Alcoholism: Drinking Alone is not a Sure Sign

by The Discovering Alcoholic on September 23, 2010

Requested from the 07 archives.

They say one of the surest signs of alcoholism is drinking alone. No doubt this can be a sign of problem drinking, yet you have many people that do most of their drinking alone but are considered safe, “normal” drinkers.

So what’s the difference?

Well it’s not so much the drinking alone that’s the real problem here; it’s why the alcoholic will drink alone. Shame, embarrassment, and secrecy are all contributing factors but the overwhelming reason an alcoholic will isolate their self from others is their inability to face reality. Total dependence upon alcohol means that all things in life are now derived from drinking. Joy, sadness, courage… everything comes from the bottle until the very substance that provides life takes away the ability to live it.

At least for me, the facade of normalcy was no longer possible when the bartender asked if I needed help or when a convenience store clerk commented on the way my hand shook or how it was awful early for a beer. Even associating with other drunks, those considerate of our common plight became too painful a reminder of my sad state. Any contact with the real world made me painfully aware that I was no longer the master of my own destiny, and the very substance that gave me the strength to face the day also insured I would too debilitated to follow through.

It wasn’t the drinking alone that was the problem, it was why I was drinking alone.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitchell October 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

No, AA is not a cult. They just ask you to admit you’re powerless. They then ask you to believe in a higher power and then submit to that higher power. But it has nothing to do with religion. hmm….


Zentient September 24, 2010 at 8:43 am

horselover, this is an old argument for eschewing AA, “I am not powerless”. You are right that no one is inherently powerless. However, you give away all your power when you take the first drink. After you take the first hit, the first drink, the first whatever, you have willingly turned yourself over to the drug, and you are indeed powerless over alcohol (or other doc). Powerless is brought into the moment you grab the drug and take it. So, in my opinion, the first step of the 12 steps is quite accurate and goes to the core of addiction.


Anonymous April 11, 2009 at 12:27 am

After trying to quit many times on my own I finally went to NA and then AA meetings. I found only support and excellent suggestions which have allowed me to be drug and alcohol free for over 11 years. Not only am I clean and sober, but I’m happy, have a good work and family life and don’t have the guilt that went along with my drug use and drinking.

I never found any guilt trips in AA or NA. The groups I’ve been to are extremely non-judgmental. There is no doubt in my mind that I was powerless over booze and drugs. If it was around, I put it in my body. If I had some, I used all of it and then needed more. AA has helped me build the tools I’ve needed to never take that first one. I could never have done it on my own.

If you read the AA traditions you will see how it has avoided becoming cult-like. There are no dues or fees, there is no boss, no hierarchy, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking or using. AA reunites people with their families (unless their families are heavy drunks or drug users), it does not isolate them. AA encourages people to find their own “higher power” in any religion or no religion at all. I’m not seeing any “cult-like” behavior here. Can you be specific about what cult techniques you think AA uses?

AA is not for everyone. If it works for you, great… if not, I hope you find something that works for you. This isn’t just my attitude, it is the attitude of AA… not very cult-like.


Horselover_Fat March 24, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult. If you can learn to control your drinking by
yourself, then you are avoiding a lot of un-necessary guilt tripping.

Been there done that. AA and self-help groups encourage relapses because
they send the wrong message. You are NOT powerless. AA is using all the
classic cult techniques. Be aware, and BEWARE of AA!


The Discovering Alcoholic March 24, 2009 at 8:20 pm

about your views on the subject, especially the part about “if you can control your drinking by yourself” and how that applies to alcoholics.


Screedler April 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I am in AA and also agree it’s not cultlike. AA alone did not work for me – but it has definitley given me some “tools” I use on a daily if not hourly basis. But believe me…. if their is a cult that can prevent me from drinking ever again I would rather be a member of it than what I was before I “joined” AA.


Anonymous March 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

this is a subject (sort of) i am dealing with at present. i recently started going to AA not because i drink a lot, or often, but because of the reasons why i was drinking.

but many months have passed since those reasons were prevalent in my life. and now i’m wondering if i need AA, but i’m willing to give it a chance.


The Discovering Alcoholic March 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm

but one thing I can assure you is that the odds are that you going to AA will be a lot less risky than not. Good luck!


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