What Is The Difference Between An Alcoholic and a Heavy Drinker
What’s the difference between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker? I have a friend who is an alcoholism counselor here in the good ole USA, who says that if you have to ask the question, you are probably in trouble.Is this a question that has been lurking at the back of your mind lately? If so, here are some facts that might interest you.
Most people don’t think about such things. In fact a stunning 48% of the adult American population drinks zero, zip, nada, or at most has a glass of champagne at a wedding or a spiked eggnog at the annual office Christmas party just to be polite. Of those who do drink, the majority drink moderately or occasionally. The dirty little secret of the American liquor industry is that 10% of the drinkers account for 70% of alcohol sales, and those are the folks who drink early and often and never in moderation.
Now, we Americans are a pretty puritanical lot, but the point is that most people do not abuse alcohol and therefore never give any thought to whether or not they are drinking too much. They simply know they are not.It’s just a small percentage that has anything to worry about and an even smaller percentage that ends up dead or in rehab.
The High School and College Crowd
The statistics are a bit different for the high school and college crowd. Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 drink more than anybody else and are big binge drinkers( a binge being defined as downing more than five drinks in one sitting) This is the time of life for beer bongs and Saturday night keggers, but most people calm down once they are out in the real workaday world and jobs, marriage and children tend to sober them up. Only a few keep on partying into their thirties and beyond– and at some point, these few start to worry that maybe their drinking is getting out of hand and maybe, just maybe, it is.
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A Test for Alcoholism
So what is the difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic? The answer seems to lie in the dynamics of addiction. It’s a long way from getting soused every Saturday night to skid row, but it is a clear path and a downward spiral and as we all know, alcoholism is a progressive illness. Once you are addicted, there is no place to go but down. Addiction, both physical and psychological, is about loss of control. If, in your secret heart of hearts you have ever feared that your drinking might be getting ahead of you , here are a couple of things you might want to ask yourself.
Have you ever sworn you would not drink and then ended up with a drink in your hand?
Have you ever sat down to have just one beer and ended up drunk?
Has anyone–either at work or a family member, ever commented negatively on your drinking?
Do you assume that everybody drinks and that most people get drunk and that people who don’t are no fun to be around?
Do you ever try to hide how much you drink( as in do you ever take those trash cans full of empty’s to the dump rather than leave them for the regular collection or do you ever buy your booze at more than one liquor store so that the owners won’t think you drink too much?)
Do you drink: every day, alone, or in the morning?
Does the idea of having to live without alcohol seem scary?
Do you physically crave a drink at a certain time of day and get irritable if you can’t have one?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could well be in trouble. Just for the record, moderate drinking is officially defined as: 2 drinks a night for a man, one for a woman and binge drinking is defined as more than five drinks at one sitting. If you spill more than that on Saturday night, or have a family member who does, have a look at the video above and the links at the bottom of this article for a quick overview of the basics on alcoholism.
Think you can quit anytime you want but just like to drink to unwind ? You can prove it to yourself and to the world by taking a little test. I urge you to try the following experiment if you are concerned about your drinking. It is a surefire way to separate the folks who just like to party, from those who are truly abusing alcohol and are on their way to serious abuse and physical addiction. If you have the guts to take on this experiment honestly and with an open mind, you might find out something very interesting about yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to know one way or the other so you could stop worrying?
The Alcoholism Experiment
For the next week have no alcohol except for one five ounce glass of wine with dinner. If you don’t like wine with your dinner, you can have one 12 oz bottle of beer instead. If you prefer spirits to wine or beer, you can substitute a one and one half ounce shot of whiskey before dinner for the wine or beer but…. you can choose only one of these three options, and once you’ve chosen you must stick with your choice. You can’t change around and have beer one night, wine the next etc. Also, you cannot skip a night or have nothing one night and two beers the next etc. Just FYI a five oz. glass of wine, a 12 oz glass of beer and a 1 and 1/2 shot of whiskey all have the same amount of alcohol so whatever you choose, you will be getting the same amount of alcohol, it’s just a question of what appeals to you. Follow these directions exactly– only one drink of whatever you choose for one entire week.
And that folks, is the way you can tell a heavy drinker from an alcoholic. It’s a useful test that separates the sheep from the goats very handily. Those who are in even the early stages of addiction will not be able to pass the test. Those who really can take it or leave it will have no problem. What do you think. Want to give it a try, or does the very idea put a meat hook in your tum tum?
Cheers and here’s mud in your eye.:-)
Links to Alcoholism Resources
Alcoholism Recovery – LoveToKnow Recovery
How recovery from alcoholism begins and what it is like from the alcoholic’s perspective
Alcohol Research and Statistics
Reference materials and data tables on the effects alcohol, alcoholism, drunk driving, health issues and more.
Teenage Alcohol Statistics
Statistics on alcohol use by teenagers and youth. Data from studies show that alcohol is, by far, the most abused drug by teenagers which leads to death, impaired brain development and myriad social problems.
Question by crushabitrollituptakeahit: Teenage Alcoholism? Is it possible?
Hi im 15 and i find i drink more than i should maybe. i at least have 1 – 1/2 cups of strong alcohol (37-40%) a day. I don’t drink cause i technically need it. i drink to feel more comfortable. i don’t know if this is a problem or not. i think i could stop but its more convenient to continue in my opinion. (btw, i get the alcohol from my parents liquor cabnit). Thanks!
1. yes i have had blackouts
2. no not really. but when its available yes
Answer by Betty
Possible? Yes it is. Being an “alcoholic” does not mean you need it. It simply means you are addicted to it. And yes, alcoholics will say the same thing you just said: they drink to feel more comfortable. Are you addicted? Only you can answer that question.
1) Have you ever had a blackout?
2) Do you ever think about or talk about drinking when you are sober?
3) Could you stop drinking, right now, for the rest of your life and be 100% OK with that?
If you answered yes to the first two questions and no to the last question, there is a good probability that you are addicted.
What do you think? Answer below!
Filed under: Teenage Alcoholism
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