When people talk about signs of alcoholism, there is quite often a sense of a hidden agenda, which is sometimes unfair but which often pervades a fear that other people may have about someone else’s drinking or their behaviour associated with drinking.

Whilst many people still debate the nature of alcoholism, there is a widespread belief that an element of it is at least hereditary, witnessed by the fact that a significant number, if not a majority of members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are sober grew up in alcoholic homes.

Whilst none of this is literally provable, whilst Alcoholics Anonymous continues to grow, there are essentially second and third generation recovering alcoholics, a lot of whom give witness to this fact that there is a sense of generational alcoholism within their families.

It is partly this reason that leads people to be overly conscious and perhaps a bit sensitive to their own children’s drinking and behaviour, at different ages and different stages.

If someone has either recovered from a drink problem themselves, or is aware of alcoholism within their family, then there is a real sense that they are likely to look out for signs of alcoholism within their own family, and especially within their children.

There is often a line of thought that if you can spot the signs of alcoholism  early enough, then some type of treatment can be administered early enough and in the case of an adolescent or young person’s drinking perhaps prevent many years of active alcoholism.

Whilst this line of thinking is very understandable and in some sense reasonable, there are dangers to it.


One particular danger is that of essentially shipping and adolescent or young person off to rehab, often against their will, because someone else believes they might have a drink problem.

Sadly many rehabs encourage this type of intervention, and will use the parents fear as a way of engineering a perceived need for some type of alcoholism treatment.

Any type of intervention of this nature, at any age, can quite literally do more harm than good.

In many ways,  if a parent is in recovery from alcoholism themselves, or there is this issue of generational altruism, then the family would be much better encouraged to attend meetings of Al-Anon and Al-Ateen, where the individuals will be exposed to the reality of our close as it has affected them.

In addition they are likely to attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and overall come much more educated about the nature of alcoholism, both within their family and potentially within themselves.

This is probably the best type of preventative treatment – education.



An alcoholism detox is  possibly going to be needed in the event of anyone who is an active alcoholic, or even someone who has been drinking heavily for a long period of time but would  not technically be considered an alcoholic.

Sometimes there is much debate between what is alcoholism and heavy drinking, but in the  issue of recovery from alcoholism, and in particular the need for an alcoholism detox, it is a fairly irrelevant issue.

Anyone who has a serious problem with alcohol is likely to need help, whether they admit that themselves on what.

It is sometimes much more obvious to people around them, be they family, employer, co-workers or simply friends.

Whether or not help is offered and / or accepted can obviously be a difficult issue.

Assuming that the person who has a drink problem is willing to accept some sort of help, then the issue of an alcoholism detox is likely to occur.


Anyone who has been thinking heavily is likely to have been hiding that in some way from people close to them.

People who have a drink problem increasingly grow protective of alcohol, and the need to prevent other people taking alcohol with from them, or stopping them trying to drink.

In addition, it is quite possible that people who have a drink problem, or who are alcoholics, have either in the past of currently been using some type of narcotics or drugs.

The issue with all of this, is that it is quite unlikely that either the alcoholic admits to a lot of this,  or that people around them will know the full extent of their drinking and possible drug use.

For this reason it is really important that anyone seeking help for a drink and/or a drug problem is assessed by medically qualified personnel to see if they need a medical detox, and if they do for that detox to be overseen and undertaken by medically qualified staff in a safe clinical environment.

If the individual with a drink problem is entering a rehab, then it is important to check that the rehab has access to such staff and facilities, either in-house, or with a local clinical facility such as a hospital.



An alcoholism or treatment center normally refers to a rehab, a residential rehab, where someone who has a problem with alcohol and, either considers themselves, or is considered by other people as an alcoholic, can go to get help and treatment.

The terms treatment center and rehab are pretty much interchangeable, although the extent of services and help available in either one can vary quite widely.

An alcoholism or treatment center will invariably treat people who not only are considered to have a drink problem, but may also be addicted to cortex and /or description drugs, and possibly other addictions such as gambling etc.

One of the main obstacles to anyone entering an alcoholism treatment center is the sense of denial that the alcoholics themselves will have about their drink and possible drug problem as well.

One of the main issues behind alcoholism, and the inability to help an alcoholic, is the fact that alcoholic will quite blatantly either live or try and hide the true extent of the problem.

The practical consequences of this  denial can be pretty horrific, both for the alcoholics themselves, and for people close to them, especially if those people are trying to help them.


Alcoholism is more understood today than perhaps it has ever been, but still presents huge issues in terms of helping both the alcoholic and those close to them.

Perhaps the main value of any treatment center or rehab that courts to offer addiction treatment programs is that it can create a safe place where someone with an alcoholic can mod any seek help, but can begin to explore the process of their relationship with alcohol, and why it seemingly affects the way it does.

