Question: When you are an alcoholic are you always an alcoholic?

There is a lot of controversy over this issue.  The best information seems to indicate that people do recover from the physical effects of alcoholism if they stop drinking soon enough, but that some of the changes that take place in the brain during the process of alcohol addiction will remain.  If that is the case, “recovered” alcoholics who drink are risking a rapid return of the addiction.

We need also to consider the psychological aspects of someone’s wanting to have a drink when they have already seen what can happen.  One could argue that such people have to be especially careful, since they are not committed to sobriety to begin with.  Of course, denial being what it is, they will be the first to argue the point.

This matter is complicated to some small degree by the variables among individuals.  Some few people seem to be able to drink heavily, then stop or cut back with little difficulty.  They do exist, but they are rare.  The best advice is to stay away from alcohol completely if it has previously caused problems in your life.  The possible price of taking it up again is too high to take the chance.

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