What is alcoholism really? Here is some information that will dispel some of the myths about how alcoholism works, and how it will affect your life. Your normal drinker can enjoy a mixed drink or a glass of wine, or maybe two or three. A person who has become an alcoholic generally can't stop drinking once they get started, drink heavy volume, and it will affect their life in a somewhat predictable way if the drinking continues.
The Myths about Alcoholism
There is information everywhere written by people not genuinely qualified to define or describe alcoholism. If they haven't experienced it themselves, they are just collecting information, guessing for the most part of what alcoholism really is and what it entails, from a strictly "outside" point of view.
And the truth of the matter is alcohol isn't just a physical addiction that can be driven out of your body in 72 hours (which is standard thinking on the subject) which in itself is a myth - closer to a year would be the truth, and further is also an incredibly powerful emotional addiction. This emotional addiction routinely reaches the point where you cannot picture your life without alcohol.
There are some descriptions of alcohol abuse where alcohol abuse is defined as a person who drinks regularly, but who also maintains their responsibilities, while at the same time occasionally putting themselves in jeopardy for example by driving under the influence, and sometimes drinking large quantities. Anyone who drinks everyday, even if it is controlled drinking is most likely alcoholic unless it is for instance a drink before dinner.
There are alcoholics who are highly functional with controlled drinking for decades, making it to work everyday, possibly holding a highly responsible job for instance. Conventional thinking on this is if you drink everyday, you still may not be physically dependant on it. First, if you are drinking every day, it is doubtful that you are not physically addicted, but more importantly, this concept completely ignores the tremendous emotional addiction aspect of drinking. And some of these daily drinkers will tell you the job was the last thing to go. Drinking daily may put you in the alcoholic category.
The habit of occasionally drinking very large quantities of alcohol is considered binge drinking. Contrary to popular belief, binge drinking can be an ongoing occurrence throughout a person's entire life. It is not limited to high school or college years. Binge drinking has no age limit. And after a person has been binge drinking for years and years, starting when they were young in most cases, could also be considered an alcoholic.
The Need to Drink
Alcoholism has gray areas, but when you reach that point where drinking is affecting your life in an adverse way, you are going to know you have a problem. One major sign is you have an overwhelming need to drink. There is no way to win when you are up against alcohol no matter how strong or disciplined you are. The best possible alcoholic scenario is if you are a highly functioning alcoholic, and can pull it off for decades. However, alcohol still takes its toll here, as it does in every single case with no exception. As a highly functional drinker, when you drink every day, the alcohol will affect your health (your vital organs) and will cause liver and brain damage.
So what "experts" who don't have a drinking problem don't understand (among other things) is once alcohol gets you it takes over your life - physically and emotionally. You have a need to drink, and the longer you drink, the greater the need. You learn to rely on alcohol, and in the beginning it doesn't disappoint, but as the problem grows alcohol turns on you, and becomes a very personal, formidable enemy.