Any rehab or treatment center that offers help to alcoholics is likely to employ a wide range of clinical and non-clinical staff.

They are also likely to employ a number of alcoholics who are themselves in recovery, either as clinical  or non-clinical staff.

When people talk about an alcoholic in recovery, they are generally referring to someone who has been an active alcoholic and has stopped drinking and has stayed sober since then.

The value of a recovering alcoholic working in a team of center or a rehab, is that in addition to the skills they bring as an individual, the hope is that they can give the residents in a rehab a sense of hope and purpose for their own future, as they are showing that they themselves can stay sober and rebuild their lives.


What is an Alcoholic?

Anyone who browses through discussion forums or discussion groups online will inevitably come across one of the most frequently asked questions people have. People will either post a specific thread entitled am an alcoholic ? or the question will come up in the course of a more generalised debate.

When people raise the question and say am I an alcoholic or not, people tend to respond in one of two ways.

They either share a wide range of experiences that they have from AA meetings, or their own life, explaining what an alcoholic is or isn’t and urging the individual to try AA before they die.

The other type of advice tends to be of a more general nature, urging the individual to look at their own drinking, telling them that they can be the only person who can decide if they are an alcoholic or not.

Both of these types of advice can be well-meaning, and both have their merits and their de-merits.

There is a more fundamental issue which does not get addressed, and maybe cannot be addressed in the context of a discussion group or forum.

The issue of whether someone decides they are an alcoholic or not is to some extent irrelevant.

The reason for saying this, is that people can get caught up on whether they see themselves as being an alcoholic or not, and miss the bigger point that it is the problem they are seeking to address concerning their drinking that is the real issue.

Whether they define themselves as an alcoholic will come at any point of the process, and is something that in many ways can be put on hold until they need to address it.

If someone acknowledges that they have a problem with alcohol, or with their drinking, and can refrain from putting any unhelpful labels around it, they are in fact faced with a much starker reality.


It is the reality of what their drinking is doing to them that they then at some level have to address.

They may or may not be able to, and may well continue to deny the problem for some time.

Assuming that they are able to address the issue in some way, and assuming that they decide to seek help, then in many ways they are in a much healthier position if they can focus on the specific issue.

Acknowledging that someone is an alcoholic can be extremely helpful, so long as the notion of alcoholism is given as the context for the person’s drinking and behaviour.

The real problem of trying to define an alcoholic, is that you can’t. You can certainly identify common patterns and behaviours, and someone who is an alcoholic can certainly get real benefit from identifying with other alcoholics in lots of different ways.

The danger is that in setting up any definition or context of what an alcoholic is or isn’t is that you create a predefined set of criteria outside of the individual, that they then feel they need to fit themselves into in order to qualify as an alcoholic, and thereby get better.

The focus should always be on the individual and their life, what their problem is and what they are doing to get better from it. The understanding of alcoholism can certainly be a big help in that, but it needs to come from within the individual not outside.


What is an Alcohol Addiction?

An alcohol addiction is virtually always referred to as alcoholism, although sometimes other terminology is used such as alcohol dependence or the term alcohol addiction itself. In truth the terminology used to define an alcohol addiction is secondary to the reality of what such an addiction does to the individual, their families and the surrounding people in their lives.

An alcohol addiction or alcoholism is difficult to define, but is quite easy in a sense to understand if you are heavily affected by it and have the clarity to understand what is happening. One of the features of alcoholism or alcohol addiction is that often the alcoholic themselves and the people closest to them are in complete denial of the fact that there is a problem, or that any of the individuals concerned need help.

It is worth making the point that there is a difference between someone who is an alcoholic, and someone who is a very heavy drinker but not necessarily an alcoholic. To some people this may be a bit of a pointless difference to make, but it is important in terms of the individual and their need to understand what is happening to them.

Someone who is a heavy drinker, who has an alcohol addiction may well have serious problems in their lives as a result of their drinking, but is likely to be able to stop or cut down significantly on their own, albeit with a considerable amount of difficulty and hard work.

Alcohol Addiction – Alcoholism

Someone who is an alcoholic, either potential or full-blown is unlikely to be able stop on their own, or often have the desire to stop or cut down at all. The framework of Alcoholics Anonymous as a 12-step fellowship makes very clear that an individual who cannot stop can get help and achieve sobriety through meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, either by going to meetings directly or through exposure in a rehab.

Alcohol addiction should be seen as a serious medical condition, and anyone contemplating stopping drinking or cutting down quickly should seek medical help and advice prior to beginning the process of stopping.

This is simple because the withdrawal effects of alcohol, especially if the individual is using other substances as well, can have serious complications, both medical and mental for the individual, and as such a medically supervised detox is often recommended.

In any event an individual should be assessed by a qualified medical doctor as to whether a medical detox is needed or not. Alcohol addiction is a serious condition, and the appropriate help should be sought by the by the individual or their families at the earliest opportunity.




