Alcoholism (Denial & the Facts)


cm60beer-its-your-friend-postersCurrently I know at least two people who are alcoholics but either don’t know it or don’t want to admit it. You may wonder how a person can be an alcoholic and not be aware of it, but it is very possible. And for the most part the unawareness is denial. Take for instance an associate of mine, he drinks every day, and I’m not talking about a beer or two after a long day of work. No I’m talking about brown likka on a daily basis. Weekends are all day brown likka fests and events such as Super Bowl and New Years are multi day fests where the brown likka along with a variety of other alcoholic beverages don’t cease until the next work day.

BUT if you ask this person if they are an alcoholic they will promptly say no and will take offense to even being asked such a question.

So that in turn makes you wonder, well if he isn’t an alcoholic then I must not know what an alcoholic is.

The Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism as: A chronic disease that makes your body dependent on alcohol. You may be obsessed with alcohol and unable to control how much you drink, even though your drinking is causing serious problems with your relationships, health, work and finances.

Now for many people that I know and consider alcoholics the part of the definition that states “You may be obsessed with alcohol and unable to control how much you drink” is their ultimate scapegoat. This is the loop hole they use to proclaim that they are not an alcoholic and are in no way dependent upon it. The reason being is that they always say that they are able to control how much they drink. Sure they may be able to control their drinking in ways such as not drinking at work (even though I know a few that do take a toke every now and then on the clock) and sure they may be able to curb how much they drink when going to places where being staggering drunk is unacceptable, but can they stop drinking completely if they chose to do so?

On the Alcoholics Anonymous site they have a list of questions for people who want to know if they may have a problem with alcohol or are contemplating whether or not they need help to stop.

A few of the questions asked confirmed my suspicions of the people I know that are in denial. Some of the questions asked on the AA site are picture perfect descriptions of the people I know who claim NOT to be alcoholics

  • Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days
  • Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?
  • Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?
  • Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?

One of the people I know can’t get to work on Mondays to save his life. He Misses every Monday from work because he drinks himself into oblivion Sunday night and the rest of the weekend. He also has no license due to his drinking, which he swears is under control and is not a problem….

The other drinks and drives and of course that is not only dangerous, but stupid. He always claims to be coherent enough to drive, but being that I know how much he drinks I cannot see how he makes it to his destination and back. He also has no problem drinking with whoever has the supply. If he is visiting friends, family, associates, coworkers, perfect strangers etc. If they offer liquor he is definitely going to drink.

One of them even proclaims that he is not an alcoholic because he only drinks beer. BUT this same person stated once that with the amount of beer they have purchased over the past couple of years they could have bought a home.

Alcoholism is a type of drug addiction.

This is a major part of why many alcoholics refuse to accept what they really are. They don’t want to admit to their self that they have a drug addiction.

Alcoholism is divided into 2 categories: dependence and abuse

Accepting that you are addicted to a form of drug, means that you accept the fact that you are dependent upon it and are indeed abusing alcohol. That must be tough pill to swallow. But until a person faces that reality they will continue to live in denial and continue to abuse alcohol. The first step in healing is admitting that there is a problem.

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol abuse you can find more information on the disease at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  Alcoholics Anonymous can assist anyone in need of locating a support group in their area.

The following statistics are frightening.

  • In 2007, an estimated 12,998 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes
  • Three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives

These statistics were taken from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving  (MADD) website.

To join the fight against impaired drivers on the road click here.

***I in no way touched on the complete topic of Alcoholism in this post. If you would like some in depth information regarding the disease check out the NIAAA site that I provided the link to above. It gives pertinent information on not only the disease itself, but statistics including; deaths from cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol risk behaviors among youth and per capita alcohol consumption, based on alcohol sales data along with a host of other critical information about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

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  1. I think one should take the alcoholism addictions very seriously before it comes to a complete disaster, not only health but socially as well.

    • Gary
    • January 22nd, 2009

    Good post. Thank God for sites such as this one and http://www.addictiontreatment-helpline.com . If it wasn’t for these sites I might not have been able to help my wife before it was too late. You guys rock, so does http://www.addiction-treatment-central.com . Keep up the good work.

  2. Not to make light of the situation but I remember this old saying, “I’m not an alcoholic because I don’t go to those meetings. I’m a drunk.” Now, after say that I must say this is a great post.

    I know when and when not to drink but others around don’t always know. I have a friend who drinks every day. He never misses work but I think if he had more time on his hands he would become an alcoholic.

  3. That’s a lot of info and that’s what people need. When I was still abusing drugs, I wasn’t looking for help and when the time was right, someone else chose a rehab for me.

    My point is the people that care about the people with drug problems need this type of information to properly help. Even if the one getting the help isn’t ready (it’s takes self admission) they’ll at least get a taste of how and where help is available.

    Thank you…keep thinking!

    Burke the Jerk

  4. Great post. I am an addictions counselor at an inpatient facility. Just by observation, I believe that only 2 or 3 out of 10 people admitted for treatment know they have a problem, want to do something about it and come in on their own.

    It usually takes an up front and close personal crisis to get their attention. A smack on the head with a 2 by 4. A spouse walking out, jail, health problems etc. Oddly enough there are studies out that say if a person volunteers for treatment or is forced into it…the outcomes are about the same.

    The point is treatment works: get yourself or your loved one into treatment by hook or crook, at least then there is a shot at life.

    Bill

    • Wizzy Jr.
    • January 14th, 2009

    The furthest I’ve gone with drinking is beer and I’ll have that on occasion. I don’t do the Hard stuff because It knocks me out. Hell, they had to carry me to the car after I had some shit down Great-Granny’s house. Almost anything that was WET, they drank it. I was told by a family friend “You’re supposed to SIP it, not gulp it”. I gulped..BIG MISTAKE! So, I blacked out and woke up the next day with a hangover out this world. That’s when I decided drinking wasn’t for me. Instead, I got the smoking gene that took over me. *SMDH*

    Just like with any addiction, it’s hard as hell to admit to yourself that it’s becoming a problem. A BIG problem. I don’t knock anybodies vices because we all have them but if it’s causing folks to leave you alone because you doin’ some nut shit while under the “vice influence”, you need to check it…BIG TIME. Some learn quicker than others, though.

  5. Thanks Chaz for commenting and sharing your personal struggle.

  6. Great post.

    The admission of alcoholism is a very difficult thing. I believe this is why it appears as the first step. It is the toughis to come to grips with. There is much stigma attached to it.

    It is natural for any of us to keep it in a place of denial. I certainly did. I wanted to slip between the cracks of the definition of alcoholism. Including the AA test quesitons. I remember being asked for the first time and I gave long rationalizing answers to most of them in hope that I would not have to face that I was an alcoholic.

    Even though the evidence in my life was overwhelming.

    Today, I am grateful for the fact that I am an alcoholic. The introduction to the 12 steps as a necessity of my recovery has paid back benefits far greater than mere sobriiety. It has given me a new and effective way to live life successfully.

    There is much more to life than AA. For me, AA makes a big part of it and brings other aspects of life into perspective.

    Thanks for the post.

    Ciao. Chaz

    http://www.yuppieaddict.wordpress.com

    PS… I also read parts of your last post and yes, I do believe the church has gone too far in many respects. I used to attend mega-churches and believe I was swept away in the tide of all that goes on with them. Yet I maintain my basic faith in God and the Bible.

    At this stage, working my 12-step program of recovery is my interaction with God. It may change at some point but this is what it is just for today.

    Ciao. Chaz

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