Alcoholism – A Disease of Body, Mind and Spirit: Physical Dependency
Everyone knows that alcoholics are physically addicted and many of us worry far more about any physical damage we might be doing to ourselves before we worry about anything else. This can fool us into not really realising how far along the road we have gone. I knew I was alcoholic many years before I actually stopped drinking. What stopped me from finally doing something about it was that I could manage to stop drinking on my own. I managed this several times. First of all every time I was pregnant (7 times in all) and after that, once I realised my drinking was pretty much constant, I sometimes had to stop to escape the misery of it.
Felt Better Everytime I Stopped – physical damage
Every time I stopped I knew I felt better physically. After the first 24 hours the sweating and shakes would subside and after a few more days I would feel almost human. Then I would begin to feel better about myself, more energetic and much sharper. Occasionally I had to cut right down which I also could manage for a short period. I would do this before any check ups which might involve a blood test so that my true drinking levels would not be exposed. When told that my liver function tests showed signs of heavy drinking but not damage, that would be like a green light to carry on drinking (straight from the medical to the pub and a heavy drinking session).
Could Not Stay Stopped
So this sort of stop start activity carried on for a long time – almost 20 years in fact. The problem was that while I could stop, I could not stay stopped; and all the time I was stopped, while I felt happier, I was still obsessing about alcohol. During my pregnancies I would think longingly of when the baby would be born. Then I could be reunited with my beloved bottles. When I stopped on a short term basis after having had my full complement of children. I knew that as soon as an opportunity presented itself (empty house, trip away on my own or with an inbuilt drinking opportunity) I would take it.
Lots of alcoholics who are hung up on the physical side of the illness do not address it as soon as they might because they have not done irreparable physical damage. This is often the case for binge drinkers. Who think that because they do not drink every day, they cannot be alcoholic. It can also be the case for functioning alcoholics who hold down a job. Provide for their families. Care for their families etc. Or even for the people who do not drink in the morning. If they think they only drink at respectable times and enjoy fairly good health, then they can miss the point that they are nonetheless alcohol dependent (alcoholic if you are happy not to dress it up).
Good Recovery Is Possible
The good news is that if you do finally understand your physical addiction, stop and stay stopped, you can make a good recovery. The liver is very good at regenerating. Many of us, once happy and free of the bonds of addiction can look pretty good. Younger, fitter, happier, eyes sparkling, hair shining etc. Pretty amazing for people who have abused their bodies so badly for so long.
If you have an alcohol or drug related problem. Please call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice and help.