Go Back  SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information > New to Addiction and Recovery? > Newcomers to Recovery
Reload this Page >

what are the differences between alcohol abuse and dependency?


what are the differences between alcohol abuse and dependency?

Old 03-14-2010, 02:41 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 652
My friend abuses alcohol
He can drink a bottle of scotch and go for a 10 km run the next day and not drink for a week.
l was (am) dependent.
lf l would drink one to many l would need a drink the next morning to hold off withdrawal.
To my shame l am sometimes jealous of my friend.
penny74 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 02:43 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
i always drank til i blacked out & at some points i couldnt handle not drinking even for just one night
armaviva is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 02:46 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
Mark75's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 6,947
Alcoholics Anonymous

Many people come here and say it is not for them. So.... there are other programs of recovery that work for them... AA is just easy to find and there is a great book you can start reading whenever you are ready...

Do you know anything about AA?

Mark75 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 02:46 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
suki44883's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 39,582
how did you do it

Like we said, different things work for different people. Some use AA and working the steps, others use individual counseling, in-patient rehab, out-patient programs, Smart Recovery, Celebration Recovery, reading and posting here on SR, etc. There are a lot of programs out there for those who need support.
suki44883 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 02:57 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
what is the book?
armaviva is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 03:01 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
Dee74's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 210,652
Hi armaviva

I think you're in the very best place to find help - you'll find a lot of support and good advice here - as you've already seen

Labels aren't bull - but they can be if we use them as excuses to not do anything.

I drank all day everyday for about 5 years but I never accepted I was an alcoholic - I figured I just 'had that lifestyle'.

I figured it was just a phase and I'd sort myself out eventually and stop abusing alcohol.

That *was* bull, in my case.

What I wasn't admitting to myself was that drinking was damaging me both mentally and physically and I needed to address that problem - much more urgently than I needed to put a label to it.

Coming here and reading and posting helped me work out what I needed to do. Suki and others have already given some pretty good suggestions.

I hope we can help you work out some stuff too

Welcome to SR

Dee74 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 04:34 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
Mark75's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 6,947
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

You can find it online, just google it. You can also get on at an AA meeting (you will get alot more than just the book ) or you can find it at Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Mark75 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 04:51 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
Don't resist, allow
intention's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South East of England
Posts: 1,521
If I have the first drink of alcohol, I am always thinking about the next one and so on until oblivion.

Even if I don't drink for weeks, if I have the first drink again, I am thinking about the second and so on until oblivion.

repeat, repeat, repeat.

I am an alcoholic. That label is important to me because it says I can't drink. Period.
intention is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 08:53 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
preta's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: rochester ny
Posts: 164
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and The American Society of Addiction Medicine define alcoholism as "a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking."
The DSM-IV (the dominant diagnostic manual in psychiatry and psychology) defines alcohol abuse as repeated use despite recurrent adverse consequences. It further defines alcohol dependence as alcohol abuse combined with tolerance, withdrawal, and an uncontrollable drive to drink.(See DSM diagnosis below.) Within psychology and psychiatry, alcoholism is the popular term for alcohol dependence.
preta is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:01 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Atlanta Georgia
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by least View Post
To me, "abuse" means you want it, maybe too much, but dependency means you "need" it whether you "want" it or not.
Thats me I always said I just liked the taste of my beer, but even when I dont really want one I need one. Not anymore Hopefully
308win is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:13 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
i always said it was just for fun, but i could never stop drinking even when i knew i should because i was getting way too drunk. that sounds like it could go either way to me im still confused...
armaviva is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:19 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 4,682
I like to remember that there are physiological and pschological dependencies, in this case as has been pointed out a physiological dependency on alcohol would mean having to drink to avoid symptoms of withdrawl, so the body has become accustomed to a certain amount of alcohol being present, this is why suddenly stopping after years of drinking can be dangerous...seizures etc

The pschological dependence, for me, was the simple fact that i clould not cope for extended periods of time without drinking, booze was my DOC to escape reality for a period of time...i kind of compare it to the physiological dependence, when you stop i mean...where a safe detox enviroment would be prudent for the physical side a program of recovery, AA in my case, was necessary for the mental side.

