We've all said or heard it before, someone hollers "they're an alcoholic" because some person is obnoxiously drink every weekend and makes sure you see it on their social media. We toss the word around like we do with a lot of other mental illnesses and diseases, turning something all too real into a derogatory remark, but there really is more weight to the word alcoholic.
Alcoholism runs in families. Some people avoid any type of alcohol like the plague because they have seen the negative effects first hand. Some people avoid it because they know they're more likely to have an addiction. But you never realize how much alcohol can effect a person's life until you have seen it first hand.
Picking up on whether someone is actually an alcoholic is easier with experience, though watching your friends or family fall victim to mental illnesses and addictions often means you become a little more in tune with others' habits. Your heart breaks for the person because you don't know how to help them, and they won't reach out for or receive help if they don't want to.
The most common sign of alcoholism is obviously excessive drinking, but excessive drinking isn't necessarily getting trashed on the weekends. It is more like getting drunk every night, even when they have work in the morning. Another sign is when they start lying about how much they're drinking and how drunk they are. They'll do this to hide the fact they know it has gone past their control.
Finally, you'll notice they will be happier with alcohol. Not the happy drunk you can be, but they will act irritable and angry and only get worse the longer the go without drinking. Sometimes, suicide is even a confession you might hear on one of their drunken rambles.
Alcoholism and addiction begins as a choice, but when there is an underlying issue, it is no longer a choice. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are all issues that can contribute to alcoholism.
The hardest part is knowing you can never love someone enough to fix them. You can never love someone enough to make them better. You can only help them by being there for them, but even sometimes that isn't possible.
Be kind to everyone you know because you never know what someone is going through.