Why am I an alcoholic??

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2004
Why am I an alcoholic??
10
Thu, 10-28-2004 - 8:31am

Do you ever wonder why you have a problem with alcohol? Do you know the reasons? Reasons vary person to person. My belief is that it is physiological, not psychological. "The alcoholic's enzymes, hormones, genes, and brain chemistry work togehter to create his abnormal and unfortunate reaction to alcohol", a quote from "Under The Influence", by Dr. James R. Milam and Katherine Ketcham. Have you ever asked someone who doesn't drink the reason why they don't? I have, and the one reason is that they feel sick if they do. Their body reacts to it like this. For some reason, alcoholics don't have that reaction-hence body, brain chemistry.


There are other reasons, which I will bring forth from time to time. I hope this gives the lurkers and posters some insight.


Anyhow-have a great day! Hope things are going good for all!!




palmtrees and breezes



~Jolene~


"Community Leader for Alcohol Problems Board"


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2004
Thu, 10-28-2004 - 3:34pm

Hi Jolene, how are you? Hope all is well!


I kind of agree with you...I mean, I think there can be several factors involved that answer the question "why does the alcoholic drink?" And for some people, more than one factor can be prominent, and for others, it's just one.


I can tell you from my experience that I am one of those that yes, if I drink too much, I wind up feeling sick. I don't necessarily think it has to do with how my body is wired to process alcohol, though...but I'm not sure about that. I mean, I just think I have one of those stomachs that...well, I'm one of those... "I eat like a bird...constantly" types of people, lol. I will go through certain spurts where my stomach just does not want to contain a large (or heartily normal) quantity of food and/or beverage. A lot of times, my eyes are bigger than my stomach, lol.


So for me, I can typically handle 3 drinks...more during a longer time stretch...but chances are, about 3-4 is my limit for a night. If I drink that on an empty stomach, it can have me in a light-headed, woozy, giggly tizzy. If I have eaten beforehand, I can be more sober than the person that just had a shot, even after 3 drinks. (Though more often than not, my drinks are spaced out throughout the night, so I'm not quite drinking to drunkenness.)


Did I have a point? oh, yeah, so getting back to feeling sick--it's not necessarily that I'd feel sick, but just too FULL. So I'd feel uncomfortable. although there are also times that the alcohol just upsets my stomach and I know that there is no reason why "no more!" should mean anything else than "no more!".


Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that it's more about feeling full at the moment than it is about feeling sick the morning after and using that as incentive to not overindulge. (not that I'm saying that's what you were saying...I just think there's a difference between the 2). But believe me, I've used it as incentive anyway...b/c I really don't like that feeling of having my head on the pillow the next morning but feeling like it's up in the air like a helium balloon, lol.


Well, thanks for letting me share, I hope that helps!


Love,


Victoria


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2001
Thu, 10-28-2004 - 4:04pm
Hi Jolene and everyone,

I stopped trying to figure that out a long time ago. I decided it doesn't matter. I took action to recover which is, in my opinion, simply a life time action program of positive growth for good living. I quit drinking at 35 and today celebrate my 72nd birthday in good physical and mental health. And for that I am grateful. OH, I've had my challenges over the past four years surviving a benign brain tumor that was removed with a nine hour craniotomy and prostate cancer which was treated with surgery and now have no trace of either problem. I continue to fight chronic type 2 diabetes with numbers comparable to a non-diabetic. So I am one lucky fellow. Now, I am on my way to my birthday dinner at a fine French restuarant with my wife of 46 years, Carol and I am still in love and so is she------with each other.

Be safe and kindest regards,

Paul C.

Castaway


A Friend in Recovery


Paul

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2004
Fri, 10-29-2004 - 12:56pm
Hi

I am new to this board, and also new to sobriety/recovery. I have entered an outpatient recovery program as I was in mid-stage alcoholism. This came as a great shock to me, as I didn't think I had a problem. I have been in this program since first week of October. I had a couple of slips, and regretted it, but it is so hard, as life's pressures and stresses keep hitting me.

Ok, to the point, I just wanted to give you some of my background. I think very strongly that alcoholism is an inherit, biological disease. My grandfather, father, brother, sister were alcoholics. I, like them, am also. When I drink, there is such a feeling, I can't describe, unfortunately, I don't know when to stop. I am a highly sensitive, artistic person. Above average intelligence and a perfectionist. All traits of someone who is more likely to be an alcoholic from what I learned in my classes. I also believe, if you have some upsets in your past, especially your childhood, you are prone to alcoholism, so yes, it can also be a nurturing thing. I had a lot of past problems, violent death of someone I witnessed, loss of my father, (only one inmy family I was close to) loss of baby 4 mos in utero, accidents, divorce, and a mother or family who is not there for me.

