Denial takes two major forms.
- First, the alcoholic insists that he or she can drink like other people – socially, normally.
This means that there are always ready excuses for the exceptional times-for the fights, the arrests, the blackouts, the hangovers. It’s someone else’s fault. It’s harassment, bad luck, or just too much pressure.
- Secondly, the alcoholic insists that he or she is different from “real” alcoholics.
Drinking alcoholics are usually experts at picturing “real” alcoholics. They’re different somehow: jobless, homeless, friendless, and usually feeble-minded. Not like themselves at all.
That’s why you’ll find, if you look far enough, that the scotch and water alcoholic looks down on the beer alcoholic, who, in turn, is disgusted by the wino.
Each is convinced that he or she isn’t the “real” alcoholic.
There are many drinking patterns, and they overlap and shade into each other.
- The five o’clock alcoholic doesn’t take a drink until after work-never touches the stuff before five — then drinks continuously until passing out.
- The periodic (or binge) alcoholic can go for long stretches of time without touching a drop. Then comes a binge that can last days or weeks or months.
- The maintenance alcoholic finds ways to sip all day long, to keep just enough alcohol in the blood.
In short, there is no “typical” alcoholic that serves as a standard by which other alcoholics are measured.
The only thing they have in common is that, sooner or later, they all have serious life problems related to their drinking.