Do You Need to Use Drugs or Alcohol to Feel “Normal”? Part 4 of 7
At Heartland House, we have learned a lot about substance abuse disorder over our many years of serving men in recovery. Throughout our history, we have utilized an array of recovery tools that have their roots in 12-step programs, government initiatives, and studies and surveys.
We want to reach the still suffering alcoholic or drug addict. If you are questioning whether you might need help with addiction, we are developing a series of blogs on the subject that will be of interest to you.
This third article in this series focuses on this question:
Do you need to use drugs or alcohol to feel “normal”?
Non-alcoholic people generally drink for social enjoyment or for taste. They do not need to drink to change the way that they feel or use alcohol for its effects. If you don’t feel normal without alcohol, but you feel “normal” only when you are drinking or drunk, you may have a problem.
The book Alcoholics Anonymous describes this phenomenon as “[alcoholic] men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol” and that real alcoholics are “restless, irritable and discontented until they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks they see others taking with impunity.” Reference
The National Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism defines the actual disease of Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD as the following: “AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”
Most non-alcoholics do not have this “negative emotional state” when they are not using alcohol. These people can take it or leave it, have a drink or two socially and then stop, or go without altogether.
There are many factors that may qualify you as an alcoholic or someone who has Alcohol Use Disorder, and while this topic is only one of many worth looking at, it’s very important to recognize if you feel these “restless, irritable, and discontented” emotions when you are not drinking alcohol.
You can reference this article on the NIAAA website to look at more questions that may help you determine if you’re an alcoholic. We also have these additional articles in this series of blogs to help you. Stay tuned for more articles in this series as well, and contact us below if you think you are ready and you need help.
In case you missed the other blogs in this series: