There are some subtle symptoms of alcoholism that most people may not catch at first. Sure, it is easy to diagnose when a person drinks a half gallon of vodka every single day and falls asleep in a pile of their own vomit every night for ten years straight. This is not very challenging to figure out. But what about in the early stages? Can it be detected then? How?
I have to look back at my own journey through drug addiction and alcoholism to see some of the answers. Yes, there were some clear warning signs. No, I did not heed these at all. No one probably would, or could. But they were there, and I think you might even be able to see them in others.
They say that there is really no such thing as an “addictive personality,” and that personality traits are not useful in predicting addiction in people. I suppose they are right about this. But it can’t hurt to try. Plus, some of what I observed in my own experience were not so much personality traits, but rather, they were behaviors. And perhaps behavior can accurately predict alcoholism.
One thing that I did when before I had picked up a drink or a drug was that I fell in love with shoplifting. I was not yet 18 and I knew that the penalty was less and it was quite a rush. Even while I was doing it, I began to realize that I did not really want the stuff. I could care less about the junk that we were stealing at the time. I was in it for the buzz. This should have been a huge warning flag. But even if I had known this, would it really have changed anything in the long run? Everyone tries alcohol eventually. I was born an alcoholic, and I was addicted to the stuff before I ever drank any.
Another symptom of alcoholism that I experienced was my love of another drug: marijuana. I tried pot before I ever drank, and I fell in love with it. I was completely hooked on it, and totally obsessed with it. This should have been another huge warning sign. But again, what could have really prevented it? Eventually I took my first drink, and I knew at that moment that I had found my real drug of choice.
The symptoms started long before I ever picked up a drink.