to think I'm an alcoholic

(60 Posts)
Swiish Mon 06-May-13 21:38:30

I'm wondering if I really am an alcoholic.

I've always liked to drink and being drunk. A bottle of red is the only thing that relaxes me.

I think about alcohol all the time, throughout the day, and really perk up when I know I can have a drink.

I do limit myself to around two bottles per week, on average, and can resist not drinking but find it incredibly difficult.

I've always been known as a big drinker.

does this describe someone with a problem?

lookingfoxy Mon 06-May-13 23:04:44

I could be the op as well, I could happily drink everyday but managed to cut myself down to a bottle of wine spread over 2 nights. I'm pregnant just now so haven't had anything for 8 months. Its definitely an unhealthy way to think about it and crave it so much though, I don't know what the solution is either.

Helltotheno Mon 06-May-13 23:10:09

I know plenty of people who attend AA and started attending for drinking habits that were more minor than the OP's. It's also about what you feel yourself about your attitude to alcohol... they're not there at the door turning you away because you're not 'alcoholic' enough.
But you're entitled to your opinion. I think the OP has a drink problem; you don't. Either way, it doesn't preclude her doing something about it.
Can I just repeat: you don't have to be drinking excessively or continually to have a drink problem.

Also, the OP can go to her GP and get as many tests as she likes, including a liver function test. That's what the GP is there for.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 06-May-13 23:17:16
Wuldric Mon 06-May-13 23:23:00

You really do not know what you are talking about. Have you ever tried to access help for alcohol problems from a GP? They would first ask you about consumption levels. The consumption levels here are ridiculously low. They will give you a liver function test. At these levels, the liver function test is guaranteed to come back normal. If you push very very hard, you might get referred to a dependency unit. Most GPs will tell you that they are not equipped to deal with alcohol issues. In fact I doubt the referral would be forthcoming at these consumption levels.

I can tell you what happens at dependency units if you like. It isn't very helpful, since these units also deal with people mainlining heroin. A minor interest in alcohol (and trust me, given their frames of reference, this is a very minor interest in alcohol) is not going to be their major priority. You will be entitled to 2 sessions or so with a nurse who will counsel you on avoiding alcohol, and a prescription will be available for a drug that makes you allergic to alcohol. They will also suggest some vitamin b. Jolly good. You will get as much benefit from that as you would a trip to your local pharmacist to buy vitamin b tablets.

BoreOfWhabylon Mon 06-May-13 23:26:39

The consumption levels are not ridiculously low and the OP has symptoms of liver damage (yellow eyeballs after binge).

OP, please see your GP.

Helpyourself Mon 06-May-13 23:36:55

I'm a recovering alcoholic, sober thanks to AA.
Try stopping and see how you feel. If you can't stop, or find yourself acting out in other ways, that would indicate you have a problem.
I wouldn't go to AA with the express intention of finding out that you're not an Alcoholic. I've been to hundreds of meetings and by definition noone is going to tell you you don't need to be there.

Wuldric Mon 06-May-13 23:38:56

Oh FFS!!! You are not listening.

Okay, OP. Go to your GP. Listen to the advice of all the people on the thread who have never experienced an alcohol problem. With luck, you'll get a liver function test. Yours will come back normal. Your GP will then explain to you that you don't have a problem with alcohol and that it's all an issue of will-power. You will push hard again and get a referral to an alcohol dependency unit. I've told you what happens there.

The trouble with being well meaning and ignorant, is that you lose a lot of time. AA are better btw, but your problems are so minor (now) that you will not get a lot of attention.

Helpyourself Mon 06-May-13 23:39:29

Here is a fantastic source of support- Mumsnet thread.

Helltotheno Mon 06-May-13 23:40:09

I suggested that she see her GP to get tests. Not that difficult.
Also, if the OP likes, she can walk into an AA meeting whenever she wants.
Who mentioned high dependency units? The discussion is not about the need for a high-dependency unit, it's about her recognising that she has a problem with alcohol and taking the first steps to do something about it.

Isiolo Mon 06-May-13 23:43:26

Hmm...I'm with wuldric re accessing help through GP. My XH was on 2 bottles of spirits a day, and was just told to go to AA

Once he was hospitalized, they sedated him for 48 hours to get through DTs, and then they told him to go to AA!

He had a liver function test, which came back normal, after years and tears of hard drinking. The doctors said, you are pretty end stage once your liver damage shows on a blood test.

Also, I don't know any alcoholic that could stretch a bottle of wine over more than 1 day. That is really unlikely

however if you feel your drinking is inappropriate, then you should go to AA. Does your drinking interfere with any aspect of your life?

Helpyourself Mon 06-May-13 23:43:32

What would you suggest the op does wul?
Genuine question grin I could have written her thread about 18 months before I stopped drinking. I think I needed that last year and a bit of drinking to get desperate enough to stop, but I don't know. What would you advise?

