This is a question that I have asked myself many times, mostly in a whiny toddler voice when I’d like to have a drink and know I shouldn’t or can’t, like Christmas Eve. It’s the question that wolfie shows up in time and time again. And when I talk to anyone who knows me well about my issue with alcohol in any great depth they all say to a man – but you didn’t really drink that much did you?
I nursed alcoholics so know how alcoholism presents and even now struggle to put myself in the same category as those I cared for. But the only difference between them and me is that I have stopped drinking before I reach the place that they did. I was psychologically addicted to alcohol, or alcohol dependent, which is only a short step away from physical addiction and the move between psychological and physical dependence can happen in a matter of weeks. I was heavily dependent and had a high tolerance. I had blackouts. If I was honest with myself I consumed waaay more than the Govt recommended guidelines. I wasn’t consuming as many units as the alcoholics I used to nurse but I was closer to their numbers than the recommended unit guidance.
I was reading this today and it helped me with the answer to that question.
Risk factors for addiction include:
A history of mental health issues
Early use of drugs
Environmental factors, like growing up in a family of drinkers or working in an environment where heavy drinking is common
Of those 5 I could check 4.
Now I could go back to drinking but knowing this helps me face the fact that I am probably only a few drinks away from full blown alcoholism. The odds are not in my favour and it would be like a game of Russian Roulette. That’s a game I no longer want to play and to be honest having not drunk now for over 100 days why would I? I feel better than I can ever remember and when I look back on Christmas and New Year I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. So why risk the bullet and it’s consequences?