My Response To “Wondering”
My Response To “Wondering”
After reading the letter “Am I An Alcoholic?” on Laura McKowen’s blog “Letters to Laura”, I was upset, on the verge of angry. Laura’s response was, in my opinion, completely off the wall, and not helpful (again, my own opinion). In this day and age, with so many terms to describe a drinking problem, or unhealthy relationship with alcohol, it can be confusing to know if you have a problem or not.
The following question, and my response, goes out to the author of the question, as well as anyone who thinks they may have a drinking problem.
The following is a question submitted by a reader, to Laura McKowen, from her blog “Letters to Laura”, and my own response. This is the question:
I have been wondering if I have a problem. Drinking for me took the form of 1-2 glasses of wine every day with dinner. I recently, without much thought, decided to give up drinking for Lent. The first week was somewhat difficult. I was a bit anxious and had cravings for my dinner time glasses of wine but as the second week began, I started feeling a surge of positivity and felt more open to everything, also more motivated to do things. I am now a month into it and wondered if I could be an alcoholic if I could quit so easily.
From what I know about alcoholism, I would say no, you are not an alcoholic. I would like to clarify that I am not a medical doctor, I am not licensed in addiction therapy, and I am not an expert. But, I am an alcoholic, and know the tortures that that brings.
With that said, alcohol is a legal drug, and can be addictive. Hence, the reason why the first week was difficult for you. Your body, in that first week, was essentially detoxing from the addictive effects of alcohol. It was craving the sugar in the wine as well, because alcohol in any form contains sugar, which in and of itself is addictive.
When you hit your second week, and started feeling better, with no more cravings, it meant that your body was used to not having the daily intake of alcohol and sugar. Your brain could register feelings, sensations, and other things because it did not have the depressant effects of alcohol working on it too.
Now, for the hard part. I get the sense that this wondering goes deeper than giving up alcohol/ wine for Lent. Do you have family members who are alcoholic? Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins? The reason I ask is, alcoholism can be genetic. For example, my mom was an alcoholic, chances are good that my maternal grandfather was, and possibly my uncles on both sides. Partly through genetics, and partly through life events, I became an alcoholic myself. My sister on the other hand is not. So, while genetics does play a part in becoming an alcoholic, it is hit and miss.
So, at the end of the day, only you can say whether you are an alcoholic or not. That decision is up to you. I would suggest researching your family history, if you haven’t done so already, and see if anyone has or had a drinking problem. I would also suggest reading up on alcoholism, and alcohol use disorders. Alcohol use disorders can range anywhere from mild, moderate, and severe. Also, there are warning signs that can point to whether you have a problem or not. Being informed is the first defense against forming a problem with drinking. And always know, if you decide to quit for good, you don’t have to justify your decision to anyone, ever.
Many blessings to you,
My Sober Ashes