Binge drinking is alcoholism too

binge drinkingMany people looking for help on this site do not consider themselves to be alcoholics. They are not drinking all day, every day. But they are regularly binge drinking alcohol to excess, such that they are damaging their health, their relationships and their self esteem.

It is easier to convince yourself that you haven’t got an alcohol problem if you can regularly have days where you don’t drink at all. You think you’ve got control of your drinking for a while, so you’re not as concerned any more.

Then it happens again – you binge, and wake up feeling awful. Maybe you carry on drinking heavily for a couple of days to deal with how guilty you feel about it all (and the hangover of course). But this type of binge drinking can have serious negative consequences which you need to do something about.

Are you an alcoholic or a binge drinker?

Take our test of alcoholism signs and symptoms.


212 Responses to “Binge drinking is alcoholism too”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am now 50 years old and still binge drink I want to stop and after every episode feel more ashamed I woke up this morning in the bed of my best friends date.now I feel worse than ever.i can’t just have a couple of drinks I always drink to excess.i only drink 3to4 times month utmost stop drinking is making me loud rude and promiscuous I want to stop altogether and value my self

  2. TD says:

    I’m either one of two ways: I work out 5+ days a week and get in great shape, or I drink 5+ days a week and completely reverse my progress. I mostly do drink out of boredom, however, and it’s difficult to get out of routines that you didn’t even realize you’ve created for yourself. I’m 30, single, and although I feel like I should be home after work and not going out unless its a weekend, I ruin my overall plan to become more responsible, to get in better shape. I’ve made it this far and refuse to throw away the rest of my days behind the label of a bottle. I have never reached an apex on how far I can push myself. And that’s not always a great thing. It gives me the blurred vision that I can always bounce back. But I’m tired of that. I never compare myself to anyone except myself (what I am doing vs what I could or used to do). So, good luck to all of you and remember the more positive you become, the more positive you will be.

  3. Bec says:

    I always figured there was something off everytime I occasionally go out and drink; wrong people, bad day, didn’t eat enough etc etc so each time I say to myself I’ll have a good drinking night not drink too much then I do I get wasted make a fool out of myself. I’m a shy girl so I’ve always kind of used alcohol to boost confidence I’m now realizing it’s making me a pariah. I get all social then next thing you know i black out, hallucinate, drunk dial, pick a fight. It’s not always like this but for the most part it is. I don’t drink often just every few months. But I now have severe depression, anxiety which I believe is due to my binging. I’m scared I’ll make a fool out of myself daily and avoid friends, family, coworkers yet I never make a fool out of myself sober and I’m depressed because I’ve lost some friends due to bad nights out and I feel stupid and guilty. I’m a smart kind person I don’t know why I’ve let myself down and let alcohol run my life. I feel defective for not being able to control such a small stupid thing yet it’s causing so much chaos in my life. I hate hating myself, doubting if I’m a good person. I want to be a good friend, a good daughter and a good girlfriend not this sad lonely person I’ve let myself become all because I want to occasionally drink. I’m done I can’t live like this anymore.

  4. dont want my name here says:

    I know i binge drink. Now its every night. 12 atleast only after 6pm… I have many family health issues from death , cancer , neglect and disabilities around me. I searched this page tonight while drunk knowing i need help, not to put blame on any one but myself for not being stronger. I always wake fine and there for everyone but myself! but feel ashamed :( knowing u need help is a start i guess…..

  5. Sheila says:

    I have just read a lot of letters on binge drinking. I’m lying in bed feeling so ill after yet! another binge, hate what I have become I live separate from my husband as he can not live with me, but we are still friends I have lost my home my car and I try to my children don’t want to be near me when I drink. My daughter is two years without a drink through attending utilities recovery I tried it and have drank again i will try AA again as God knows I can’t go on like this

    • Kevin says:

      Sheila

      I have woke up in that familiar place, well Sunday morning, which is better known as utter despair.

      Another night ruined and another lot of recriminations. My own embarrassment and shame just adds to the mix.

      How many times now over a thirty year period? Maybe sixty as I must do this twice a year on average. I can’t drink sensibly at all. Does this mean I’m an alcoholic? Well if I’m not that what else can I be? A schizophrenic?

      I have to stop drinking. I must stop. But I’m lost as to how I do it!

