The very question can an alcoholic ever drink again socially is ridiculous. My ex-husband was and still is an addict, which in reality is what an alcoholic is. Addiction is addiction regardless of whatever the substance of choice is. Asking this question is in my opinion the same as asking if a drug addict can ever use drugs again “socially”. Alcohol is a drug!
There are those who use drugs occasionally or in a “social setting”. This may come as a shock to some, but in today’s society almost anything goes as long as you don’t abuse it.
The problem is, there are those who have addictive personalities and the first time they drink or use, are immediately hooked. For those who are already addicts/alcoholics to have even a taste of their substance of choice leads to regular and eventually uncontrollable use again. This question would not even be taken seriously if it drug addict replaced alcoholic. Again, addiction is addiction, the substance chosen does not lessen its severity.
My current husband is a recovering alcoholic, he is also a recovering drug addict. For years he has struggled with drinking. In the times of sobriety he has repeatedly told himself that since he has been able to go without it for whatever length of time it happened to be, he felt he could go back to drinking socially and control it. That has proved wrong every single time. Even after some very serious and almost deadly consequences in the past, even today when we talk about drinking, he still has the struggle with denial and will say he sees no real problem with having a beer once in awhile. To which I remind him that not once in the last episodes he had with drinking did he have only one or even only two. The denial is I think the hardest issue to break through on for any addict.
Alcoholism is a progressive addiction and the denial within the alcoholic’s thinking is the most destructive attitude for the addict. It’s a never ending cycle that can and will only be broken once the user accepts and realizes he or she can never drink again. From experience I can tell you after living most of my adult life being married to someone who is an alcoholic/addict, once that first drink is taken eventually it leads to the whole, “well I only do it once in awhile” straight back into having to have it every day. It may take a few days, weeks or months, but eventually the addict will once again find himself/herself right back into full blown alcoholism.
I have family friends who had over 20 years of sobriety behind them, all it took was one drink, one little drink and they ended up right back into the struggle to quit and remain sober they had over the last 20 years, fought so desperately to maintain. It is the way the disease works. It tells you after a certain time period, ‘it’s OK now, you are in control, there is no harm in having a couple beers or drinks at a party, or when hanging out with friends. It’s OK because you had a drink and see, you stopped at one this time.’ The problem is next time the addict will have a little more, then a little more then next thing you know they cannot stop until they pass out.
I was invited to attend an AA BBQ with a friend who is a recovering addict. She now has over a year of being clean by the way. Anyway, after the BBQ every one sat around the fire and they held a meeting. One of the things read out of their Big Book that completely answers the above question was this.
“The alcoholic has to stop believing the lie that someday they can drink like normal people, because the alcoholic is not a normal person, he or she is an addict and never will be able to drink again if they are truly serious about recovering.” The people at the meeting, most of which are addicts in recovery, agreed. An alcoholic can never again drink socially or any other time and expect to not end up right back where they came from.