People do not become alcoholics as soon as they begin drinking. There is a process, and it can sometimes take years before the person moves from social drinker to physically dependent on alcohol. Becoming an alcoholic is like crossing a line. If you get help before this point, you might be able to regain control over you drinking. Once you cross the line of addiction, there is no real way to go back. This is why discovering that you are ‘almost’ an alcoholic is so important and it means that you still have a chance to avoid the suffering of addiction.
What Does It Mean To Be Almost An Alcoholic?
Alcoholism is a type of addiction. It means that you have become physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. The physical addiction occurs as your body develops tolerance for this drug; it adapts to the substance so well that it begins to struggle when you do not have alcohol in your bloodstream. Once these changes happen to your body, it is not possible to turn the clock back because alcohol is now too closely connected with your inner reward system; even if you stop drinking for twenty years, you can retrigger this addiction by just having one drink.
To say that you are almost an alcoholic means that you have not yet developed a physical dependence but you are well on the way to this point. At this stage, your behaviour is likely to get you into trouble, but you are still able to stop drinking if you have a real need to. You may feel that the pros of alcohol still outweigh the negatives, which is why it can be so hard for many to stop at this stage.
Signs That You Are Almost an Alcoholic
- You binge drink regularly – this is a popular but unsafe form of drinking where you consume an excessive amount of alcohol in the one sitting
- You regularly become inebriated
- You need a few drinks to be able to unwind in the evenings
- You drink alcohol because you like the feeling of inebriation
- You have been in trouble as a result of your behaviour
- You regularly have hangovers
- You sometimes say or do things you later regret while under the influence of alcohol
- You drink more than 21 units per week – a unit equals half a pint of standard beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of spirits.
Signs that You Have Crossed the Line into Alcoholism
The signs of alcoholism include increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. It is easy to miss the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal because they could be mistaken for hangover symptoms. Withdrawals can include:
- shaking hands when not drinking
- mood swings
- hallucinations (in extreme cases)
- flu-like symptoms
How to Stop the Progression towards Alcoholism
If you have an alcohol problem then it is vital that you try to escape this behaviour as soon as possible. If you feel unable to control your drinking, the best advice is to seek the help of a therapist. This professional may be able to help you regain control over your drinking or, if you have already become addicted, to find a suitable recovery programme. It is important to keep in mind that the longer you wait before getting help, the greater your risk of crossing the line into addiction. It is much easier to deal with ‘almost’ being an alcoholic than it is to deal with being an alcoholic.