  6. vieve says:

    Hi I am an alcoholic. For those of you who are unable to use or see AA as an option. I feel so much empathy. I do not think it is the only way but I know it works. You need a mind, body, and soul program or emotion, whatever floats your boat but you need people, literature and faith like a mofo. But that boat needs to float.
    I am a very successful person. I even wanted to be a successful drinker. By the grace of God I have not lost much. I thought I would lose my mind though. Made promises I could not keep to God.
    The gift and curse about being a binge drinker is I have not lost everything yet… not my license, not my will to live… I might have never lost it… that’s the thing about my illness it is conniving, egotistical, always on the lookout to prove itself, excuse itself- my mother died, its Friday, its new years, I’m alive.. not for long, I could have flown off a building into a pool if I thought it looked like fun, I was waking up in strange places, hungover every single time, in a fight with someone… I was even a carnivore at night while being a vegetarian at day… I know one thing I could not continue living the way I was… let’s ponder for a minute why its so important for us to continue drinking when only bad shit (pardon my French) happens…? Because we are so obsessed with drinking that we cannot imagine living without it. Its not really our fault, we are sick, like mentally ill…if you need to take your meds, take them, if
    someone wants to attack you for that, they’re
    probably jealous..whatever works for you-be true to
    yourself… our minds got us into this mess and it will keep us in this mess which is why believing that something other than yourself will keep you out of this mess will keep you out.
    I am so grateful to God I accepted I am an alcoholic because I am free. I don’t hurt myself or the ones I love. I consciously make decisions, that are good, because I’ve resigned alcohol so it is not dictating my life.
    Even if you don’t drink everyday, your mind will convince you that you need to drin soon or create a reason for doing so. Even if you don’t drink everyday, you
    live in a fog. You drink so much in one sitting it probably lasts you until the following occasion. So if you’re even questioning you have a problem, you probably do.
    Accept the most difficult and important part of yourself…you’re already on this site… you already know you have a problem, just listen to that little voice inside of you. It knows the truth. And the truth shall set you free.

    • Dani says:

      UR response really resonated w/me. I’ve been struggling for yrs w/this issue: binge drinking ‘vs being an alcoholic. Over the yrs I have attended AA/NA meetings periodically, forced into several rehabs,(due to my profession as a Pharmacist), but never believed that I truly was an alcoholic or addict, even though I would introduce myself as such at these meetings. I always felt like a fraud when saying it. I am 47 now, & have been dealing w/ alcohol related issues dating back to my college days. It was never often, maybe once a month or so, but it was always the same>> drink to excess, get sick, have a hangover, & be done w/it, until the next time. But, of course I never considered myself as an alcoholic. There were no real consequences >> just getting sick,then laughing about it w/friends later. Ironically, I remember those days as the ‘good times!!’ In later yrs the consequences became much more severe, w/the loss of a life, leading to a 10yr prison sentence for me. But, apparently, I am not capable of learning from my past mistakes. I still have that urge to drink occasionaly, thinking, of course, this time it will be different. U know like I can control it & drink responsibly. Maybe I just wish so hard that I could, but in the past 3 days, once again I proved myself wrong!!! On Thursday night I shot a 1/2 of a 5th of tequila & y’day I finished off the rest of it. And YES I got terribly sick both times, but not only that, this is also affecting my fiancĂ© of 3 yrs. He wants to believe in me, he wants to believe what I say, but right now I don’t even believe in me!! I’m in trouble & I need help, but as bad as he would like to help, he doesn’t understand this disease of addiction. Hell, I don’t even understand why I do it. Right now I’m feeling a lot of shame & guilt from the last 2 episodes, not to mention the numerous other times throughout our relationship. I certainly don’t want to hurt him or anyone else, but I just don’t know where to go or what to do from here………..

  7. Christopher says:

    I’m not sure if i have a serious drink problem but i’m pretty sure that it effects my moods even when i’m not drinking.

    Since i was about 21 i started to drink every day, not like serious heavy stuff just maybe 3litres of cider but that’s still a lot. This mainly became a constant thing when my mum died and i would drink to feel normal, as if to make myself be like other people, do what normal people do.

    As a result of this i now suffer with acid reflux and have to live every day, if i drink fizzy stuff, with a bad cough and itchy throat at night.

    I must admit i have got better since i started to live with my girlfriend, i only drink 12 beers over the space of the weekend, so that’s 4 a day. Me and my girlfriend have this understanding both for my good and for hers that i am only allowed to drink on weekends or if she has to work late nights.

    The problem is that i think years of exposure to alcohol has kinda “fused” with the pain and loss of my mum and it makes me stubborn, paranoid, insecure and often short tempered. Heck i’m not ashamed to admit that my anger gets so bad that i sometimes get a god complex like “nothing dare f*ck with me!”

    However i NEVER even think about raising a hand to my girlfriend because, even if i’m drunk, my sense of morality is still stronger.

