A blackout is defined as a chemically induced period of memory loss. It is not to be confused with “passing out” or drinking to the point of losing consciousness. An alcoholic, on the contrary, during a blackout, most often goes on functioning as if he was aware of what is going on around him. Actually, he remembers none of it ever again. When the alcoholic does not fulfill his commitments done during blackout, other people are hurt. The result is enormous confusion. Blackouts are viewed as a clear signal that something is seriously wrong.

Many alcoholics have been surprised to see what they have done, both routine and bizarre, with no recollection of having done them. Many have awakened in the morning to discover they have put their children, pets or property in harm’s way.