Someone close to me once asked, “Well how come “they” aren’t an alcoholic and so and so is?”
My answer, “Because of the patterns and track record of their drinking.” It’s hard to explain to someone in a few words when they have little knowledge or understanding of the disease.
How do we know if someone has an addiction problem? We have been told what to watch for in addiction ridden people and there are patterns and consistent behaviour associated with them when they drink or use.
It is very easy and naive of people to judge based on what they see “sometimes” when around people “sometimes.”
Here are a few things to look for when you are faced with questioning whether you’re dealing with someone that has too many drinks one night or is going through a rough patch and they may drink more than usual for that period of time and eventually come back to their “normal” drinking patterns after time has passed.
If you see the following happening, it’s time to have a conversation with that person or yourself:
– Drinking is a priority for you
– Losing control of yourself
– Knowing to stop but continue anyway
– People start to distance themselves from your life
– Not fun anymore
– Problems at home and/or work
– Having no money but always having enough for alcohol/drugs
– Less self care
– Loss of focus of things that were once important to you and/or your family
– Feeling of shame
– Feeling at a lose
– Emotioinal instability
– Losing control of your body functions, eg: wetting the bed, vomiting in bed etc.
– Continuous loss of personal items eg: cell phone, wallet, etc.
– Anger when using/drinking
– Hostility towards others
– Depression when not drinking/using
– Trouble with the law, jail, charges etc.
There are many factors and actions to look for in someone who has a problem. We can not generalize ones actions by only being with them a few times or a family and friends looking in from the outside. We have a track record of reckless behavior when we are intoxicated. We have more bad situations than good, we repeat our mistakes, even after swearing not to do it again. We have many problems that only ourselves and people who are with us day in and day out can see or be subjected too and can really truly understand the meaning of or labeling someone with alcoholic. It does not happen over night, it does not happen in a few months, it takes years to come to the conclusion and realization that there is a problem.
Don’t be afraid to question, knowledge is power!
Being Me Sober