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Addiction to Alcohol/Question about adverse reactions to Alcohol


Hi Charlie,

Just wondered if you could help with any expertise / Advice?

I am 30 years old, Male, 5'10 and 96kgs and over the past year or so I am getting a lot more different adverse reactions to drinking Alcohol/being Drunk and my body seems to react so differently to Alcohol now that I am trying to understand why I am not having a good time whenever I go drinking with friends

The main aspects i've found are, twitching when drinking, Unable to sleep, restless mind, blackouts and not having that 'Trigger' that your body should have to tell me when enough is enough, which usually ends up with me going from being fine to wasted without knowing it.

As far as sleeping goes, I seem to sleep fine on the night of drinking, or so i think anyway. but then i wake up and feel terrible all the next day. the problem comes when its time to go to sleep specifically on the night of the 'hangover day'. My mind will not rest and it feels unpleasant, like a restless feeling that spreads over my body and mind, meaning come monday morning, i wake up exhausted and have to go to work feeling this way. It feels as though the alcohol is still in my system many days after and If I say go out from drinks Friday or Saturday, I dont feel refreshed/Not hungover until wed/thurs.

I have had never either previously had these twitches before, and only 2 years or so ago used to be a 'Good' drunk' and feel happy when i had a few beers but nowadays I dont get that happy feeling when drinking. i have spoke to people about this and many dont have this problem, but it seems rare and makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me???

Also maybe not easy to pin point but just wondered why I dont seem to have that built in trigger to stop myself when I feel ive drank enough? I think this is part of the reason, but as most people have a built in trigger (ie dizzyness, feeling sick) that will be they're body telling them when it has had enough, I lost this sometime ago and also on top of this can't seem to get that 'Happy Drunk' feeling anymore and I go from having 3-4 beers to being wasted without knowing it. Even If i try and count the beers I have, I loose track after the 3 or 4 and things go from being fine to getting out of hand, with no middle part of 'drunken happiness' feeling if you know what I mean.

I guess If I had that 'Trigger' that I used to have when I was younger, I'd know when my body is asking me to stop, but I dont and thus maybe drink more than my body wants to allow me and thus causing all these adverse reactions

One last reaction that i seem to have is the need to rush to the toilet pretty regularly when drinking with pretty violent diarrhea and this can be only after 1 or 2 beers.

I know theres an easy solution to this. Stop drinking Alcohol, And I am prepared to do so, but I just want to try and understand the reasons as to why this is happening now, as I used to really enjoy socializing with friends and have good happy reactions to Alcohol and now all it seems to bring me is problems.

Just wondered if you could offer me some advice/experience on this subject??

P.S I must add, I dont drink during the week and not even every weekend so Im not a really daily heavy drinker but when i do, lets say once every 3 weeks or so I get all these adverse reactions, the twitching, restelessness, some blackouts (recently) and the main thing which is going from beingg fine to too Drunk with out  that trigger or knowing it!

Dear Paul,

Your good letter has all the earmarks of a “problem drinker,” rather than an alcoholic. Let me see if I can help.

For the problem drinker, abstinence is a solution. For an alcoholic, mere abstinence without treatment exacerbates alcoholism. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

I am not a doctor. But, I would ask you this: When there is no alcohol in your system, do you obsess about it? When there is no alcohol in your system, do plan your next drink? When there is no alcohol in your system do you find yourself romanticizing your next drink?

These types of thoughts are the essence of alcoholism. If you’ve answered “yes,” I can help you. If you’ve answered “no,” then you might consult your doctor. Your (new) physical responses to ingesting alcohol may be symptoms of underlying problems.

You see, Paul, your letter seems to be frank and honest. This is where alcoholics usually avoid candor. We call this denial.

I wish to continue this conversation. Please stay in touch.



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Charlie Haviland


I am a recovered alcoholic. My experience in the the addiction recovery process is personal and professional. I am better suited to address questions about alcoholism.


I have been a member of a twelve step fellowship since 1984. I have facilitated a fourteen week, twelve step workshop at Henry Ford Hospital, West Bloomfield, Michigan

I am on the auxiliary staff of the Stepping Stones Foundation- the Historic Home of Bill & Lois Wilson, in Bedford Hills, NY

New York Times, Newsweek, Wired Magazine, Grapevine, Huffington Post, The Detroit News, Detroit Free-Press, Denver Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, Denver Lo-Do News, The Oakland Press, Detroit Metro Times, Denver Westword

Michigan certification: FOADP (Fundamentals of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems)

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