Repeated, abusive drinking can lead to serious health, relationship, financial, educational, legal, and
employment problems as well as to alcohol addiction. Stated another way, engaging in alcohol abuse over time
adversely affects just about every importance aspect of a person’s life.
And if this isn’t enough, continued excessive and hazardous drinking often makes the transition from abuse
to alcohol dependency (also known as “alcoholism” and “alcohol addiction”).
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that characteristically results in one or more of the following during a
twelve-month time period:
- An alcohol-related health problem (such as ulcers) or a physical injury (such as an alcohol-related
accident or injury at work.)
- The experience of recurring alcohol-related legal difficulties (such as receiving one or more “driving
under the influence” (DUI) citations, especially if the drinker has never previously received a DUI.)
- Failure to attend to important responsibilities at school, home, or work. The focus here is on
irresponsibility in people who are typically responsible. Examples include the following: someone with an
excellent attendance record at work or at school who suddenly starts to miss a lot of work or school,
respectively, or someone who fails to do his chores at home who has a long track record of doing these chores
on a regular basis.
- Ongoing alcohol-related relationship issues. Picture this scenario. Nancy and Jacob have been happily
married for three years. Jacob starts going to happy hour everyday after work and having a few drinks with his
work buddies. As a result, Jacob spends less “quality” time with Nancy, he comes home late for dinner several
times every week, he doesn’t want to do anything but fall asleep in his recliner when he gets home, and he
starts spending a lot of money that was targeted for the building of a new house. Do you think that Nancy just
might have a “problem” with Jacob’s alcohol-related behavior? Is there a chance that Jacob’s drinking behavior
is starting to sour his relationship with his wife?
Alcoholism Has its Roots in Alcohol Abuse
Something definitely needs to be articulated about alcohol abuse that is neither emphasized enough in the
research literature nor in websites, blogs, and online forums: alcoholism has its roots in alcohol abuse. Think
about this for a few minutes.
Do you honestly think that most people become alcohol dependent overnight? Of course not. In short, alcoholism
results from repeated abusive and hazardous drinking over time.
This has many implications, but perhaps the key implication is this. If alcoholism has its roots in alcohol
abuse, then the educational and preventative efforts need to point out the destruction and devastation associated
with alcoholism so that those who don’t drink never start and those who drink socially or abusively learn how to
manage and control their drinking so that it NEVER escalates into alcohol dependency.
Obviously, multitudes of people need to hear about the alcoholism “horror stories” such as alcohol related
cancer, heart disease, and organ malfunction like liver damage so they can learn how to avoid such disastrous and
at times fatal medical conditions.
Of course it makes sense for alcoholics to get the alcohol treatment they need. On the other hand, it makes just
as much sense, if not more sense, for alcohol abusers to get alcohol treatment BEFORE their drinking changes into
In conclusion, why increase your risk of developing such devastating medical, relationship, financial,
employment, educational, and legal problems that are usually associated with alcoholism when you can virtually
eliminate these risks either by always drinking in moderation or by abstaining from drinking alcohol altogether?
And if you cannot accomplish either one of these options on your own, then get alcohol treatment so that you