We think it’s normal. From our mid to our late teens, though some starting in their early teens, drinking is a “normal” part of life. In some areas, the party culture starts young and carries through adulthood. Drinking is a normal part of culture. Abnormal drinking is not a normal part of culture. Differentiating between the two can be difficult, especially when drinking is normalized for you, and, especially when it is likely you are an alcoholic.
Some people ponder whether or not they were an alcoholic before they started drinking or before their drinking got “bad”. Are we born alcoholics? The jury is still out. Through consistent and repeated heavy drinking, however, many of us develop alcoholism. Once we are in recovery and we look back on the development of our drinking, with 20/20 hindsight vision, it is obvious to us how clear it was all along. Yet, we can recognize how emotional forces like denial, justification, normalization, or sheer ignorance might have kept us on the wet side of our three sheets to the wind.
Chronic heavy drinking isn’t a normal response to life no matter how we try to reason it. If we notice that our social drinking leads to personal problems, there is a likely cause for concern. Social drinking shouldn’t result in financial problems, decrease in personal health, or a loss of productivity in our jobs or academic efforts. Social drinking should just be social, meaning that at the end of a social event the drinking should stay where it started. For alcoholics, however, the consequences of our drinking seems to follow us around and progressively get worse as they do.
The negative side effects of drinking aren’t always external. Alcoholics don’t always lose their jobs, their friends, their partners, or their money. Considered “high functioning”, some alcoholics maintain that air of social belonging, without diving into what most society stereotypes as an alcoholic. Problematically, that allows people to avoid the reality of their problematic “social” drinking. Though one might not lose any external belonging, they start to lose their internal ones. They lose their sanity, they lose their sense of identity, they lose hope, and they lose faith. Alcoholism can look like a party on the outside but be a prolonged mourning procession on the inside. Witnessing you interior life fade further and further to black is perhaps one of the most hopeless experiences one can have. It is also a heavy indicator that social drinking is no longer a social matter but a deeply personal and psychological one.
People drink to cope. What it is they are drinking to cope with is unique to each individual. Eventually, drinking as a coping mechanism ceases to work and it just becomes drinking. Specifically, it becomes alcoholism.
If you are under the impression that your social drinking has turned into alcoholism, it is time to seek treatment. Those feelings of darkness do not have to continue. There is a way. Sound Recovery Solutions provides integrative treatment programs to help men suffering from alcoholism create a new way of living, thinking, feeling, and being. Are you ready for something more? Call us today at 561-948-0512