When Does Social Drinking Cross The Line Into Alcohol Addiction?
For the average drinker, alcohol is simply a way to relax when the day is done. However, it’s safe to say that when drinking becomes a way of life rather than a way to enjoy a little down time, the line from social drinking to alcohol addiction has been crossed. Alcoholism is a creeping, quiet disease that many refuse to acknowledge no matter how serious the issue may seem because it means a battle, and drinking can take away a persons will to fight.
Most alcoholics know deep down that a problem exists but are usually good enough at hiding the symptoms that other people in their lives may take years to notice. It typically takes a major event such as criminal charges for an alcohol related offense for reality to catch up, but not always. Some alcoholics can go their entire lives living with the secret and their only hope is for those around them to be on the alert for signs that can’t be easily hidden such as the following.
• Failure to meet obligations at school, work or home could be alcohol draining a person’s will to even try. When taking care of life’s day to day business becomes too much of an effort, even for the simplest of tasks, this is another major symptom that should never be ignored in hopes that it will “go away,” because it won’t without help.
• Becoming defensive or expressing anger whenever the subject of drinking comes up. Everyone gets angry now and then. That’s a perfectly natural human trait but when you can count on it every time drinking too much is mentioned, this could be an indirect appeal for help.
• Unexplained, extreme mood changes don’t always indicate a drinking problem. However, that is so typical of alcohol this symptom should not be ignored. Mood changes are a natural part of life but when they seem sudden and out of line to the situation, they are a good sign post for trouble.
There are many theories on what causes alcohol disorders. Some drink to cope with stress, and others give in to peer pressure. Pressure and stress are facts of life for the average person, but for anyone with alcoholic tendencies, those problems always feel magnified beyond endurance so they turn to alcohol for relief. If you think you or anyone you care about is dealing with an alcohol problem now is the time to act. For those who care but can do nothing about the situation (yet), al-anon is good place to get the emotional support you need for the battle ahead.