At one point in time I truly believed that everyone has the potential to do whatever they want. That even an alcoholic could go to a bar or a club and drink and have the potential to limit their drinking. After thinking about it, I concluded that an alcoholic is always an alcoholic. They will never change that, because an alcoholic will always have that genetic pre-disposition or that learned behavior that will always influence their drinking abilities.
He can't get away from the problem, it will always be there. An alcoholic can go out to clubs and bars and drink water, soda, or those drinks that smell and taste just like alcohol drinks, but he can't even take a sip of beer, or a mixed drink because his brain will suddenly fire up and crave more of the alcohol.
Alcoholics Anonymous tells people that once they find out that they are alcoholic they will also be alcoholics. It is a lifelong disease. An alcoholic can't just wake up one morning and say "I'm cured, I no longer am an alcoholic." It is a disease that they will have to live with all of their lives. The best thing an alcoholic can do is change his or her patterns and stop hanging out at the places he used to drink. That way temptation is kept at bay.
An alcoholic must learn how to live without drinking so that he can live a normal life, free of the bad stuff. An alcoholic has to go through counseling and may have to have another reformed alcoholic follow him for awhile to make certain the he doesn't hit the proverbial bottle again. He has to go through intense therapy to learn how to change his life and the patterns of his daily existence to do things differently. You may have a person that every day after work for years was going to a local bar and getting drunk. Through therapy he learns to go home and eat a healthy dinner, talk to his family, and go for a walk with his wife and play with the kids.
The alcoholic might just have too much stress in his life and he has to learn how to deal with that stress rather than tipping back a few. Therapy can help an alcoholic deal with those problems and he can learn how to thrive in ordinary society.
So, no an alcoholic can't drink alcohol in a social setting because he will be too tempted to keep up with everyone else and get drunk. He will get that one taste of alcohol and want more because his brain is wired to be an alcoholic. An alcoholic is always an alcoholic, and with therapy he learns to not drink and to deal with stress and life in other ways than drinking. Copyright 2012, (c).