When A Social Drinker Becomes A Social Alcoholic

When A Social Drinker Becomes A Social Alcoholic

Though it may seem harmless, the path of numerous social alcoholics and struggles with addiction begins with social consumption. Alcohol is a sneaky substance in the way it can bring people together for a common indulgence. This is how it gains traction in many lives, becoming a stronghold that the consumer never saw coming.

Due to its social application, alcohol is widely understood and accepted as the most popular beverage among adults. It is utilized in gatherings such as reunions, pregame and post-game celebrations, and get-togethers of all sorts. Sadly, parents may even use a child’s birthday party as an excuse for adults to consume large quantities. 

However, what begins as a joyful source for social interaction, easily ends up becoming an addiction struggle. If you or someone you love defines themself as a social drinker, it’s important to know the indicators of a social alcoholic.

What Is Social Drinking?

Put simply, social drinking is generally defined as consuming alcohol in a social setting. Despite being generally assumed, that doesn’t always mean the social drinker is in the presence of other drinkers. For example, many drink socially merely because they feel they cannot function in a social setting otherwise. 

Social drinking is also difficult to define because the term has been grossly misused and wrongfully identified. Furthermore, many in denial of a problem may define themselves as social drinkers. However, health and addiction experts outline specific guidelines that clearly distinguish the difference between a social drinker and a social alcoholic. Quantity of consumption can accurately determine if you or someone you love falls in the realm of being a social alcoholic.

The difference between a social drinker and a social alcoholic is the moderation of alcoholic intake. A social alcoholic puts little or no limitations on how much they consume. A social drinker, on the other hand, is responsibly mindful of their intake and in tune with their limits. The following alcohol intake patterns are an accurate guideline to determine whether one is a social alcoholic or simply a social drinker. These guidelines are accepted and corroborated as accurate by the CDC, as well as top medical and addiction experts.

What Are The Different Stages Of Drinking?

Moderate Drinker

Moderate drinking equates to one drink per day for women or up to 2 drinks for men. This stage epitomizes the typical social drinker. Limiting yourself to 1 or 2 drinks is a good indication that you are not a social alcoholic.

Bear in mind, however, that many who progressed to full-blown alcoholics first began in this stage. Thus, even moderate drinkers are at high risk for progressing to greater alcohol intake. This is mainly because as drinking becomes more frequent, alcohol tolerance increases. An increase in tolerance requires an increase in alcohol intake to produce the same effects.

Heavy Drinker

Heavy drinking equals greater than three drinks per day or greater than seven drinks per week for females. Males, on the other hand, equals over 4 drinks daily or more than 14 drinks weekly.

This degree of drinking means the consumer has a problem regulating their alcohol intake. In this stage, any and every social gathering is likely to result in alcohol consumption. Even more detrimental is the fact that most people in this category are surrounded by other social alcoholics 

Binge Drinker

Binge drinking is defined as at least four drinks for women or five or more drinks for men. Though every stage of drinking poses a danger to one’s body, this one is the most harmful because of the lack of self-control. As is the case in heavy drinking, the greater danger is that those in this stage are usually influenced by other very social alcoholics.

What Puts You At Risk For Becoming A Social Alcoholic?

There are various emotional and environmental circumstances that put you at risk of developing a drinking problem. These circumstances life brings about are why any stage of drinking poses dangers in developing an addiction.


When some feel alone, indulging in substance abuse can feel like a necessary escape from that loneliness. Drinking has never been a successful method of coping with loneliness. Instead, alcohol only brings about more loneliness and exacerbated health issues. A compassionate professional can help you cope and bring yourself out of loneliness that is exacerbated by alcoholism


According to the NIH, over 30 percent of depressive disorders struggle with some form of alcoholism. What’s worse is alcohol is scientifically substantiated to exacerbate conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders. Allow Little Creek Recovery to be your friend and support in instilling the magnitude of self-importance. Furthermore, having such a friend as Little Creek Recovery strives to be, can be that very support that pulls you out of that lonely and depressive state of mind. 


If you utilize rewards or accomplishments as a means to consume alcohol, you’re not far away from becoming a social alcoholic. Social alcoholics oft times enjoy any reason to reward themselves with drinking. This can lead to finding more reasons to drink, which, in turn, leads to a deeper struggle.


Many social alcoholics start because they were first encouraged or coerced to drink with someone else. Alcoholics rarely enjoy drinking alone and the wrong company can be your greatest hindrance to living a life free of an alcoholic social life. A wise old proverb states, “You show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.” This statement rings true in the sense that friends gravitate to individuals with common interests. If your common interest with a friend is alcohol, it can lead to a destructive lifestyle you have difficulty escaping.

Contact A Professional At Little Creek Today!

The great news is if you’re reading this article, it’s not too late for you. The even greater news is that by reading this article you’ve already taken the first important step of seeking help. You don’t need to be a social alcoholic to have friends and you don’t need alcohol to define your social life. The greatest friends you could ever meet are waiting for you in recovery. Reach out to a caring friend and professional at Little Creek Recovery to take control of your life now.


When Does Social Drinking Become ‘Problem Drinking? | HuffPost Life


Alcohol use disorder and depression | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (nih.gov)

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