Can I Enjoy Drinking without Being an Addict?

People who enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages are not bad people, and the act of drinking alcohol does not define alcoholism or an alcohol abuse problem. Healthy drinking habits rely on balance and self-control. Alcoholism is not based on how much or how often an individual drinks but rather why the individual is drinking and what his or her attitude towards drinking is. Alcoholism involves the reoccurring use of alcohol despite negative consequences. Drinking alcohol is not necessarily alcohol abuse, and alcohol abuse is not necessarily alcoholism. Understanding the boundaries between these labels can help a person recognize when drinking has become a problem. Many individuals can enjoy the occasional beer or cocktail without being an addict, but others cannot. Those who are at risk for alcoholism need to learn and recognize the early signs of alcohol abuse.

What Is the Real Reason for Your Drinking?

The reason behind your drinking activity can indicate if your routine is more of a problem than you suspect. Alcoholism is usually caused by one or many underlying factors. These issues can be hard to identify, and many people don’t fully understand their risk factors, until they get treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction. Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you are drinking because you enjoy it or because an underlying reason:

  • Do you like to drink when you are stressed? Do you drink to relax?
  • When you are upset or emotionally overwhelmed, does drinking help? Do you use drinking to improve your mood?
  • Do you drink when you are having relationship problems or after a fight with a spouse, partner, parent, friend or child?
  • Does your free time, interests or social activities typically involve drinking?
  • Do you drink to escape or temporarily get away from your problems and responsibilities?
  • Do you drink to forget painful memories?
  • Do you drink to overcome feelings of anxiety, paranoia, depression, sleeplessness or suicide?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your drinking habits may act as a coping mechanism for physical or emotional pain or stress. Drinking in this form is dangerous and can lead to addiction.

When Does Your Drinking Become a Problem?

Signs of alcohol addiction include the following:

  • Tolerance to the effects of alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • Failed attempts at quitting or cutting back on alcohol
  • Feeling guilty about drinking
  • Continuing to drink despite knowing the problems its causing
  • Losing control over drinking and drinking more than wanted to or planned
  • Centering life around alcohol

If your drinking has become a problem in your life, reach out for professional help. Recovery specialists can help explore underlying causes of alcohol abuse and provide solutions for long-term sobriety.

Getting Help for Alcoholism or Alcohol Abuse

Please call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day to talk with you about your concerns over your or a loved one’s drinking. We can provide advice and solutions for alcohol, mental health and addiction issues, and we are here for you.

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