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Posted by on in Alcoholism

In recent years an unprecedented trend has emerged, large numbers of very young people trying and often succeeding in getting sober. As a young person myself in recovery I asked myself for years if it was possible to be an alcoholic before I could even legally drink. Although I realized that I was ‘partying’ a little too much, I rationalized that all young people went through a drinking phase. I figured that when I got older I would learn to moderate my drinking. It took me a few years of mistakes and pain to realize that I indeed had a problem with alcohol, and my age was irrelevant. In December 2013, the month I got sober, I had just turned 21. At first I was unsure if I was an alcoholic because I was so young, and the thought of going the rest of my life without alcohol was agonizing. Now I am 23 and have been around enough addiction, recovery, and sobriety to try and help anyone wondering if they are too young to be an alcoholic.

The Sober Youth Movement

Eighty years ago, when Alcoholics Anonymous was started, most of the people recovering from alcoholism were from a narrow class of society. They were generally white males over age 40. Over the years more ethnic, social, and age groups have become part of alcoholics anonymous and enjoyed sobriety. The last few decades have seen a real influx of young people into AA and other recovery circles. However, some of the stigma about what an alcoholic ‘looks’ like still exists. Some people still think of the alcoholic as the old homeless bum or perhaps the reckless rock musician or movie star. A trip to the nearest local young peoples AA meeting will shatter those misconceptions. Adults young as age 18,19,20 are having problems with alcohol and more importantly seeking help. These young people meetings are becoming so common that states like Florida have their own chapter specifically designated for them. Major universities, such as UCF, are starting up support and social groups for college students in recovery. The CRC, a nationwide collegiate sobriety advocate, is spreading across campuses all over the United States. The point that I am making with these examples is that people are getting sober today younger than ever. In past years a 19-year-old in an AA meeting would have been a rarity, while today it is fairly common.  Coming to terms with alcoholism is much different for a twenty-year-old than it is for a middle-aged person with thirty years of drinking under their belt. The young person does not have as much experiences and history to reflect upon when deciding if they are an alcoholic. In the next passage I will explain how I personally answered that question about myself, and how I have seen others do the same.

Am I Too Young?

So is it possible to be too young to be an alcoholic? No. I feel alcoholism is something that is determined very early in life, with genetic influences occurring before even birth. The truth is that everyone has a different timeline of progression with their alcoholism. Some people report starting drinking at age 11 and having blackouts at age 15. Other alcoholics recall not losing control of their drinking til their 40’s or 50’s. Each person is unique and has a different story. Alcoholism, unlike most other diseases, requires a self-diagnosis. This means that a doctor, your parents, or friends can’t decide for you if your alcoholic. This must be decided upon by yourself. There are various traits and specific behaviors that make up the typical alcoholic, however not all alcoholics act the same, think the same, or even drink the same. Many newcomers in AA struggle with admitting they’re powerless, and this is even harder for the young alcoholic. In the next paragraph I will describe how I searched inside and answered the question I was struggling with; was I an alcoholic?

