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Am I An Alcoholic?

A social drinker is someone who consumes alcohol occasionally and in moderation, usually in social settings or as part of a celebration. They are able to control their drinking and do not experience any negative consequences from it, such as blackouts, hangovers, or problems with relationships, work, or health.

An alcoholic, on the other hand, is someone who has developed a dependence on alcohol, which can lead to a range of negative consequences. They may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop drinking, and they may find it difficult to control their drinking or stop drinking altogether, despite negative consequences. Alcoholism can also cause physical and mental health problems, as well as problems with work, relationships, and other areas of life.

The key difference between a social drinker and an alcoholic is that a social drinker is able to consume alcohol in moderation and without negative consequences, while an alcoholic has developed a dependence on alcohol that is affecting their life in negative ways.

It can be difficult to know if you have a problem with alcohol or if you are an alcoholic. However, here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate that you have developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol:

  1. Cravings: You may feel a strong desire to drink alcohol and have difficulty controlling the urge to drink.
  2. Increased tolerance: You may need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effect that you used to get from a smaller amount.
  3. Withdrawal symptoms: You may experience physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea, or headaches when you try to stop drinking or cut back on your drinking.
  4. Loss of control: You may find it difficult to stop drinking once you have started and may continue to drink even when you know it is causing problems.
  5. Neglecting responsibilities: You may neglect your responsibilities at work, school, or home because of your drinking.
  6. Continued use despite negative consequences: You may continue to drink even when it is causing problems in your relationships, health, or other areas of your life.


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be helpful to seek professional help to determine if you have a problem with alcohol and to develop a plan to address it. A healthcare professional or a mental health professional can help you understand your relationship with alcohol and provide you with resources and support to make positive changes.

Identifying as an alcoholic can carry a significant stigma due to a variety of factors, including cultural perceptions, societal attitudes, and personal beliefs. Here are some aspects of the stigma associated with identifying as an alcoholic:

  1. Social Perception: Alcoholism is often associated with negative stereotypes, such as being seen as weak-willed, morally flawed, or lacking self-control. These stereotypes can lead to feelings of shame and guilt for individuals who identify as alcoholics.
  2. Blame and Judgment: People may view alcoholics as solely responsible for their condition, neglecting the complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to alcohol addiction. This blame can exacerbate the feelings of guilt and shame.
  3. Self-Stigma: Individuals who identify as alcoholics might internalize these negative stereotypes and feel a sense of worthlessness or self-loathing. This self-stigma can hinder their willingness to seek help and engage in treatment.
  4. Barriers to Seeking Help: The fear of being judged, ostracized, or rejected can deter individuals from seeking professional help or entering treatment programs. Stigma can also discourage them from openly discussing their struggles with friends, family, or colleagues.
  5. Professional Consequences: Some individuals worry that admitting to alcoholism could harm their professional reputation, potentially affecting job prospects, promotions, or relationships with colleagues.
  6. Relationship Strain: Stigma might lead to strained relationships with friends and family who might not fully understand or empathize with the challenges of alcohol addiction. This lack of support can make recovery more difficult.
  7. Perceived Weakness: In societies that emphasize self-reliance and personal strength, admitting to an addiction can be seen as a sign of weakness. This can discourage individuals from acknowledging their problem and seeking help.
  8. Lack of Empathy: The stigma associated with alcoholism can result in a lack of empathy and compassion from others, making it harder for individuals in recovery to find understanding and support.


It’s important to note that efforts have been made to reduce the stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction in general. Education, awareness campaigns, and increased understanding of the complexities of addiction can help challenge these negative perceptions and create a more supportive environment for individuals seeking recovery. Additionally, recognizing that alcoholism is a medical condition rather than a personal failing can contribute to a more compassionate and empathetic approach. At A Wildwood Recovery, many of our staff understand first-hand the challenges of identifying with and addressing alcohol abuse.