Many people drink to excess sometimes. However, what is the difference between heavy drinking versus alcoholism?
If you catch them out at a bar on a Friday night, you might not see much of a difference between the consumption of a heavy drinker when compared to that of someone with alcohol addiction. Both drink with the goal of getting drunk.
Both the heavy drinker and the person addicted to alcohol might drink every night of the week for years and years.
But let’s say that one night both drinkers get a DUI while driving home from their favorite bar. This is when we would start to see the differences between heavy drinking and alcoholism.
The heavy drinker will likely see the DUI, and their ensuing court-ordered restrictions, as a good reason to stop or cut back on their drinking.
They can go easy on the alcohol for a while, at least until the trouble blows over. However, when faced with the same predicament, the person with an addiction will be unable to quit drinking. Even if they know that they’re in for terrible consequences, they cannot stop drinking. This is because their brains and bodies require alcohol to function normally. When they try to stop drinking, they suffer physical and mental pain that drive them back to the substance for relief.