    Sometimes i think i want to stop completely but i’m afraid of what may happen, i’ve only been drinking, or had been drinking, that heavily for 5 years so is that like a majorly damaging to my health? Not asking for an excuse to keep drinking on borrowed time i’m just curious. As i said i never drank heavy stuff like vodka and such (i’m not a fan of spirits) but i did drink cider a LOT for 5 years, 3 litres every night. I’ve also noticed that it seems to make me lazy and not give crap about myself and i don’t want to be that person.

  8. Karl says:

    I am just starting to attend AA meetings now. For about 15 years I have been binge drinking .It started when I was working , drinkinh all over the weekend and then over the last few years now I am not working ,for days on end. I start on cider then go onto bottles of vodka. I have woken up all over the Town I live,not recalling what I have done. I then go for up to 2 months without drinking and then through that same false sense of security it starts all over again . I have lost jobs, a lot of money and a lot of self respect with this behaviour. I know that I cannot have a social drink .If I drink this pattern occurs. So to me binge drinking is alcoholism. Anybody with any similar behaviour?

    • Larry says:

      Hi Karl , i am in similar boat, i have started drinking again after a long break from occasional binge drink. i dont get up in morning wanting a drink but im getting 4-8 cans in the evenings with a day or so break, and started going in pubs with good intentions but just keep drinking, got banned from one, insulted staff and regulars, then other day same pattern went in a pub for a couple 1pm , woke up 3am on my back in a park, spent all my money but thankfully had my bag with all my personal items with me. yes im not drinking throughout the day but i class myself an alcoholic and going to abstain from it again. Im attending ADAS alcohol counselling but i used to be a christian and gave up alcohol for 6years and must agree with Crystels comment God is forgiving to those who turn to him, the power of pray is life saver which i am turning back to, in pray God will give you the mental ability to sort it out, through the ransom sacrifice that his Son Jesus did for us.

  9. ACT10Npack says:

    Where to begin. I start to drink when I was 21. Never drank before then and was somewhat force to drink with my friends when I start. Anyway, never had a problem in collage. I did get drunk many times when it was once in a wait thing. When I finish collage, I did drink at all. I was never a social person but I did had panic attack. First one was when I started to work. I went to the hospital for it. Had to stay there all night. Well 6 month later it happen again. My dad gave me alcohol to cool me done. Well I start to drink more often but I would have 4 beers and stop. 4 years later, a girl I know stop seeing me and then was when I starting to drink heavy at night 8 beers or more. Then a 3 months later I would go on 5 day binges. Would not stop until I could not drink anymore. Lasted 8 months, then I got a new job. I guess. Back but not enough to stop on Monday for work. Then I got a dui, was the worst thing but I still drank.

    been doing better now, I have not quit completely but I can get 2.5 months of sobriety time in. I try AA but don’t believe in higher power or God. Anyway, I’m hoping this is it. Trying to get myself straight and completely in to lifetime sobriety its hard but I just do this shit anymore.

    thanks

    • Mark says:

      ACT10Npack

      Your story resonated with me on many levels. I just started attending AA as a result of an ex-girlfriend who recently got back in touch and told me about her being 5 years sober… more on her in a moment.

      To provide background, I have held stable high paying positions and have never lost a position due to alcohol. Alcohol was always justified as my reward for working hard all week. I am single 42 with no kids so it wasn’t as though I was neglecting my family. I’m financially responsible and pay my bills but began viewing alcohol as my reward.

      Having had several DUI’s in the past, none of them ever had any impact…in my ignorance… in thinking I had a alcohol problem. It was a matter of bad luck and overzealous police wanting to generate revenue and were playing the odds pure and simple.

      I’ve never woke up craving a drink in my life nor had I hid alcohol around the house… the stereotypical tell tale signs of alcoholism. I think if I ever had that I would have joined AA the same day. The last thing I wanted to do was sit around an empty house and drink alone. I went to bars and pubs to meet people and alcohol took off the “edge” and lowered inhibitions to facilitate conversation easier.

      A few months before her contact, I woke up with a hangover after another meaningless heavy night of drinking. But – for the first time – this thought/voice rang out in my head, warning me of a very ominous event if I did not make a change to how I was living. Due to some recent personal misfortunes, I was drinking alcohol more frequently than in the past and the hangovers seemed to last for days. In retrospect, it was an attempt to quell the anger and sense of hopelessness I was feeling and provide a temporary escape. In fact, it was having the opposite effect from a standpoint of my personal behavior and disposition, behaving boorishly and vulgar, insulting and demeaning friends – displacing aggression against those who had done nothing to me.

      After the episode with the “voice”, I knew alcohol was the reason for the warning but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Every drinking episode afterwards, I was fraught with guilt, anger and shame. I didn’t think about AA as a solution because my “understanding” of AA was that it was populated with born again holy rollers who were at some point unmanageable miscreants who couldn’t put a bottle down, the way a junkie couldn’t pass on a “fix”.

