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Alcohol Abuse

by Joan M. Ellis, M.A., L.P.C., L.C.D.C.

Chances are if you have clicked on this article about Alcohol Abuse, you are concerned about either your own drinking or the drinking of someone you know; perhaps someone you love.   What is an alcohol abuser?  One who gets drunk with some regularity.  Then when does alcohol abuse become alcoholism? 

Alcoholism takes anywhere from three months to 30 years to develop. Usually the people around them notice that the drinking gets heavier and more frequent. 

Obsessed with drinking activities, the alcoholic steers a group toward activities that involve drinking.  Going to a movie will not be included in the plans of the alcoholic.  Contrary to what many think, an alcoholic does not always drink in the morning.  It is possible to be an alcoholic and only drink after 5:00 pm or on weekends.  The stereotypes of the alcoholic, skid-row bum do not apply to most alcoholics.  In spite of negative consequences and the promise to never drink again, the alcoholic usually continues drinking   At the moment that promise is made, the alcoholic is sincere.  But, once the alcoholic takes a drink, the promise is forgotten and the drink takes over.   He/she is unable to predict what will happen while drinking.  There is a proverb that describes this process: “The man takes a drink, the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.” 

Suggested Readings:

Brown, Stephanie, Ph.D.,
                A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation       
                Hazelden  www.hazelden.org/bookstore    800-328-9000  

Knapp, C., Drinking, A Love Story.

Martin, J., Chalk Talks on Alcohol.  

Meyers, Robert J. & Wolfe, Brenda.
                Get Your Loved One Sober, Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
                Hazelden. www.hazelden.org/bookstore     800-328-9000 

Pluyman, Bert. The Thinking Person's Guide to Sobriety. Bright Books, Austin, Texas. 1996.