The Alcoholic Mindset
When drinking always comes first.
Many people hate the word alcoholic, and I’ll admit that they have a few fair points.
To begin with, it’s not a standard clinical term; You’re unlikely to find a doctor or therapist that will diagnose you as an alcoholic. The DSM-5, which is the standard diagnostic tool for psychiatrists, doesn’t have an entry for alcoholism, but rather alcohol use disorder.
Even among those who embrace the word alcoholic, there are varying definitions. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health, equates alcoholism with alcohol use disorder, saying “when a person has uncontrolled and problematic drinking, he or she may have a health condition called alcohol use disorder (AUD), commonly known as alcoholism.” (Source.)
However, the FAQ for Alcoholics Anonymous in the Continental European Region states that “there is no formal ‘A.A. definition’ of alcoholism, the majority of our members agree that, for most of us, it could be described as a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession.” (Source.)
Despite these ambiguities, I’ve always been happy to embrace the word. To me, the most important part of describing myself as an alcoholic is that it acknowledges that my mindset surrounding alcohol is fundamentally different from that of a normal drinker.