Like I have said, I never considered myself an alcoholic, simply a constant, heavy drinker who got into a little trouble and decided to quit. Is that the definition of “alcoholic”?
Alcoholism is a large umbrella that covers several categories of drinking. Alcohol abuse is one type of alcoholism, almost considered the step before alcohol dependence or addiction. Alcohol abuse is defined as being a “heavy, regular drinker”, which to different people can mean different things. I drank a 6-pack of beer on a daily basis, more if I was out on the town. Keep in mind, I’m a 110-lb. female. During my 12-year drinking career, only three days went by when I did not drink. And, those were long, long days. So, by this definition, I guess I was an alcohol abuser.
The other category or step in alcoholism is that of alcohol dependence or addiction. This is more than simply regularly getting drunk. This is an innate, physiological craving for alcohol. Anyone who smokes knows what that craving feels like. Anyone who goes to Starbucks everyday recognizes that craving. It is an uncomfortable, creepy, never-ending desire to get at your drug. People who are addicted to alcohol have a craving that is uncontrollable. I’ve got to say that I never felt that craving, but I do remember a deep need to order a second beer before the first one was finished, craving it before I even needed it.
My denial of placing myself in an unattractive category – alcoholic – probably made my early years of sobriety a lot harder than they had to be. My shrink wanted me to just say it – “Dee, you’re an alcoholic. Accept it.” I never did.
I will accept the fact that I drank more than was good for me (or anyone, for that matter). I will accept the fact that my drinking made my life a lot harder and dangerous than it needed to be. But, I guess I’ll keep denying that I was, or am, an alcoholic.