Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed drinking alcohol, but lately, it seems to be more about escaping from stress, alone, than sipping vodka tonics with friends on a Friday night. If you think that you may be addicted to alcohol, or that it is assuming a larger presence in your life than you’d like, why not use this quick reference guide to determine if your casual drinking has become a problem?
8 questions to answer to determine if you have a drinking problem:
1. Do you have some risk factors for developing a drinking problem?
Let’s review some of the risk factors associated with problem drinking:
- Family history of alcohol addiction
- Lots of friends who drink excessively
- Emotional health issues
- Being American Indian or Native Alaskan
- The presence of depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health disorders
If you have one or more of these risk factors, you should be aware that you have a higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol than those who do not.
2. Has your drinking been affecting your life in negative ways?
Have you canceled plans with friends because you are hungover, or perhaps because you wanted to drink alone? Have you skipped work or other obligations because you were feeling unwell as a result of drinking? You may have driven a car while being intoxicated, or have opened your eyes as the morning sun streams in through your bedroom window to see that you have burned a hole in your carpet with a cigarette?
The unfortunate truth is that problematic drinking inevitably causes problems in your life, and if you are acting in reckless ways because of drinking alcohol, it is likely that you have an addiction to alcohol.
3. Did I finish that bottle of wine already?
Alcoholics and others who have problems around drinking tend to, over time, require more alcohol to bring the same result of temporary euphoria, the same lessening of natural inhibitions.
Have you slowly but steadily been drinking more and more? If so, you should consider this as a sign that your drinking is becoming problematic.
4. I cannot believe that I …
Your cousin threw your sister a birthday party, and you had a good time! But then you talk to your sister, the morning after, and she asks if you are OK and mentions that you seemed to be very combative when speaking to your cousin. A familiar sense of guilt and dread flows through your veins as you chastise yourself for drinking too much at the party.
If you feel guilty or ashamed about drinking, it may be because you are drinking too much, and acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable. It is common for alcoholics or people who drink in a problematic way to experience these feelings.
5. What happens when you stop drinking?
If you stop drinking for a while, do you experience withdrawal symptoms, like depression, physical shaking, sweating, nausea, fatigue, irritability, and headaches? If so, your body is telling you that it craves more alcohol; that it is responding to your break from drinking by making you feel temporarily miserable.
6. What? I told Mark that I love him?
Do you sometimes blackout after drinking, completely forgetting parts of the evening, only to be told by your friends what went on? If so, you are drinking an unhealthy amount of alcohol.
7. Gee, maybe you shouldn’t drink so much
If your friends or family members have told you that you drink too much, or that perhaps that you seem angry when you drink alcohol, or that they’d rather not drink with you anymore, you should take heed, and thank them for being concerned about your health.
8. I had two or three drinks.
Really? Try to be honest with yourself about how much you drink. If you find that you tell your friends that you drank less than you actually did, you may be trying to avoid a discussion about your drinking problem.
9. I’ll stop by for a quick one.
Do you plan to join friends for a quick drink and then end up pouring yourself into a taxi four hours later? If this sounds familiar, you should know that if you were addicted to alcohol, you would find it extremely difficult to stick to well-laid plans.
10. Do all of your hobbies involve alcohol?
Do you golf, and then drink at the club? Or play darts while nursing craft beer all night? Or go clubbing, but only when drinking? Or invite your friends over to watch The Walking Dead and drink tequila?
If your drinking is not problematic, you would probably have hobbies and interests that do not involve alcohol – do you?
If reading through this list of questions has made you realize that you likely do have a problem with alcohol, be kind to yourself. Addiction to alcohol is a complex condition and it is only through alcohol addiction treatment that you will begin to understand how your addiction developed and how you can live a healthy, full life of passion without drinking alcohol.
If you are curious to learn more about your drinking habits, and how they might indicate a health problem, it is the age of the Internet, and you can take an online quiz: Rehabs.com offers this assessment tool.
One more thing
As you are reading this article and thinking about whether you have a drinking problem, you should know that you are not alone. Many human beings develop an addiction to alcohol, reach out for help and then begin the process of healing. You can too, call us today at 866-349-1770.