It’s just a chemical reaction

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

Day 3 and I am still not yet back at work due to illness and not being completely ready to face the outside world.

It is ridiculous that the idea of facing people who know me very well slightly scares me. It scares because I know they know why I am ill and yet I will still try and make up some bull shit excuse so there are no awkward pauses.

In my bed ridden state I have been thinking about addiction and something my addiction therapist told me. ‘Alcoholism is a chemical reaction. Your chemical make up reacts badly to alcohol’

He put it simply but it makes sense to me.

I can drink exactly the same amount as one of my friends and she has a tiny frame and a low tolerance for alcohol and yet she will remember the whole night and I turn into a psycho Sally who forgets everything and wakes up in a panic.

When I drink I will eventually reach the stage where I cannot be communicated with, by anyone. I am dead behind the eyes and I do as I please. This also means that I have blacked out and will not remember any of it. In these states I usually run away from the crowd I am with, come on to people, argue or fight with people, go on the search for food or dance overtly sexually usually scaring whoever else in on the dance floor.

Much of this drunken zombie like behaviour has obviously caused much amusement for peers. But a lot of it has caused me great distress.

Why doesnt anyone else turn into a complete disaster when they drink? it seems to be just me. I cannot stop myself from blacking out and doing the most horrific things.

I guess this really is alcoholism.

  1. Hi Abi- I know you are hurting. I promise you are not the only person who reacts like this to alcohol. The chemical reaction stuff is true! By beating yourself up, you are acting like you should be ashamed to not have more willpower. Doesn’t work that way. Do you have a sponsor or some other support system?

    • Thankyou for your reassurance, its always good to hear.

      I don’t have a sponsor but i need to figure out a means of finding one. I may try going to an AA meeting again, I just find them quite daunting and over whelming.

      I see an addiction counsellor once a month but I feel like I need to get more regular help / guidance.

  2. Hi Abi

    Great that you’re writing again and all the best with your continuing journey, though please bear in mind that things don’t have to be black and white, there are not only shades of grey but all colours of the rainbow!

    That’s interesting what your counsellor said – that alcoholism is your chemical make-up reacting badly to alcohol. I thought it was the opposite of that. I thought alcoholism was when your genetics etc respond *well* to alcohol, meaning that that person can put away a lot of booze without getting totally sozzled, and thus they must drink more and more to perceive any drunken effects.

    Please explain which in your opinion is correct because it seems I have been labouring under a misapprehension all these years! Thanks

    • Hi thanks for the encouragement and support! Good to hear from you again.
      I think in terms of what alcoholism is, I don’t know the science behind it, but my understanding is there are different types of alcoholics.
      I think mostly it is genetic, I believe that because in my family there are several people who had / have addictive personalities and I believe I have inherited that.
      The people who can consume large amounts of alcohol are usually dependant alcoholics. They are physically addicted to alcohol and their body requires the substance in order to function.
      I believe my form of alcoholism is not dependant but abusive. I drink despite the fact that it causes me to black out and become someone else. Although I can go days without drinking; when I do have the choice to drink I still usually do it even if I shouldn’t. My drinking has been problematic since the first time I drank alcohol, which is usually a clear indication.
      Thats just my understanding of alcoholism, however it isn’t based on any science, just from talking to people, my counsellor and doing internet research.

      • Ok, I understand. What you are saying makes a lot of sense. That makes it more difficult in your case in contrast to the case of so called high functioning alcoholics, there is little or no sign that they are under the influence, because they behave perfectly normally. It doesn’t affect their social lives, relationships, careers, self-esteem, dignity etc.

        I can identify with the abusive relationship to drinking and the reality of “becoming someone else” whilst under the influence. It’s scary and it is a cycle that is incredibly hard to break out of.

        I think you are very brave to be addressing the problem as it’s so easy to make excuses for oneself. I used to think friends regarded me as endearingly crazy and it was part of my quirky personality, but in fact I was lucky to have any friends, I used to insult them, embarrass them and sometimes even physically assault them!

        I was afraid of being myself,I had to hide behind something that wasn’t the true me, it was an accelerated, turbo charged me free of my natural shyness and wallflower-like tendencies. I had low-self esteem (still do to some extent) and it’s easier to cover it up with brashness and sleeping around, because that isnt what a shy person could do.

        In the end it was because I hated myself that I drank myself silly every day usually starting at pub opening time and finishing at passing-out o’clock.

        I realised that a long time ago but it still took a long time to change.

        For me there was no big turning point, no incident that was so huge it forced me to change. It just took time and perspective and was part of the natural process of growing.

        Good luck once again and take it one day at a time. You will have setbacks along the road, I guarantee it! but don’t let them get you down! you’re still awesome 😉

      • I have treated friends badly, used alcohol to compensate for my low self esteem; hiding behind it to do crazy things I could never dream of when I was sober! All of this resonates so much with me!
        All the best to you too, its so reassuring to hear a story so similar to my own!

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