      But I was nearing the end of my emotional rope. I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror and hated the overwhelming feeling of self-loathing that began to consistently permeate my thoughts.

      I responded to her email and asked her to call me. I asked her if she would be so kind as to chaperone me to a meeting. I had attended meetings years earlier as part of court-ordered counseling but I would walk in at the end, quickly get a signature and head out because I did not have a “problem”. But this time it was much different and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by not knowing what to do and when to do it at a meeting. She agreed and we went. While walking inside the first meeting, I was convinced I would say nothing and just listen. But as more and more people spoke, I found myself relating to parts of everyone’s story and quickly realized that my perception of AA could not have been more incorrect. The woman hosting the meeting in the subgroup knew it was my first meeting and was going to pass on me when asked to speak but I just started talking about my present state of mind and how I no longer wanted to feel this way. In the process of my 10 minute story, my hands started shaking, my eyes were welling up and my voice was breaking while talking. Inside my head, a voice was screaming, ” I thought you were not going to say anything!”. Yet I found myself unable to stop and continued. Once I was done, several members in the group were looking down at the table, averting my gaze because they, too, knew firsthand the emotional tsunami that accompanies the stark realization of brutal self-honesty.

      After the meeting that night, Her and I grabbed a bite and I went home. Waking the next morning, I felt such a welcome sense of emotional relief that I am unsure of how to put it into words…the rhetorical “weight of the world” lifted from one’s shoulders.

      I questioned for sometime whether “binge drinking” could be a form of alcoholism. Even now when googling the question, the mighty internet provides no clear answer and this forum is a page on search result. As of this writing, I have no clinical answer but I’m personally convinced that it is and the tenets of AA have been working for me. To your concern about the religion, I am non religious but a very wise gentleman at a meeting mentioned that he looked at the references in AA literature to God as an acronym…G.O.D. Group Of Drunks. The stories I hear from others, along with their coping strategies, highs and lows and feelings of accomplishment for taking back their lives serve to me the wisdom imparted by a god. And who knows, maybe he is speaking through them to reach me and others who have their doubts about Him.

      Sorry for being so long winded and hope it will allay some concerns for you regarding AA’s mission and focus.

      In any event, I hope you do find a solution to your problem.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

  10. Terri says:

    Hi
    I’m really hoping someone can give us some advise I live in the uk and my brother-in-law is a binge drinker he does it fortnightly, he will start drinking the Friday night secretly and then won’t stop till Sunday night. He is the nicest man you can meet but lately when he drinks he’s started to talk quite nastily to my sister. When he sobers up on a Monday he can’t remember anything about what he has said or done, he’s losing his wife and now his 3 kids are saying they dont want anything to do with him, I really really want to help him but I just don’t know what to do as everyone has said they think he has gone beyond help

    • Gem says:

      the only way you can help is if he accepts and admits he has a problem. That he believes he has a problem. Until then there is nothing you can do

  11. scott g says:

    I need help I go to meetings and so much drama, But I know it works living at home no money, job or car and I am 38 thats what alchohol has done to me.

  12. Ty says:

    Saffy,
    I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. After a year of sobriety, I had to courage to see a doctor to figure out what was wrong with me. I worked through the fear of what I might find, and was diagnosed with being bi-polar. What I found was that it was absolutely no one’s business that I was bi-polar. My doctor treats that disorder, but AA helps me to treat my alcoholism. Before I became sober, I was a complete mess. I was a mean and neglectful mother, promiscuous, controlling, manipulative, and in a great deal of pain, and full of shame. I felt worthless and just wanted to die. When I walked into that first AA meeting, it was the first time I felt welcome, it gave me hope. Meetings are an essential part of my recovery. I don’t have to share. Just listening has helped me to learn more about myself and my addiction to alcohol. I realized that if alcohol was the cause of my destruction, then a life without alcohol could possibly mean the opposite. I wanted a different life, and now, I have one. I’ve worked hard to establish a better relationship with my children, I am an upstanding citizen, and yes…I have forged a spirituality with the God of my understanding. AA is not a religion, it’s spiritual. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, or something in between, you are the only one who can choose that for yourself. I am now 3 years sober. Through working the 12 steps, with the help of a sponsor, not only have I put the bottle down, but I am a better person. I am proud of the woman I have become. Good luck to you, my friend. I truly hope you find sobriety so that you can experience the joy, peace, and serenity that I never knew was even possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good for you darling. It takes the first step and admiting you have a problem. I’ts great that your on your feet and sober.

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