I quit drinking alcohol 2 years ago because it was dominating my life but I never really felt that the word ‘alcoholic’ applied to me. My dad was a classic, first thing in the morning, 2 bottles of whiskey a day alcoholic and I was never that. I was heading that way though. I wished there was a list of early warning signs of a drink problem. …… (Wait for it)
For me, drinking loads and feeling out of control of my relationship with alcohol felt, not like being an alcoholic, but like being under a spell – the alcohol spell.
But what does that really mean? Did the idea of the alcohol spell make sense to other drinkers? Could I make a list of alcohol spell criteria? Early warning signs of a drink problem?
Crowd Sourcing From One Of The Kindest Communities In The World
I went online, and I visited all the amazing support forums I have been part of since quitting alcohol. I put this question up:
“What are the early warning signs of a drink problem? Not signs of alcoholism but EARLY warning signs. How could someone tell that they are under the alcohol spell, so to speak?”
I had so many responses to the question. Ex-drinkers from all over the world: men, women, professionals, retirees, all ages and creeds. How wonderful are ex-drinkers? The mere mention of helping people who are stuck with alcohol and they jump to action.
The idea of The Alcohol Spell struck an instant chord and responders were fast and witty in their replies. I offered my thoughts and people added theirs and together we created a great list of early warning signs that someone might have a drink problem and be under The Alcohol Spell.
Here are The Alcohol Spell Criteria.
Do you ever …
- Make rules about alcohol but constantly break them?
- Report excitedly to friends if you managed not to drink for more than four or five days?
- Avoid occasions that don’t involve booze?
- Drink faster than others and then get distracted until you get your refill?
- Watch the clock until 6pm when you can have a drink?
- Wonder if you have a problem with alcohol?
- Drink alcohol even though you don’t want to?
- Empty the bin just so people don’t see how much you drank?
- Avoid venues you need to drive to?
- Lie to a doctor about your drinking?
- Have conversations in your head with alcohol?
- Plan to drink one glass but find it hard to stop?
Side-note: my favourite response was from a lady on Soberistas. She said that she would go to the fridge before work in the morning and whisper to the waiting, cooling bottle of wine,
‘I’ll see YOU later.’
I would have been a yes for every single one of The Alcohol Spell Criteria, but I doubt a doctor would have labelled me alcohol dependent. How did you fair? Have you been really honest with your answers? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are under The Alcohol Spell.
You Can Wake Up From The Alcohol Spell
Some people are sleep walking into liver cirrhosis although they do not qualify as having an alcohol use disorder. Others are numbing their senses every evening with a beer or 2 and they hadn’t noticed the gradual decline in their energy levels and self-confidence. For me the alcohol spell was a relationship with booze that had gone from being fun to completely abusive – an almost daily battle with myself to not drink but regularly failing, leaving me feeling powerless and weak.
You can wake up from the alcohol spell, just like I did, and when you do you will wonder why you slept for so long.