A common misconception is that alcoholics drink daily, in dirty trench coats, under the bridge. This falsehood keeps a lot of people from accepting that many alcoholics appear to be completely average.
No, you don’t need to drink every day to be an alcoholic. Problem drinkers have varying patterns of drinking. The similarity is that it is nearly impossible to stop once they start to drink.
If you look over your history, you can probably recount countless times where you swore booze off for a few days or weeks, only to return right where you left off.
Let’s look at a few types of drinkers.
One of the most common. This type only goes on the weekends or time off work. However, the theme turns into shorter and short periods between the binges. Maybe it started as only one wild weekend per month; then it turns into two then three weekends a month.
Another theme is that the outcome of the binges becomes harder and harder to predict and clean up. Blackouts become standard, and you hear from friends and family nightmare behavior you’d never engage in when sober.
The don’t-drink-at-all-if-I don’t-have-enough drinker.
There’s a drink who might go to an event but won’t drink because they can’t reasonably drink the amounts they want. It might be because the event doesn’t serve the portions they prefer, or they know they have to keep their composure, such as a work event.
These types know that once they start to drink, they won’t be able to stop. Therefore, they won’t drink at all.
Ordinary drinkers don’t have this thought process at all.
Daily Light Drinker with Bender In-Between
Maybe you drink a few nearly every night without a problem. However, like the binge drinker, you find that occasions when you lose control become more and more frequent. You may even punish yourself for these benders by skipping your usual nightly couple.
Long Stretches of Sobriety Only to Burn It All Down in A Blaze of Glory
Someone who knows they’re alcoholic but hasn’t accepted treatment sometimes turns into a seeming bipolar. The long-haul-dry types can go great stretches of sobriety, and they often build up immense success for themselves and their families. Alcoholics typically have above-average earning power, and just several months of dryness could compound to excellent material success.
However, he or she is miserable dry. They have put on a facade to make themselves and everyone around them think they have their problem under control. Their boredom and misery eventually lead back to drink. They go at it just where they left off before, which usually means burning down the incredible life they’d built up.
As you can see, a daily drinking habit doesn’t define alcoholism. Drinking patterns vary a great deal, but problematic drinking can still permeate through them. The binging party-hard guy can still have definite alcoholism if it starts taking over in a way he hadn’t planned.