Many people describe themselves as social drinkers or casual drinkers. They are usually people who only drink a glass of wine or two during social gatherings and occasional parties. An unwritten rule that defines the difference between an alcoholic and a social drinker is that the latter will only pick up a drink when at an event or a party. An alcoholic, on the other hand, doesn’t need an occasion. He or she is completely comfortable drinking alone and, in a way, that it hampers their relationship, work, and day to day activities.
While drinking alone is a good starting point. That’s not an ironclad argument to deem someone an alcoholic or not. Many individuals drink a glass of wine on a daily basis, but they drink in limitation, may be half a glass with dinner, in a way that it does not interfere with their ability to function. This brings us to the topic of the post, what is alcoholism and how it’s different from social drinking.
What is Alcoholism?
To understand the true meaning of alcoholism, you need to identify alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is consuming a harmful level of alcohol that causes hangovers, behavioral issues, and physical discomfort. When alcohol abuse becomes frequent and an individual starts becoming dependent on alcohol abuse, then it becomes alcoholism.
Dependency is one of the signs someone is an alcoholic. Alcoholics progressively need more quantity of alcohol to achieve the same degree of satisfaction.
Who Are Social Drinkers?
Social drinkers drink neither too much nor too frequently. Their drinking pattern does not qualify as alcohol abuse, let alone alcoholism. They usually pick up a drink when they go to a party or when out with friends. They usually know their limit for different types of alcoholic beverages and they stick to it. Their drinking doesn’t come in the way of responsibilities at home or at work. Another telltale sign of a social drinker is that the drink is a byproduct of the social gathering and it does not hold more importance than the gathering itself.
5 Signs of Alcoholics or Someone Who is Dangerously Close
Now that you know the difference between the two, it’s time to know about the few signs of alcoholism.
Dependency Becomes Undeniable: This is undoubtedly the key differentiator between a casual drinker and an alcoholic. Alcoholics would set up plans or make arrangements to get their daily dose of alcohol. They are willing to cancel work plans, social and relationship commitments in an attempt to get their hands on the next drink.
They Constantly Seek Out Events and Activities that Involve Drinking: This is kind of a subset of the first point. Alcoholics often seek out the company of other alcoholics or at least alcohol abusers. They look for any events or parties that may serve drinks. The alcohol becomes the primary motivating factor for them to attend these events.
Someone Who is Trying to Quit Unsuccessfully: Someone who constantly says, “never again,” but has a difficult time letting go is either an alcoholic or an alcohol abuser who is close to becoming an alcoholic. The fact that he or she is not being able to quit is a sign that dependency has kicked in and at that point, it’s best to seek help from doctors. Most alcoholics would struggle severely after being asked by doctors to limit their drinking. This is where support groups can help to fight the addiction in a systematic manner. During this phase of alcohol abstinence, alcoholics are at a high risk of relapsing.
Progressively Needs More Alcohol: As mentioned earlier, alcoholics progressively need more drinks for achieving the same desired effect. This is why they are often seen seeking more alcohol immediately after they finish up their stock. They run out to get a fresh supply ditching their friends in the middle of a drinking party. They may even plan an “afterparty” and use it as an excuse to drink some more.
Often Drinks Till They Are Drunk: Alcoholics usually don’t set limits. A social drinker would probably stop themselves after drinking a couple of bottles of beer and way before the adverse effects of the alcohol starts to set in. While they enjoy the mild high, they never try and drink until they are drunk. Instead of setting a limit of number of drinks and sticking to it, alcoholics are navigated by the physical effect. They go way beyond going a little tipsy and are often found drunk.
The first step towards dealing with alcoholism is knowing where you are at. Are you an occasional alcohol abuser, a casual drinker, or an alcoholic? We hope this post helps you figure things out, so you can seek support if you need it.