Explaining Alcohol Use Disorder

Posted , 7 users are following.

I just explained what I believe Alcohol Use Disorder is to someone who wanted a very basic, non medical, non-complicated explanation of what has happened to them.  I remember that when I was in the throes of heavy addiction, my brain simply couldn't take it anything too complicated either.

After I emailed it to them, I realised that it might help some here.  We drinkers tend to have a habit of over-analysing everything and if someone benefits from this simple, but effective explanation, then that would be great.

So, here it is.....

''I view it that most (and I mean by far the largest proportion of society) have a pre-installed OFF switch – and this regulates how much alcohol they drink and therefore stops them getting a problem.  They were born with that switch and the ability to use it.  It’s like a firewall, for want of a better word.


For a few people like us with drink issues, we were born without this off switch.  As a result, we are driven to continue to drink and as a result, learn addictive behaviours in the same way that we learn any other new skill - whether that be learning to ride a bike, or that we like the taste of chocolate etc.  It is all the same learning mechanism in the brain.

For us, the naltrexone is the OFF switch and as long as we keep it installed and up to date (ie use it compliantly), we will unlearn that previously learned behaviour and it will become our firewall IF we chose to drink occasionally after the treatment is completed and you are free of alcohol cravings.

In addition to the safety of our 'firewall', we can, if we wish or need to, supplement the medicaton with learning new coping techniques.  As we use the medication to chemically extinguish those learned behaviours, some people will need to replace them with new learned behaviours, and this is were CBT or other learning techniques can benefit someone.''

Of course the mention of naltrexone (or nalmefene) is only applicable to those wishing to try The Sinclair Method.

For others, they can substitute any form of treatment into the premise of the first part of the explanation and try ensure that they do not pick up that first drink so they don't activate drinking in the first place.  That might be AA, Camprol... whatever they chose.

As long as it works for them, it doesn't matter and we should be sure not to judge how they recovered AS LONG AS they do recover.

I know that is what we all want for ourselves, and what we wish for others too.


1 like, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    You are so right.  I was talking to my husband about my latest relapse before I read this, and the only way I could describe it is that after a certain amount of alcohol, a switch has been turned the opposite way in my head, and after that I just need more and more and more, and nothing else matters.

    I can in retrospect almost pinpoint the moment that happens.

    Just have to try anything I can to not drink in the first place.

    • Posted

      Oh yes, this is me also.  I love the stuff and hate it and wish I could turn my switch off.  I am tapering down slowly.  Spoke to my doc who referred me to a clinic which is a bit of a pain to get to.  So not been.  There is an AA meet place 5 mins walk from me but I really don't fancy going on my own.  Maybe I should ask my doc for the med to switch off my button!!  Think I may well have to otherwise it is curtains for me.  Alhough I feel fine, apart from my skin.  I have always had very good skin but not so now, the pink has turned pale so that tells me it is hurting my body.

      Regards to all


  • Posted

    Well, Joanna... you can certainly "hit the nail on the head".  Your explanation is brilliantly simple !

    I would like to have an "off-switch" fitted.

    In the mean time, I will just try harder with my compliance re Selincro/Nalmefene.

    I really want to beat this curse of Alcohol Controlling Me.

    Alonangel ??

    • Posted

      Me too.  How long have you been on Nalmefene?  Do you drink at all on it - I don't know anything about it.



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