Do you drink alcohol every night or most nights of the week?
Do you get drunk regularly? Have you started to feel that alcohol is affecting your health, relationships and mental health? Do you think it would be too difficult to give up alcohol? Are you fearful of telling someone close that you think you need to cut down or quit in case they think you’re an alcoholic?
If you have answered yes to any of those questions then it wouldn’t be surprising if you thought you were an alcoholic. Certainly, there is an overwhelming amount of information available to you that would lead you to think you might be.
In my own case, I drank from the age of 13 and, apart from two pregnancies and a few spells in ashrams where I had to become spontaneously sober, I drank most days for 40 years. Perhaps you might say that I was an alcoholic, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t.
I Could Stop
I always felt that I could stop – I had proved to myself that I already knew how to do it – I just drank because I ‘liked’ it – so giving up for good would be easy right? Of course, it was only ever a fleeting thought and not a subject that I ever gave serious consideration to.
It wasn’t until I began thinking about giving up that I really questioned whether I was an alcoholic. Truthfully, it scared the life out of me. What if I was an alcoholic? What if I couldn’t give up? What if I could do it for 30 days but discovered a need to drink at the end of it?
At the time there were a lot of reasons why I was thinking of giving up but being an alcoholic wasn’t one of them until I had to consider it as one of my reasons.
So, I did what I like to do when I need more information – I did the research. What I discovered was pretty scary because there is a lot of conflicting information out there. If you look at government medical guidelines for the definitions of alcoholism these five criteria are the ones that are repeatedly mentioned. However, I would strongly recommend that you check out different sources because, unfortunately, even the differing official sources don’t seem to agree with each other. I have listed several sources you can check at the bottom of this post.
You have a compulsive, uncontrollable, need to drink. You crave it and can’t stop once you start. You have an inability to control your drinking. (This is different from giving in at your usual trigger time.)
You are constantly worrying about where you can get your next drink and engineer your social life, family events and work gatherings around drinking.
You need to drink more and more to get the same high that you used to.
You need a drink to get rid of withdrawal symptoms such as shaking and nausea or sweating.
Your drinking is causing problems in your life such as legal problems, relationship issues, inability to do your job well, loss of driving licence.
I Wasn’t An Alcoholic
When I compared my drinking with these criteria I could happily and confidently say that I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I still had that little quiver of fear that whispered others might think I was an alcoholic once I declared that I was giving up.
Obviously, if you are reading this and you think these criteria apply to you then I would strongly suggest you seek help from your GP
The Idea Then Became Easy To Imagine
Once I was happy that I wasn’t an alcoholic it seemed much easier to contemplate the idea of giving up. I had given up other things like white bread in an attempt to improve my health so alcohol was just another thing to add to the list.
What About You?
And what about you? Do you drink regularly? Do you know it would be a good idea to give up?
If you have been truly honest with yourself and can say confidently that you’re not an alcoholic, how does that make you feel? Does it make the idea of giving up more achievable?
Does it make talking to your partner or best friend easier? For some excellent advice on talking to your significant other read therapist Michelle April’s guest post here
- If you are drinking more than 20 Units A Day then you must get help from your doctor as the withdrawal can be dangerous.
- If you are drinking, on average, a bottle of wine a night, then you should be able to get through the detox relatively easily. This is very common in Sobersistas and countless women have managed their symptoms easily. When you give up you may experience headaches, lethargy, disrupted sleep and tiredness, however, these symptoms often last no more than 7 – 10 days. This is a small price to pay for all of benefits sobriety brings.
- If you have any worries at all about giving up you should speak to your doctor so you can be advised in relation to your own medical history.
- The true gold in giving up alcohol is in choosing and creating the life you deserve and this is easy with the clarity of mind, heart and spirit sobriety brings.
- Your Sobersistas will be there to support you every step of the way with love, compassion and kindness.
- You will be blown away by how much better you feel in yourself once the detox is over. I promise.
If you now know you’re not an alcoholic, what’s stopping you from quitting today?
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Much love always, Jules xx