But then again you could say i abused alcohol as a coping mechanism to change my perception of reality and to escape...i'm sure there are definite medical differences between abuse and dependency but that's my take on it:-)
yeahgr8 is offline  
Old 03-14-2010, 10:33 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Raleigh NC
Posts: 100
Tough one

Originally Posted by armaviva View Post
im confused about what makes a person an abuser or a dependent... does dependency mean alcoholism? if it's hard to be around alcohol and not be tempted to drink does that make you dependent?
This is tough to anser because I am one of thoise alcoholics that had to go a long time drinking before I actually knew I was an alcoholic. For a long time I knew I drank too much(abused) but the last 2-3 years were just obsessive.

My best advice would be to see how well you can control your drinking. If you can't go periods of time without a drink then you are depending on it to fix something in your life and that's addiction IMO.

Chances are you think you might have a problem or you wouldn't be here, right? So, see how long you can go without a drink starting tomorrow. And, when you drink, see if you can just drink 1-2 that night. If you are unsuccessful both times and you really were trying, you might want to see a counselor, or, better yet, go to an open AA meeting and just listen. If you here your story being told, keep going back and talk to someone there.
ghal is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 04:22 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
Stayinfree's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 241
I have found this a challenging thread to read, probably because I'm early in sobriety. By all accounts, I probably am an alcohol abuser, but as has been said, what difference does it make if alcohol is ruining my life?

My addicted brain grabs onto 'well if you're not alcohol dependant and are an abuser of alcohol, then you can start drinking again and just learn to control it'...Argh!!

For me personally, whether I am an abuser or dependant, Alcohol controls me. Without it...I have a life. Life is no longer a mess. Alcohol sucks....period!!
Stayinfree is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 09:20 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
Horselover's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 6,608
This is an interesting thread and in a way, kind of dangerous. I found myself reading through it and actually thinking wow - I am not alcoholic I abused it. That's my addict voice still in very high gear at times.

I abused alcohol on a regular basis in high school and college and by abusing it I was drinking to get trashed every single time it was in the picture. I eventually started drinking everyday, but I didn't get physical withdrawals from it when I stopped and I also could stop, BUT for me the line was crossed when I couldn't imagine life without it. I could stop drinking if there was an end in sight. If I said to myself that this was just for the pregnancy or this was for 30 to 60 days to prove something to myself.

See there was the carrot dangling at the end of the stick and so I kept in the race as long as the carrot was in the picture. In order to get sober I still needed the carrot and so I would stay sober for 24 hours and then as time went on I upped the ante to a few months and now or at least today, I can look at it as a lifestyle change I want to hold onto indefinitely. I still have days when the mind is listening to that voice and then I need to retrace my steps and go back t the 24 hours, but that's okay.
Horselover is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 10:03 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
Follow Directions!
Tazman53's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Fredericksburg, Va.
Posts: 9,730
This is just me & my take on the whole deal, people label other people, when I was drinking I abused alcohol so I could of benn labeled an abuser of alcohol, or in the later years of my drinking I was diagnosed by a Dr. who specializes in Drug & Alcohol addiction as Dependant upon alcohol............. All of that was simply labels, when I was drinking I knew a fact in the end.... I was a DRUNK Alcoholic!!!

I do not label myself an alcoholic, I am factually an alcoholic! I am no longer however a DRUNK Alcoholic, today I am a recovering alcoholic! One of the things that helps me stay sober is acknowledging to myself I am an alcoholic & I can not EVER again drink safely. The above to me is fact, not a label given to me.

The program of AA which led me to find a power greater then me or alcohol, & the fellowship of AA have resulted in me having the obsession to drink lifted as long as I maintain my spiritual condition fit.

I can go where I please and do what I please & the presence of alcohol or those consuming it do not bother me in the least.

When I was drinking & before the absession to drink was lifted if I had one drink I was going to if at all possible have more........... if I was not drinking I was thinking about drinking! Thanks to my HP & AA I no longer feel that way.
Tazman53 is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 10:26 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
Belgian Sheepdog Adictee
laurie6781's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: In Today
Posts: 6,101
I've read the WHOLE thread.

Maybe I have been in recovery too long, lol but this whole thread is b.s.