How I Decided I Was an Alcoholic

In trying to decide if I was an alcoholic I looked at a few aspects of my drinking patterns. I found that when I controlled my drinking, limiting it to one or two drinks, I did not really enjoy it. I was left wanting ‘more’. Likewise, I found that when I enjoyed my drinking I couldn’t control it. To me enjoying my drinking was getting fall-down drunk and either passing out or blacking out. Once I had taken about four or five drinks I reached a point of no-return. At this point I reached a level of euphoria and my brain told me that if four or five drinks felt this good, then ten or twelve drinks would feel even better. I realized that when I started drinking I almost always got drunk, often on purpose and other times unintentionally. I reflected on the reasons I drank. While drinking started as a way to party, socialize, and celebrate, drinking quickly became my escape from the responsibilities and reality of life. Alcohol was my answer to all of life’s problems, my way to deal with uncomfortable emotions like guilt, rejection, pain, fear, etc. In the last year of my drinking, alcohol became the center of my life. My day was centered around buying, obtaining, and drinking alcohol. Things like my college classes, my job, and my girlfriend got in the way of drinking. When I looked back on how alcohol controlled my thoughts, actions, and emotions, then I can see how truly powerless I was over my drinking. Next I looked back into the last few years to see if my life had become unmanageable during my drinking. It didn’t take long for me to see clearly how chaotic alcohol had made my life. I had been arrested, wrecked my car more than once, lost my girlfriend, and was nearly failing out of college. It is a wonder I couldn’t see the signs of my alcoholism before I came into AA. However, unmanageability doesn’t have to be that extreme. The real question to ask yourself should be, “is alcohol getting in the way of my goals and bringing difficulty or problems into my life?” Almost every sober alcoholic has a different experience of how they first admitted they were an alcoholic. Everyone travels different paths to get to the road of recovery. Meet with other sober alcoholics and listen to their stories, see if you can identify with what they are saying.

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-am-i-too-young-to-be-an-alcoholic/

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

One of the biggest problems people who are new to recovery encounter is how to fill up all their new free time. Before, our lives were consumed with thinking about drugs, finding drugs, and taking drugs. Rinse, and repeat. Keeping yourself busy is a challenge when you're new to recovery, and your life depends on succeeding. If you're left with too much idle time, it's too easy to return to using. What do you do when your life doesn't revolve around drugs or alcohol?


I wrote the books 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober and How to Have Fun in Recovery to help people transition to a sober lifestyle. These books offer suggestions on how to enjoy life sober and how to fill up your spare time. If you or anyone you know is struggling to enjoy life in recovery, I encourage you to check out my books.

 

 

Below is another exclusive from 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober. Here, you can read all of the suggestions for the month of February. Keep on with your quest to improve your life and enjoy it. There are so many interesting and fun things to do in this world, and you deserve to experience all life has to offer. If you enjoy this excerpt, please check out the rest in the Kindle store! You can also follow me on Twitter @LisaMHann

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

One of the biggest problems people who are new to recovery encounter is how to fill up all their new free time. Before, our lives were consumed with thinking about drugs, finding drugs, and taking drugs. Rinse, and repeat. Keeping yourself busy is a challenge when you're new to recovery, and your life depends on succeeding. If you're left with too much idle time, it's too easy to return to using. What do you do when your life doesn't revolve around drugs or alcohol?


I wrote the books 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober and How to Have Fun in Recovery to help people transition to a sober lifestyle. These books offer suggestions on how to enjoy life sober and how to fill up your spare time. If you or anyone you know is struggling to enjoy life in recovery, I encourage you to check out my books.

 

Below is an excerpt from 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober. Here, you can read all of the suggestions for the month of January. It's 2015 now, and it's the perfect time to start transforming your life into the one you want. There are so many interesting and fun things to do in this world, and you deserve to experience all life has to offer. If you enjoy this exclusive excerpt, please check out the rest in the Kindle store! It's actually an excellent book for anyone who's bored or looking for new ideas, recovery or not! You can also follow me on Twitter @LisaMHann

 

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

 

Hello, Addictionland! Happy New Year! I am so grateful to be your addiction expert for the month of January 2015! If you have any questions or want to talk, I encourage you to comment or contact me on Twitter @LisaMHann.

 

 

When I first entered recovery nearly five years ago, one of the questions I had was, "How am I going to have fun now?" I heard that question a lot from other newly recovered addicts, too, so I decided to write two ebooks dedicated to addressing that concern. How to Have Fun in Recovery and 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober offer practical solutions for all people who are struggling to enjoy life.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism
David Essel, M.S. is an Author, Radio and Television Host, Master Life and Business Coach, Adjunct Professor, All Faiths Minister, Addiction Recovery Coach and International Speaker. His mission is to inspire others to reach their own exceptional potential in their business and personal life.
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