How Do You Become an Alcoholic?
I’ve always wondered if my alcoholism was destiny. My parents were alcoholics, and there’s a pretty good chance that you will have alcohol problems if you have alcoholism in your family. I had my first drink when I was ten years old. My grandfather thought it would be funny to give me a beer at Thanksgiving. There was no shock or anger from anybody else. Everyone else in my family thought it was cute. When I became a homeless alcoholic in my early 20’s, it wasn’t so funny anymore.
There are many ways beyond your family history that you can develop alcoholism. Alcohol is a very socially acceptable drug. It’s okay if you go get drunk at a bar or restaurant. No one bats an eye. Alcohol advertisements are all over the TV and the internet. The super bowl is one big commercial for binge drinking. The dangers of alcoholism are rarely ever considered until it is too late. Once you become chronically addicted, the treatment options for alcoholism can be very uncomfortable and even life-threatening. Quitting without medical intervention can kill you.
Alcohol abuse is the most common form of substance abuse. This is because it is readily available. This didn’t help me when I was getting more and more addicted to drinking. Surrounding myself with people who binge drank didn’t help things either. Ultimately, it was up to me to quit drinking. I could blame it on advertising, I could blame it on my family. I could blame a lot of places, but it doesn’t matter. Getting clean was up to me.
Once I had gotten to the point where I was physically addicted to alcohol, it was scary. It’s hard to say how long it takes to develop alcohol dependence. Many factors contribute to developing chronic alcoholism. It all depends on how much you drink and for how long. Some people have a higher or lower tolerance than others. Generally, within a few years of binge drinking and daily alcohol intake, you will begin to develop a dependence that is not easy to break.
The Features of Each Stage of Alcoholism
There are four stages of alcoholism. Stage one is the pre-alcoholic phase. During this phase, your drinking doesn’t seem to be too concerning to others. Drinking during this period is generally done socially. Just like with any other substance, you begin to develop a tolerance the more you drink. In the beginning, it may only take a couple of drinks for you to feel the effects. The more you drink, the more you need to drink. Before you know it, it can take you at least a six-pack to feel inebriated.
The second stage is known as the early alcoholic stage. This is generally defined as the beginning after your first blackout. It may still be all fun and games at this point, but the signs of alcoholism begin to show themself. You might begin lying about your drinking and hiding it from loved ones. You drank ten beers, but you say you only had five. You sneak drinks when people aren’t looking. By this time, it’s pretty easy to become addicted. The third stage is known as the middle alcoholic stage.
Alcoholism becomes obvious to your friends and loved ones by this point. It may still be fun for you, but for everyone else, it is concerning. At this point, you may start drinking earlier in the day. You may begin drinking and drive regularly. You may begin to neglect your job, family, and other responsibilities. Your physical health will be affected as well. You may gain or lose weight and develop a sickly appearance. At this point, it’s impossible to hide that you have an issue. This is the stage where a lot of people make their first attempt to get sober. Like with a lot of addictions, it may take several tries.
The final stage of alcoholism is known as the late alcoholic stage. Chronic alcoholism. Everything revolves around drinking, and you cannot function without it. You will begin to develop serious health complications and at this point, you are betting on your mortality. To even attempt to get clean, you are going to need medical supervision. If you quit drinking on your own, you run the risk of developing delirium tremens, also known as “DT’s”. Delirium tremens can greatly affect your mental state, causing shaking, confusion, and even hallucinations.
Circle of Hope: A Premier Alcoholism Treatment Provider
As it is with a lot of addictions, you usually do not seek help until you hit rock bottom. It’s easy to develop an addiction, and it is very difficult to get yourself out of it. When I got to The Circle of Hope for treatment, I thought it might kill me. I was very afraid to go through detox and deal with all of the physical and mental complications. The people at Circle of Hope treated me wonderfully and did a great job helping me through that discomfort. After that initial period of detox, I was ready to face my alcoholism head-on.
I had gotten sick of not remembering anything from the day before. I would wake up and start drinking vodka. I would drink until I passed out, and then begin the process all over again once I awoke. Circle of Hope has a highly skilled treatment team for alcoholism. They are skilled at knowing how to handle each individual’s addiction. We are all at different points in our addiction, and all addicts have a different set of circumstances they are dealing with. They have individualized treatment programs that cater to your direct needs.
It took me being sober for at least a year before I stopped having urges all the time. During that initial period of sobriety, I attended a lot of aftercare services and group meetings. It helped me to stay on the right track. I still have the urge to drink once in a while. I can’t go anywhere near a bar and even when I am in a restaurant I am sometimes tempted to order a cocktail. I have a wonderful support system around me, and the idea of letting them down helps prevent me from relapsing. It takes a lot of time and practice, but sobriety can be a wonderful thing. Take it from someone who was at death’s door like me.