (116,801)
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Posts: 5,671
6/18/13 1:46 A

I seldom drink alcohol. But when I do, I just have one small drink.



CRABBYTHING
SparkPoints: (12,988)
Fitness Minutes: (19,643)
Posts: 138
6/17/13 7:31 A

When you are around alcohol and have to drink it that's when it's alcoholism. You don't need to be the person who drinks every day. An alcoholic is a person who has no control over alcohol.



BLUENOSE63
SparkPoints: (99,198)
Fitness Minutes: (75,820)
Posts: 2,932
6/17/13 7:21 A

Every time we visit my sister-in-law for a family function, she gets tanked and makes nasty comments to her husband (my brother's brother). She is definitely a mean drunk but no one seems to call her on it but everyone is aware. Years ago I told her I thought she had a drinking problem when she asked for my opinion yet nothing changed. I have told my husband that at the first nasty comment during family dinner, we are outta there. Sort of sad as she is our child's godmother.



JGIRL5799
Posts: 538
6/17/13 6:48 A

When is drinking too much for you to where you call it alcoholism?

Is having a drink every day ok? Is drinking every weeknd ok??

What is the limit that you consider someone to be an alcoholic? 4 drinks a day? 10 drinks a day? A whole 24 pk a week?

I am sure everyone has their own guidelines, but for me, when drinking gets in the way of life, when someone starts getting DUI or in trouble with the law, at their jobs or with family, I think then there will be a problem, but to have a 1 to a few a day or a weekend wouldn't constitute as someone as being an alcoholic.



Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 6/17/2013 (06:51)


 
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