I spent the first 18 years of my life dealing with an alcoholic, and it is a subject I’d prefer to avoid now. Simply put, living with an alcoholic is a miserable existence. They aren’t the funny, lovable and laughable characters TV or fiction portray them as. They are creatures who are so wrapped up in a mind altering substance, that they affect not just their lives, but everyone around them. Alcohol kills brains cells, which are irreplaceable.
Alcoholics are also extremely misunderstood.
Now having said that, let me also say that because someone drinks more than he or she should, doesn’t mean he or she is an alcoholic. And just because someone doesn’t drink, doesn’t mean he isn’t.
A true alcoholic can go for days, weeks and even a lifetime without. What distinguishes him from any other person is that once he’s taken that first drink, he can’t stop drinking until that point when he get’s sick or passes out. And until that day when the average person actually witnesses the panic having one drink causes the true alcoholic, and I do mean panic, there really is no way to understand what I mean. Alcoholics will toss all other concerns aside until he finds the next drink, and then the next drink after that. That’s where the stories originate about the alcoholic drinking mouth wash, cough syrup or even cologne. Deny the alcoholic a second drink and he will do anything to get it, or drink anything in its place.
Knowing that should lay to rest another misconception about alcoholism. I’ve been told alcoholics don’t drink beer and wine, or that they will only drink hard liquor, like whiskey or vodka, in order to satisfy their needs. That isn’t true. If a beverage has alcohol in it, once the alcoholic has taken that first drink, his intention is to continue the flow of alcohol into his system. If he achieves that by drinking beer, wine, or cough syrup, then he will.
Another misconception is that drugs are worse than alcohol. A drug addict, after all, is consumed by drugs. Everything he or she does is controlled by that need for drugs. When an alcoholic drinks, he is just as consumed. Where a drug addict’s intake affects his health directly, the intake of an alcoholic can also be a direct threat to others. Most of us know someone with a DUI, someone who was struck by a drunk driver, or someone who actually caused an accident because his reactions were dulled or confused by his alcohol intake. As I said, a true alcoholic needs to continue drinking even if it means getting into a vehicle and driving to the closest bar or liquor store to replenish his stock. A non alcoholic might have enough sense to realize that he’s better off sleeping it off than to take the keys and go. This is why modern experts consider alcohol a drug and alcoholics drug addicts.