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.

204 Responses to “Binge drinking is alcoholism too”

  1. 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………..

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


  5. Terri says:

    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

  6. 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.

  7. Ty says:

    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.

  8. saffy says:

    I hope someone will help me. I live in the UK but am originally from the US. When I was 25 I joined AA for binge drinking and sobered up. Since then (Iam 55 now) I have been sober for periods of 2 years, 5 years, 8 years, and six months, six months, a year and so on. I had to stop going to AA meetings about 15 years ago because they were triggering for me as gossip from an AA meeting caused me to actually lose my job—my career—and ruined my reputation in the small town I live in. There was no choice of meetings. It was an unhealthy meeting and the gossip did me in. Against all the traditions but IT HAPPENED. Plus I don’t do the God-thing. And hate the righteousness and superiority of those who manage continuous sobriety. Also, they called me unclean when I took my medicines for bipolar, actually was told there is no such thing as bipolar and it was just another excuse to “use”. Rubbish—I have been diagnosed bipolar, with psychotic episodes of mania and depression, ever since I was a teenager. I have a severe case of bipolar which is controlled well with medicines. Also I have social anxiety disorder and it makes going to meetings, which are very social, too overstimulating and confusing for me. My psychiatrists also believe I was born with some form of autistic disorder and social situations are trying for me to say the least, though through use of medicines and/or alcohol I can manage better. People don’t normally tell that I’ve been drinking, I have a hollow leg.

    So how does a person handle it when almost ALL recovered addicts/alkies say, Go To A Meeting (12-step) as if that is the ONLY way to stay sober? It’s either AA, they say, or “jails, institutions or death”. Grim stuff indeed.

    Also, just for the record, I am a woman, 5’7, 200 lbs, and I eat before drinking. My most recent binge I drank 10 shots of vodka and did not throw up or black out. But could it have killed me? Is it in that range?

    Thank you if any one comments.

    • Crystal says:

      I am so sorry for you. I am married to a binge drinker and it is very dificult watching someone you love destroy themself… I am also sorry you have been insulted by so called christians. God is love and unconditional love does not judge or boast. I am a Christian and beleive with all of my heart that the Lord can deliver you of your addiction. I am continually praying for my husband and strength to cope. I will also pray for you. Good luck and I hope for your deliverance or the ability tocope and put alcohol behind you.

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