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An alcoholic is an addict. A person who cannot survive without the hang of alcohol. This addiction isn't different from other addictions. If you cannot stop doing something, not even for a day you are an addict.
An addict can not be cured. The urge for alcohol will always exist and even if the drunk gave up on drinking the risk is always there he (or she) starts drinking again. Just one sip is enough and so is the smallest disappointment or issue this person has to deal with.
You can only give up on the bottle if you have self-esteem, are strong, a fighter but this is exactly what an addict is not. Addicts are not fighters they easily give up and are not those people who face their problems but rather hide. They hide behind all kinds of excuses. Excuses family and friends might believe at first and make them "forgive" the addict. Forgiveness is not the way. Forgiveness doesn't help an addict, he won't face the truth, reality but will keep blaming others for his misery and only drink more. Those few beers at night are no longer enough to forget and more is needed. More alcohol, a higher percentage and the hour before bedtime changes in hours till the moment arrives it's alcohol only.
Alcoholism is not something one is born with but the environment can influence this behavior. If an alcoholic never learned how to deal with issues and sees alcohol is the solution (tv, movies, friends) it's easier to give it a try as when alcohol is forbidden or people learn (this starts at a young age) how to face the negative aspects of life. The challenges are given we all need to deal with but not make an alcoholic out of each one of us. An alcoholic might need help but help can only be given if this addict wants it, really wants it. The begging, crying after they beat up their family, house, vandalized town center is not asking for help. It's manipulating the victims, trying to make them believe everything will change. In reality, nothing will. It will only get worse because the alcoholic got away with it. Away with his manipulative and violent behavior, the lies, the cheating again. He did it, makes others solve his problems, and cover up the mess he made. He turned those who are most near to him (or her) into accomplices. From that moment on those who tried to "help" him are made responsible for every step, every lie, every beaten up. They are responsible for the bad mood, the misfortune, and the alcoholic will make them pay for it. What the alcoholic needed most is found. His own victim, the one he can punish for every issue in his life.
Is alcoholism typically for those who live in poverty?
No, it's not. Alcoholism you find in every layer of the society. The paycheck has nothing to do with the higher risk of getting a drunk. For a higher educated person or a wealthy one, it can be easier to hide alcoholism or find excuses for "toasting" early in the morning.
If an addict needs support it is better to give this help out of hands to professionals. Broken trust will not easily heal. Watching an addict 24/7 is not only a hard task for family but they take the risk it is not appreciated. This means the violence and problems increase (financial ones included) and there's no room left to build on the relationship, focus on something positive.