“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes to us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
– John Wayne
Cut from the same cloth we may be, but how that cloth is cut is as unique as our fingerprints. As human beings, we like to categorize each other, putting people in nicely labeled boxes. Ah, he’s such-and-such, she’s like this, and they’re not worth bothering with. For some reason, it’s supposed to make us feel better and make our lives easier, in some way. However, of course, it’s not as simple and perfect as all that. Person to person, our cloth gets cut differently.
Researchers have studied the causes of addiction for centuries, trying to scientifically label those who are susceptible or vulnerable to this illness, to identify the one, singular root cause of it all. Have they been successful? In a word, no. There are clear mitigating factors, of that there is little doubt, such as genetics, social environment, childhood experiences, and so forth, but it’s the varying combination of these and other psychological influencers that may (and I repeat the word – may) result in the chronic disease of substance addiction, whether that is drugs or alcohol.
I think the person who cut my cloth was probably drunk as they did it. Many, many factors, according to the addiction specialists that have provided me with therapy and counseling over these past few years, led me to the point where addiction was possible, there was a chance it could grab me. To be honest, I think I grabbed it first.
Sober now for over 4 years, following a highly-medicated withdrawal in the safe hands of a rehab center, then therapy, counselling, continual support during the months after before finally leaving the its sanctuary, and, now, a routine of ongoing professional medical support in my community and my regular AA meetings, has got me to a much better place. And, yes, my will, my resolve that the warning signs that flashed before don’t get ignored in the future. Treatment was about getting clean, recovery is about staying clean.
This article will discuss the 6 clearest warning signs of alcohol addiction, whether it is you or a loved one that is in danger. Because the danger is what it is. Make no mistake – addiction kills. It doesn’t care what box society has placed you in, it doesn’t care one iota about the cloth you are cut from. If you have a combination of the mitigating factors mentioned earlier, it may come to you. You need to know when it’s on its way.
Addicts are not born lying, manipulative people. However, they sure learn pretty quickly. Alcoholics are focused on one thing, and one thing only – that next drink. And they’ll go through hell and high water to get it. If that means lying to a loved one, manipulating the truth, denying they have a serious problem, they’ll happily do it.
It gets to a point where lying doesn’t matter, loved ones don’t matter. Nothing matters. Just that next bottle. That is the illness of addiction, the mental, psychological damage it can do.
- The Only Way to Feel Better
If you are addicted to a particular substance, forget any other possible way of making yourself feel better. Nothing will work, trust me. For an alcoholic, only alcohol can make that happen. Yes, it’s temporary, but that doesn’t matter.
However, and such is the nature of addiction, after that temporary state you seek, the issue becomes worse. More and more of your “drink of choice” is required. Say “hello” to the cycle of addiction.
- Responsibility Avoidance
Alcoholics don’t like responsibility, period. Its avoidance can take many, many forms, depending on your situation. You will start to neglect those things that were once important to you, anything from work, school, your home, even the relationships you have with your spouse or partner, and, sadly, your children.
That feeling of responsibility for these is something you wish to rid yourself of. Why? Because those things will affect your ability to continue drinking. If you weren’t a selfish person before, alcoholism will surely make you one.
- The Symptoms of Withdrawal
There’s a reason, an underlying physical and mental truth, and that is this – an addict is the least best-placed person to undergo a withdrawal from their respective addiction. It is the very reason why a medicated, professionally-guided forced abstinence of the substance in question is needed. It is one hell of a lot safer too.
Most everybody has experienced a hangover from drinking too much. Withdrawal is a whole lot different. Hangovers come from consuming too much alcohol; withdrawal comes from consuming too little. Alcoholics will begin to experience the onset of withdrawal on a regular basis, and that is the combined physical and mental reason for reaching for that next drink.
Initial symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to Control or Quit
Many alcoholics will have experienced an inability to control the level of their consumption. Some may even have made the conscious decision to “take a break” from alcohol, believing they could quite easily. That isn’t the real truth for an addict. Your repeated failure at attempting to control, even stop, your drinking is one of the clearest signs that you have become powerless.
This is the very reason that AA speaks of being powerless over alcohol. The acceptance of that fact is pivotal in a recovery from alcohol addiction. It’s one thing to recognize that you need to stop, it’s another to realize you can’t.
Alcoholics don’t really give two hoots about their physical appearance after a while. In fact, the disheveled look sits pretty well with them. Changes in the state of a person’s appearance, on a regular basis, is a clear physical sign that all is not well. Throw in a few things from the list below and you have what you have:
- Bloodshot eyes
- A lack of coordination, eg. walking, standing, etc.
- Slurred speech
- Lack of lucid conversation
- Anxious or irritated
These are the 6 clear warning signs of alcohol addiction. No punches have been pulled because of addiction, when it has you or a loved one within its grasp, pulls none either. These 6 signs – deceit, the only way to feel better, responsibility avoidance, the symptoms of withdrawal, inability to control or quit, and appearance – are not the only signs, and, by the same token, aren’t proof that you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction. However, as indicators, they are clear that something is seriously amiss and needs your attention.
If you can connect with what’s written above, or can make parallels with the behavior of a loved one, then the next step is clear. Simply ask. Ask for guidance and help from your doctor, an addiction specialist or another professional source. The next step is the first step toward recovery.
Is there something gained from experience that you would like to pass on to other readers. Something that would be on your list of alcohol addiction warning signs? Please feel free to make a comment below. It will be gratefully received.
Lastly, safe journey. The road is long and arduous. To not take it is worse. Godspeed.