I often ask my hasband, not an alcoholic, why he doesn't crave drinking. He said he just doesn't care if he has a drink or not. It would be like he could care if he had onions on his hamburger or not, it's not an issue. He cannot understand (nor tolerate) why alcoholics are so. He thinks it is like giving up chocolate.

So to lump it all together for myself, it is biological, behaviorial, inherit genes, past experiences and brain chemistry all rolled into one. I was doomed to begin with once I took that first drink.

Thanks for you listening and God Bless

Nanc

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2003
Fri, 10-29-2004 - 1:00pm
I totally and completely agree with Paul.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2003
Fri, 10-29-2004 - 1:47pm

Hi Nanc,


The good news is you have found the problem.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2001
Fri, 10-29-2004 - 4:45pm
Hi Nancy,

Thanks for your sharing and stirring note, Nancy. I don't disagree with you. I think there are many contributing factors of why you and I became as we are. But I certainly don't think we are doomed and can learn to live happily, productively and very successfully without alcohol. It's a joke, but the only folks who want to keep us thinking we must find the cause of our alcholism are the $200 an hour psychiatrists who would bleed us until all our hard earned money was gone and we would still be drinking. It just doesn't matter to me. My "treatment" never cost anyone a penny unless you add on the buck or so a week I "threw in the hat" or the the donuts I bought on the way to my meeting or the gas I bought taking folks to meetings or doing twelfth step work. But that was an investment, a life saving investment. Good fortune to your continuing recovery.

Service in recovery,

Paul C.

Castaway


A Friend in Recovery


Paul

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Sat, 10-30-2004 - 8:38am
Hi Jolene,

Great topic for a post.

I used to think about that a lot. But I don't anymore. I have gone from "why?" to "What am I going to do about it?"

I believe alcoholism is a spiritual, mental, and physical disease. I have it. Maybe it is genetic. I don't know if that is totally why... I know that the disease has been in both sides of my families for generations. I believe I was an alcoholic long before I picked up the first drink. Drinking just became the way I dealt with the feelings of being less-than, not good enough, alone, not part of, all the inadequacies of life. For a while, drinking made all that "bad" stuff disappear. Then, in time, alcohol stopped working and I couldn't stop drinking on my own.

When I finally sought help and put down the alcohol, I was faced with all those same feelings. With the help of some recovering people, counseling, time, etc., I learned more about myself and also learned some tools to recover from my crazy thought processes.

It didn't happen overnight. The real work came, for me, after I put the drink down. I still have to work at how I think and be vigilent about not falling into the same thoughts that could lead me back to a drink. I know that I can't stay sober all alone and nor do I want to. I enjoy the company of other recovering people and together we help each other - one day at a time!

Life is good today. Today I choose not to drink because I know that NOTHING will be better by drinking alcohol.

God bless,

Leslie

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Sat, 10-30-2004 - 8:43am
Welcome, Nanc!

It sounds like you have some good insights and I hope you will keep coming back and sharing with us!

God bless,

Leslie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2004
Sat, 10-30-2004 - 9:41am

Hi Nancy, nice to meet you! Welcome to the board! I hope you find that this is a caring place to be. Congrats on your decision to have an alcohol free life. It will be very rewarding if you take the necessary steps to achieve your goal. Taking away the drink is not the only solution as you might be finding. Learning how to think differently will be tough, but attainable.


Do you have any questions or comments? Please share them, better to share than not. You could be helping yourself or someone else.




palmtrees and breezes



~Jolene~


"Community Leader for Alcohol Problems Board"


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2004
Sat, 10-30-2004 - 10:15am

It is good to see all the different stages that people go through in their growth from the alcoholism wrath. I can see that the longer you are sober, the care for "why" is dimished. For those who are just starting their journey, it can consume their being. This is why I think it is an important question for all to try and answer. So true about the psychologists taking all the $$ for this answer to be answered. That's why I felt it to be important for everyone to explore, so that newbies could see how and why it happens, so that they can get to the next stage. It is a process. You can't have recovery without going through those important first stages. It is self-discovery thing.


I too do not think about why anymore. But I had to go through that to get to where I am today.