Alcohol Addiction: From Use to Abuse to Dependency

Posted by admin on May 9, 2014

It started in college and let me tell you I had a blast, at least I think I did. And that’s part of the problem. For most of my life, I thought I had so much fun drinking and partying. Do you know anyone who rotted through the rear seat floorboard of their car from alcohol vomit? I didn’t think so. How about impulsively riding down the railroad tracks in your car? That was a trip. From two or three miles away I could see the headlight…yes, of the train. Please don’t think for a second that I’m bragging, though I did many times back then. I would feign this “reluctant” embarrassment with a lowered head. Ahem.

Ah, yes, what happened with the train? We bumped over the railroad ties laughing and raising hell until we saw that light. WHOA! My 3 buddies freaked. So, I slammed it into reverse and with all the concentration I could muster, backed up the half mile to the crossing. Now, just imagine sitting at the light and a car backs up to the intersection and pulls off the tracks and turns onto the street. Oh, by the way, when I did that, the railroad guards came down as if I were a train. Obviously I beat the train to the crossing, as I am writing this from this world.

Despite the thinly veiled self-deprecating humor, this continued until I was near middle age. Here’s a major part of the problem: unless we seriously hurt ourselves or others, this is considered normal! Right? You’ve heard or even said something to the effect like, he’s just a young man, kicking up his heels a bit. Oh, let him get it out of his system. No harm, no foul. Didn’t you kick up your heels when you were his age?

The fact is that the brain is a truly magnificent hunk of protoplasm. But even this amazing thing has its limits. From his ever-brilliant book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” by Dr. Daniel Amen, he displays SPECT scans, a 3D image of the brain, particularly the frontal lobe, our decision-making part of the brain. There are quite often, depending on the drug or alcohol, one inch by 2 inch holes where gray matter used to be. Where did it go? It brings new meaning to the phrase, what were you thinking?

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