November 6, 2020

What Are Alcohol Use Disorders?

You may have heard about a new term that is emerging in the conversation about alcohol and addiction. For years the only way to talk about problem drinking was by using the label “alcoholic.”

Now we are hearing less about alcoholism and a new term is emerging: “Alcohol Use Disorder.” You might be wondering what Alcohol Use Disorder is, how it is different from alcoholism, and even more importantly, how these labels apply to you.

I’ll make it easy for you right from the start. Alcohol Use Disorder is the term being used to describe the behavior of drinking in an “abnormal” way — drinking routinely, binge drinking, or drinking in response to emotions. But there’s a problem right from the start. The term suggests that there is a “normal” way to drink alcohol. In reality, however, there is no normal way to drink alcohol.

Anyone who drinks has a problem because there is nothing normal or healthy about consciously ingesting a highly toxic poison, no matter how attractively packaged or socially acceptable it is.

problem drinking

Don’t Accept The Label

If you’re like I was, you’ve looked for evidence to prove to yourself that you don’t have a problem with alcohol. You’ve probably taken the tests online. You’ve even compared yourself with others looking for someone who drinks more than you or more frequently than you do to convince yourself that you don’t have a problem.

  • If you only drink on weekends, you couldn’t possibly have a problem.
  • You don’t want a drink in the morning; therefore, you certainly aren’t an alcoholic.

And on and on it goes. But it’s not the quantity or frequency of your drinking that defines whether or not you have a problem. It’s about how it’s affecting your life. Is it making your life worse? If it is, then it’s a problem.

I once had a man in one of my Quit Drinking Bootcamps who told us that he drank one miniature bottle of vodka a day for 40 years. You might conclude that this man didn’t have a problem and wonder what he was doing at a Bootcamp to quit drinking.

He went on to explain that he hated the way it made him feel about himself. He hated that he felt as if he had no control and that he had to reach for that miniature every day. It was making him miserable. For him, that meant he had a problem. And that is really the only test you should be taking:

Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcohol Use Disorders

Is it making your life worse?

We can lose years of our lives in the pursuit of finding a label that fits, when the label really doesn’t matter. We pour our energy into trying to figure out what to call the behavior instead of using that energy to change the behavior.

There’s another reason to avoid the labels. Most of them suggest that the problem is out of your control, that somehow you developed or inherited an unfortunate disease. That there is something wrong with you. The labels only serve to keep us in victim mode rather than changing the behavior. They come with negative connotations attached, suggesting that somehow you are weak-willed or broken.

All of the labels try to lay the blame at the feet of the user rather than where the blame truly lies — squarely on the poison.

Alcohol and liver damage
Alcohol and liver damage

Put An End Alcohol Use Disorders

Consider another common addiction — smoking. No one stigmatizes the person addicted to cigarettes by labelling them a “smokeaholic” and telling them, “Even if you quit smoking, you’ll still only be a ‘recovering smokeaholic’ for the rest of your life.” We don’t use labels for people who smoke because we understand that nicotine is an addictive drug and that if you smoke it, you will become addicted.

There is nothing diseased about you. There is nothing weak-willed or broken about you. You repeatedly drank a highly addictive substance and got addicted — an entirely predictable outcome. It’s that simple.

For 10 years I’ve been helping people quit drinking without the use of demoralizing, stigmatizing labels. Instead of spending more time and energy trying to find a label, ask yourself the simple question, “Is it making my life worse?” If your answer is yes, then it’s time to take action.

You can start right away by joining me for my free quit drinking webinar, and I will give you a free download of my bestselling book, Alcohol Lied to Me.




  • Craig Beck ABNLP. ABHYP. DHYP. ICS

    Craig Beck has been an alcohol cessation therapist for twelve years. He has helped over 200,000 people using his personal experience and professional training in the field of addiction recovery.

    After struggling with his alcohol addiction, Craig went on a journey of self-discovery and learning, studying the underlying causes of alcohol addiction and how to overcome it. He has since become a board-certified Master Practitioner of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), The American Board of Hypnotherapy certified therapist, and an ICS-certified life coach specializing in alcohol addiction recovery.

    Craig's personal experience with alcohol addiction gives him a unique perspective on the challenges of quitting drinking. He understands the emotional and psychological factors contributing to addiction and knows how to help people overcome them.

    In addition, Craig's formal training and certifications provide him with the knowledge and skills to develop effective strategies and techniques for addiction recovery. The Stop Drinking Expert approach to alcohol addiction uses a unique combination of CBT techniques and NLP reframing.

    Craig's qualifications are evident in his successful track record helping people quit drinking. Craig Beck is the author of several alcohol addiction books, such as "Alcohol Lied to Me" and "The Alcohol Illusion".

    His website,, provides a comprehensive guide on how to quit drinking, including practical tips, strategies, and resources for recovery.

    Overall, Craig Beck's expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are evident in his work, making him a reliable and trustworthy mentor and coach for your addiction recovery.

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