I got into an argument recently with a good friend about whether alcoholism is a disease or a habit. I viewed the discussion as a “fight” but he views it as a “difference of opinion”. I made a comment suggesting friends would help me if I had a disease like diabetes or high cholesterol but not help me quit drinking. He said the first two are diseases but the last is a habit. I have been stressed about going sober, what caused me to go sober, and other changes in my current life. I was too stressed to have this disagreement. This conversation was online so I blocked him as a temporary solution. But I can not stop continuing to debate the topic in my mind.
I believe I have a disease. I do not have physical withdrawal signs but my drinking problem is a disease. If it was not, I would be able to control the way I drink. A bottle of wine would not be followed by “only a few more glasses.” Habits can be controlled.
I have done “drinking breaks” a few times the past two years. I have gone without alcohol for 30 days and abstained for the last two months of 2013. I have friends that use my breaks as proof I do not have a problem. But they do not know the history of my drinking and mistakes.
It has been an abusive relationship. There have been honeymoon periods and great memories. Much like a woman will stay with a husband that beats her, I have stayed with a substance that has destroyed my life in so many ways. It is a pychological disease that can have physiological symptoms.
That does not relieve a person of taking personal responsibility for their disease. You are responsible for your response. You either acknowledge your disease and fight it or ignore it and let it kill you. Because my drinking problem will kill me one way or another if I do not stop. (Or someone else.) I have had close calls and never fully appreciate the 2nd chances and the 3rds and 4ths. I thank my god that I never seriously harmed anyone and that I have survived.
I think some friendships are like bad habits. Going sober will show me which habits need to be changed.
Mistake #6: I had a huge fight on vacation with a boyfriend and lost stuff. We were staying at a bungalow on a beach. We started drinking beers at dinner with friends. We argued a bit throughout the night. I think it was arguments typical for he and I but neither of us were sure. We had to take a water taxi from the bars to our bungalow. I think we fought in the taxi. Then we fought on the beach.
I woke up the next morning in our bed with a huge hangover. He said his passport was missing. We took inventory of what was missing. I was missing clothes. My shoes were gone. My cell phone and camera were both broken from water damage. His prescription glasses were missing. My sunglasses were gone. We both spent the day searching the beach. We both kept questioning each other about what happened. Why were we fighting? What caused it? Would we have fought if not so drunk? How much did we drink? Did our neighbors hear us?
Throughout the day we found almost everything again. My shirt was hanging in a tree. My skirt was on a log. One shoe was on a rock and another on a step of a restaurant. (Did I try skinny dipping drunk?) He found his passport right by the bungalow. My sunglasses were on the sand but with scratched up lenses. We never found his glasses nor the answers to our questions. It was our worse night on that trip.