Imagine this: you have been infected with a deadly disease. You feel ill, helpless, and unable to control your life since you have this disease. Your symptoms include blackouts, injuries from blackouts, difficulties relating to people, headache and nausea. So you visit your physician, who runs a lot of tests takes care of your injuries, headache and nausea – the asks you to diagnose your disease! You get sent home with your symptoms cared for, but your disease untreated.
Sounds silly, doesn't it? But that is what happens to many addicts. Addicts often may get treated for injuries and illnesses they have acquired because of their addiction, but not for the addiction itself.
Hello, my name is Robb. I am a recovered alcoholic and addict. My purpose and my passion is to educate and assist those with alcohol addiction. One case history of an alcoholic whose symptoms and not his disease were treated is Ron. Ron was a successful young executive earning nearly $100,000 a year, married, with children. He began to have dizzy spells, nausea, and blackouts. Eventually the left side of his face began to droop, and he could not move his left arm and leg. His coloring was yellowish, and he began to have grand mal seizures – once while driving with his family in the car over a long bridge crossing an area lake. Fortunately, on that day his family and he narrowly escaped a potentially fatal car accident.
Practically every medical test imaginable was run on Ron. He was always routinely asked, "do you drink excessively?" by each new physician, specialist, or surgeon at the start of the exam, and he would answer "no." Since he hid his need for alcohol and he didn't drink at home, his wife and family could offer no clues. Then the baffled physician, specialist, or surgeon would test him for something else, from spinal meningitis, to Lou Gehrig's disease, to epilepsy and disorders of the brain. He took a great many prescriptions, some of which were very new, and because of repeated seizures (caused from attempts to withdraw from alcohol) he lost his driver's license for a year. As no cause was found, he went to counseling. The counselor treated him for depression. The marriage, already stressed from his time away from his work and the untreated alcoholism, became even more strained and eventually ended in divorce. But even so, Ron was lucky; because although he spent several years in blackout and oblivious denial, he eventually came to grips with his alcoholism, and is alive today.
So, how can you tell if you have a disease, or are just a social drinker? Here is a brief list of major signs of alcohol dependency. Answered honestly with a YES or a NO, these questions often reveal alcohol issues:
- Have you tried to stop drinking, but only lasted for a couple of days?
- Do you wish others would stop interfering with your decision to drink?
- Have you had problems connected with drinking in the last 12 months?
- Do you think you can stop when you want, even though you get drunk when you don't mean to?
- Have you ever had a blackout after you drink, and you can't remember what happened?
If even ONE of these questions is answered with YES, help may be needed and I urge you to get it, immediately, before you inflict harm to anyone or experience any losses in your life.