Understanding The Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Part of the journey to sobriety is experiencing the futility of trying to find a way to keep the bits you like while removing the consequences you don’t want. This pattern is one of many signs of alcohol abuse.
It is like trying to bail out the Titanic with a bucket. For a while, you may believe you are making headway. But very soon you start to see that you can’t possibly succeed. I tried dozens and dozens of different buckets. Before I realized that the good parts of drinking go hand in hand with the bad, and you can’t have one without the other.
Here are just a few of the buckets I thought might bail out my sinking ship:
- I will only drink on the weekends.
- Only drink socially and never at home.
- I will drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol I drink.
- We will take three months off the drink each year.
- Only drink beer and no wine or spirits.
- I will only drink wine and with food as part of a meal.
Add to that list of ridiculous theories the expensive prescription drugs I turned to. The first I tried was Disulfiram, which interferes with the way your liver processes alcohol and makes you violently ill if you drink. The problem with this drug is that it relies on your discipline to take it every morning.
Alcoholics are not renowned for their discipline.
Initially, if I knew there was a big party or social occasion I was going to. I just wouldn’t take it (and so begins the failure routine).
Going Easy On Myself
Predictably I then loosened my rules further by only taking it Monday to Friday, allowing myself to drink at the weekends. I convinced myself that I deserved a treat at the weekends for being so good during the week.
The next stage of my own signs of alcohol abuse came when I resented the drug preventing me from drinking during the week. I experimented with it and found that I could just about tolerate a small beer while taking it. Any more than that and the side effects would knock me flat on my back.
One night I pushed it a little further and had a large beer and a glass of wine. Within twenty minutes my head was pounding, my face blushing bright red, while my heart felt like it was trying to beat its way out of my chest cavity. For a moment I honestly thought I might die, and the only solution was to lie in a dark room motionless for several hours until the effects subsided.
Meds To Quit Drinking
I tried other drugs, such as Acamprosate Calcium, which interfere with the release of dopamine, essentially taking all the pleasure out of drinking. Over time it renders your favorite tipple as pleasurable as a soft drink. So, logically you only want to drink one of those when you are thirsty.
Again, with this drug the will-power or discipline required to take a daily tablet that ruins the very thing you are addicted to is a significant challenge. Add to that some pretty horrendous side effects. From anxiety, dizzy spells, insomnia, dry mouth and worse, and you start to think that feeling this bad to stay off the drink is simply not worth it.
Whether it’s crazy routines or pills. They are all simply evidence of the ego’s delusion that it is in some way in control. These are all signs of alcohol abuse. All these methods use some form of willpower that can’t possibly work because underneath the smoke screen you still believe that alcohol is a benefit that you are being deprived of.
Remember, there is no such thing as failure. Things that go wrong are just events in the past, a period we are no longer concerned with.
If you finish reading this post and go three weeks without a drink and then slip up. The natural temptation (and the ego’s opinion) is to think that this book doesn’t work. You are not strong enough, or you are destined to always be a problem drinker.
Doomed To Fall Off The Wagon
Recognize this belief for what it is; the conscious mind trying to predict the future – a skill it simply doesn’t have. If you fall off the wagon… big deal, dust yourself down and carry on. When you wake in the morning, what is the point of beating yourself up about that mistake you made the night before? The past no longer exists.
Presumably, you haven’t woken up with a bottle in your hand has been drinking in your sleep somehow, so right there at that moment (where all of life is lived), you are not a drinker. Equally, now that we know that the future also doesn’t exist and will never exist.
One Day At A Time
The fact that you had a drink the night before has no bearing on whether you will have one later that day, tomorrow, the next day or ever again. Take each moment as it comes, every second that you decide you don’t want to drink is a success.
The secret to stopping drinking is the same as the secret to getting anything else in life that you want. To take it one day at a time.
Don’t make predictions about what sort of person you will be in the future. I wouldn’t ask you to predict what will happen tomorrow any more than I would ask you to perform open heart surgery on me.
Beware The Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
Your journey out of the mousetrap happens by being aware of our egoic mind; every time you find your mind wandering into the future or past. Observe this happening from the point of view of an outsider. Disconnect yourself from the process; catch your ego at work.
For your conscious mind to have any power at all, it needs you to believe that you and it are the same things. If you see it for what it is; a minor part of your mind at work then it loses all its influence over you. Every time you catch your mind starting to worry, predict or reflect on past events. Deliberately pull yourself back into the present moment so you reduce its power over you by a fraction of one percent.
For most people, the conscious mind seizes control of them tens of thousands of times a day, and so this process isn’t a magic bullet cure. I can’t promise if you do this ten times, twenty times or fifty times you will be cured, but then you didn’t become alcohol dependent overnight, and no system out there can hope to restore the correct balance in a similarly brief time period.
Detox From Alcohol
Most other detox systems require a period of withdrawal, often called going ‘cold turkey’, which for an alcoholic is at best torturous, and in worst case scenarios can be fatal.
My method starts with your deep-seated desire to end this painful cycle. Then slowly deconstructs the obstacles preventing you from achieving your goal. Over time, as you keep resisting the attempted hijackings by your egoic mind you will feel a sense of peace begin to build. Once you get beyond the physical dependence on alcohol.
Your urge to drink is generated by the wants and needs of the ego, as this reduces so does your desire for alcohol.
A popular question at this point is “how long will it take?” I can’t predict the future any more than you can, so won’t even try to give you a specific prediction.
For most people, once they understand that everything they previously believed about alcohol being a benefit was a big fat lie. Once they can see that a chemical imbalance is causing pain for their ego to respond to, they simply stop.
How Long Will It Take?
For a great many people that are directly after reading my book. Others need a few weeks for the signs of alcohol abuse to sink in. Others read the book several times before the penny drops.
Whether it takes a day or a year is irrelevant. You will find this simple process will not only remove your damaging patterns around alcohol. But also all other negative habits too.
Once you identify the signs of alcohol abuse it’s time to act. Problems with alcohol never get better on their own. Don’t waste a decade in denial like I did.
If you are ready to quit, I can help you.