Choking the Gag Reflex

by The Discovering Alcoholic on August 29, 2010


Drink too much and then vomit, it’s an equation that has held true since man first learned about fermentation. The body switches over to auto mode when so much alcohol is consumed it can no longer be processed quickly enough. The stomach muscles contract violently and through the process of vomiting the alcohol and anything else in the stomach is ejected. It’s an instinctive defense mechanism whose function is to protect the body from alcohol poisoning. The young and overzealous (abusers) crowd incur this unpleasant process most often because they lack the experience and good judgement to regulate their alcohol intake; I know I did back in my younger days. At least when it was all said and done, usually it made you feel better.

You’ll notice I left out alcoholics from the “young and dumb” list on my list of people who vomit often, but it was intentional. You see even though logic would suggest that alcoholics who can not control their drinking would top the list as those most likely to be part of the vomit club it is not true. Yes alcoholics cannot control their drinking, but no self respecting alkie is going to waste a pint of cheap vodka by spewing it onto the pavement. In my case since I could not master my drinking, instead I mastered my body’s gag reflex and avoided the subsequent vomiting. Alcoholism is such a devious disease that it can conquer even the body’s natural instinct to expel alcohol that has reached a poisonous level.

Of course it is only a matter of time before the process of achieving and maintaining such a level of toxicity degrades your health. Loss of motor control, tremors, and the nausea brought on by bleeding ulcers eventually made it impossible for me to hold down anything, even alcohol (a frustration I would assume is something akin to not being able to acquire a vein to shoot up). There is a price to be paid for denying the body’s desire to rid itself of poison.

Why bring up such a vile topic? I guess I wanted to illustrate how powerful the urge to drink is for the alcoholic. Take a normal person bending over the ceramic altar if they want a drink and you will be lucky to stay out of the way of the dry heave spittle as they cuss you. You will not need to ask an alcoholic the same question, because he will be over in the corner choking down the gag reflex in order to conserve his alcohol.

Just another example of how an alcoholic will put drinking above anything else, including health and even the gag reflex.

My thanks to the Partnership for a Drug Free Texas for the Drug Free Bunny

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kb August 7, 2016 at 12:55 am

Whoa whoa whoa to the first comment. Actually, you must recognize alcohol is a depressant. The more you drink the sadder you feel. That gag reflex, when drinking daily, is in fact, your body’s way of saying enough! I couldn’t continue, later doctors told me my own body saved it’s life. If you feel alcohol numbs your pain and keeps you from suicide, a better notion would be psychological help… that’s a better high.


2 The Fighting Alcoholic September 24, 2015 at 7:47 am

You’re obviously ignorant; you’ve never experienced true alcoholism. Some of us drink non-stop because we have to numb ourselves of our emotions in order to function (yeah, that’s what makes a high function alcoholic, not a college student). We don’t, forcibly stop our gag-reflex, our body does, because it realizes without alcohol, morons like you would make us commit suicide, so do us a favor and just shut up, you’re literally making yourself look stupid; the worst part, you actually had the balls to make an article. You might want to remove this before you make yourself look any worse.


3 Paul August 29, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I never managed to master the gag reflex.

When I first started drinking I’d vomit after a 2 litre of cider.
By my twenties vomiting was the sign of a good night out.
By the end of my drinking I was terrified of vomiting because it meant that I couldn’t get the alcohol inside before the withdrawals would start. One of the reasons I stopped going to the pub was that of the vomit relex; my first few gulps of beer in the morning would come right back up into the glass – I’d usually drink it anyway.

The funny thing is that I got sober in a Thai temple where the treatment involved vomiting every evening for the first five days – I know you have visited this temple TDA and will know what I’m talking about.

In a way the vomit reflex was part of my recovery as well as my addiction. The really strange thing is that I don’t remember vomiting once in the last four years I’ve been sober; it was once such an important part of my life.


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