How much time does a non-alcoholic spend thinking about alcohol? Not as much as a problem drinker, that’s for sure.
By the time most enter an alcohol treatment program for their drinking problem they are consumed by thoughts of alcohol. They may be proud of themselves because they didn’t drink during the workday. Part of the reason for the lack of drinking was likely related to having a major hang over during the first few hours…feeling way too bad to even think about drinking. But by lunch they are usually feeling well enough to focus on quitting time so they can get that first beer.
Drinking is Complicated
Many active alcoholics, hide their drinking from the people around them. They often describe being embarrassed about how much they drank. More importantly…they didn’t want anyone to interfere with their drinking.
Sometimes they buy multiple bottles of liquor and keep them in different parts of the house. They found that if they bought several brands of beer it was harder for their wives to keep up with how much they had gone through.
Trips to the grocery store would usually include some beer thrown onto the order. This way the alcohol would be buried in the other items as “groceries”.
Most alcoholics find this to all be very complicated and to take a lot of energy. Of course, sometimes they slip up or fail to be careful. When their wives found a stack of empty beer cans hidden somewhere they are terribly embarrassed. As one client put it, ” I look back on those days I’m amazed that I had energy for anything else”. He said he had to keep a constant inventory in his head of where everything was hidden. It was very exhausting and forced him to think about alcohol all the time.
Choosing Activities Based On The Availability of Booze
The only good reason to go to a wedding was for the open bar at the reception! Never mind the opportunity to share a very important day with people you love. That was certainly my attitude.
It expanded way beyond weddings, of course. I only went to restaurants where I could get a drink. I looked for social situations that would allow me to drink a bit more than was normally accepted. I loved to go to baseball games, cookouts and concerts. I cared little for the event itself…as long as I could get drinks there.
I have learned, from talking to a lot of others I have met during the course of my alcohol treatment, that this type of thinking is very common. On the other hand, “normal” drinkers rarely consider the presence of alcohol as an important factor.
Consumed By Thoughts of Alcohol
Being consumed by thoughts of alcohol is clearly one of the warning signs of alcohol dependence. If this type of thinking seems familiar to you, put a check in the “may have a problem” column. If that is the case, a good alcohol treatment program may be able to offer you some relief.
If you decide that you may be an alcoholic, please ask for help.
Other articles in this series…
5 Critical Clues to Know If You Need Alcohol Treatment
You May Need Alcohol Treatment If You Drink Too Much