Habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms
An intense persistent desire to drink alcoholic beverages to excess
For humans, knowing they are powerless over themselves, is to me, a little contradictory. I accept that there are certain diseases of the mind, which left untreated can be serious for the person and society, for example, paranoid schizophrenia (any of several psychotic disorders characterized by distortions of reality and disturbances of thought and language and withdrawal from social contact); where cases have been noted of patients acting on delusions, for example, “the man from the tv told me to kill” (thought control from an external source), although this is highly uncommon.
So I would like to start this topic by asking you several questions: Are you responsible for drinking, or is it someone else? Are you under external control? Who tells you to go and drink? The man from the tv? Are you delusional? Do you think you may have a form of schizophrenia? Who picks up the drink? Do you? Did a strange voice in your head tell you to do it? Do you want the drink? Can you live without it? A personal story
For people like me, who used to get drunk a lot – under the guise of fun, or stress relief – it became apparent, many years later, that drinking was not serving any external purpose. I was drinking to get drunk, because drunk felt good. The fact is, I was a lot less stressed when I wasn’t drinking, and also a lot happier.
“What happened here?” you may ask, “alcohol helps you have fun and helps relieve stress.” Well, it came from me, and as we have previously discussed, addiction, or dependence on alcohol is purely subjective. It happened whilst I was going about a total change in my life, and I decided to stop drinking and smoking. It was during this time that I would be sitting quietly reading, listening to music, or doing some other activity, and I would feel compelled, motivated, to instantly jump up, go out buy a packet of cigarettes and go to the pub and get drunk. Now I don’t think I’m delusional, but I got an eerie feeling that I was not in complete control of my actions. How could I be sitting quietly one moment, and then fifteen minutes later, down at the pub drinking? To someone who has never experienced this, this may seem very strange. The more I listened, the more I could hear the voice in my head. It was me! How could I go against my own wishes, which would not include getting drunk? I would even tell myself, “alan, you will not drink this week/month/year,” and surprise, surprise, I would suddenly find myself drunk again. This is scary for a person who believes they are of sound body and mind. How could I go three months with no alcohol and then suddenly crave it, and act on the craving immediately? The definition of alcoholism is: “habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms” and “an intense persistent desire to drink alcoholic beverages to excess.”
Well the first wasn’t me; I could go months at a time without alcohol, and I still went running a lot. The second was kind of like me, but not really. It wasn’t every day I wanted to get drunk, and anyway, it was in the culture to drink a lot. But I did start to think.
If I chose to become a vegetarian and give up meat instantaneously (something most people said would be impossible for them), and had no craving to eat sausages or fillet steak even once a year, what was it that was causing me to want to get drunk?
First I started to blame it on personal relationship problems; then a lack of money, then unhappiness at work, then on my childhood, then on just fancying a pint, then tiredness just as a pick me up. I started thinking,
“Uh oh! I’m actually coming up with any old reason to get drunk.” At that point I was scared; “Why can’t I stop drinking?” I thought to myself. So after some advice by my partner, I looked into alcoholics anonymous and I was shocked. “How can this be an incurable disease? Am I going to die, can I never be helped with this? And while I’m at it, why do I have to hand myself over to god? Why am I not responsible? Why do I have to go to group meetings? Surely I should go to a hospital if I have a disease? My partner tells me it is me who is ruining our relationship through excess drinking. Surely this is my responsibility?” And so I started taking personal responsibility for my drinking. That is what is necessary, not giving away responsibility; that is much too easy.
The disease trap
Alcoholism is not a disease. Alcohol abuse causes terrible trouble in society, but is something that needs to be addressed by taking responsibility for your actions.
Do not ask people to feel sorry for you. You are doing something you love doing! When you are ready to face the consequences of your actions, and are ready to stop doing what you love; please move to the topic “Addiction.”
Only you are in the position to help yourself. Only you have the power to stop doing something you love. You belong to the most intelligent species on the planet, You must take responsibility. The need to do something against yourself is frightening, but take heart in the fact that you are more powerful than the addiction. You will defeat it if you really want to. You will be the one responsible for your success. You are the most intelligent being on the planet.