When you keep diddling around with 'semantics' this is what will result and it left me no doubts: yes, I may come across as 'cynical' and 'hard azz', but I can only relate from where I came from almost 29 years ago:

In January of ’79 (when I was 33 ˝ years old) my family told me NO MORE. They would no longer help me in any way. If I called they would hang up, if I came to the door it would be closed in my face and if I tried to steal from them they would call the police. It was MY PROBLEM and I had to deal with it, they could not.

Later after being in recovery for several years, my mother finally shared with me that had they not shut the door on me, they felt they were all going to end up, locked up in a padded cell in an institution.

Well with that pronouncement, my attitude was F you. I did a geographic and moved back to California. It took me another 2 and ˝ years to find recovery and the last year and a half I lived on the streets of Hollyweird.

I can tell you today that the BEST THING MY FAMILY ever did for me was to SHUT THE DOOR ON ME as they did.

I had an old ’63 beat up ford, typical ‘alkie car’ with all four corners banged in and a coat hanger for an antenna. I mostly kept it parked at the back of the HollywoodBowlPark parking lot, under trees. Slept in it the nights I made it back to the car.

On Sunday June 7, 1981, at approximately 4:30pm (I know it was afternoon, I had a cheap $2 digital plastic watch, it said 4:30 and it was light out so knew it was afternoon) as I would take a swig in (oh btw I was a Jack Daniels and/or Wild Turkey drinker for most of my life and was on Thunderbird Wine by this time) it felt like it was coming out of every pore of my body as fast as I put it in. It was then I had no doubts left …………………….. I was dying. I was going to die soon if I kept drinking and I was going to die soon if I tried to stop, but somehow I wanted to die sober.

I put the cap back on the bottle, threw it in the back seat with the rest of the empties and started to cry. I was sitting on the concrete bumper and I did scream out


Not my typical alkie prayer of “God get me out of this one and I’ll never do it again” just PLEASE HELP ME.

I can tell you it was a pretty rough night. The next morning I knew something was terribly wrong. I knew there was a hospital called Olive View in Van Nuys, had heard about it from my Wino buddies, but had no idea where it was. I started the car, intent on finding OliveViewHospital. Yes, I found the hospital, there had to be someone guiding that automobile because I had no idea where I was going.

I found out later, by reading my medical chart and by talking to the gal that was at the admissions desk that day, that I walked up to the desk, told the gal I was an alcoholic, said I hadn’t had a drink since the day before and something was drastically wrong. She told me I was green, she was hitting the emergency button under her desk, while she directed me to a chair right across from her desk, maybe a distance of 4 feet. I never made it. I went into seizures on the floor in front of her desk.

Later in reading the medical chart from that day, I found out that when I went into seizures my BAC was .38 and my body was CRAVING MORE. My heart stopped from the seizures. They would get me started again, and after a little while I would start to seizure again. This went on all day. The last time my heart stopped, I was down for 28 minutes and the ER Dr gave up. He called it and was writing the TOD on my chart (24 hours after I stopped drinking) and my heart started on it’s own. I was given a SECOND CHANCE.
You may read the whole of what I have 'chosen' to post so far in "Stories". The rest will someday soon be posted.

What it really all 'boils' down to is ................................ are you ready to live the rest of your life 'clear head, thinking rationally, being the best you can be' or still want to be in DENIAL?


Love and hugs,
laurie6781 is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:21 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
im reallyyyyy sorry if i offended anyone & or made things difficult for anyone, honestly. thanks all for responding & yes i guess you could call it denial because i've been battling to stay sober for 2 years and never thought of myself as alcoholic until recently. this has been eye opening though, the opinion is obviously unanimous-i cant avoid it anymore.
thanks again
armaviva is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:26 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
RIP Sweet Suki
suki44883's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: In my sanctuary, my home
Posts: 39,582
I'm pretty sure you haven't offended or made things difficult for anyone here. I do think, however, you are making things more difficult for yourself. Instead of worrying about what to call it, why not just stop drinking? You've admitted that it causes problems for you, so, why not do whatever is necessary to put a stop to it?
suki44883 is offline  
Old 03-15-2010, 11:30 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 88
ive been sober a longtime. its not about that
armaviva is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:30 PM.