I’ve been pretty lazy about posting and have been spending my time doing other things, mostly shopping. I shop a lot. I don’t even buy that much, just therapeutically shopping away, searching for the PERFECT boots and the PERFECT flats. I feel a void in my closet lacking these sublime objects. I’m afraid this feeling is leaking over into my life in the form of low-grade generalized discontent. Not sure if the shopping is a symptom or a cause.
I’ve also been putting some energy into pondering what will be my long-term sobriety and the reasons why this must be. I absolutely accept that drinking does not work for me, for my body, for my brain. That’s not even negotiable. What I’m chewing on is “what does that mean?”
Does that mean that I have a disease (like the Medical Model) or that I am powerless over alcohol (like the AA Model)? Am I broken, or am I actually WORKING PROPERLY?? Did I do this to myself?? Does it matter?? So to shush the hysterical inquisitive voice in my head, of course I googled about until I had some satisfactory answers.
First of all, I kept coming across the term “Alcohol Use Disorder” or AUD, which I really dig! Most of the research concludes that, for various reasons involving tiny objects inside your brain, both long-term excessive and binge drinking (chronic & acute) can lead to this disorder, referred to by some as alcoholism.
Further googley research uncovered this interesting factoid: AUD is the combination of two former designations: Alcohol Abuse (mental) and Alcohol Dependence (physical) from the DSM!! Which is SUPER CONVENIENT and alcohol addiction is now all-inclusive ONE STOP SHOPPING. Here’s the handy revised and easy-to-read-and-self-diagnose chart (also found here but you have to scroll):
It’s way less specific than a lot online tests that insist you have to lose your job, alienate all family members and generally smell in order to qualify. Personally, I pegged 9 out of 11 on the blue list. DING DING DING!! Winnah! So yah, I’m totally AUD, folks.
This actually makes me feel better. So much of Alcohol/Sobriety Industrial Complex revolves around feelings and cravings and triggers and things you can’t touch or see. It clearly defines the effect of heavy drinking but it cares little for the cause. I’m not saying the cause isn’t important, just that Science doesn’t give a shit about anything fluffy like that. But this model definitely separates the person from the disorder and that’s what I enjoy about it. It’s a solid go-to for “Why I Can’t Drink Any Alcohol At All Ever Amen”.
Clearly, we’re still all left with the reasons we over-drank and got to the point where our brains changed into thirsty alcohol sponges. Some of them are complex, some are obvious. Some are induced by short-term stress and some are the result of long term trauma. For moi, it was an easy solution to a temporary problem and I only ever intended it to be temporary. BUT THEN I GOT THE AUD. Shit. Bad luck for me.
Normally, the best thing about figuring out “what you have” is that now you can seek a cure. Ha-HA! That’s where Science fails us- no fucking cure. Not yet anyway. That sounds like A BIG PROBLEM, doesn’t it? But of course it isn’t. Because the only way to manage (not cure, only manage) the AUD is not to drink, which puts us personally 100% in control of our health. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that we’re rather on our own to figure out how we’re going to pull that shit off and just casually NEVER DRINK AGAIN, you know, for medicinal purposes. And then again, maybe that’s the good news, too.
So, here’s a thought experiment: if your AUD/Alcoholism/Alcohol Dependence (whatever you prefer to call it) could be cured- let’s say there was medication that would fix your brain and return it to its virginal pre-drinking state- would you try “normal” drinking again?