Previously on this blog I’ve asked the question “Are you an Alcoholic or a Dipsomaniac?”. In that post I touched on what defined a dipsomaniac but today I thought it was worth expanding on some more, just to make sure I understand what I think I might be, which is:
But what is a dipsomaniac?
Is it someone who’s crazy about going for lots of quick, short swims?
Is it someone who enjoys rollercoasters but with an inordinate amount of their satisfaction coming from the “Weeeeee we’re going down now!!” part of the ride?
Or is a dipsomaniac someone who takes near erotic pleasure from checking the car engine oil?
“Hmmm. Might need half a litre? Better fill her up until she’s over the line. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!”
Actually, no, no and….no. A dipsomaniac is none of those things. A dipsomaniac is someone who drinks alcohol. A lot. A lot of alcohol drinker is a dipsomaniac. You would say a dipsomaniac suffers from dipsomania which is defined thus in my dictionary:
alcoholism, specifically in a form characterized by intermittent bouts of craving for alcohol.
A dipsomaniac suffers from dipsomania which is a form of alcoholism. Therefore, going by this definition a dipsomaniac is a form of alcoholic.
That means, drum roll….
I am a form of alcoholic.
But don’t worry, unlike the full-blown Alcoholic the form of alcoholic I have taken is a socially acceptable form. I am the type of alcoholic who drinks every week (before my YOLS) but doesn’t think he has a habit; I am the type of alcoholic who drinks to heighten life’s highs and smooth over life’s rough and boring bits; I am the type of alcoholic nobody admits to being:
A part-time Alky.
But maybe that’s okay? Maybe a dipsomaniac can live a whole life just fine as only a bit of an alcoholic? And though I know many full-time alcoholics describe anyone who has any kind of urging to drink alcohol ever as an Alcoholic, I do not think of myself as a capital ‘A’ Alcoholic. I think of myself as a dipsomaniac, a capital ‘D’ Dipsomaniac.
Sure, by my own admission that is someone who suffers from ‘a form of alcoholism’ but I think there is an important—if slight—difference between the two; I do not consider myself an alcoholic because of my…
‘intermittent bouts of craving for alcohol’
When I was drinking alcohol I rarely drank before lunch time and I would occasionally have Monday or Tuesday (a couple of times both!) completely boozefree. Therefore, according to the definition, I am a dipsomaniac because I don’t (didn’t) drink all day every day but I do crave a drink intermittently.
Before my YOLS the ‘intermittent’ status of my cravings was what saved me from having to admit to myself I had any kind of problem with booze. My thinking was, and still sometimes is, “I’m not a proper, capital A alcoholic because I didn’t/don’t drink in bed; I wasn’t/am not an alcoholic because I have never wee’d in my pants (though drinking multiple pints of beer in London then catching the tube home led to many close calls); and I wasn’t an alcoholic because I had that belated weekend off, those two nights of the week I spent sober.
Two out of seven sober days? Hmmm, that means five out of seven nights drinking? Oh, wait—maybe I was a little more attached to drinking than I cared to admit.
Come to think of it I would occasionally even drink booze in bed too. I seem to remember finishing a stubbie in bed a couple of times—while winding down from a late gig, or after a party, or when the footy was finished and I was still going on a six-pack or…
And pre-YOLS I also caught myself debating about whether to go to a party or function if there wasn’t going to be alcohol served. More than once I gave considered thought to how long it would be until I got home from said teetotaler occasions and would be able to open a bottle of wine.
But that’s normal isn’t it. Everyone loves a drink now and then. Don’t they? I mean, only intermittently.
My name is Ben and I’m a dipsomaniac.
Today is Day 229 of my Year Of Living Sober.
Little Booze Joke
A dipsomaniac walks into a bar and the barman says “You again?”
What about you? Are you a bit of a dipsomaniac too? Or do you find labels too restrictive? Love to get your comment.