What is a Social Alcoholic?

What is a Social Alcoholic?


Traditionally, the belief widely held around the concept of alcoholism is: someone is either addicted or they’re not; there’s no in-between. However, more and more counselors and other such professionals are finding that a large number of people who come to them for help are kind of alcoholic, or social alcoholic. These folks seek help for some other problem or issue that has developed in their life: anger issues, aggression, loss of job, declining health – without a thought about their drinking patterns. After some digging, the professional finds that these presenting problems are in fact a result of the person’s use of alcohol.

The Alcoholic

Alcoholism, officially called alcohol dependence, is where the alcoholic must drink pretty much on a continuous basis in order to maintain a level of alcohol in their body. If they stop then all the alcohol gets metabolized and the alcoholic goes into withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome causes the alcoholic to experience severe and even life-threatening symptoms.

Alcoholism as a Spectrum

The medical and therapeutic community is finding it to be more accurate and helpful to view alcoholism as a spectrum disorder rather than a black-and-white condition. There are many people who can be diagnosed with some sort of drinking problem but who do not meet the strict criteria required to be diagnosed as alcoholic. This is where the social alcoholic label applies.

The Social Alcoholic

The social alcoholic, also called “almost alcoholic,” applies to a large number of people. People who are social alcoholics are not typical alcoholics; instead, they are people whose drinking habits can range from barely qualifying as almost alcoholics to those whose drinking borders actual alcohol abuse.

The almost alcoholic will have started out in normal drinking patterns but has then moved into the social alcoholic zone of the spectrum. Here are some signs of an almost alcoholic:


  • drinks to relieve stress
  • may drink alone
  • looks forward to drinking
  • drinking may be related to health problems
  • drinks to relieve boredom and/or loneliness
  • sometimes takes risks like driving after drinking
  • drinks to get a “buzz”
  • work performance is declining
  • isn’t comfortable in social settings without drinking
  • finds that drinking helps to overcome shyness


 Examples of the Social Alcoholic


Someone who is under the normal pressures of life: balancing family, work, relationships, finances and starts experiencing difficulty sleeping and chronic fatigue goes to the doctor for a prescription for a sleeping pill or antidepressant. Upon further examination, the doctor finds out that the patient drinks 3 glasses of wine nightly to unwind. At first, this helped the patient sleep better but is now no longer working. At some point, this patient had crossed over the line that separates normal social drinking from almost alcoholic drinking.

Combined with the somewhat excessive drinking each evening, the patient reports having sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression and outbursts of anger. These are historically the same problems that true alcoholics often report. However, the patient does not have enough of the symptoms to meet the accepted criteria for any of the alcohol-related diagnoses, such as alcoholism. It wasn’t that one drink was never enough, or that the patient had to drink enough to maintain a certain level of alcohol to avoid withdrawals, but the patient is nonetheless experiencing alcohol related problems.


The “typical” college student who binge drinks with friends on the weekends can also possibly be a social alcoholic. This drinking pattern of binge drinking may seem normal to the student because a lot of other students are doing it too: at weekend parties, drinking games, tailgating, and so on. But when the drinking starts affecting school performance, mood, and leads to repercussions such as academic or social probation if say, one night things get out of hand and the student gets in a physical fight with someone else. The student may be told to go to anger management classes. Again, the problem on the surface is aggression but the underlying problem is a pattern of drinking that has come to be known as social alcoholism.









If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Success Rate of Sober Living

Success Rate of Sober Living

The success rate of sober living is unknown but it is most definitely better than the success rate of someone who doesn’t attend any kind of sober living after treatment. Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free place to live can be a serious and almost insurmountable obstacle for addicts and alcoholics. Destructive living arrangements can totally derail recovery for even the most highly motivated addicts and alcoholics.

Sober living is an alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Sober living is not licensed for funded by state or local governments and the residents themselves pay for the cost. The philosophy of recovery in a sober living house emphasizes 12-step group attendance and peer support.

So what are the success rates of sober living?

Research in one California study measured treatment outcomes over an eighteen month period from a sample of patients who were provided sober living as part of their outpatient treatment. Participants were male, with an average age of around 40 years old. A fourth of them were criminal justice referrals. A third of them was either homeless or lived in a shelter. Residents were dependent on cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines. Participants were interviewed at intake and at 6, 12, and 18 months.

The study found that sober living clients experienced significant improvements when it came to stay sober and even days worked. Involvement in 12-step groups was the strongest predictor of reductions in alcohol and drug use. The outcomes did not vary by demographics such as age, race, and education. The study concluded that sober living should be considered as a part of outpatient treatment for clients who have access to limited financial resources or reside in destructive living environments. The reason being, success of the individuals who were in sober living and staying sober.

