When most people think of an alcoholic they imagine a homeless man on the side of the road begging for change in order to get his next bottle. They picture a person who is so enamored by alcohol that they cannot keep a job or hold down any responsibility whatsoever. They picture unkempt and matted hair or they picture hard drinking men at a bar, but alcoholism does not always express itself in this manner and those mentioned above represent only a small percentage of alcoholics.
Alcoholism is a disease that does not discriminate along lines of race, religion, or socio-economic background. Someone with ten dollars in their bank account or someone with ten million dollars in their bank account can suffer from it and not everyone who partakes in alcoholic drinking has to lose everything.
With that said, being an alcoholic also does not have to mean that you get drunk every minute of every day. A person could be an alcoholic and only drink a couple of times a month, which to most people just wouldn’t make sense. The common misconception is that in order for a person to be an alcoholic they have to be drunk all of the time. They have to pursue alcohol above everything else. For some alcoholics this is true, but there are a number of different types of alcoholic drinking that are more subtle and therefore harder to detect.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to alcoholism is that a person who suffers from it has an obsession of the mind and a certain physical reaction to alcohol that ‘normal people’ do not have. They may not drink every day or even that often for that matter, but when they do, they react abnormally to alcohol. This is what makes diagnosing alcoholism difficult and why a person is required to self-diagnose before they can start something like the 12 Steps. Only they can really know whether their relationship to alcohol is healthy or not, and only they can make the decision to get help.
So let’s take a look at some of the different types of alcoholic drinking in order to help dispel some of the myths surrounding what an alcoholic is. If you thinking that you may have a problem with alcohol hopefully this information will help give you some clarity and if need be, show you how to get help.
Different Types of Alcoholic Drinking
This is probably the most common type of drinking for the alcoholic. A person who is a daily drinker actually needs alcohol in order to not experience the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism. They may wake up with their hands shaking and they may have started to drink first thing in the morning in order to calm their nerves. When a person becomes a daily drinker, they may start to hide their drinking, never doing it in public, and they may lie to their loved ones about whether or not they are still drinking. A person who is a daily drinker may be able to function normally with a very high blood alcohol level and they may be drunk a majority of the waking day.
An alcoholic who is a binge drinker may find it more difficult than the daily drinker to come to terms with their alcoholism. The reason being is because they experience extended periods of non-drinking. They can go days, weeks or months without touching a drop of alcohol and so by common standards they can’t be an alcoholic, right? Wrong. Like stated above, alcoholism is not dependent on how often or how much you drink, but simply is the result of having an obsession of the mind and a physical reaction of the body. A person who binge drinks may go long periods without drinking but when they do finally go back to the bottle, they often times lose all control and may even stay on their run for days at a time. When a binge drinker starts, it is difficult to tell when they are going to stop and often times, they have no control over where they end up.
Often times, youth is a time of experimentation with alcohol. High school parties are awash with alcohol and yet the young drinker does not usually go on long binges and they rarely drink every day, but that does not mean that they are not alcoholic or potential alcoholics. Differentiating between normal drinking and alcoholic drinking among teens is difficult, but the benchmark here is whether there is a preoccupation with drinking, or whether or not they can stop once they start. If a teen thinks all week about how they are going to get drunk that weekend, they may have a problem with alcoholism and if they plan on only having 1 or 2 drinks and then have 10, they may have a problem with alcoholism.
These are simply just 3 different ways in which alcoholism can express itself in a person, but there are many more. People who drink in the manners described above may still be able to function, also know as a functioning alcoholic, or alcohol may have such a grip on them that they are no longer able to function normally.
Regardless of how you drink, if you think that you have a problem, then seek professional help. With everything that we know about the disease of alcoholism, there is no need to spend years stuck in the lonely morass that is alcohol.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism, and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Dream Center for Recovery today at 1-877-978-3148. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.