Alcoholism is a progressive disease. For most people in society, it begins in the first stage of experimentation. This phase is usually between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. These people who drink usually start on the weekend, at a sleepover or at a house party when adult supervision is not present. Usually at this point, when alcohol is consumed by the curious, some will "nurse" a drink throughout the evening. these are known to be "normal" drinkers. Then there will be others who will consume multiple drinks by the sheer fact of the pleasure of the taste or by means of peer pressure. These could eventually be catagorized as "abusive users." It is not until one progresses in the lifestyle that he or she would be labeled an alcoholic.
People will go through their childhood, high school years and possibly their college years drinking on what some would claim to be a "problem drinker" only to rediscover that that person quit cold turkey without any consequences, reprocussions, legal problems or domestic problems. They just quit! The reason is the fact they knew they have come to a point in their life when responsibility overrides the drink. They put it down and never pick it up again. And if they do, it's a beer or a glass of wine. this person is not alcoholic.
Then there is the person who drinks on the weekends. Most people see him as a "weekend warrior" and he is the life of the party. This is the type of person whose alcohol consumption progresses in quanity but still sticks to the weekends. He eventually starts to black out. His or her friends tell him/her of the antics they did whil under the influence. With time, the weekends turn into Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His four day weekend eventually becomes a five day, then six and then a whole seven days. But here's the kicker. This person has two choices: 1) he or she will continue to drink or 2) will pull back dramatically on their intake. Yes this person still has a choice in their life.
Now let's look at the 10% of the population who are definately alcoholic. Science says that these people, and, yes I qualify in this cataorgy, are born an alcoholic and it is just a matter of time before the disease takes form in one way or the other. Some people born with this do not always end up drinking. Some will turn to sex, to food, to gambling, obtain an excessive-compulsive disorder, or flat out find something else to become dependant upon. The true alcoholic will no longer drink for the purpose of enjoyment. No. Drinking at this point becomes a necessity to wake up, to make love, to work, to be outgoing, prevent the shakes, ect.. The pleasure no longer there. The pain now outweighs the pleasure. Many of us at some point wonder where we went wrong. Stop it! It doesn't matter when you drank, what you drank, who you drank with or any of that. Alcoholism is a disease. Drinking is but a symptom.
"ISM"- I, self, me. This is our problem. One has to find a solution. And no one can classify you as an alcoholic, only you. We drink because we block certain areas out of our life that are deemed troublesome, unmanaged, too painful, too sad or flat out we just don't want to face it. We drink because we fear. Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It just gets worse and worse over time. When we step back and look at where we are with our intake, we can begin to work on I, self and me. Sometimes loved ones jump in and lead us in the direction we need to go. In other cases, we get a "nudge from the judge." The bottom line is this. No matter how much you drank, no matter what brings you to your knees and however far down your bottom is, you can stop right now, right here and recover. Alcoholism may seem like an embarrassing, life long threat. But through the dust a new life awaits. It's your choice, it's your life. In closing, if not properly treated, then one can expect three things to happen without fail: jails, institutions and/or death.