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With both alcoholics and sociopaths, there are behaviors that are seen as symptomatic (such as say being deceitful and manipulative). My question is: How does this happen? Is there a sociopath conspiracy in which they share their tricks and use this knowledge to con people? Is there an alcoholics conspiracy in which they share their tricks?
Alcohol is a chemical; and if it affects personality to this extent, then the question to be asked is what is personality. Is it a matter of brain chemistry or is it a matter of choice? And if it is brain chemistry, where is the incentive to be a good person?
The Alcoholics Anonymous see alcoholism as a sickness. Others see it as lack of willpower. I've definitely known alcoholics and ex-alcoholics who were strong enough people; and I am sure that in many cases it really is an illness. Some populations lack the genes to process alcohol; you give them a glass of wine, they are hooked for life. Native Americans and Australian aborigines are two such populations, and both have been completely devastated by alcoholism.
I think that both chemicals and choice have a part in alcoholism, in some people more chemicals and in other people more choice. In both cases it is important to recognize the underlying causes and act appropriately. With Native Americans and Australian aborigines, the cause is biological. With many among the white people, the cause is choice.
Having had an alcoholic rommate, I've seen from him some completely disgusting behaviors. How much of it is a result of alcoholism and how much is his personality, I do not quite know. What I do know is that alcoholism sucks, and that it should be treated effectively. If you have a drinking problem: Go to AA, go to a psychiatrist, cure this problem before it destroys you.
I agree that it is part sickness and part choice. I won't lean on my Native American roots to push my past poor choices in the direction of sickness though. I never had the deep thirst that alcoholics talk about in meetings. I simply wanted to be numb and that numbness extended to envelope a lot more. I no longer cared how I behaved when drunk or hungover and these states described nearly 100 percent of my waking hours.
I stopped. Drinking? No, I stopped being a drunk. I have alcohol in the house. I bought four beers sometime in January. My favorite kind. I drank one and am waiting for an occasion to have another. I don[t want the empty calories and I prefer chocolate so ... the three beers have just been taking up space for two months. I also have a bottle of vodka. I bought it for a reason that never manifested. Last week a friend was over and she asked for a shot. I poured out two and we both tipped back our glasses. It tasted like I remembered and as it was only a shot it didn't affect me much. I put the bottle back in the cabinet and there it will remain until ... it may be there for a while.
Amazingly, the alcohol events I just described did not send me down a slippery slope of sordid behavior nor did the glass of wine I had in the airport in California last November. That event almost resulted in me spitting out the horrible vintage but I kept things under control.
I have no excuse for the decades of abuse that I poured down my throat and out to others. I know that it wasn't the alcohol though. I do not find it to be cunning and powerful. It's a chemical just like many others that are abused but its the easiest to get and it has some nasty side effects if it is consumed to excess.
I guess I decided I preferred living. Living for me does not involve fences. It involves boundaries that are set and adjusted as needed. I set a bounary that I call inebriation. I crossed it once last year when I was at a reception with a coworker in Las Vegas last year. I matched he drink for drink while the bar was open during a 2 hour event. I probably had five drinks. I felt terrible the next morning on my way to the airport. It wasn't long ago that I'd have had to drink five just to get started and ... well, let's just say that 20 wasn't en ough some days.
Numbing the pain is no longer required and the reason seems to be that I don't have a lot of pain. Sometimes I get confused and ask for adice in a situation but I don't feel as though I"m in the center of a storm any longer because I seem to have turned off the storm machine.
Age? I don't know. All I know is that I wake feeling refreshed most days and the fact that we had three major financial setbacks in as many weeks earlier this year affected me as much (less, actually) than forgetting to but an item at the grocery store and needing to make the 4 km round trip trek twice in a given week.
Stuff happens and it no longer surprises me that things turn out OK. The last milestone I passed was the one that involves accepting help from others. Today is 4949th day that my wife has been in my life. Earlier in our relationship we both recited vows that we had written and we became married. Thirteen years later I finally understood that part of what we were doing that day was promising to each other to live a life that celebrates and strengthens the immutable inimitable connection that exists when "lean on me" is completed with and always includes: "as I lean on you", "as I've leaned on you", as I'll lean on you".
Slow, yes. Sure, yes also.