“Am I an Alcoholic?” – What Malaysians Think About Drinking and Alcoholism

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In the past few months, I’ve been unemployed, used up all my savings, went back to ‘sulk’ in my hometown, before eventually landing myself a new job in the city. I even rented a new place to stay in KL.

It has been a roller coaster ride, and I found myself finding comfort in one thing – alcohol.

I would usually just drink until I get that buzz and stop. But there was the one time I did tequila shots with my previous housemates, which ended with me throwing up continuously the entire night.

All of these got me thinking, could I be an alcoholic?

I don’t think I am, but what are the differences between a legit alcoholic and a social drinker, plus what do they think about consuming alcohol? There is a vague line between those two.

To find out, we interviewed 4 people on what they think are the differences between an alcoholic and a social drinker, and the results are interesting.

LF – Drinking occasionally should not be considered as alcoholic

I do drink, but not often, so I would say that I’m a social drinker. I actually don’t like to drink, I don’t like the taste of it at all. To me, alcoholism is drinking a lot, so no, I don’t consider myself that.

I think alcoholics have an uncontrollable urge to drink and find drinking to be their source of escape. So, I think that being able to hold your beer or just drinking until you pass out for one occasion shouldn’t be considered an alcoholic.

Rob – I drink every day but I am not an alcoholic

I am a restaurant owner whose main income is from the alcohol I sell.

We do serve food, but there are people who enjoy a few bottles of beer with their meals, and my restaurant is a great hangout spot for people to have a few drinks and chill.

I have been drinking my whole life. It all started when I got my first job, I think. It was so long ago.

I was a journalist, so I must be the first to know everything that’s happening. I saw a lot of horrible things back then.

The one that I will never forget is this suicide case. When I got there, the person was already dead. He put a bullet through his own brain with a shotgun. His brain and flesh were all over the place.

So, I think you get why I drink.

But now I’ve resigned from my old job and got myself a restaurant to continue to support my family. My main income is the alcohol.

Because I had a lot of connections and friends, I would have them hang out in my restaurant almost every day, and I would drink with them.

I drink every day, it’s a habit for me now. I have to drink, but I won’t consider myself alcoholic. To me, alcohol is a great way to connect with people, I met most of my friends from drinking. I feel like after a few glasses, everyone is everyone’s friend.

I can control my alcohol very well. I like beer, occasionally liquor. I don’t get drunk, but I do get that buzz. It’s not a proud thing, really. I’ve a lot of health problems now from all the drinking I’ve done.

I’m 58 now, I do cut down on my drinking, but I still need to have one bottle per day, at least.

Here’s a tip from me, if you’re mixing a lot of drinks together like beer and liquor, do not get wine in the mix – they get you drunk the fastest.

K – Alcoholics use alcohol as a crutch

I think when people say alcoholics, they mean the people who use alcohol as a crutch. The occasional drinking to alleviate stress and anxiety is fine, but if someone is actively seeking alcohol as a way to avoid all those negative feelings instead of dealing with them, then they are in fact, alcoholic.

As for social drinkers, they don’t use it as a crutch, it’s maybe a form of entertainment, or a way to bond with friends. They’re able to control themselves in terms of how much they consume.

Alcoholics cannot control themselves. They enjoy the feeling of being in the state that they’re in when they drink, so they indulge in it. I feel like it is the same way as someone who smokes or people who need coffee every morning.

I think the biggest difference in alcoholics and social drinkers is that for alcoholics, there are people who get hurt in the process, for example their family, their friends, the people around them and so on. For a social drinker, it is only themselves.

Anonymous – You should be able to know how to control yourself

I am a mother of three and I let my children drink, especially my daughters. My son doesn’t drink.

I always tell them that they should at least know how to control themselves when they drink, i.e. don’t drink on an empty stomach, don’t drink way past your limit, know who you’re drinking with, do it in a safe space and do it with the people that you trust and so on.

I am in no way encouraging alcoholism to them. I don’t really drink myself, but I feel that it is important to maybe ‘train’ them so that they don’t get cheated by bad people.

It’s a dangerous world out there, and with my daughters studying and working in another country, I fear for their safety every day. I am afraid that there will be people who would take advantage of them through drinking, and with the right education, I trust that my daughters wouldn’t do or make any bad decisions.

One of them loves to drink, especially hard liquor. She can hold her alcohol well, however, she only does it when I am there with her, or with her few friends that I know and trust. She is a grown woman now, so I trust her.

Do I think she is an alcoholic? No.

But if she cannot control herself and drinks every day, to a point where it affects her work, her relationships, and with other people in her life, then I would say that she is.

For more articles on self-help, read Here’s Why Not Wearing Makeup Made Me Feel Better, and 5 Life Mistakes I Made Without Realizing It.

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