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Alcoholism: Myths and Facts

Most of us believe things about alcoholism that aren’t really true. This keeps us from thinking clearly. It keeps us from seeing alcoholism in our families and friends, or at our jobs. It's important to cut through the alcoholism myths and learn the facts. Then we can see alcoholism—and do something about it.

Woman pours wine in large glass from wine bottle, another empty bottle lays on the table next to her.

Myth: But she’s not always drunk.

Fact: Most alcoholics are not always drunk. But it’s what happens when they do drink that matters.

Myth: But he has such a nice family.

Fact: An alcoholic can have a nice family. And most alcoholics can take care of their families for a long time.

Myth: But she doesn’t look like an alcoholic.

Fact: Alcoholics don't look a certain way. And many alcoholics take great care with how they look. They don't want other people to think they are alcoholics.

Myth: But he only drinks beer.

Fact: Alcohol is alcohol. A can of beer equals a shot of whiskey. Or a glass of wine.

Myth: He makes it to work every day. So he can't be an alcoholic.

Fact: Many alcoholics rarely miss work. They may be hung over. But they still show up.

Myth: But he comes from such a good background.

Fact: Alcoholism can happen to anyone. Family background, social position, and income don't matter.

Myth: But he has a good job.

Fact: Most alcoholics have jobs. And most are responsible people. Many are professionals and executives.

Myth: She’s too nice to be an alcoholic.

Fact: Many alcoholics are good people. There is no such thing as an alcoholic personality. But a person’s behavior can change after drinking.

Myth: But I never see her drink.

Fact: Alcoholics often keep their drinking habits secret. They often hide this from people at work.

Myth: Alcoholics are all bums.

Fact: Most alcoholics are ordinary, decent people.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.