When Drinking Crosses the Line


I've recently read that some "alcoholics" can learn to drink "normally". What do you think about this?


The bottom line is, I do not believe that someone whois physically dependent upon alcohol can become a normal drinker. It seems that from time to time research is published that indicates an "alcoholic" can become a "normal" drinker, e.g., learn to control their alcohol intake: but in my twenty plus years of practice I've never run across a physically dependent alcoholic who became a "normal" drinker.

There is a significant difference between an alcohol abuser and someone who is physically dependent on alcohol. I define an alcohol as someone who, on occasion, drinks to excess, but has the ability to quit after they have one or more drinks. An alcoholic dependent person shows a pattern of pathological use with increased tolerance and physical withdrawal when they stop or attempt to stop drinking.

Putting all this aside, I believe that if your family or friends are concerned about your drinking then it's time to quit. A good start is to consult a professional counselor; begin attending Alcoholics Anonymous; and get your family involved in your treatment. I f you have a loved one who refuses to seek help, go to a counselor and attend Al-Anon. Finally, learn how to take care of yourself and use a tough love approach.

For additional information, contact the Rice Clinic.

Answered by: Ron McCafferty, M.S.W.