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Alcoholics can come in many different forms, from the panhandler to the CEO, to the young mother in the PTA. Retirees and clergy are also among the ranks of those afflicted with an inability to control their drinking, after the first drink. While their drinking patterns can be quite different, there are some symptoms that are universal.
A real alcoholic has one primary goal when they begin drinking: to get drunk. Whether the person is a "binge drinker" (doesn't drink every day, but when they do drink, it's to get drunk), an occasional drinker, or the stereotypical daily drinker, any alcoholic will be striving for the same result, which is inebriation.
When I hear someone say that recovering alcoholics cannot drink, I think, “I can drink anything, anywhere I want. I just cannot do it successfully.” Or, “ It costs too much for me”, as in my family, self-respect, hope for the future, car, job...it's not that the addicted person “lost” everything, like some folks in the rooms like to say. Rather, we “traded” everything for our drug of choice.