When I went through detox a bunch of years ago, I recollect a fellow patient named Tony asked me how much I drank – I said toward the end, a couple of cases of beer per week was all that I could physically handle. He responded that was not really alcoholic drinking and that he consumed a lot more.
When I first entered detox I hoped that a medical test could decide if I had the alcoholic disease. As the complicated person I perceived myself to be, I envisioned that a spinal tap would be necessary. (I really didn’t/don’t know what a spinal tap was/is, other than a mockumentary rock band.)
In my first year of recovery, as a second shift worker I attended a lot of daytime AA meetings. I regularly attended one meeting in an upscale part of town composed largely of upper middle class white women. I was a demographic anomaly at the meeting. Once a 30-something woman expressed concern about her nightly single glass of wine and the problems that caused. I could not get my head around her dilemma.
In the same way that many folks are certainly in denial of their addictions that are plainly visible to anyone, I suppose that the same is true on the other side of the spectrum. The truth remains that much of the diagnosis of “alcoholism” or “eating disorder” is in the mind of the beholder. My general practitioner wanted to prescribe an appetite suppressant for me. I know that my eating disorder is better dealt with by a decision to live life on life’s terms. I have opted instead for addressing my eating disorder in the same way as my consumption of alcohol and nicotine. That approach is now working.
For myself, I have come to believe that if I question whether I have a problem with specific issue or thing, and that question comes up on multiple occasions, then I probably do have a problem. I find the solution is often simply a decision to live life on life’s terms and not escape that life through a variety of addictive or dysfunctional behaviors. And although perhaps not “scientific” to some, I find my years in living as a test for that hypothesis with the height of scientific rigor. For example, when I recognize my powerlessness in a given situation and surrender to that fact, consistently and without fail, the anxiety I face over the situation is greatly diminished. The testing to date fully supports the hypothesis. This process works as effectively or better than any medication I have been prescribed.