Labeling everyone as Alcoholic when they drink too much, is very counterproductive. This has nothing to do with denial, but in many cases if this description was dropped they would seek good therapy earlier, and there would be no necessity to spend the rest of their lives becoming another stigmatized statistic.
There are so many different degrees of alcohol dependence, and very often the starting point is when drinking becomes a routine and a habit. One of the main reasons my clients often leave their anxiety and worry in the hands of a bottle or two, is because they are terrified of being known as ‘that woman who drinks too much, an out of control lush, alcoholic disgrace’. The language that surrounds sobriety, and I don’t particularly like that word either, has been almost as damaging as the drinking itself. It begins to define the person, put them on the wine rack, and no matter how long they have been free of this toxic not so merry go round, will always have the suspicion that they are never going to be remembered for anything other than a problem they once had.
With any other doubt or concern about a potentially life threatening illness, we would investigate it as soon as possible. If our drinking is getting more than we are comfortable with, and knowing it could get worse, how do we deal with it? For the most part we hide, convincing ourselves that after one or two issues that we have drunk upon have been resolved, we will stop.
There are many therapies available, that are effective to treat the symptoms of alcohol dependence before there is any necessity to join groups that do not treat the underlying driving forces behind drinking, only the outcomes of drinking too much. These meetings are not therapy, they are the last resort.