I believe that alcoholism is a mental addiction, not a physical addiction. The body does not physically need the alcohol. A person can control their alcohol consumption with their own willpower.
My ex-boyfriend was a full-blown alcoholic by the time he was twenty. Like most alcoholics, he got angry when he was drunk. He would call me at all hours of the night. He would then yell at me and accuse me of cheating on him. Even if I hung up the phone, he would just call my house phone. One time I told him I was going to sleep and had to get off the phone. So we hung up, and I went to bed. Ten minutes later he called my house phone. My mom answered and told him that I was sleeping. Five minutes after that, he called again. My mom told him that I was still sleeping and she was not going to wake me up. My mom could tell he was drunk, and she told him to stop drinking and just go to sleep. That was when we could tell that he had a problem. The next day he could not remember how many times he called or what he had said.
That was another problem. Since he could not remember the mean things he said, he felt that he could not be responsible for them. In his mind, I had no reason to be mad at him for something he could not remember. Eventually, I convinced him to quit drinking. That was easier said than done.
He tried to quit, and the withdrawal symptoms were horrible. He would be cranky and mean. Sometimes I thought it would just be better to let him drink to get rid of the withdrawals. Nothing would have been solved. He would have gone back to drinking in a heartbeat.
I believe that there is only one way to stop this from happening, and that is, by never starting.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.