Is there a difference between having a drinking problem and being an alcoholic? As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I am asked about this very question almost weekly. My answer is yes. I say this because, in my opinion, an alcoholic, is a person with a drinking problem they have tried to correct but can’t seem to stop.
All alcoholics have drinking problems. They drink because they have to. It has become so habitual that even though they know they drink too often and too much they cannot and do not stop. When they try, there may be some initial success – a day, a week, a month, maybe even a year – yet when they take another drink they inevitably resort to their previous drinking behavior. As reported in www.huffingtonpost.com.
It has been said that it is OK for a man to have two drinks per day and a woman one. Drinking in excess of the above does not make an individual an alcoholic. By the same token it makes them more than an occasional or "social" drinker. For me, if a man has about 14 drinks per week or four or more two or more times per week, and a woman has eight drinks in a week or three or more at least twice per week they fall into the "almost alcoholic" zone.
There are probably millions of men and women in the almost alcoholic zone. Many of them, if confronted with the above drinking guidelines, might nod. But when asked to estimate just how many drinks they actually consume in any given week, these same men and women may be shocked to realize that they do indeed exceed the recommended limits.
Of this group quite a few will argue that the recommended limits are either unreasonable, or at the very least outdated. I was part of this group for years.
If you or someone you care about falls into this group, please seek help immediately. A 12 hour alcohol class is a good place to start. If you prefer your anonymity there are online alcohol classes too.