What makes a drinker an alcoholic?

So he:

  1. Admitted he was powerless over his addiction.

  2. Came to believe that his motorcycle could restore him to sanity.

  3. Made a decision to turn his will and life over to the care of his motorcycle.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself.

  5. Admitted his faults to his motorcycle.

  6. Was entirely ready to have his motorcycle remove these faults.

  7. Humbly asked his motorcycle to remove his shortcomings. . . .

  8. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve his conscious contact with his motorcycle, praying only for knowledge of his motorcycle’s will for himself and the power to carry that out. . . .


IANAA so I can’t talk from personal experience. I just wanted to say that the last episode of *Penn & Teller’s Bullshit * dealt with addiction AA and everything else being discussed. It opened my eyes quite a bit.

You :confused: but that is exactly right. Like I said, whatever works for you is fine and you only have to reveal it if you want to. In my rough estimation of AA members in this area, less than half have a traditional God as their higher power and there are many atheists and agnostics. The percentages will probably be different for other areas but that doesn’t matter because the program is not based on any particular religion or lack thereof.

What about for college students? Not to make excusses for myself or my friends, but by ‘standard’ definitions, (WAG) 85% of the people I knew in college were alcoholics:

do you drink to get drunk? (of course)
do you ever hide alchohol? (from the RA, sure)
do you miss class because you are hung over (at times)

Now some of these kids have legitimate problems, others ‘grow up’ and move on. Has anyone attempted to work on guidelines for determining problem drinking at the college level versus the realistic viewpoint that a lot of college students drink to excess, but move on later and don’t really have a problem?

The Big Book says…

“To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster … To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.” (page 44)

In other words Join our Cult or Die

and for the tone…

“If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.” (page 181)
So having your own beliefs is “Pride” and a sin, and they feel sorry for us heathens
There is just no difference between AA and a religion…
and I’m sorry thats all I’ll say so a mod doesn’t have to move this, and I’ll accept anyone else’s final words…


AA has two definitions for alcoholism in its Big Book, but both of them are behavioral in nature:
“If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic.”

As to what underlying physical causes there are for addiction, there doesn’t seem to be any hard empirical data. Lots of people note that alcholism seems to “run in our family,” so there is anecdotal evidence of a genetic cause, but no solid proof yet.

For the record, the AA take seems to be that alcoholism is in fact a symptom of a bigger problem. For the alcoholic, alcohol helps to handle the frustrations, fears, and resentments of daily living. The problem is, alcohol doesn’t actually work on the underlying problems–it just masks them, or makes them bearable. Another way of looking at it is that the alcholic uses booze as a “short cut” to feeling better.

While I think it’s entirely possible that an “addiction gene” might someday be discovered, I would tend to agree with AA that alcoholism is more of a behavioral problem. Since you quit cold turkey without any problem, you wouldn’t seem to fit their definition, even though all that beer wasn’t necessarily good for you. :wink:

This is also the DSM-IV test to determine if you hate work.

IMHO, you are an addict (alchoholic) if you continue to engage in an activity after it has been demostrated to be detrimental to you. I don’t mean in an abstract after school special kind of way. I mean if you continue to drink AFTER getting arrested for DUI, getting you stomach pumped at the hospital, punching out your boss at a company outing, after a liver transplant or any number of other situations where it has become obvious that to continue the current behavior will result in more suffering.

Lets face it. It’s dificult to tell if you are an alchoholic because drinking with your friends is fun. A rational person continues to perform an activity that is enjoyable.Most of us can have a few drinks and a couple of laughs and its no problem. Sometimes we even drink a little to much and get into trouble but we learn a lesson and move on.

If you are finding that alchohol has become a detriment and you continue to do it, that’s when you have a problem. No one starts out an evening of drinking saying “tonight I am going to drink so much I shit myself, drive my car into a tree and spend the night sleeping in a dumpster”.