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What is an Alcoholic?

Many people in today's society suspect that they may be drinking too much or too frequently, but what is it that defines an alcoholic and sets they apart from the rest of the drinkers in this world?

Admitting that you suffer from Alcoholism can be very difficult, especially if you do not fully understand what an alcoholic is. I know myself, that before coming into recovery, I didn't fit the stereo typical portrait of what I thought an alcoholic was. This somewhat delayed me addressing my problems, even though to my family and friends I was clearly spiralling out of control. I thought that Alcoholics drank in the morning, that they didn't wash or eat, that they only drank cider, Super Tenants or Vodka ( I admit that sometimes I held the same traits as this, but not all the time).

My preconceived ideas of what an alcoholic was stopped me from getting help at an earlier stage, even though my own GP suggested it to me. My attitude was that I just need to drink a little less ( usually the morning after) or that I needed to control it better and stay out of trouble ( just before drinking), or that I damn well deserved this drink as id had a stressful day ( whilst drinking!). To me, at that time, it was other people's attitudes towards my drinking that needed to change not mine. As far as I was concerned I was not an alcoholic. I even judged others drinking, anything to avoid looking at my own. After all I still had my marriage, my children, my family and friends, alcoholics had no one, didn't they?

Eventually, being an undiagnosed or self-confessed alcoholic, my condition deteriorated. It came to the point where I had absolutely no control what so every over my alcohol consumption. Every day I was fighting a losing battle trying desperately to regain that control. At the point where I stood to lose everything if I continued, I became willing to seek professional help, I could no longer do it on my own, I was tired of it all, I finally admitted I was an alcoholic. To me that meant that I could never control my drinking ever again, yet I didn't trust myself not to drink.

I was fortunate enough to have a rehabilitation clinic treat my alcoholism, funded by my fraught and desperate family. It was there that I learned to true nature of alcoholism, and my preconceived ideas of what an alcoholic was were smashed. The treatment I received was successful, it means I now realise that I can never drink safely again, and this time I've been shown how to not drink again. I never knew how to before and alcohol was my master. Today admitting that I am an alcoholic, and that I know my own truth, is freeing and empowering, it allows me to live my life without the constant worry that alcohol may smash it all to pieces once again.

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