Addiction to Alcohol
Addiction to Alcohol: Abuse vs. Addiction
There is a difference between Alcohol abuse or addiction. The difference is not that great, but it’s important to understand when a person goes from abusing drugs to being addicted to drugs.
Addiction to Alcohol: What is Alcohol abuse?
The easiest way of defining Alcohol abuse is observing that a person uses a Alcohol for something other occasional use. That is, they have a habit of drinking to “get high” or “feel better.” They drink and or take the drugs for recreation.
Some “drugs” that are used for recreation may not be prescription meds, or over-the-counter medications, or even street drugs. They can be common, everyday chemicals. For example, people inhale glue or solvents to get high. People want to have a mood change, to feel good.
Professional drug counselors will tell you that any use of illegal drugs is drug abuse. Those drugs are illegal because they are potentially very addictive and harmful to a person’s health. That broadens our definition of Alcohol/Drug abuse even more. Therefore, any illegal drug use, or any use of prescription or non-prescription medication use beyond what is prescribed by a medical professional, or any use of a chemical to get high, is abuse. I someone says I want to drink to get drunk and they do it often, takes usually alcohol abuse.
There are some drugs that are used to relax, to feel good, to be sociable. Alcohol is the most common Alcohol used in America for this purpose. It’s legal, and if taken in moderation, is not harmful. But alcohol is addictive. Some people say marijuana is not addictive, and therefore should be legal, but researchers have found that marijuana has other harmful effects, even if someone is not “addicted.” People can become psychologically addicted, even if there is no physical dependence.
Almost any substance can be abused and abuse or addiction are possible. Cigarettes, caffeine and other common, legal substances are abused by people every day. Sometimes the line between use and abuse is fuzzy.
For example, people might go to the tavern after work and have a couple of drinks with their friends. Is that abuse? Some might argue that it becomes abuse when it becomes a regular, daily occurrence. Too many cigarettes, too much coffee, to many diet sodas. The line is determined by the person.
Addiction to Alcohol: What is Alcohol addiction?
We will now try to determine when Alcohol abuse becomes addiction. When a person is abusing a Alcohol they are making a choice. They choose to get high. When a person goes into addiction, their choice in the matter is either severely limited or taken away entirely.
The 12-Step process begins with a very important statement, “We admitted we were powerless…”
You can insert the Alcohol that is doing the damage. When the Alcohol takes over, when a person’s life is all about getting the Alcohol and taking the drug, when nothing but the Alcohol matters, that is addiction. A person might develop a physical “need” for the drug, or a psychological craving for the drug. The first step in the 12-Step process ends with:
“that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Powerless and unmanageable
Powerless and unmanageable are the hallmarks of addiction. When brain chemistry changes, the mind is tricked into thinking it NEEDS the Alcohol to function. A physical addiction sets in and the person must have the drug. Just like the body needs food to survive, the addicted mind needs the Alcohol to survive. It doesn’t matter if the person is dying, it doesn’t matter if their health has deteriorated and even if their life has been ruined. All that matters is the drug.
The addicted person might even holler and scream that they are in control, that they can “handle it,” or that every other person who is watching is wrong and only they are right. Sadly, addiction is easier to see from the outside looking in.
There are medical explanations of addiction, but suffice it to say that addiction owns the addict. From the perspective of the addicted person, they have to take the Alcohol to feel “normal” or to feel “good.” There is no choice. THEY MUST DRINK! People do things they normally would never think of doing. They steal money. They become prostitutes. They break off relationships, even the ones with those they love the most. Why? The Alcohol is dictating their life.
So now what?
Whether a person is struggling with abuse or addiction to drugs, it’s a problem. It is not a problem that a mere “I’ll cut back,” or “I can handle it” is going to solve. Abuse or addiction are both serious problems.
Perhaps a person can recognize that their Alcohol use is really abuse and they will stop on their own. God bless them. But most people can’t. They need professional help. They can talk to their doctor and maybe get a recommendation on a treatment program. There are social service agencies that deal help deal with Alcohol abuse or addiction.
There are treatment centers. There is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Recovery from abuse and addiction is vitally important. Seek professional help and guidance. Alcohol abuse or addiction are both serious problems that should be dealt with as soon as possible because the situation is only likely to get much worse.
Addiction to Alcohol Addiction to Alcohol Addiction to Alcohol Addiction to Alcohol
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