Surprise! I'm an alcoholic. It's actually quite funny, because the only person that news surprised was ME. People saw my behavior, and they knew.
A lot of people reach out to me with questions about whether they're alcoholic or not. First of all, I'm not a doctor. (I'm lucky to even have a Marketing degree - I don't even remember being in class.) But I do have my own experience, and I've heard plenty of stories from other alcoholics. Here are 5 common themes:
1) If you think you MIGHT be an alcoholic, there's a strong chance you are. Non-alcoholics don't have to wonder. Some people have the ability to just not drink, and they won't miss it. I'm not one of those people. If you have trouble with the thought of not drinking, something's up.
2) If a loved one has told you that you have a problem, you probably do. It's devastating to hear that news - I've been there. The one I truly loved had to look me in the eyes and say, "Zack...you need help."
3) If you believe in your heart that drinking makes situations better, something is up. I know that, again, because I've been there. Drinking made my hands stop shaking, it made my anxiety disappear, it made life better, and I just didn't see why any rational person would live without it. I was completely dependent on the effects of alcohol, and I didn't even know it.
4) If you have trouble stopping after 2 drinks, it's worth some soul-searching. I used to hate people who could have a beer at dinner and then go home. Those were NOT my people. My logic was, "Why would I stop after two drinks? That's just an appetizer."
5) If this post makes you feel angry, you may want to look at yourself. I felt enraged when my parents suggested Alcoholics Anonymous to me. When my doctor told me to try not drinking, I found a new doctor. And when people judged me for partying, I found new friends. I was angry because I couldn't imagine life without drinking. And to be completely honest, I'm still amazed with each passing day that I don't drink.
Tomorrow will be 30 months of sobriety for me. No drinking, no cocaine, no smoking weed, no popping pills - 30 months of pure living. I haven't been perfect. I still screw up every day, and I still have a ton of inner battles. But I haven't had to drink or do drugs, and that is a miracle. My definition of a miracle: something that only comes from God.
I hope this helps someone, somewhere, someday. I'm glad I'm an alcoholic, because now I have a ton of life experience that helps me enjoy the wonders of life today. It helped me learn that I'm not alone in this world. Everyone struggles, and admitting my struggles made me stronger. Life is 100% amazing today, and I have 30 months of sobriety to thank for that.