10 Things I Wish I had Known Earlier About Alcoholism
10 Things I Wish I had Known Earlier About Alcoholism
Practically everyone at some point in their aging lives looks back and wishes they had done some things differently. Many people probably look back and wish they had known more about alcoholism before they became alcohol abusers.
In young adult years, everyone (or at least that’s what you think) is partying and drinking, going to bars and attending social activities where alcohol is always readily available. At the time, you feel so glamorous and grown up. You fit in with the social group and get invited to parties all the time. What a fun group to belong to, right? Well in looking back, maybe that wasn’t such a fun group! I just wish I had known more about alcoholism then.
1.) The Long-Term Effects I Wish I had Known about Alcoholism
I wish I had known how long-term use of alcohol would deteriorate my body. Early in my drinking years, I never thought about the ill-effects of alcohol. I simply thought that people went out for a fun evening of drinking, partying, and having a good time. I mean, who at the age of 20 to 30 thinks about alcoholism or their physical health. Not me!
What I wish I had known was how long-term alcohol use affects your kidneys, your liver, your brain, every single organ in your body.
In case you don’t know, some of the long-term effects of alcohol include:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Heart disease
- Premature aging
- Nerve damage
- Psychological disorders
- Different types of cancer
- Changes in the brain linked to dementia
Yes, I wish I had known or had at least wondered about alcoholism and what long-term alcohol use would do to me physically. Everyone should educate themselves about alcoholism before it happens to them.
2.) The Cost of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Another thing I wish I had known earlier was how much my alcoholism would cost me. The amount of money I have spent on liquor, beer, wine, and mixers could be a great asset to me right now. And that is only what I have stocked my home with. What about all the money I have spent going to bars and having drinks when I go out to restaurants for dinner?
3.) Time Lost with Family and Other Loved Ones
I wish I had known earlier how much precious time I would lose with family and other loved ones because of my drinking. The times I was asked to participate in family functions or other visits with friends and I didn’t because I wanted to go home and drink can never be gotten back. Once these opportunities have passed, you can’t change them. You will look back one day with deep regret.
4.) How Alcohol Affects Personal Relationships
My personal relationships always seemed to end in disaster. It’s hard to have a good relationship with another person when alcohol or drugs are in the mix. It is hard (if not impossible) to maintain a healthy relationship when alcohol is in the middle of that relationship. Many personal relationships (whether married or unmarried couples) deteriorate because of alcohol-induced problems.
For instance, alcohol can be detrimental to these parts of a relationship:
- Shared values
In other words, all parts of personal relationships are affected by alcohol abuse and addiction.
5.) Risky Behaviors Taken While Drinking Alcohol Like Driving
One of my biggest regrets and one of the things I wish I had known earlier was that risky behaviors taken while intoxicated would follow me years later. For instance, driving while intoxicated not only affected my life but that of others also.
Receiving a fine and driving violation for driving impaired was only the beginning of my troubles. I wrecked my car and could have killed my friends and myself along with that. I did end up with scars and health problems that would follow me the rest of my life, along with the constant memories of that experience.
6.) Risky Behaviors Taken While Intoxicated Like Having Unprotected Sex
Alcohol is directly related to STDs. Many otherwise shy individuals drink alcohol at social functions to loosen up and be more socially outgoing. While a few drinks may raise your self-esteem and improve your personality, too many drinks may make you sexually promiscuous. Many sexually transmitted diseases come from individuals being intoxicated and taking risks with unprotected sex. Young individuals need to think about this factor before it is too late and they have contracted an STD, some of which last a lifetime.
7.) I Wish I Had Known what Emotional Addiction to Alcohol Was
I didn’t realize it when I was younger but I was emotionally addicted to alcohol. I wasn’t physically dependent upon it. However, I thought that alcohol had to be included in my activities for me to have fun. This is a falsehood. You can have just as much (if not more) fun sober as you can when you are drinking alcohol.
The fun memories that you have as you get older are not the memories of drinking alcohol; they are the memories of the friends you were with and what you were doing. Laughing until your stomach and your cheeks hurt can be done just as easily sober as when drinking alcohol.
8.) True Contentment does Not Come in a Bottle of Alcohol
I wish I had known earlier in my life that true contentment does not come in a bottle. At one point in my life, I worked and went home and drank until I passed out. That is what my life consisted of. I didn’t realize how miserable my life had become. My work did not make me happy and drinking alcohol did not make me happy. Today, now that I am sober, I feel content and at peace with my life and the world around me. I enjoy the simple things in life like a baby’s laughter, hearing the birds sing, and just watching the amazing wonderful world in which I live. Every day is a joy.
9.) That I Needed Help Before I Realized I Did
One of the main things I wish I had known earlier is that I needed help before I actually did realize it. I could have had a better life without alcohol a long time ago if I had only listened to others who suggested that I go to rehab for my condition. But being younger, I thought I knew it all and I knew that I did not have a problem and did not need help.
What I didn’t know was that I was in denial about my alcoholism. Yes, I said it, “I was an alcoholic.” Only when I faced this fact and sought addiction help did my life start to change for the better. I learned that I didn’t have to have a drink in my hand every time I went out to dinner or socializing with friends. I could have a much better time sober.
10.) How Liberating it Would be to Live a Sober Life in Recovery
Today, I have completed my alcohol addiction treatment from A Forever Recovery (an inpatient facility) and am living alcohol-free. I am healthy and happier than I have been in a long time. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do this sooner before I did a lot of the damage I have done to myself.
But, just remember it is never too late to correct your problems and get over your insecurities. You too can be helped with drug and alcohol addiction. Find a reputable, licensed inpatient addiction treatment facility and take your life back. Don’t let addiction destroy the rest of your life. Get the help you need and deserve.
niaaa.nih.gov – Alcohol’s Effects on the Body