Alcoholism the myth of the brown paperbag
Who is the alcoholic?
Peoples perception of an alcoholic have changed very little over the years. Look at the the pictures and pick out the alcoholic? Nearly everyone will pick the man down on his luck, but the correct answer is all of them.
Alcoholics come from all walks of live, from the doctor to the down and out, the lawyer to the layabout, or the have lots to have nots .Alcoholism can be found in any class, gender, or age group. Most people still see the alcoholic as the old man with the coat tied with rope drinking from the brown paper bag.
People also use different tags for alcoholics, functioning alcoholic, former alcoholic, performing alcoholic, and recovering alcoholic. I believe at different stages in my alcoholism I have been a mixed bag of three of the four. I personally believe that alcoholism can be arrested but cannot be cured therefore is no such person as a former alcoholic.
I fell into this category when some aspects of my life where not been affected by my drinking. I was still holding down a job,
I fell into this category when I was off on another bender not known when it would end.
I have been in this category during my many attempts to stop drinking.
Most of my drinking life I have been a mixed up confused bag of all the above.
Another perception that people have is that an alcoholic is almost always drunk. When I first told workmates and friends I was an alcoholic they were shocked, and said they would never have guessed, that was because I had become mainly a house drinker and could hide the amount I drank.
I did not take a lot to get me drunk and a lot of my friends could drink more, the difference was when we left the pub they went home to bed, I went home for more drink..
Alcoholism is a progressive disease very few people begin drinking alcoholically, some get there in a relatively short time others take years.
Early stage of alcoholism
You are no longer just social drinking but to escape from normal life stresses and problems.
Second stage of alcoholism
The need to drink becomes more intense. You have probably started morning drinking to kick start your day As tolerance increases, the problem drinker drinks because of dependence on alcohol, rather than stress relief.
Third stage of alcoholism
You have started to lose control of your drinking. Unable to drink according to your intentions. Once you take that first drink you can no longer control what will happen.Relationship problems and family problems are now growing and you are starting to hide your drinking. By now you know you have a drink problem, the feelings of guilt and remorse are creeping in ,but hey if I take a drink they go away.
Final stage of alcoholism
Benders are now the norm, you get helplessly drunk for days at a time, you have lost your job, your family have thrown you out, and you are now drinking to forget the problems caused by drinking. You are on the road to oblivion.
You can stop this journey at any stage. The majority of alcoholics try to stop there journey somewhere between step 3 and 4.
We all have different reason for facing up to our problem. I am one of the lucky ones ,I still have my job and the support and love of my family. The next time you see the man with the brown paper bag, pray that he may one day find peace from this horrendous addiction.
This is a poem I like to read to me remind me that one of the most important tools in my recovery toolbox,is being honest with myself.
The Man in the Glass
When you get what you want in your struggles for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
Some people might think you're a straight-shooting chum
And call you a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he's with you clear to the end
And you've passed your most dangerous test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.