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The problem is real and here's why . . .

answered 04:13 PM EST, Tue October 28, 2014
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I am not really sure if I have a problem, or if I am going through the normal college experience. I am a junior in college, and almost every time I drink I black out and always wake up in the morning and feel so much regret. All of my friends think it's funny, no one ever expresses concern with the amount I drink. I almost always throw up, resulting in my friends having to take care of me, as well as me feeling embarrassed. This has been a problem since I was a junior in high school. I have gotten kicked out of public places for being too drunk, my best friend went to rehab to treat alcoholism two years ago, and my parents tried to threaten me with rehab too. They have even tried to call the cops on me when I come home drunk. Now that I am away at college, they don't address it as an issue anymore. I would just like to stop feeling so much regret when I drink, I want to drink and have a good time just like everyone else, but for me I always get too drunk and feel terrible.

James Cloughley Says...

Thank you for connecting with ChooseHelp.com.

The question you pose is a good one and a very real one. I commend you for taking the risk to ask it. I encourage you to recognize it is not our job here at ChooseHelp.com to convince you that you have a drug or alcohol problem. Our job is to provide honest, accurate and unbiased information so that those who are concerned can decide, on their own, what has to happen next in order to shape their lives in a more positive way.

When I hear someone say they aren't sure if they have a problem with alcohol or drugs, it suggests to me that the person who is seeking some clarity is reasonably certain what the answer is but needs to hear it from someone outside his/her social or family circle. So let me run some thoughts by you and hopefully they will help you with your understanding about the severity of your problem.

The stories about college life and how it is supposed to be a time for cutting loose and experimenting with alternate lifestyles and so on are legendary. To some degree they are true and many folks do just that--experiment. However, what you have described here is not 'experimenting.' The majority of those who play with alcohol and drugs at school are likely away from home for the first time and become intoxicated with the freedom from the 'eye in the sky' that was their parents. Most times they recognize when they are over-doing the free and fun stage and cut back or go to abstinence on their own. You seem to be moving in the opposite direction. This would be the first serious indicator for you to consider.

The next serious indicator to be concerned about is the 'blackouts'. You need to understand what they are and what they mean to your overall well being so I suggest you go to our home page and type in 'alcoholic blackouts' in the space provided for questions. There is a good deal of explanation about what they are, what they mean and how you are affected by them.

There is always uncertainty when people are seeking the truth about what behaviours they are involved in and what the real truths are. Friends can't always be depended upon because they don't want to lose a buddy to party with. As well, If YOU decide to cut back does that mean that they may be in over their heads as well? Often times our decisions will influence how our close friends see themselves and they may not be prepared to look at themselves quite yet. Family tends to be over invested in your well being because they don't want anything awful to happen to you. So they persist in telling you all the horrible stories they have ever heard regarding substance abuse hoping they will frighten you enough to quit. Those good friends who love you and care about you have another agenda in mind. They feel obligated sometimes to save you from yourself because that's what people who care about other people do and so they try to convince you that what you are doing is wrong. again, they tend to focus on the negative things that could happen. At the end of the day you need to decide what you need to do that is in your own best interest and to do that you need accurate, honest and unbiased information to go on.

The following insights are offered to help you see the situation you have described from an arms length perspective:

-- Do all students who attend college go through this?

-- Do all students who party get to the blackout stage on a regular basis?

-- When you go out do you plan to drink heavily? Is blacking out the goal?

-- Do you feel the need to become intoxicated in order to fit in or to be a part of the 'crew'?

-- You used to have some fun when you went out socially but now you no longer enjoy what is happening. What has changed for you?

-- What does alcohol provide you with that you don't already have?

Let's go back to to your question. If you are asking if you have a problem or not I would say, based on the information that you have provided, that if you don't have a problem yet you soon will have, and a serious one. I would also suggest  reading "Evaluating Your Drinking or Drug Use: 5 Questions". It is an article I wrote a while back that poses 5 questions that will help you to reach a decision. It also outlines an exercise you could undertake starting right now that might be of help when trying to quit or cut down and, coincidentally, help you to evaluate the level or severity of your use.

I understand that you may have some serious nagging questions about being abstinent such as: How will I have fun if I'm not using like the others I hang with? Will I have any friends if I stop using or, at least, cut down? Will I bring others down if I'm not partying like I used to? What kind of a social life will I have? What about girls?--how will I get along there if I'm not partying any more? I get that these are all stumbling blocks to your decision making. If your good friends are your good friends they will accept your choice(s) and carry on. As for your social interactions allow your 'real' self show forth. You may be surprised how many people like you just for who you are and not for what you do.

I wish you well on your journey and feel free to connect with me again if you want. Just send your request to ChooseHelp.com

All the best, Jim

 

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Page last updated Oct 29, 2014

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