Funny thing about alcoholism. It is called a disease, yet you can’t get it if you don’t pick up a drink. On the other hand, you can get lung cancer whether you smoked cigarettes or not. And there’s nothing special that you have to do to get brain cancer. But just try getting the disease of alcoholism without ever having picked up a drink. Alcoholism is a huge problem in America even if its status as a disease is shaky at best. Because alcohol is an acceptable drug, it can often be difficult to determine when you or someone else has a problem. One way to determine if you are an alcoholic or at least someone with a severe alcohol problem is to check your behavior against these 10 hardcore signs of a drinking problem. If you suspect someone else has a drinking problem, try to get the most honest answers you can about or from that person.
10. Do you consume alcohol at home more than half the days of any given week?
This one is tricky because alcohol is such a natural part of the social scene in America. Don’t include whether you imbibe while nightclubbing; this is just about drinking at home. Did you have a six pack on Sunday, drink a bottle of wine on Tuesday, grab a quick scotch on Thursday and celebrate your team’s victory on Saturday with another six pack? If so, you probably have a drinking problem. But not necessarily. More than likely, though.
9. How many drinks do you have during an average week?
Disregarding the holidays and the week of the World Series, do you have more than 14 drinks in an average week? That’s for the guys. Halve that for women and if you can answer yes, you’ve got a drinking problem. Almost certainly. Almost certainly you are already or headed toward being an alcoholic.
8. Do you withdraw from activities with friends and family to find time to drink?
Look back over the past six months. How many times have you deferred from going out with friends or showing up at the family dinner on Sunday night so you could do something where you could get a drink? Doesn’t matter if you were drinking at home, at a party or at a nightclub. If you find that you are skipping social activities more and more to find time to drink, you definitely are in the grip of a drinking problem. Alcoholism, here you come!
7. Do you seriously think that maybe you’d be better off if you cut down on your drinking?
Your head is trying to tell your body something if this is the case. Deep inside the cranium exists a little voice that knows you are on the wrong track. If you honestly believe that you are drinking even just a little bit more than is healthy, you are almost certainly right. And almost certainly on the verge of alcoholism.
6. Do you lie about your drinking?
Many ways exist to lie about drinking alcohol. You don’t necessarily have to flat out lie by saying you haven’t been drinking or you aren’t planning to drink. You may float out a little lie about how many drinks you’ve had. Or you may substitute beer for the harder stuff. Any and all lies that you call upon to cover up your drinking problem is further evidence that you definitely do have a drinking problem. Or you may prefer vodka so you can more easily disguise the fact that you have been drinking.
5. Do you get ticked off when you are criticized about your drinking?
How many times has this scenario occurred during the last year? Someone finally works up the nerve to suggest that you are perhaps drinking too much liquor. Your response is to point out the excesses of your critic: they eat too much, they smoke too much, they drive too fast, they spend too much time away from their family. All of these things may be true, but they’ve got jack to do with whether you have a problem or not. Except, of course, for the fact that your defensive behavior will only further underline for your critic that you are headed down the wrong path, partner.
4. Do you make up excuses to drink?
Last week you had four good excuses for drinking: you had the day from hell at work, you felt all stressed out about domestic problems, you had to work up the nerve to ask your parents if you could borrow some money and you needed that six pack to cool down after working out in the yard on a hot day. Great excuses, right? Only problem is that you can always find an excuse of taking a drink. Your boss gave you too much work that day or traffic was full of idiots coming home or the kids got on your nerves or your husband didn’t write out the bills like you told him to do or — whatever. When you’ve got a drinking problem, you can always find a good excuse.
3. Are you spending at least 25% more on alcohol now than you did two years ago?
The closer you get to becoming an alcoholic, the more likely you are to spend more and more money to soothe your soul. If you find that you’ve got less money for goodies than you used to have, conduct an audit to discover just how much money you spend on liquor each month. The result may just shock you into action.
2. Are you missing more days of work, school or recreation than you used to?
It’s hard to drink all night and be prepared to go to work or school in the morning. If you notice that you are missing more days of work or school than you used to, you’ve got a drinking problem. If you skip out on exercising or adventure activities because your head just can’t take the stress — you are an alcoholic almost certainly.
1. Have you lost time while drinking to the point where you can’t remember anything you did over the course of several hours more than a few times?
Anyone is capable of drinking to such excess that they lose memory of a few hours when they overindulged. If this reality is something you can recall happening more than half a dozen times you are, undoubtedly, someone with a very serious drinking problem.