Isiolo Mon 06-May-13 23:49:32

helpyourself you did it...suggestion is to stop drinking huh, if she feels she doesn't have a healthy relationship with alcohol?

Isiolo Mon 06-May-13 23:51:00

My apologies help...you went to AA. blush I'll butt out...

Helpyourself Mon 06-May-13 23:56:11

Not at all. It's a conundrum- I certainly wouldn't have been told to go away if I'd rocked up at AA before I was ready, but sadly I think things to need to get pretty bad before alcoholics can stop.

Wuldric Mon 06-May-13 23:58:53

The brave babes is a great thread. Go there.

I've already made my suggestions to the OP. Stop drinking until 21 Sep (minimum), concentrate on eating and drinking healthily. and take some exercise.

Above all, do not believe there is some magic fix-it out there, provided by some external agency. There isn't. It's down to you, matey. But we're here to help.

Isiolo Tue 07-May-13 00:00:06

How useful would AA be at this stage?? I'm thinking, not really. If its Luke AlAnon, its not very direct is it. When you are ready for it, it is the best place to be in the world. But if you aren't really there yet....I imagine OP is looking for something else?

Wuldric Tue 07-May-13 00:05:11

The OP is flirting with alcohol addiction. In a very minor way. I'm just sayin, don't go there.

waterlego Tue 07-May-13 00:14:45

I do think 2 bottles of wine a week is quite a lot, actually. That's 20 units, which, contrary to what some have said, is well over the recommended guidelines for a woman (are you a woman OP?)

But actually, that's not the main issue here. It's the 'thinking about alcohol all the time' that certainly indicated a problem to me. The OP may not be excessive in her consumption but this preoccupation with alcohol isn't healthy, I don't think.

OP, I would second the posters who've suggested you set yourself a target for abstinence and see how you get on, but I also agree that a liver function test sounds like a good idea.

Good for you for confronting this if it makes you feel uncomfortable. All the best.

ImagineJL Tue 07-May-13 07:13:22

I think it is worth seeing your GP.

In my experience as a GP, one of the difficulties with treating alcoholics is that by the time their aberrant drinking behaviour is fully established, they're drunk a lot of the time and therefore counselling is very difficult. It is impossible to discuss why someone drinks, what the underlying anxieties etc are, when someone is either drunk or hungover and craving the next drink.

OP you clearly have some psychological issues, and your method of solving these is by drinking. However, at the moment you make a conscious decision not to drink a huge amount. The underlying problems are still there, and fortunately you haven't yet fully embarked on the "treatment" you feel you want. But I imagine it's only a matter of time, unless you tackle what it is that's making sober life so much less pleasant than being drunk.

So I would ask for anxiety counselling. There's a huge wait of course, but this has been going on for years so a few more weeks won't make any difference.

noddyholder Tue 07-May-13 07:15:21

If you feel powerless over alcohol it's an issue.

Isiolo Tue 07-May-13 07:15:27

It's a 2 year wait in our area for NHS counselling

Coffeeformeplease Tue 07-May-13 07:40:35

JL, that's probably spot on.
finding out about the underlying issues of any addictive behaviour is a long and difficult process.
Then recognising the triggers and finding alternative ways to deal with them another story.

OP if you think you have a problem, you have one.
The amount is irrelevant imo, because it can suddenly go up. Ask your gp for a referal for counselling, even if it takes forever. or go private if you can afford it. The underlying issues won't disappear over night.
Good luck!!

Groovee Tue 07-May-13 07:44:09

My dad had a liver transplant which we thought his liver had been damaged due to excessive drinking over the years. Then we discovered he had Haemacromatosis.

But we asked a question about drinking and the liver specialist gave us this answer "Put 10 people in the room, give them all the same amount of alcohol over a period of time, some will show signs of liver problems while it won't affect others at all. Everyone is different and how it affects each person is down to the individual and not something we can medically calculate."

A liver function test is easy to do. I have mine checked yearly due to the family history.

Good luck OP, admitting you may have a problem is a huge step and the first step in approaching the problem.

Oblomov Tue 07-May-13 08:00:05

I find this thread OTT about Op.
Although I certainly don't think about alcohol during the day. Plus it is not the only thing that relaxes me.
Or if it isn't, then I too have a problem. I can not drink for ages and then drink lots. I can have a whole bottle of low alcohol rose that can last days. Yet I can get a tiny bit tipsy and giggly. Neither of these things do I think is a problem.
All these people saying op may be an addict and needs to go and see her Gp? Seriously? Over 2 bottles of wine a week? I think those posters need a reality check. Do you have experience of what a GP might say? I agree with Wuldric.

Swiish Tue 07-May-13 08:01:01

Hi all, thanks again for your posts. I really appreciate it.

Blood tests two years ago showed I had a raised alk phos level and inflamed liver, but the gp said it probably wasn't alcohol related. It didn't improve so I had an ultrasound, but I believe that was normal. I'll call the GP today to ask about liver function tests.

Thanks again everyone.

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