This is a question I asked myself a lot over the years, and the conclusion I came to was ‘yes’.
Although never classed an alcoholic, when I filled out an AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) when joining a new doctors surgery my results were off the chart.
These are some of the questions which I failed miserably on:
1) How often during the last year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started? …..Eh, every time I have a drink.
2) How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking? …..Eh, every time I drink.
3) How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of drinking? ….Every weekend.
4) How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking? ….Every weekend.
My score was 19, and if your total is over 8 an alcohol use disorder is likely. My husband always believed I was being a drama queen when I said I thought I had a problem with alcohol, but this result showed things in a very worrying light.
How many of us have a drinking problem that we are not aware of? There are many of us out there that have a glass of wine in the evening to unwind, and quite a few that have at least the whole bottle over the weekend, perhaps more.
The World Health Organisation perceives me to have a problem as I toppled over their AUDIT line. But what is our government doing about this problem?
Personally I think this is a ticking time bomb. I am in my early forties and the majority of my peers drink: every night; to relieve stress; to block out problems; to give confidence.
But nobody seems to be tacking the underlying concerns directly, rather masking them with the veil of half price wine from Tesco. What about working through the issues that cause the problem? Alcohol is just the plaster covering a wound, wouldn’t it be wiser to take a look at why we fell over in the first place?
Only you know if you have a problem.
My drinking was way under the radar. Nobody thought I had a problem. But I was not happy with how I used alcohol to numb out, and how I was living a Jekyll and Hyde existence. For me:
Sober = I like myself
Drunk = I am vile, loud, embarrassing, and a risk-taking idiot.
I absolutely hated myself the next day, but just couldn’t seem to stop pouring the next glass of merlot. Being in that cycle is hard to see out of, the window is all steamed up and ‘clarity is someone else’s reality.’
It was a frustrating 6 years of self-flagellation, hangovers, deceit (I regularly lied to loved ones about how much I was drinking), ill-health and stress. Doing something over and over again that I didn’t want to do!
Some people have the odd drink here and there and score under 8. Maybe they are the lucky ones who can enjoy alcohol in a controlled way, or maybe I am the luckiest of them all because I have swept away all of the bullshit that society would like us to believe (it gives you confidence, it relaxes you, it improves social events, it supports you) to reveal the truth: alcohol is a poison and harms the body and mind. It is no longer in my blood/organs/thoughts and for that I really do believe I am the winner!
Now my life is in service to those ready to take the first steps out of addiction. I have no regrets as I believe all that I have been through is for a reason, and I now have a direct experience of addiction –which I use as a foundation to help others.
How could I possibly be able to assist in others’ recovery if I hadn’t been there already myself?
My first ‘Yoga for Addictions’ five day residential retreat takes place over New Year at my retreat centre in Lavenham, Suffolk. Ideal if you would like to move away from the confines of your drinking habit, and find out how amazing life could be if you lived in your fullest potential…….
I recently exhibited at the Yoga Show at London’s Olympia and was surprised how many people came by the stand to share with me that alcohol is having a hugely negative impact on a loved ones life. Brothers, daughters, partners, sons, mothers, I witnessed an endless trail of destruction that this poison has ravaged through peoples lives.
I’m so lucky to be free now and honestly believe my life’s purpose is to support, guide, and motivate others to break down the barriers and find peace with themselves as I have done through yoga, meditation, nutrition and coaching.
Copyright: Jo De Rosa November 2013