I Need Verification That Someone I Care About is a True Alcoholic & What to do to Help Him?
The symptoms are as follows....
1) Doesn't drink everyday, in fact he can go many days without drinking.
2) When he drinks, it's almost like he can't stop. Until he passes out.
3) He can't remember what he does the next day.
4) Has made many promises to "cut back". In which as I mentioned earlier, he will, for a while, then he'll hit the bottle again. And drink a lot.
He has expressed to me that,when he's sober & drunk that he realizes he drinks excessively. He does well for a while, eats healthy, goes to the gym, & doesn't drink for awhile. The cycle seems to continue.
When there's been people around & he drinks, people will look at me like, 'look who's drunk again,' or say something to me about how much he's had.
I hate to make this sound like it's about me, but it does affect me somewhat. The truth is I'm embarrassed to be around him when he's drunk. I do turn down offers to hang out with him, when he wants to drink.
Lately, he's been hanging out with someone whom he has called a person who drinks heavily. Unfortunately, this person is going through a separation with his spouse for this same issue.
I need encouragement to keep my distance, unless it doesn't involve drinking. I care about him & we've dated on & off for awhile. I need suggestions on what to say to him without pissing him off.
Alcoholism isn't necessarily defined by how much or how often a person drinks - but rather by the destructive effects it has on a person. Many alcoholics are only binge drinkers, but their lives begin to unravel nonetheless.
The two basic criteria by which a person is defined as alcoholic are 1) Loss of Control and 2) Dependence. Loss of control means once a person starts drinking, they can't stop or control their drinking in the way a 'normal drinker can. And that seems definitely to relate to your friend.
Dependence refers to emotional and/or physical dependence. When alcohol starts to fill an emotional need or a person starts to show signs of physical dependence like regular blackouts, getting the shakes when withdrawing, that's also a clear sign a problem is present.
So it does seems your friend is alcoholic. Otherwise he would be able to stop or control his drinking because it's clear his drinking is starting to cause various undesirable consequences. Here's a test for alcoholism
you can also take for a more 'scientific' answer.
Bottom line is, what do you do? You're on the right track by not associating with him when you know he's been drinking. He needs to know how you feel about his drinking, that you believe he has a problem and that you think he should get help. Apart from that, you can't control what he does, so he has to come to his own decision as to whether he's going to make a real effort to turn things around.
Alcoholics don't quit drinking because someone else has told them they should. They have to reach that point themselves. But by making it clear you don't want a part of the craziness that accompanies his drinking, you're making a statement about how you feel and hopefully that will filter through and help him reach the point eventually where he realises he needs to change.