What is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is a term that normally refers to the type of addiction treatment programs offered in a rehab a treatment center that are designed to help people who are either alcoholics or have an addiction to various types of drugs or other substances.

Addiction recovery can also refer to people who use 12-step organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous as a way of dealing with that alcoholism or drug addiction, whether they have been through a rehab or not.

There are other approaches to addiction recovery as well, often involving a wide range of different therapeutic and holistic approaches to helping the individual deal with the nature of that alcoholism or other addiction.

Addiction recovery in a rehab will be based around a number of addiction treatment programs that are likely to be rooted in and derived from the 12-step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. The most commonly understood of these principles is the need for the individual to acknowledge that they have a problem, prior to be a able to acknowledge the need for help and begin the process of recovery.

Whilst this is true, many people entering a rehab will have a scant understanding of the fact that they have a problem with alcohol or other substances. What they may well be aware of is that their life has become an awful mess, both internally and externally.

Addiction Recovery – Rehab

It is probably fair to say that anyone beginning the process of addiction recovery whether in rehab or in Alcoholics Anonymous will at some level believe that alcohol is essentially the thing that is holding them together.

Some alcoholics will want to stop drinking but be unable to do so, other alcoholics will be so ingrained with this belief that alcohol is their only survival mechanism that they will be unable to emotionally countenance the idea of living without it.

Anyone entering a rehab for alcoholism will in some level have one or both of these beliefs.

The clinical staff and therapeutic staff in a rehab responsible for addiction recovery programs and addiction treatment programs need to be fully aware and understand this mindset in order to allow the alcoholic the freedom they need to begin the process of unblocking this sense of needing to protect themselves.

Any type of addiction recovery from alcoholism is likely to be a lifelong process, and the therapeutic work done in a rehab should mainly focus on the beginning of that process, helping the alcoholic to understand at some level the basis of their illness, and helping to lay the groundwork and foundations both in rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous to help the individual recover and get better.



What is the best Alcohol Treatment ?

Any individual who has a problem with alcohol or is an alcoholic who is seeking treatment for an alcohol addiction or alcoholism, is faced with a number of different options, and they can often be a degree of confusion as to which is the best approach to take.

Historically the most effective form of alcohol treatment, in fact in many ways the only treatment for alcoholism has been the 12 step Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Over time treatment centers and rehabs have grown hugely, and have in many ways become an alternative short-term option to people going directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Any individual who has acknowledged that they have a problem with alcohol and needs help, has these two main options to consider.

Many will prefer the idea of a rehab largely because it is normally a secluded environment that can avoid the necessity of directly approaching Alcoholics Anonymous. A rehab is often thought of much more in terms of a clinical facility such as a hospital, where people go to get help for alcoholism and other types of addiction.

The majority of rehabs and treatment centers are highly supportive of Alcoholics Anonymous and encourage individuals who are resident in a rehab to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous both both whilst in rehab, and as a means of after-care and support once they have left.

It is also very likely that the rehab will have based its addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approach to helping the alcoholic on the principles contained in the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcohol Treatment – Alcoholics Anonymous.

An individual can also go directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous without any necessity of going to a rehab at all. This has a number of advantages, not least in terms of cost as meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are free, although there is normally a collection at meetings to cover the cost of rent, tea and coffee et cetera. Any contribution is completely voluntaryand anonymous and normally beneath one dollar per meeting.

When people look for the best alcohol treatment or the most effective alcohol treatment, they tend to want statistics as to which approach of the two mentioned above or any other is the most effective.

The reality is that there are no meaningful statistics that can prove which is the most effective, in large part because so much of the process of recovery from alcoholism is dependent upon the individual and their attitude to their own illness as opposed to any particular type of recovery process or recovery method.



What is an alcohol addiction?

To many people an alcohol addiction is fairly obvious in terms of its practicalities and the impact or effect that such an addiction has on the people close by to the person who is addicted. An alcohol addiction is normally referred to as alcoholism, but there is possibly a distinction between someone who is heavily addicted to alcohol and can stop drinking on their own, and an alcoholic who is completely unable to stop.

Alcohol addiction normally refers to alcoholism, and the distinction between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker can be a subtle and sometimes and irrelevant one for other people. For the individual concerned it is an important distinction, largely because alcohol addiction in an alcoholic sense is a different process to someone who stopped drinking, gets addicted and finds it difficult to stop.

Alcohol addiction in terms of alcoholism can be dealt with in a number of ways, the most common being attendance at and involvement in the 12th at Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is normally the most effective way of helping an individual who has an alcohol addiction, but there are other ways available if AA doesn’t work for that person.

