Are They Just Stereotypical Drunks or Alcoholics That Need Help?
We’ve all had a laugh or two when it comes to the stereotypical drunk. You have Uncle Harry who stumbles across the living room only to pass out on Cousin Sue sitting on the coach during a holiday party. The Spring Breakers who throw up their shirts on the beach. And of course, the desperate, overworked moms who just needs one more glass of wine. We all know people that love to drink, but has their drinking crossed the line? What are the signs they might actually be alcoholics?
With these stereotypes of alcoholics floating around, it can be hard to know if they are just having a good time, or do they suffer from alcohol addiction. We’ve identified some of these stereotypes and then broke down some of the signs that may mean the person is suffering from alcoholism.
1Party Hardy Uncle Harry
Each year, Uncle Harry shows up two sheets to the wind. He’s been drinking since sunrise, and immediately heads to the kitchen upon his arrival to see what is flowing. He’s in a happy mood. He has the lampshade on his head, he’s playing games like he’s the master of everything, and cracks jokes that make everyone laugh. The only problem is that after having several more drinks, he’s not so funny and fun anymore. He’s stumbling, falling, and gets sick all over grandma’s new quilt. He also ends up passing out face first into the punch bowl.
At first, it may seem like Uncle Harry is just having a good time. It’s a time to celebrate and he’s taking full advantage of it. He takes it a bit far, and that’s what gets him into trouble. Or is it that? It’s possible that Uncle Harry really can’t control how much he drinks. He may be struggling with finances, a lost job, divorce, or another life situation that has made him want to drink enough to be able to forget about his troubles, especially when he feels he needs to compete with others at a party.
The signs of Uncle Harry really being an alcoholic is drinking for long periods of time to get to the point of inebriation. His personality changes drastically and he blacks out when he simply can’t drink anymore.
Uncle Harry is likely suffering from alcoholism, but a great way to find out for sure is to spend time with him after the party. Schedule a time to have lunch or dinner and then ask him about his life. You will likely start to see that he’s not as happy as he may have appeared at the party. He’s using alcohol to hide some deep-rooted problems.
2Spring Breaker Cindy
Cindy has always heard that college is a good time. She was looking forward to making new friends, and of course, getting an education. She knew she would have to study hard if she was going to become a doctor.
She often goes out on the weekends and goes on trips with her friends. It gets pretty crazy, but she has a really fun time when she is with her friends. She feels free, happy, and powerful.
While Cindy seems to be having fun in college, like many other students, there’s something off with the way she’s doing it. She doesn’t just drink while having fun, she drinks to have fun, and she drinks a lot. Her judgement is often poor after drinking and she’s found herself in some risky situations. This doesn’t stop her from doing the same thing all over again the next weekend. The only problem is that weekends aren’t only Friday and Saturday nights, they have started to extend to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. She’s also grabbing a drink during the day sometimes at lunch “just to take the edge off.”
Cindy is likely struggling with alcohol abuse. While at first, it was just something she was doing with her friends, it’s become more of a crutch. She’s pre-med, under a lot of stress, and her grades are slipping. Alcohol helps her forget about the stress of her studies, and she depends on it to get her by each day. These are all signs that alcohol use has crossed over into alcohol abuse.
It’s best that Cindy seek counseling to find out what is driving her need to drink. If she’s unable to stop, a treatment center would be able to help her more. She needs to find a better way to cope with the stressors of life in college, so she can do it when she’s working a career and has a family.
3“Mommy Juice” Julie – The Wine Mom
From 5 AM until 8 PM, Julie has been feeding, burping, running, and picking up after her babies. Her three babies keep her constantly busy all day long. They don’t take a nap together and she hardly get three hours of consistent sleep a night. She’s sleep deprived, exhausted, and her husband is always out of town on business. She doesn’t have any friends because she’s too busy to coordinate anything with anyone, and she doesn’t have time to shower anyway. Her days run into each other, and the only relief she gets is the several glasses of wine she treats herself to after a long day.
Julie often wakes up in the morning with a hangover. She fixed a Bloody Mary in the morning most days, and then follows up with a cocktail with her lunch. It’s just to get her through the day. It’s nothing major she tells her husband and neighbors who often see her walking with a Solo cup to the park with the kids in tow.
As time goes on, Julie starts to pass out on the floor while playing with her kids. This leaves he kids unsupervised for minutes or even hours at a time. One time, Julie woke up to Mary crying because she had fallen down the stairs because she forgot to latch the gate.
Julie is a mom like many moms. She’s a busy mom who doesn’t have much help from her husband, family or friends. She turns to alcohol to calm her, and to ease her anxieties as she takes care of babies who know exactly what to do to push her buttons. The only problem is that the drinking has increased steadily and she’s now putting her children at risk. Julie needs to help to get her drinking under control, so she can be the protective mother that she wants to be to her babies.
When It Crosses The Line into Alcohol Addiction
Can you tell what the common themes are in these scenarios?
- All the stereotypical drinkers turn to alcohol to deal with stressful life situations.
- Their drinking started out to be manageable, but it quickly got out of control.
- Drinking has made it difficult for these people to act like themselves.
- The effects of the alcohol has led these people to engage in risky behaviors.
These are the signs of when alcohol use turns into alcohol abuse, creating new alcoholics. Look for these signs in yourself and in the people around you. It’s not, “Oh, he’s just the family drunk,” or “She’s just being a normal college student.” These are serious alcoholics that need treatment. Counseling may be the first place to start, but if that doesn’t help, an addiction treatment center may be more effective for alcoholics. It’s better to tackle alcohol abuse as soon as possible before it causes additional problems.