If you have never struggled with drug or alcohol addiction you may find yourself asking, “what is it like to be an alcoholic?” Unfortunately this is not a simple question to answer because no two people have the same exact experience with alcoholism. For some people, they will tell you being an alcoholic was all glitz, glam, and glory, that they only had to quit for one reason or another – perhaps because their health was threatened or they faced legal trouble or they just thought the time was right to get out now before things got too unlucky. Others will tell you about how alcoholism dragged them down to rock bottom and then through the gravel and mud of it for years of pain and desperation.
They will tell you that alcoholism feels like nights spent sleeping outside in the cold – like jail cells, hospital stays, burning ulcers, desperate pleas from wives, unemployment, and grave visits. Alcoholism really is not the same for any two people but there are some common components of the disease that it is important to acknowledge when attempting to understand it. All alcoholics deal with a sense of powerlessness, with character defects blown out of proportion, with fear, with resentment, and with other common traits of the disease.
These common issues are also experienced at times by people who are not addicts. If you are not an addict, then you may be able to relate more easily by identifying each of these symptoms and seeing how you are able to understand it in relation to your own life. If you are trying to understand the powerless feeling experienced by someone addicted to alcohol, it can be helpful to think of a time when you were powerless yourself – perhaps when you were under anesthesia before surgery or stuck at home sick.
If you had to feel that powerless every day, then life would become extremely difficult and painful. The next time that you communicate angrily with an addict, take a step back and remember how powerless they feel to their addiction every moment of every day whether they are aware of it or not. If you are trying to understand the way that an alcoholics character defects get blown out of proportion while they are drinking, try to think of a time when your own character defects become blown out of proportion – perhaps when you are under stress at work or at home.
One Common Alcoholic Experience
There is more to the alcoholic experience than these feelings, however. Alcoholism fills the daily routines of the people it plagues with seeking, using, come downs, cravings, withdrawals, and other unproductive tasks. While not all alcoholics have the same daily routine, here is an example of how an average alcoholic living in the common age might spend a day. Upon waking, there is an immediate sensation of pain and illness, combined with intense craving. There are thoughts of guilt about the night before, paired with an immediate desire for more alcohol.
Often before even brushing their teeth, showering, or drinking a glass of water, an alcoholic will open their beverage of choice. If there is not enough alcohol stocked up at home, then it is time to secure more alcohol. Even if there is enough at home, it may be time to go to a bar. If there are work or family responsibilities to attend to, it might be done, but in a haze. No matter what, there is always one responsibility or another that is getting neglected. As the buzz wears off, more will be obtained to matter what the time or place may be.
There will be feelings of elation, shame, anger, and loneliness rotating throughout the day. They may even desire sobriety in moments of overwhelming pressure. Ending the day in a stupor is the only sense of peace sought to relieve the stress of each day – and so the routine continues. Clearly this is not a lifestyle to which anyone aspires but it is an unfortunate reality for many people. If you want to help a loved one or friend who is struggling with alcoholism, it is smart to improve your understanding of the disease itself. If you are wondering if you are an alcoholic but have resonated with alcoholism related information that you have seen recently, it just might be time to get started, Call us today at 833-610-1174.