Alcohol Addiction – Alcoholism as an Illness

The growth of Alcoholics Anonymous as a 12-step fellowship grew with the belief and experience that alcoholism is an illness, and that the most effective treatment was the 12 step program used as the basis for recovery within that fellowship . Rehabs and treatment centers began to pick up on the therapeutic principles that are part of the process of the AA recovery program, and started to use these principles in their own businesses.

Many people with an alcohol addiction will consider going into a rehab as the primary focus for the area that they can get helping in terms of helping them to stop drinking. Going into rehab is certainly one option, as is going directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous is another option.

Anyone who has a serious alcohol addiction that they believe to be alcoholic or similar, can seek out a wide variety of options of help that may be available to help them stop. Depending on the level and intensity of their drinking, and whether they are dual diagnosed, meaning they have been using other drugs or substances as well, a medical detox may well be needed.

If entering a rehab for an alcohol addiction it is important to check that the rehab or treatment center has adequate facilities and medical personnel to establish and oversee and perform a medical detox if needed.



What are alcoholism treatment centers?

Alcoholism treatment centers are often referred to simply as rehabs, and in fact most treatment centers or rehabs will deal with not only alcoholism, but also a wide variety of other addictions or addictive type behaviour.

Alcoholism treatment centers are in the main focused on the notion or belief that alcoholism is an illness, and that the time spent in a rehab or treatment center, normally around 30 days or so, can begin the process of helping the individual to understand and accept this belief.

Any individual entering an alcoholism treatment center or rehab is likely to have spent a significant part of their life drinking or using or misusing alcohol. However this is not always the case with young people who are often put into a rehab, normally by parents, who see a trend or pattern emerging that they believe to be alcoholic.

However these young people can learn from the experience of people who have gone before them, and if they are alcoholics they can use other people’s experience as a way of having to avoid continuing to drink for a long period of time.

Alcoholism treatment centers will have a wide range of addiction treatment programs that they use to help the individual come to accept that alcoholism is an illness.

It is likely that these addiction treatment programs and treatment facilities will be based on the principles embodied in the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.It is important to note that no rehab or treatment center will have any official connection with Alcoholics Anonymous, which is a completely separate organisation and fellowship.

Alcoholism Treatment Centers – Acceptance

A large part of the therapeutic work that is done in a rehab treatment center will be focused on helping the individual to see their life in the context of alcohol being a problem. Whilst this may be fairly obvious to a large number of people involved in the life of such an individual, it is an important point to note that any individual who is an alcoholic is likely to be in serious denial of this fact.

Denial for an alcoholic around their drinking alcoholism is a highly protective process, a process the alcoholic is likely to have developed over a long period of time.

Most alcoholics believe or come to believe over a period of time that alcohol is the only thing that it effectively holding them together emotionally. This belief transcends the reality that they end up living in as a consequence of their drinking, and is effectively the belief that underpins their denial of the fact that they have a drink problem.



What is alcoholism?

People have had a problem with alcohol pretty much since time began, and this has commonly been referred to by many different terms over the centuries. Even in today’s world someone who has a problem with drink is either referred to as alcoholic or in other seemingly less threatening terms. These can include alcohol addiction, general addiction, alcohol dependence, problem drinking and many others.

The general acceptance of alcoholism as being the defining term for people who are seriously addicted to alcohol and cannot stop came with the advent of the organisation of Alcoholics Anonymous some 60 or 70 years ago. The growth of this organisation went hand-in-hand with a more general acceptance of alcoholism as being an illness, rather than being a moral weakness which in many ways has always been seen as before.

The medical profession and the approach of the majority of rehabs sees alcoholism as an illness, and treats addiction more generally as an illness as well. Whilst it is almost impossible to define alcoholism, the general approach of Alcoholics Anonymous is to see alcoholism is a threefold illness, mental physical and spiritual.

This is not a theoretical approach or a theory borne out of medical research. This is a lived experience approach, based on the recovery of many millions of people from alcoholism through the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is probably fair to say that if someone really wants to understand the nature of alcoholism as an illness, the best way is properly to attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and listen to people talk about their experience of active alcoholism and active recovery.

Alcoholism and Rehab

For a number of people this is not possible, and perhaps the most important thing to grasp is the understanding that alcoholism is an illness. It may not be possible to define what that illness is, but it does become more evident if one looks out on those or understands an individual who is suffering from it.

It is probably worth saying also that there is a distinction between an alcoholic and a heavy drinker, a distinction made in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The general sense is that a heavy drinker whilst encountering many of the same problems that an alcoholic might have on the lives will be able to stop on their own willpower, albeit with a significant amount of difficulty.

The alcoholic, on the other hand. will at some point be completely unable to stop even if they need to or want to. Indeed the mindsets of most alcoholics is that alcohol is the only thing that is really holding them together, and the worse their life gets both internally and externally the more they turn to alcohol at one thing they can depend on in a life of seeming internal chaos.