Can a person addicted to alcohol turn back the clock and return to social drinking?

Here is the difference between a social drinker and a drinker who has actually developed an addiction to alcohol:

Social Drinker

A social drinker drinks alcohol on occasion, but drinking does not continually occupy their thoughts. They can enjoy a drink or two and take it or leave it, not giving drinking another consideration. Leaving a half finished drink does not bother them even remotely. There are no negative consequences as a result of their drinking (other than possibly an isolated incident) causing them no problems overall. There is no loss of control or consequences related to their drinking. Family and friends have no reason to voice concern about the drinking patterns of a social drinker.

Problem Drinker or Alcoholic

It is inevitable that the use of alcohol will progress to the point where negative consequences begin to occur, such as a DUI or getting involved in other legal problems, possibly an assault charge. There is no question that alcohol was the offender, and a serious consequence occurred that was actually a personal and devastating compromise of the standards of the drinker. A night in jail for someone who, if it wasn’t for alcohol, would never have seen the inside of a jail cell.

Drinking starts to occupy your thoughts more frequently now, looking forward to and constantly planning that next drink. Drinking is running interference with family obligations, social obligations, and work.

The problem drinker no longer possesses the ability to set limits on his or her drinking and adhere to them. This is a distinct difference from the social user who doesn’t need any limits. When the alcoholic picks up a drink, he or she cannot guarantee the outcome. All bets are off.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction

The primary characteristic of alcoholism is the loss of control over drinking. Therefore, an alcoholic would not be able to successfully return to controlled drinking based on the definition.

One of the dreams of an alcoholic is to be able to go back to social drinking. You would have to be an alcoholic to have that kind of dream. Social drinkers wouldn’t think in those terms.

In addition to loss of control, there is an inevitable increase in tolerance, withdrawal, frequency and volume in regard to drinking. The hallmark characteristic is that an alcoholic cannot quit despite his or her most sincere efforts to do so, and continues to drink and continues to experience these devastating consequences.

Can an alcoholic regain control over his or her drinking? Unfortunately, the answer is and will always be no. In fact, many alcoholics will get some clean time in, but when they go back to drinking will either make up for lost time by drinking with a vengeance or start out drinking less for a very short period, but will be right back to the volume and frequency of drinking they were engaging in prior to their success in stopping for that short time. Most alcoholics will try to control their drinking many, many times in their drinking career, never reaching that much coveted title of social drinker.

One reason social drinking is no longer an option may be in no small part due to changes in the brain. There are significant differences between the brain scan of a normal person and a brain scan of an alcoholic.

Any addict’s least favorite word is no. But unfortunately, in this case, once a person has become addicted to alcohol, the chances of them being able to return to normal drinking is probably one in a million, if that.

If you have a drinking problem and want help, there is an easier way:

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