Alcoholism: The Disease

express-train-carrying-alcoholThis is part 2 of a series on addictions. A listing of the parts of this series can be found here: My Writing.

This is not an article where I tell you all the awful things that happen while a person is drunk. Pick up any newspaper or magazine or listen to the local news: You can find that information there. I will not attempt to berate anyone into not drinking. It doesn’t work. In fact, that experience makes things worse for you.

This article is for those of you who are upset about your own drinking or your behavior while drinking. You do not need me or anyone else to shame you for your behavior. Inside the privacy of your own mind, you do enough of that for at least ten other people. In fact, shame is one factor that keeps people drinking. You feel so badly about your life, your behavior, and your problems, that you continue to drink just to get relief from the shame.

Remember the disease concept I wrote about in Addiction and the Disease Model? Here is a description of some research that enlightens us regarding this issue. The research subjects were boys attending college who were paid to participate in the research. The researchers divided these college students into two groups: Sons of alcoholic fathers and sons of non-alcoholic fathers. They then gave both groups one version of a paper and pencil I.Q. or Achievement Test.

Following this first test, both groups of boys were given alcohol to drink. They then were given another version of the same paper and pencil test. My first thought as I read about this research was probably the same as yours. I expected the boys to do poorly on the second test. After all, wouldn’t drinking alcohol decrease a person’s score on academic testing?

That is exactly what happened to the sons of non-alcoholic fathers. They scored very poorly on the second test after they’d had something alcoholic to drink. However, the results for our sons of alcoholic fathers are startling. They scored better on the second test after drinking.

What does this mean? Well, it could mean many things. But I think that this research suggests to us that children of alcoholics are biologically pre-alcoholics. A pre-alcoholic is someone who has an inherited abnormal reaction to the drug-alcohol. The abnormal reaction is that you feel and actually are better, smarter, with a faster reaction time and more sociable after a few drinks—at least in the early stages of your drinking.

Later, after several years of serious drinking, you lose this experience. Then you spend your drinking time trying to get it back. But it is gone. No matter how hard you try or how much you drink, you can never again find that glow you had in your early years of drinking. This is the true alcoholic tragedy. You progress from feeling like superman or woman into a person who cannot really function at all.

I want you to know this because this tells me that those of you who are concerned about your drinking are NOT at fault. You have a disease that is out of your control. To find out if you have this disease, you may answer the following questionnaire used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Remember, no one but you can see your answers.

___1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?
___2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
___3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
___4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
___5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
___6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?
___7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
___8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
___9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
___10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
___11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
___12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
___13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
___14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
___15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
___16. Do you drink alone?
___17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?
___18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
___19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
___20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic. If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic. If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.

I believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is the only successful treatment for Alcoholism. Most reputable treatment programs will send you to AA as part of their treatment. While they do pass a basket for donations, Alcoholics Anonymous is free. No one will watch you to see what, if anything, you put into the basket. There are no bosses or professionals to tell you what to do. You are not asked to make any commitments to AA. Anyone, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs is welcome. AA does not concern itself with what you have done, how much you drank, where you live or how much money you have.

You can read about AA online at http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/ or call your local Central Office.

Life coaching is for sober alcoholics. This means that you have completed treatment, gone to AA, gotten a sponsor, attend regular meetings, work the 12 steps, give service, and have developed a way of life that is incompatible with drinking.

Life coaching for sober alcoholics helps people reach for their dreams, hopes, and deep wishes. I personally believe that those dreams are your Higher Power calling you to be fully who you are.

And I’d love to help you with such a beautiful becoming.

If you have responses to this writing, have questions, or just want to share your thoughts, feel free to reply in the box below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

If you’ve done your footwork and are ready to live your dreams, contact me for life coaching.

Email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

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