Are You Alcoholic?
We've all seen "Are You an Alcoholic" quizzes. They're the ones with questions like: Have you ever drank to get drunk? Have you ever had a hangover? Have you ever chosen to leave work early to have a drink? Anyone who drinks at all, even minimally, flunks these kinds of tests.
And yet, there is a way to look at your drinking behavior and determine if you've crossed over the line. It has to do with mindset, and with asking the right questions.
First, it's important to realize alcoholism is a brain chemistry disorder. It has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of character, moral fallings, or poor willpower. People with alcoholism aren't weak, irresponsible, or immature. Instead, they simply suffer from biochemical circumstances that prevent them from drinking competently. They simply lack the natural ability to stop. Where people without a problem routinely and easily limit their frequency and quantity, alcoholics struggle. Where non-alcoholics feel satisfied after a drink or two and only occasionally, those who do have a problem always experience a desire for more. Where social drinkers easily learn and successfully adapt (often through trial and error) to avoid the various unfortunate consequences of drinking, alcoholics' don't learn those lessons because the urge to drink overpowers their more conscious and mindful desire to handle drinking adequately. And all this happens simply because of how their brains function.
Determining if you're alcoholic involves honestly identifying the red flags of problem-drinking. The appearance of each indicates a meaningful potential issue. If enough red flags appear in your life, you've crossed the line from non-alcoholic (and not at risk for alcoholism) to active addiction. Plain and simple.
Ask yourself these questions::
1. Do you often worry about your personal drinking habits and patterns?
2. Have friends and loved ones expressed - either directly or indirectly - reasonable concern about your alcohol use?
3. Have you experienced loss or harm to your education, work-life, or significant personal relationships because of drinking?
4. Have you experienced multiple legal, professional, or health-related problems that arose because of drinking?
5. Is anyone that shares your genetic history - such as a parent, sibling, grandparent, birthchild, aunt, or uncle an active or recovering alcoholic?
6. Do you struggle to find a sense of peace, joy, and happiness without alcohol?
7. Are you genuinely intimidated by the idea of living the rest of your life without alcohol?
8. Do you routinely feel sick and struggle with significant hangover symptoms (headache, inability to concentrate, tremor in your hands, etc.) after you drink?
9. Have you had more than one episode where you have no memory of what you did when you were drinking, or numerous episodes where your memories are vague and incomplete?
10. Does the effect you seek when you drink require greater quantities of alcohol over time?
Answering these questions honestly and courageously, you may discover you have the warning signs for alcoholism. If they're present in your life, then it's time to take the next step, and seek out the help of a medical or chemical dependency professional.