Only 1 in 12 people suffer from alcohol dependence — yet many more engage in risky or binge drinking. In fact, millions of drinkers who do not suffer from addiction aren't happy with their drinking habits. Even if they're not physically addicted, psychological or emotional addiction can also be incredibly difficult to overcome.
I drank for years yet could easily give it up when I needed to. Even without physical addiction, I came to believe that alcohol was vital to enjoying myself at certain social occasions and to relaxing at the end of a long day. Although I wasn’t drinking in the mornings, or suffering withdrawal during periods of abstinence, I felt deprived and upset if I didn't allow myself to indulge.
In my late 30s, drinking started to have more negative effects than before. My tolerance had grown, so I rarely felt "drunk," but the amount of alcohol I was able to drink was affecting my mornings. My relationship with alcohol had changed; I was drinking more than I ever set out to and it was no longer fun.
Yet, when I made rules for myself around drinking — like only allowing myself to drink on the weekends — I felt miserable. I began to seek change. One of the things I did was join an online social community where people come together to examine and reevaluate their personal relationship with alcohol.
One of the members posed a question to the group. It was a powerful turning point in my relationship with alcohol, the point at which I realized I was, in fact, psychologically and emotionally addicted. The question was this: