Are you wondering how to tell social drinking apart from alcoholism? Get a better understanding of each drinking pattern and see if you or a loved one might have a drinking problem.

There are a few phases of drinking, we call social drinking the “recreational” phase of drinking. The social drinker is the person who has already experienced the “experimental” phase, which is when they drink a few times and have no pattern of use, and now they drink because they like the effects. The social drinker has no pattern of use at all as they have not formed a habit yet, and their drinking has little impact on their life.

So, essentially the social drinker is the person who has a drink or two for a special occasion or maybe once in a great while with friends, and they don’t drink a large amount when they do. It’s hard to say at what blood alcohol level most social drinkers quit drinking. A person’s weight and the time elapsed since taking their first drink, and the type of alcohol their drinking play a part in calculating that number, so it’s different for everyone.

girl with long brown hair looking out curtains at a green teeSome people start out drinking socially and find that it helps calm their nerves while in social settings, and more and more these days as the number of people per capita continues to rise, people are being diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder. This disorder or phobia gives an intense and persistent irrational fear to the person and causes them extreme anxiety and even to fear they are being watched or judged by others. Some people with social anxiety may drink to self-medicate or cope with the anxiousness they endure during social situations. Drinking like this habitually takes a person out of the recreational phase of drinking and creates a pattern of use, putting them at a higher risk of addiction.

How to Stop Social Drinking, Before You Become an Alcoholic

The more a person drinks in frequency and quantity, the harder it is to stop. So, look at your drinking and make a conscious effort to make a change right now before it gets harder to quit. Also, environmental cues such as finances, romances, drama, and trauma can trigger a craving in the brain that will make you want to drink to cope, again making it hard for you to stay away from alcohol. Here are some things to consider if you are looking to change your habit of drinking.

  • What is the general attitude of your family toward drinking? Do your family members have a drinking habit? Are there any changes you need to make in this area to help support your new attitude about drinking?
  • What does your peer group think about drinking? Are there any changes you need to consider here too?
  • What is your work-place attitude toward drinking? Does it support your new views?

The above “cues to use” can make your new path more difficult to travel on. You may not be able to change jobs right away or want to stop seeing people you care about, but just keep in mind the long-term effects these types of environments and relationships can have on you. If you need help or education on how to limit or quit your drinking, calling a professional for therapy or looking into treatment options might be the next choice for you.

Also, keep in mind that your genetics can have a huge influence on whether or not you are an alcoholic, as the disease of addiction runs in families. Here’s some statistics to help you understand how susceptible you might be to becoming an alcoholic.

  • If you have 1 addicted parent at or prior to conception, you are at a 34% increased risk of becoming an alcoholic/addict
  • If you have 2 addicted parents, it increases your risk by 5 times or 400%
  • If you have 2 parents and 1 grandparent, it increases your risk by 10 times or 900%

Don’t let these numbers scare or intimidate you though! Just because addiction runs in your family, does not mean you have to give in to it too, and if you are reading this, you are headed down the right path!

If you would like more information about how to start your journey to an alcohol-free lifestyle, please give us a call at Oregon Trail Recovery LLC. We are available to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and will help you create a safe and individualized program for your early recovery needs. Call us at (855) 770-0577 to begin your journey today!