The success rates of sober living are much higher in comparison to someone who doesn’t attend sober living. And it seems like the success rates of sober living go up even more if the clients of sober living also attend a 12-step group. The longer amount of time spent at a sober living residence the better too. Someone who stays at a sober living home and attends a 12-step group for a long period of time usually has a much higher chance of success than someone who just goes back to the original living environment and does not attend a 12 step group.

I know this is especially true for myself and most of the people I know who have multiple years sober. Sober living really can get addicts and alcoholics who have been unstable for so long the ability to start off on a stable and sturdy foundation instead of going back into the same unsteadiness once again. The success rates of sober living aren’t exact but they are good. The risks of going back into an old environment or giving yourself a better chance at staying sober with a sober living environment seems like an easy choice to make.


If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Why Living In a Sober House Increases Success


Living in a sober house increases success in multiple ways and if you want the best chance at staying sober for a lifetime then you definitely want to look into living in one of these sober houses. In order to figure out why living in a sober house increases success is to look at what a sober house consists of and what makes it a success. Sober houses are mainly places for addicts and alcoholics after they complete some kind of detox or inpatient treatment in order to continue with their recovery. As we can see any continuation of recovery such as living in a sober house increases success. Sober houses are the next step in sober living. Sober houses allow addicts and alcoholics to have a safe place to live with other addicts and alcoholics with same goal of staying sober while beginning their life in the “real” world again. When we say the “real” world we are meaning life outside of a treatment facility. Sober houses give the addict and alcoholic the chance to find a job, go to school, live on their own, and begin creating their life after treatment while still having accountability through drug tests, curfews and living with other recovering alcoholics and addicts. This is why living in a sober house increases success. It gives alcoholics and addicts the ability to create their life in the “real” world while also having a safe place to rest their head at night.

After treatment alcoholics and addicts have to find places to work, begin going to school again and essentially get their lives back in order. Sometimes this can be hard for the addicts or alcoholic who used at work, school or just on their own. Living in a sober house increases success of staying sober because it helps the addict and alcoholic establish this fulfilling life while also teaching and helping them get the tools they need so that they can remain sober through it all. For instance addicts and alcoholics can begin their career again with the safety of a home that is drug and alcohol free. Along with that sober houses drug test frequently and randomly and this can be a big deterrent for the alcoholic or addict who may want to use now that they are not under the constant watch of the staff at a treatment facility. This is why living in a sober house increases success among addicts and alcoholics trying to recover. Once an alcoholic and addict has stayed in a sober house for a certain amount of time and established their life again they will be able to move out of the sober house. Once they moved out of the sober house they’ll be able to apply the tools they have learned there in the real world. The more time away from drugs and alcohol have gotten them accustomed to dealing with the daily stresses of life without using or drinking. This is why living in a sober house increases success among those who may have failed multiple times in the past at trying to remain sober.


If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Recovery in A Sober House


In order to recover in a sober house you must realize that your recovery does not lie within the people who you are living with nor does it lie within the rules of the halfway house. In order to recover in a sober house you have to find recovery through a fellowship and meetings outside of your “safe place”.


 Recovery has a higher chance of happening if you attend or reside in a sober house after attending inpatient or outpatient treatment. Although it is not guaranteed nor can it keep you sober. The way for alcoholics and addicts to truly recover within the area of a sober house is to utilize the resources given to them there in order to find recovery in the outside community. Attending a sober house is good for the accountability, the stability, the drug screening, and more. It does not necessarily ensure complete sobriety.


 A lot of the times when multiple recovering alcoholics cohabitate there’s a probability that at lease one person will relapse and the others will feel pressured to use or drink with them. If a roommate relapses, an alcoholic must have outside support otherwise that person could take them down with them. The best way to ensure sobriety within a sober house is to treat is as just a place where you sleep, eat and live.  Do not make your recovery base a sober house. It will not guarantee sobriety.


 Recovering in a sober house essentially can be as easy or as hard as you make it.  If you want to recover regardless if you are in a sober house or at home you can do it if you put the work and the willingness into it. Alcoholics and addicts with the right tools can recover anywhere even in the places where you would think it would be the hardest. Sober houses do make finding recovery a bit easier though. Simply put if you want to improve your chances of finding long-term sobriety then attend a sober house. A sober house maximizes an addict or alcoholic’s potential of staying sober if they are willing to do whatever it takes.


 Again, addicts and alcoholics must not rely completely on the sober house to keep them sober. They must go to outside meetings, meet plenty of people in the fellowship that have longer lengths of sobriety and begin working 12 steps with a sponsor. This is what can guarantee an alcoholic or addict will recover in a sober house. These simple steps and the knowledge that a sober house is a safe place but cant keep you sober are two paramount ideas that pushes an addict or alcoholic well on their way into recovery.


 If you use a sober house for what it is meant for then you can definitely recover during your stay.  The most important thing a recovering alcoholic or drug addict living in a sober house must understand is that it is another tool in the recovery process but not the solution.








If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.