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Predicting Alcoholism – When Does Choice Becomes Reliance?

Predicting Alcoholism – When Does Choice Becomes Reliance?

Predicting Alcoholism – When Does Choice Becomes Reliance?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a divining rod that foreshadowed alcoholism? It would start shaking when a person was about to hit the point of no return – that moment when over-drinking morphs into reliance. I can picture some modern day Carrie Nation entering a pub, water-witching her way along the bar. Pointing her stick at those folks who are about to ruin their perfectly good lives…


What is the point of no return?

This is a subject that fascinates me.  I try not to indulge in “what could have been.” But, the one thing I do ruminate about, is when exactly did I become an alcoholic? Was there a time when I could have stopped the runaway progression of the disease? And is there a crystal ball to help others stop before it is too late?



There are stages.of alcohol dependence. And looking back, I can see that for almost ten years my drinking was risky. There was a reason I kept a repair kit (nail polish, sand paper, small hammer) to fix the scratches and dents in my car before my husband saw them. The stages are:


High Risk Stage

Characterized by drinking enough and behaving badly enough that people begin to talk. In my case, I was too scary to confront. But, this is the time to confront. Especially when the person is making dangerous choices under the influence. This was the time when I began to drive tipsy. It was the stage when I missed the installation for my own gallery opening (I was drunk in a hotel room across the street). And I began to make lame excuses for my inappropriate conduct.


Somewhere in between these two phases is where the crystal ball belongs – this is the point where things might be able to be reversed…


Early Dependency Stage

Friends and family are concerned and very aware there is a problem. Health, legal and personal issues occur. This was the phase where I got stopped by the police all the time for “driving erratically.” I got into screaming fights (I haven’t screamed at anyone in four years – ain’t recovery grand?). I watered the wine, so my husband wouldn’t know I was drinking a bottle a day. I was hungover most mornings, but it didn’t stop me from drinking at lunchtime.


Middle Stage

During the middle stage of alcohol addiction, problems mount. For me, the kicker was my divorce. You will note above that I was accountable to my husband. I was like a defiant teenager, covering my tracks, but I was watched. After the divorce, I was left to my own dubious devices, and the consequences. The middle stage is marked by ignoring the negative consequences of drinking.


And in the middle stage of my alcoholism, I bought a house in The Bahamas. A place where drinking in the morning is called “Bahamian breakfast.” Can you say, “Double whammy?”


Late Stage Dependency

Mayday! This is the crisis point where everything takes a back seat to drinking.  The alcoholic is rarely without a drink. Nothing matters but buying, harboring and drinking alcohol. This was the stage where I didn’t even look out the window at the spectacular, Bahamian view. I drank from morning till night. If it happened after 5 PM I made a slurred excuse. I was, in a word, miserable.


Okay, class what have we learned?

That there is no joy in looking back? There is no point in thinking, “If only I’d gone to treatment right after my divorce… if only I hadn’t gone on that vacation in The Bahamas… if only I hadn’t met that dude who looked like Captain Ron…”


What’s done is done, but I have become pretty militant about calling people on problem drinking. I do not tiptoe. Because, if I can halt the progress of alcohol dependency in a few people, in just one person, I will have accomplished something grand.



Today I’m not drinking, because I’m divining…


How come you’re not drinking?

E2E – thinking of you

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar
    Feb 20, 2018

    divine scribing darling

  2. Avatar
    Feb 21, 2018

    How come you're not drinking?
    I am dependent on holding onto my authentic life.
    Keep on scribing. PLEASE.

  3. Avatar
    Tim S
    Feb 21, 2018

    Thank you, friend.

    In my experience, even those AA BB meetings that read the whole book and don’t stop at page 164 sometimes skip over this:

    PART II THEY STOPPED IN TIME Among today’s incoming A.A. members, many have never reached the advanced stages of alcoholism, though given time all might have. Most of these fortunate ones have had little or no acquaintance with delirium, with hospitals, asylums, and jails. Some were drinking heavily, and there had been occasional serious episodes. But with many, drinking had been little more than a sometimes uncontrollable nuisance. Seldom had any of these lost either health, business, family, or friends. Why do men and women like these join A.A.? The seventeen who now tell their experiences answer that question. They saw that they had become actual or potential alcoholics, even though no serious harm had yet been done. They realized that repeated lack of drinking control, when they really wanted control, was the fatal symptom that spelled problem drinking. This, plus mounting emotional disturbances, convinced them that compulsive alcoholism already had them; that complete ruin would be only a question of time. Seeing this danger, they came to A.A. They realized that in the end alcoholism could be as mortal as cancer; certainly no sane man would wait for a malignant growth to become fatal before seeking help. Therefore, these seventeen A.A.’ s, and hundreds of thousands like them, have been saved years of infinite suffering. They sum it up something like this: “We didn’t wait to hit bottom because, thank God, we could see the bottom. Actually, the bottom came up and hit us. That sold us on Alcoholics Anonymous.”

  4. Avatar
    Feb 27, 2018

    The perfect approach for treatment of emotional distress connected with alcoholism therapy hasn’t been determined.

  5. Avatar
    Jan 20, 2019

    How come you're not drinking?
    I’m not drinking because I want to remember what I feels like to feel good.
    Just discovered your blog and I really like it. When you are the one with a drinking problem, you feel like you are the only one with a drinking problem. Then, I find a blog like this….

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