The Face of Addiction: 7 Myths and Realities of Alcoholism

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Alcoholism is a serious condition that should be treated as such. Far too often, friends and family members don’t recognize the signs immediately, and even when they notice them, they rationalize it away, thinking it will pass. This is a deadly mistake; alcoholism is often a cover for deeply-rooted emotional distress, and you won’t help the sufferer by ignoring what’s right in front of you. Instead, you should work towards broadening your understanding and helping to guide that individual on the path towards recovery. Learning about the following 7 myths and realities of alcoholism is the first step towards making it happen:

Myth #1: Alcoholism can be overcome by a strong character

Wrong. As long as it’s just a couple of beers here and there and the pattern isn’t repetitious, then it’s not even alcoholism in the first place. But when it comes to the affected individual not being able to progress throughout the day without taking a sip, problems are on the horizon. And yes, this means that the condition has progressed to the point that it can no longer be overcome with just a strong and robust mind. As a matter of fact, heavy drinkers start showing physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if they cannot get their daily dose. This can in no way be attributed to a lack of mental composure; it’s an ailment which has nothing to do with one’s character.

Myth #2: The success of being treated for alcoholism is low and relapse often follows

While it’s true that sometimes, relapse follows a successful treatment, it’s unfair to say that the treatment was unsuccessful because of it. Why? Well, not many will tell you this, but alcoholism is a life-long condition. Sometimes, relapse can happen, but if it can be delayed for an extended period of time in which the sufferer can lead a normal and healthy life, this – all in of itself – can be considered a success. Therefore, going through the process of rehabilitation is very much worth it, even if the effects don’t last for an entire lifetime.

Myth #3: Name-calling and shaming will stop the alcoholic from drinking so much

Not by a long shot. Insults serve nothing nothing more than agitate and hurt the alcoholic even more, none of which benefits anyone. Some believe that confronting the sufferer about the state of things is a good way to help, but that’s not the case either. The key lies in empathy, understanding, and having a warm talk. Simply put, an alcoholic will only become open to your words if you are not trying to present them forcefully or in a harsh manner. Instead, try to warmly guide him to visit or another resource and learn more about alcoholism and what it means for his wellbeing, as well as that of the people closest to him.

Myth #4: Excessive drinking means the person who’s doing it is an alcoholic

This is a very simplistic view of it and oftentimes doesn’t hit the mark at all. The reality is, not everyone who drinks a lot is an alcoholic. Some people are naturally drawn to partying and drinking a lot, and even though their outward appearance may resemble the one of an alcoholic, that’s just the outer layer. In other words, they may consume a lot of alcohol, but unlike alcoholics, they don’t become physically or psychologically dependent on it. As for the alcoholics, alcohol consumption is a crutch for them, with the help of which they limp through the hardships of everyday life and put their inner emotional turmoil to sleep, even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

Myth #5: Alcohol is a drug that causes addiction and anyone who drinks too much puts themselves at risk

Different people react to alcohol in different ways. It’s possible for someone to drink a heap of alcohol and keep doing so for weeks or months at a time without getting addicted. Others, however, are predisposed to alcohol addiction, and need much less of it to become addicted. In other words, it’s always something that’s present in the person already, the alcohol never causes addiction. It merely ‘activates’ it in certain pre-disposed individuals at certain point. Truth be told, the researchers are still working on finding the exact causes of alcoholism, but the consensus is that alcoholism has more to do with certain people being pre-disposed with certain tendencies, rather than with the substance itself (as in, the substance itself does not cause alcoholism, but it can trigger it in certain people).

Myth #6: People who can drink more without getting drunk are less susceptible to alcoholism

If anything, the reverse may be true. Drinking excess amounts of alcohol could be one of the early signs of alcoholism. Yes, it’s possible to build a tolerance to alcohol, so one would need to drink more of it to achieve the same effect. But people who drink a lot often do so for other reasons apart from simply wanting to have a blast, and one of them could be alcoholism. Of course, people who have a stronger stature are also less susceptible to becoming drunk due to the nature of their metabolism, but if you notice that one of your friends is unusually resistant to alcohol, you can take it as one of the early signs.

Myth #7: An alcoholic must believe in the treatment in order for it to show results

While some convincing will likely be needed to get an adult person to seek help, the affected individual does not even have to believe in the treatment in order for it to work. In fact, seeing an alcoholic resist treatment is far from being uncommon. As long as friends and family can work together to recognize the signs of alcoholism and try their best to convince the alcoholic to seek help, the trained professionals will take it from there.


Alcoholism is a complex condition that is often misunderstood by the masses. By broadening your own horizons and working on your understanding of it, you’ll increase the chances of being able to help one of your friends and loved ones stay away from the path of devastation this dangerous addiction can take them to.


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