Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, right behind tobacco and poor diet/physical inactivity. That means approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year, the most dire and irreversible cases of the 14 million who abuse alcohol. 14 million alcoholic adults means that one in every 13 American adults has a drinking problem.
The fact that this problem is so widespread marks it as an easy one to have an a difficult one to overcome. For all of these people, alcohol is the most important thing in their life — one of the markers of alcohol dependancy.
Drinking daily, often within hours of waking up, is another sign, as are feelings of guilt over drinking and being reprimanded over alcohol intake by friends or family.
In the wake of Demi Lovato’s recent overdose (though it was opiate-related, Lovato has had alcohol dependency issues in the past as well), we decided to look for inspiration. Alcoholism is difficult to overcome, but it is by no means impossible.
The first step, of course, is to admit that you have a problem. An AskReddit thread invited users to explore their struggles with alcoholism, specifically their “and then I realized I was an alcoholic” moments.
A surprising amount of the 4,000 responders mentioned how reading the thread made them realize they were themselves in denial. All of these people took steps to improve their lives, and will hopefully serve as inspiration to those who have yet to start.
22. This is not an uncommon tactic:
“When I started rotating what stores I went to for beer so that people wouldnt think I had a problem.”
21. Withdrawal sucks.
“When I tried to go a day without drinking and I got the shakes. Yeah. I had the full blown seizures as well. As soon as I got out of the hospital I went back and drank. This happened four times until I finally went to rehab. I celebrated 6 months sober over Christmas.”
20. Sounds like a wakeup call.
“When I woke up from falling flat on my face in front of about 50 people I’ve known 20+ years at my best friend’s little sister’s graduation party at 11 in the morning.”
19. Your body might shut down before you realiez you’ve got a problem.
When I went on a 14 week binge, barely ate or didn’t eat at all for a few days, blacked out a few days.
I realized my alcoholism was out of control when I woke up one night, there up, stood up, got very light headed. I basically crawled to the bathroom, puked blood.
The next morning I took a shit it was bloody, went n got more alcohol. Took a piss, it was bloody. I skipped going to a doctor, I went sober cold turkey. Scariest f**king week of my life.
18. Being aware there’s a problem is the first step.
I got 8 nice bottles of wine for Christmas, and drank them all within a week. I am a petite woman, so a bottle or more of wine a day is a lot.
I denied having a drinking problem for years because I would never blackout, usually made it to work on time, would make it until late afternoon or evening before drinking, had good relationships, and was generally successful in life.
But I also wake up hung over and feel like shit almost everyday so, yea alcoholism is a terrible thing that I have yet to overcome.
17. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
“When they put handcuffs on me and took my ass to jail.”
16. It’s true that alcoholism runs in families.
I’m an alcoholic. You’d think watching my dad kill himself slowly with vodka and beer for twenty years would be enough to make me stop, but it isn’t. Have you ever seen someone die from alcohol abuse? It’s pretty fucking messy.
My dad died at 57, ten years after he was first diagnosed with cirrhosis. It was really hard to watch. I guess I drink because I like it. I don’t drink the way my dad did (only red wine and only in the evening) but I do it everyday; once I realized I was drinking a bottle + a night, I knew I had a problem.
I haven’t done anything about it yet, but it’s on my mind at least, which is a start.
Edit: my dad is in an urn on my shelf. No one really came to his funeral.
15. Unfortunately, some people don’t care enough even when they’re at this point:
When I couldn’t remember my last dry day.
14. Sounds like your wife is the real deal.
When I realized my morning routine was:
-waking up at 4 AM regardless of what time I passed out
-Chugging a 32 oz bottle of water next to my night stand to dilute the bile I was going to throw up in 5 minutes.
-Stripping naked to see what bruises I got the night before so I could explain them away.
-Checking my wife’s Facebook page so I could fake remembering what we did the night before.
-Wondering if I had enough money/booze stashed away to continue living this hell I called my life.
Luckily my wife and friends got me into AA and saved me.
13. 26 is still young.
“My heart was pretty much dying but I continued drinking.
I drank hard for about 2 years straight, almost every night. Every morning after drinking I would have crazy heart palpitations and extreme anxiety but I drank every night any way.
One night when I had a friend over my heart started racing and palpitating while I was drunk and I was convinced I was going to die. Friend called 911, medics came but I was fine by the time they got there.
I slowed down drinking but I still drank 3 or 4 times a week afterward, and it finally occurred to me a month or so after that. I was like “damn, alcohol is literally killing my heart and I’m still drinking.”
I finally quit altogether 7 or 8 months ago and have lost 60 pounds since, I’m eating healthier and exercising, and I’m much better. I still have quirky issues with my heart sometimes but that’s improving as time passes.
Sad thing is that I’m only 26 and heart disease runs hard in my family.”
12. “Push it deep down and keep and eye on it.”
I treated my alcoholism like they did in that episode of Always Sunny. I somehow convinced myself that because I was able to wait until 5 pm I was “just a kid having fun.”
Eventually I would get more and more drunk to the point of being completely out of my mind (thankfully nothing happened to me or anyone else). I have been about 1 month without drinking (aside from having 1 or 2 beers on New Years) and that was it. I’m told I look clearer.