Question: Can you become addicted to alcohol the first time you use it?

No. It takes more than one exposure to become addicted to a drug, although it is possible that one might like it so much that one becomes psychologically disposed to drink more from the beginning.

Most people who use alcohol moderately (two drinks or less a day) will not become addicted at all. Those who do will find excuses why it’s OK for them to drink more. Alcoholism has a genetic component, and some people who are strongly predisposed drink heavily from the start and progress to “problem drinking” rapidly. (This writer was one of those.) However, whether one is “addicted” from the beginning is highly unlikely.*  Even some heavy drinkers are able to stop without difficulty,  the question, of course, being whether or not they are able to stay stopped.

It is also likely that prolonged alcohol abuse (drinking to intoxication) can progress to alcohol addiction even in people without the hereditary predisposition. The jury is still out on that scientifically, but strong anecdotal evidence indicates that this is the case.

*Remember that the best definition of alcohol addiction (or any other) is that use is causing problems for you, but you feel you have to keep on doing it anyway. That cuts through all the denial b.s. and puts the problem where the rubber meets the road.

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