Any social drinker is at some risk of developing alcoholism or a drinking problem, and a family history of addiction can add to this risk considerably. If you have a history of addiction in your family then you might want to avoid the stuff altogether. Of course that is easier said than done in a society like ours that encourages and rewards social drinking at times.
What many people do not realize is that they could develop alcoholism or drinking problems after many years of “normal” drinking. It does become less likely after you have drank successfully for several decades, but some people do develop problems later in life. It is always something that can sneak up on a person and sometimes life circumstances can contribute as well.
For example, a classic scenario is when a spouse dies in an aged couple, and the survivor develops a drinking problem in response to this new turn of events. They may be drinking more to cover up their emotions of loss or to try to alleviate boredom. But it does happen and it can lead either to a mere drinking problem that involves mostly abuse, but also to dependence that involves a real addiction.
It is pretty hard then to caution people to just avoid alcohol completely, as this is not a realistic solution in our society for most. But it does make sense to keep an eye out for potential warning signs, and to be ready for them if you think you or someone you love is spiraling out of control with your drug or alcohol intake. These can include things like:
* Drinking more, or too much.
* Sneaking drinks, hiding bottles, etc.
* Drinking at strange times, like for breakfast.
And so on. All signs to watch out for.
Now if you do develop a drinking problem then my first suggestion is to always go seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. Try to quit on your own as this is a logical step and must be done anyway before you can move on and ask for help.
If you do not want to quit on your own then I would suggest that you keep on drinking until you do want to. If that point never comes then really there is no problem, unless of course you are in steep denial and just cannot see how miserable you actually are. If that is the case then at some point hopefully you can see through your denial and realize that you need professional help.
Now alcoholism is a step beyond a mere drinking problem and if you find that you are dependent and cannot stop at all then you really need to consider getting serious help. I would recommend rehab for this or an inpatient detox at the bare minimum.
You can call yourself a “social drinker” but if you are drinking for the buzz rather than for the socializing then you are probably headed down a slippery slope. Try 30 days of non-alcoholic drinks in your social setting and see if you still have fun. If you cannot do it or you cannot have fun while abstaining then you should probably take a look at your problem. If you can do it just fine and have no resentment against the 30 day sobriety trial then you can safely dub yourself a social drinker and go back to enjoying yourself later!