Are you an alcoholic?
Most people who are developing a problem with alcohol can explain away early symptoms. For example, if your parents have voiced their concern, you may write them off as being prudes or overly protective. Is your father a drinker? Your answer might be, “Yes, but that has nothing to do with me.” If your first drink of the day is something you look forward to, you might say, “Who wouldn’t?” When questions about blackouts arise, these are harder to explain away with rationalizations.
To evaluate your potential for alcohol abuse, take the following test.
- Has a family member or anyone else spoken to you with concerns about your drinking?
- Do you have any blood relatives with drinking problems?
- Do you avoid family members or others while drinking?
- Do you feel anxious at times when you can’t get any alcohol?
- Do you look forward to the first drink of the day?
- Do you require more alcohol to get a feeling of relief than you did when you first started drinking?
- Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started drinking?
- When you’re with a group, do you try to sneak a few extra drinks that no one will notice?
- Do you sometimes forget resolutions you made about quitting or controlling your drinking when alcohol is at hand?
- Do you come up with different plans to control your drinking, such as changing brands or limiting drinks to certain hours?
- Have you ever received a DUI for drinking while driving or had any other legal problems related to alcohol use?
- Have you had any personal, employment, or financial problems associated with your alcohol use?
- Do you drink more when faced with disappointments or pressure than you used to?
- When you’re sober, do you sometimes wish you hadn’t done or said certain things when drinking the night before?
- Do you sometimes regret things you said or did while you were drinking that others remind you of, but you don’t even remember?
- Have you been having more memory problems than you used to?
- Do you eat very little or not at all when you’re drinking?
- Do you feel nervous or depressed before and after bouts of heavy drinking?
If you answer “yes” to five or more of these questions, these are warning signals. A “yes” to seven or more suggests a drinking problem. A “yes” to nine or more is an indicator of alcoholism. In that case, you ought to try some AA meetings. At least read some of their literature (see “EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,” Amazon.com).