Daily Archives: 05/11/2014

The Progressive Disease of Alcoholism

I came across this fantastic chart called the ‘Progressive Disease of Alcoholism’.  It was designed in 1967 in the US and really illustrates the drinking journey both to the bottom and the recovery path back out the other side.  Although it’s almost 50 years old it’s detail still applies today.

Disease of Alcoholism Chart screen

(click on to enlarge)

It classifies heavy social drinking as 5 or more per occasion on 2 or more occasions a week

It details the nine signs of alcohol dependence clearly:

  1. Drinking to relieve tension
  2. Drinking before a drinking function
  3. Increase in alcohol tolerance
  4. Desire to continue when others stop
  5. Uncomfortable in a situation where there is no alcohol
  6. Occasional memory lapses after heavy drinking
  7. Relief drinking commences
  8. Preoccupation with drinking (thinking about next drink)
  9. Secret irritation when  your drinking is discussed

It also lays out the time scales of early, middle and late stages of addiction which spookily mirror my experience:

  • Time to move from early to middle: 2-25 years with 12-15 years being the average
  • Time to move from middle to late: 2-10 years with 5-7 years being the average

And then the benefits of recovery on the other side leading to:

Enlightened and interesting way of life opens up with higher road ahead to higher levels than ever thought possible 🙂

MrHOF and I have looked at this closely and we believe we stopped just before the red downward slope begins and at the last entry for the yellow bit at increasing dependence on alcohol.  It may have taken us a few more years to get beyond that point but for us the writing was on the wall, or chart in this case 😉

Now I would say that I am at the: begin contentment in sobriety and improving peace of mind.  So we got off the ride down early and are reaping the rewards sooner because we were lucky enough to see what was coming if we kept going.  You don’t have to keep drinking until it decides for you – you can stop of your own choice with help and support. And the benefits of not drinking are everything that this chart talks about 🙂

What do you think of it?