As founder of The Alcohol Coach, this is the question I am asked most often. It is also a question full of dread, and connotations of down and-outs on park benches drinking out of paper bags. It’s a question loaded with social stigma, and so of course it makes us feel incredibly uncomfortable and fearful.
The question is very easy to answer.
I know that is highly controversial.
As a successful, intelligent and capable person you will have challenged ideas and concepts many times before in your life and career. Now I’d like you to take a fresh look at alcohol for a few minutes. Let’s challenge the whole idea of alcoholism for a moment and explore why there is no such thing as an alcoholic.
If there was a disease called alcoholism, have you ever wondered:
- At what specific point does the normal drinker becomes an alcoholic? and
- How specifically is this disease, alcoholism, diagnosed?
If you haven’t, then please pause for a moment to consider the questions.
The answer to both questions is that there is no answer. There is no way of knowing exactly when a person goes from being a normal drinker to becoming an alcoholic, and there is no clear diagnosis. It is not something that can be examined medically, and a medical conclusion drawn. You can’t have a scan or a blood test, or any other test to assess whether you have the so-called disease. When I visited my doctor to ask if I was an alcoholic, he said that it was a question that I’d have to answer myself!
Would you believe in a disease with no diagnosis? One that people have been known to be cured from just by changing the way they think, by reading a book, and by listening to people like me. I’m not aware of any disease on the planet that fits any of those criteria.
Let’s consider smoking for a moment. 90% of people in the Western hemisphere used to smoke cigarettes. But there are no smokaholics who suffer a lifelong disease of smokoholism, are there? It is well understood that smokers are addicted to nicotine, and that the problem of smoking is caused by the nicotine addiction. Nicotine is an addictive drug, and repeated use of an addictive drug leads to addiction.
Someone who chain smokes is a smoker, and someone who drinks themselves to despair is a drinker. Can you see how it is all degrees of the same thing?
There is no such thing as an alcoholic.
But there are millions of women out there who find themselves, like I was, conned by alcohol, trapped, and addicted. Not being an alcoholic does not mean you don’t have a serious alcohol problem and an addiction.
Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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