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Definition of an Alcoholic

Clinebell defines an alcoholic as anyone whose drinking behavior frequently or continuously interferes with his social relations, his role in the family, his job, his finances and/or his health; or, to put it another way, an alcoholic is someone whose drinking behavior consistently interferes with important life adjustments and interpersonal relationships.

This definition distinguishes an alcoholic from a non-alcoholic in the sense that the alcoholic will find it difficult to impossible to stop his drinking behavior even if it is interfering with his life while a non-alcoholic will simply stop the behavior once he sees that the interference is occurring. Further, the alcoholic will find it much more difficult to recognize that the interference is taking place than will the nonalcoholic which is to say that the alcoholic is more inclined to denial.

In addition to the foregoing, the alcoholic differs from the nonalcoholic in that, unlike the nonalcoholic, he will be inclined to blame the offenses and/or insensitivities to others for the drinking behavior. Thus, the alcoholic not only has a problem with denial associated with his drinking behavior but also a problem with projection of blame. The reason for the alcoholic's denial and projection is his fear that if the problem is recognized for what it is, he will have to relinquish alcohol which has now become the essential center of his life.

Even when the alcoholic does recognize that it is alcohol that is his problem, there can be an extended period of time during which he will not take action to reduce his consumption. This is because his drinking behavior has become compulsive and is not longer under rationale control. In other words, an alcoholic is also a person for whom one drink is not enough; rather, it is a trigger to several other drinks.

Other signs of someone who is an alcoholic include such behaviors as sneaking drinks and/or drinking alone because he now rec...

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Definition of an Alcoholic. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:09, July 01, 2022, from