If you are an alcoholic or know someone who is, it’s important to ask for help. But don’t stop there! Take it a step further by learning all you can about alcoholism. There are biological predispositions to alcohol and alcohol doesn’t affect everybody the same. This list will try to explain why it is so confusing to understand yourself or the person that you’re with if they’re an alcoholic.
An abstainer is the personality of someone who has not been impacted by any kind of chemical, any kind of addiction, and certainly not alcohol. This first personality is really for most people who aren’t born addicted or born with some kind of influence of alcohol from the mother. Alcohol is not part of their life.
A drinker is someone who has a high tolerance for alcohol and doesn’t get intoxicated or drunk. Drinking is different for every person because of their level of tolerance. If you are a “drinker personality” in the beginning your mood might not change too much. Because of a high tolerance to alcohol, this personality may not act intoxicated or drunk. But alcoholism is a progressive disease and as the tolerance increases so does the susceptibility to succumb to the disease.
The Person in Withdrawal
When an alcoholic stops drinking, they are in withdrawal. Their cells have adapted to drinking, so their cells crave alcohol when they don’t drink. Their body goes through physical withdrawal such as shaking and trembling. Some people become extremely angry in the withdrawal process. At the same time, their anxiety and depression increase. All of these things happen in the withdrawal phase. Unfortunately, many people drink again because of the physical response to not having alcohol.
The Toxic Personality
A toxic brain happens when a person drinks so much that their system cannot process alcohol. There’s so much of it, they can’t process all of it and get it out of their system. It’s as if their brain is on fire; it’s like they’re emotionally augmented. They don’t experience anger—it’s rage. They don’t experience sadness—it’s depression. To begin the process of healing, the toxic brain needs about 30 days without any alcohol—and a 12 step program, along with good nutrition—before being able to revive a healthy brain.
One of the most difficult personalities of an alcoholic is that of the dry alcoholic. They’re not drinking, but they’re not repairing the damage that was done. They’re hanging on for dear life. They try to control other people—they’re out of control themselves. For example, they’re full of bitterness and may even be abusive. The dry alcoholic is miserable to live with. When they drank, they ‘medicated’ with alcohol and now they are living in the pain. Working a plan of recovery is the way they can find healing without returning to alcohol.
The sober personality has witnessed their life lose control and they have taken their life back. They are in the process of recovery in every area of their life: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. That the horrible thing in their life became the excuse to get better, to grow, to get healthy, to develop character, and to work on the soul. The world that was closed to them is now wide open! They can’t help but to go out and try to help someone else get into recovery. They want to share the blessing they’ve experienced from overcoming alcoholism.
If you live with an alcoholic, you probably have seen all six of these personalities. We hope and pray that you realize if you want to help them get to that sober place, many times it takes a bold move on the part of somebody near them to usher them into a healthy place.
And if you’re an alcoholic and you see that you’ve been through these things before, there is a life for you. You don’t think it exists; you think you can’t exist without the alcohol; you’re so addicted to it you can’t imagine your life without it. Either things will get so bad you can’t help but give it up or, they’ll get so bad that you’ll die…die from alcoholism. One way or the other, you’re going to give it up. Give it up now and begin to experience the life you were meant to experience—loving, giving, connecting and free from alcohol.