Am I an Alcoholic?
Have you ever wondered if you might have a problem with alcohol? Now’s the perfect time to take a moment to evaluate your scene and see if you’re on the right track. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably not a fall-over drunk, but alcohol has a nasty way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. The classic image of the hobo who is perpetually drinking rotgut or “battery acid” out of a bottle in a paper bag just to get high isn’t the only definition of an alcoholic. And, if you think about it, those people usually don’t start out binge drinking anything they can get their hands on.
No, it starts mildly.
There are warning signs.
If you’ve been concerned that you might be on the path to becoming an alcoholic, don’t discount that instinct. I applaud you for taking a good hard look at it. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to properly evaluate the scene:
Do you ever crave a drink?
Now, this can come in many forms. The point is, do you need a drink or do you just want a drink, but can take it or leave it? If you find yourself thinking about your next beer ahead of time, or make plans around having a couple of cocktails, that’s a sign that you have a dependency.
Another version of this question might be, “Are you disappointed when you aren’t able to drink?” If you can’t imagine “having a good time” without a drink in your hand, this is a sign that you may have an addiction.
Do you hide your drinking?
If you find yourself hiding alcohol from loved ones and tend to feel guilty about drinking, that’s not good. Even if it’s a beer or two. Why drink alone, in secrecy? That indicates that you feel guilty and know what you’re doing isn’t right. If you feel drinking is wrong (even if it is deep down), why do it unless you are becoming addicted? Even if you just consume one or two drinks a day, but feel the need to hide this, you should stop.
Some people get so determined to hide their drinking from their loved ones that they lie about it. It starts with one lie and builds over time. Lying builds a wall which can be very hard to break down. And if caught, your loved ones are less likely to trust you in the future.
Do you break promises about your drinking?
Have you ever told yourself that you’ll take a week off of alcohol, but then find yourself breaking that promise? Or maybe you promised a loved one that you would stop drinking quite so much, but then justified why you hadn’t let up? Sure, there are countless reasons that will seem plausible, but the bottom line is that you weren’t able to do it. The cold hard fact is that if you’re breaking these promises, you aren’t in control of that area of your life.
Has your drinking increased over time?
If you find that over time, your drinking keeps increasing, it’s time to examine this carefully and cut back. It can easily snowball out of control, at any moment. Let’s say you start by drinking a couple of beers or glasses of wine only when you go out to eat. Well, that can seem harmless enough, but the question is: does it escalate over time? If you start stocking six packs in your refrigerator, that’s an increase. Then, if you notice you need to replenish the beer and wine regularly, you need to realize that you’re drinking more now than you were before. This is a bad trend.
Is drinking a priority in your life?
If you find that you prioritize drinking, making sure that you can fit it into your daily schedule, that’s a problem. Drinking shouldn’t be an important event that your life revolves around. Those should be reserved for life-affirming activities like improving your job skills, taking up a new hobby, and spending more time building memories with your family.
Take a moment to really ask yourself these questions. No one is judging you, but you can shift things around a bit. If you see yourself heading in an undesirable direction, do something about it. Stop buying alcohol to keep in your house. Be open about your drinking with your loved one. Set limits and keep them. If there is a regularity to your drinking, a pattern, it’s time to break that habit before it becomes a problem that spins out of control.