Alcoholism is generally defined as:
- A chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing alcohol intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally.
- Currently believed by many to be a disease with strong genetic links.
- continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks; a chronic, progressive, potentially fatal, psychological and nutritional disorder associated with excessive and usu. compulsive drinking of ethanol and characterized by frequent intoxication leading to dependence on or addiction to the substance, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, destructive behaviors (as drunken driving), tissue damage (as cirrhosis of the liver), and severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification.
- A primary chronic disease influenced by genetic predisposition, psychosocial, environmental and cultural factors. The alcoholic who chooses to drink does so because of a complex interaction between these factors.
- A disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. Symptoms include craving, impaired control, physical dependence, and increased tolerance.
Although many alcoholics and addicts usually see themselves as one or the other the two are related very closely. Alcoholism is usually associated with the abuse of alcohol; while addiction is usually associated with the abuse of drugs. The truth is that they are both intertwined and can refer to both. The Alcoholic is ADDICTED to alcohol. The ADDICT has the propensity to use any type of drug including ALCOHOL to gain the pleasure of either one.
The DISEASE of addiction and alcoholism are one in the same, and so using the tools of a twelve step program are essential to the recovery and continued sobriety of the alcoholic and addict. It is in these twelve step programs that the alcoholic and addict learn to share their feelings and hardships in the safety and company of fellow AA and NA members, who can sympathize and empathize with them, as is a part of the continued process of recovery.
RECOVERY from the disease of addiction and alcoholism is not an overnight cure; it is an ongoing struggle and is a rocky road. The road is full of possible relapse, and that is sometimes hard for family and friends to understand. Just remember that there is always a solution. Sobriety and Recovery are an ongoing life change decision. The addict or alcoholic has to want sobriety more than anything in order to stay the course one day at a time.
The most important thing that an recovering addict or alcoholic needs it to know that friends and family are there to help, NOT ENABLE, but help them through the tough times and possible relapse