Social drinking has become part of the culture in society, and many people rarely think about their consumption habits turning to alcoholism. Alcohol is available everywhere, from bars and restaurants to people’s homes. It’s a popular way to socialize, relax and even celebrate special occasions.
However, the reality is that there are adverse effects associated with alcohol consumption. Research shows that in 2020, alcohol-related deaths were higher than COVID-19 fatalities among 16 to 64-year-olds. The casualties are a result of liquor-related diseases and accident fatalities.
In some settings, liquor ingestion is considered normal, and people rarely question occasional or few times a week drinking. To keep your drinking habit in check, look out for what counts or does not as social drinking to avoid succumbing to alcoholism. You need to know what defines a social drinker and when the habit is at risk of transiting to alcoholism. In addition, you may have turned alcoholic without realizing it and need to know how to get help.
Who Is a Social Drinker?
Many people like to refer to themselves as social drinkers, but few think about what it entails. Quantifying the number of drinks and the frequency of intake may not solely help you discern if you are a social drinker. Other factors like weight and gender determine alcohol absorption in the body.
A social drinker is someone who takes alcohol in a variety of social settings without disrupting their lives. The person is less likely to be mentally impaired after drinking and can undertake ordinary life activities. As a social drinker, you are more likely to enjoy your drink in groups rather than drink alone.
A critical factor distinguishing a social drinker from an alcoholic or problem drinker is control over the behavior. An alcoholic has an insatiable urge to drink, and a social drinker rarely feels compelled to take liquor. Also, it is easy for a moderate drinker to control the quantity of liquor they partake in one sitting than a problem drinker.
When Social Drinking Becomes Alcoholism
Social drinking involves moderate alcohol consumption, occasionally, but the habit can turn into alcoholism gradually if unchecked. Sometimes, the transition occurs over a long period, and eventually, the urge for alcohol is uncontrollable. Becoming an alcoholic is a process involving many factors and usually has underlying root causes like trauma, stress, genetics, etc.
If you start as a social drinker and gradually increase the frequency and quantity of drinking, you risk being an alcoholic. The more you drink, the more you increase your tolerance to alcohol which breeds a desire to drink more. Such are the early hallmarks of alcoholism.
Many alcoholics experience denial at the early stages. If you are downplaying your drinking habit or lying about it, alcoholism is beckoning. Early-stage alcoholics indulge in risky behavior like drinking while at work or driving and lose control over when to stop. At the peak of alcohol abuse, you cannot perform your ordinary activities until you have a drink.
Warning Signs of Abuse
A social drinker turned alcoholic exhibits particular signs of behavior. The turning point is when the drink becomes a necessity and not an option in their daily lives. You may have noticed that you are drinking more alcohol than usual and want to cut down. You discover that toning down the drinking habit is challenging, and resume your binging.
It requires extra effort for an alcoholic to quit drinking because of the adverse effects on the body. Alcohol impairs bodily function resulting in increased dependence on it to function normally. Alcoholics usually start the day by drinking to calm their nerves and have to drink throughout the day to maintain the status quo.
The behavior results in irritability when the drink is inaccessible and deteriorates productivity at work. The alcoholics experience strained relationships with people around them because of such behavior. The drinking takes precedence over other aspects of their lives, confining them to seclusion.
When your drinking habit transforms into alcoholism, you need help to get over the behavior. Alcoholism wrecks your physical, mental, and emotional state, and it would take more intervention than willpower to stop drinking. Professional help is needed for a person to recover from heavy drinking.
Many rehab centers are available in the U.S., like Massachusetts rehab centers that are known to provide some of the most comprehensive recovery programs. The first step of regaining your life is deciding to stop alcohol and seeking help. The rehab centers typically have detox procedures and programs to help you identify the root causes of the habit and cope with them.
Getting help as an alcoholic is not a sign of weakness but a bold step towards changing your life. Without the necessary assistance, it is only a matter of time before your drinking habit has disastrous consequences for you or the people around you. In extreme circumstances, abusing alcohol leads to death.
All in Moderation
No one becomes an alcoholic overnight. You will see the telltale signs, and with repetitive binge drinking, you become an alcoholic. You can nip such habits in the bud to prevent them from negatively taking over your life. Abstaining from alcohol is the only guarantee of being free from abusing it. If you cannot stay away from the liquor, moderate your drinking and look out for indications that you may be overindulging.