Drinkers: What Types Are There?


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When it comes to alcohol consumption, there are certainly times and places for drinking. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 15.1 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. This is an alarming statistic, but it is true, nonetheless. In addition, 8.1 million of those people have alcoholism. However, not everyone is an alcoholic. Most people with an alcohol use disorder need to get into an alcohol rehabilitation program to stop using alcohol. Knowing more about the different types of drinkers can help you figure out if you might have an alcohol use disorder.

Moderate Drinkers

According to Chapter 2 of the Big Book, “Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone.” These are the types of drinkers who may not binge drink. If they do, it is on slight occasion. These types of drinkers can consume alcohol in moderation. They don’t feel the need to go out and get blackout drunk. If you are a moderate drinker, just keep in mind that this is opening up the door for a drinking problem to occur. If something traumatic happens in your life, you might see alcohol as your solution.

Hard Drinkers

Chapter 2 of the Big Book also states, “Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason – ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor – becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.” These types of drinkers struggle with alcohol. They may not be addicted yet or their addiction may be minor. Either way, they feel alcohol is part the solution to their problems, yet they can usually stop with some help.

Real Alcoholics

Finally, there are the real alcoholics. Chapter 2 of the Big Book states, “He may start of as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.” These are the people who rarely drink mildly. They go all out and you may often find them blackout drunk or passed out. These types of drinkers do things that are out of their nature. They do things that go against the moral norms of most people. Some alcoholics may cheat on their spouse, steal money to get alcohol, steal alcohol, lie to their loved ones, or abuse someone.

It is important to note that real alcoholics don’t always drink around-the-clock. Being a real alcoholic just means the person has lost control of their drinking. There are some alcoholics who only drink a couple of times a year, but when they do, they can’t control how much they consume.
These are the different types of drinkers. Now that you are aware of these, you can get the help you might need to stop drinking. It might be alcohol rehab, inpatient or outpatient, or some other form of help.

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Picture of Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP
Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP

Experienced Clinical Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Anger Management, Healthcare, Medicine, EMDR, and Life Transitions. Strong healthcare services professional with a Masters Degree focused in Psychology from The University of Memphis.

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