I am an alcoholic. I enjoyed drinking and only quit when the pain of drinking outweighed the pleasure of getting drunk. For many of us it is financial trouble, loss of a job, threats from a spouse, or legal trouble.
The difference between guys like me and some other guys is that whenever I quit, I always started back again. My dry periods were brief and marked by a compulsive fixation on that next drink (or absence of it). The pressure built and built until the only relief was to actually drink again. Once I drank two things happened.
First, I got relief from the overwhelming anxiety and stress. As soon as that first gulp of liquor hit my belly I felt like a different person.
Second, I drank constantly, only stopping when I passed out or was stopped by someone else.
So, for me, alcohol was not the problem. In a very real way it was the solution. Obviously, it wasn’t a very good solution and it led to a whole set of new problems. For me, the root cause of my behavior is not liking how I feel naturally. How do you tell the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic? There really is no way…they look identical from the outside. The only way to know if you are an alcoholic or just have a problem with alcohol is to quit drinking. If you can quit with no (I mean NO) negative consequences, then you have the answer. If you find it difficult to quit, then you have an answer as well.
If you have a problem with alcohol,quit drinking. If you try to quit and can’t, find help through a treatment center, church, twelve step program or some other method.