Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to impair him physically and mentally. ~ Big Book, pg. 20
As I said yesterday, alcoholism has 4 distinct levels or phases. This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is also very patient. I know of many older members of AA who never had “problems” with their drinking until they retired or lost their spouse to death or divorce. Major life events and major loss can trigger this disease or make it worse. When someone has too much time on their hands or no longer has others in life to impress or maintain relations with, the moderate drinking can become hard drinking. The question as to how much or how often one drinks does not really differentiate between moderate and hard drinking. It is how the alcohol affects the drinker. A hard drinker (in my mind) starts having physical and mental symptoms as a result of their drinking. They drink to allay those symptoms. Their bodies are beginning to demand consumption in order to feel better or more normal.
Just like the moderate drinker, hard drinkers are welcome in AA. We are not going to make you qualify based on levels of consumption. You belong in AA if you say you are an alcoholic and want to be here. Each body has different reactions to alcohol. While some of us have a tendency to grow cancer cells, others may suffer from cardio-vascular problems. Still others may have gout, digestive problems, liver disorders, skin outbreaks, or mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. Hard drinkers find themselves in trouble with the law and may have domestic &/or financial problems to resolve. No matter how far down we have gone, we can all recover from this harsh disease. We can be restored to sanity. All we have to do is change one little thing: ourselves!