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Old 04-19-2013, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Am I an alcoholic?

Hi,

I am no stranger to the recovery process, I have witnessed and helped family members and friends go through it. I am wondering if I have a problem, the quizzes online seem dumb to me and I have been to AA meetings and my stories do not equal theirs, but I am having a hard time understanding the lines anymore as to what constitutes an alcoholic or not. I mean, I drink every day, and I have for years. I am 30 and I don't really binge or get hammered anymore like I did in my 20s but I have 2-4 drinks every night. In the social world it seems like this is normal. Most people I know have a couple at night and then a few more at a party or whatever. I am having health problems and it would be smart for me to not consume alcohol so much but I find myself climbing the walls if I don't. Maybe it's all in my head? I spend a lot of time alone, I always have, so drinking alone is pretty standard. I just wonder what are the rules what constitutes if you are an alcoholic or not? I mean wanting help is a sign, and realizing it isn't easy to avoid alcohol is a sign, but what sort of people can have a drink most days and they are ok? are there alcoholics out there who never hurt anyone or got arrested but they just survive with alcohol being a part of their lives?
I know the word functioning alcoholic but that seems to only mean hold down a job- and I know full blown alcoholics that start drinking at 11am who hold high positions, so that confuses me too.

just looking for clarification I guess and wondering if I have a problem.

thank you, this seems like a really great site.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am having health problems and it would be smart for me to not consume alcohol so much but I find myself climbing the walls if I don't. Maybe it's all in my head? I spend a lot of time alone, I always have, so drinking alone is pretty standard.
2 things, if you do have health problems and they relate to drinking and you won't quit drinking then you could be an alcoholic.

Quote:
I just wonder what are the rules what constitutes if you are an alcoholic or not? I mean wanting help is a sign, and realizing it isn't easy to avoid alcohol is a sign, but what sort of people can have a drink most days and they are ok? are there alcoholics out there who never hurt anyone or got arrested but they just survive with alcohol being a part of their lives?
I know the word functioning alcoholic but that seems to only mean hold down a job- and I know full blown alcoholics that start drinking at 11am who hold high positions, so that confuses me too.
There can be no definition for this as "alcoholism" is a personal thing. For example, a person who doesn't drink finds them self at a staff party. This person consumes 3 beers, drives into post and totals the car. The person is charged with whatever vehicle infractions and an impaired. Is this person an alcoholic? By the "standards" no.

You are young enough that being labeled an alcoholic doesn't make sense or seems too old fashion. The term alcoholic may need to be updated.

Some of the symptoms you describe could be considered withdrawal, but does that make you an alcoholic?

Quote:
just looking for clarification I guess and wondering if I have a problem.
There is a pretty good answer to this, if you think you have a problem, you have a problem. It is the severity and willingness to correct the problem that only you can decide, only you can decide if you are an "alcoholic" or not.

Take care.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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People who are not alcoholic never question if they are, they just know they are not. They don't come to sober forums. Only u know for sure.

It must be causing you some trouble if you are here. right?

Whatever the answer is, do u want to stop?
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Only you can say if you're an alcoholic or not. But if your drinking is causing you problems then give it up for a period, say, six months, and see how you do. If you can do that with no problems then you may not be alcoholic.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If the question has been raised please take a good look at that question. Only you will know the answer to being an Alcoholic or not. Even if you are not, if Alcohol is causing you to be concerned maybe go awhile without it. Give yourself some time away to think and reflect. See what comes up.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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To me alcoholism isn't necessarily how much you drink or how often it's how it affects and consumes you. My last few months of drinking was probably the least amount I drank in years but it consumed my thoughts to the point of anxiety. I could have managed this for a bit longer but the writing was on the wall. Drinking is progressive. If your drinking is getting worse there's a slim chance it'll get better. But give it a shot for a few months but be honest with yourself. If you can't shake the thought then I would bail before the real hell begins.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Alcoholism is an adiction. You either adicted or not. If you have control over how much or if any you are going to consume then you are not an alcoholic. If booze has total control, you are an addict and in this case an alcoholic. Give you an example - person I know who makes wine, drinks it every day but stops for a week when he has to do a night shift. This person has control. A person who driks every day hopiing to quit, sais today is the day only to wake up the next morning with a hangover realizing that they automatically got drunk the night before or realized that the excuses they made to drink the night before were totally idiotic. Hope this answers your question.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes. PM me if you need more than one word answers. In the brief part you described about your drinking, you described me. I bet I can finish your story.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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are there alcoholics out there who never hurt anyone or got arrested but they just survive with alcohol being a part of their lives?
Yeah, me. Alcohol was just a part of my life and I survived like that for a long time. I was worried just because of the sheer amount I drank but, apart from acting out of control when I was younger, I pretty much managed my daily drinking without any serious consequences. Until I started getting loads of health problems and panic attacks.

Despite my seeming control over my problem, (I was even able to cut it down for a few days if really needed) I was still definitely without a doubt addicted to alcohol. Well the withdrawal symptoms were a bit of a give away, but before I had them even I couldn't ever stop drinking, not even for a day.

If you are having health problems and your climbing the walls without it then you might want to seriously look into recovery. Even if your drinking never gets out of control it will still only get worse from now if you carry on drinking. No one should have to drink. Knowing now how dependant I really was I wish I had given up sooner so I didn't have to live my life under alcohol's shadow.

Glad you're here x
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Welcome squiggly!

I agree with hypochondriac. Though the amounts you mention don't sound troubling, it's what may lie ahead that's a problem. I once drank the same way, but over time I ended up with health issues. I also - slowly - began to increase my intake (alcoholism is a progressive disease). Not saying that would happen to you, but you're wise to be taking a cold, hard look at what drinking is doing to you.

Happy to have you here - hope it helps to be able to talk it out.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi sqigglyline - welcome

Some great advice here already so I'll cut right to the chase

Quote:
I am having health problems and it would be smart for me to not consume alcohol so much but I find myself climbing the walls if I don't.
Continuing to drink when you know it may be causing, or exacerbating, health problems...and climbing the walls when you don't drink, are both pretty sturdy red flags.

I think you're right to be questioning whats going on.

D
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you have attended AA meetings your drinking must be causing you concern.

It would be a good idea to go to some more and listen for the similarities and not the differences.

Welcome to SR.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Try NOT drinking for 6 months. If it is easy to do, no problem. If it is difficult, there might be a problem.
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Old 04-20-2013, 04:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Not all problem drinkers are alcoholics. Though some may need a little help and support to quit, most can do it if they have a good enough reason. In your case, ill health is a good reason. For you drinking = ill health, for me drinking means disaster in every area of my life.

The AA program identifies this type as a hard drinker. This was the type of drinker I always wanted to be. Drinking regularly but without the attendant problems of alcoholism. But lately I've noticed that even this type of drinker pays a heavy price eventually, they die early. All of my contemporary hard drinkers have died.

So alcoholic or not, when your health is threatened it is a good idea to knock it off. Sugarbear has a great idea. Quit for an extended period and see how you feel. You may need a little help to get started, but if after 6 months or a year your health is restored, all booze related problems have gone, and you are happy in your own skin, you will have solved the problem.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I listened to a lecture by an alcoholism specialist from Dawn Farm in Michigan recently. The lecture is available as a podcast on iTunes if you are interested. He described the characteristics of an alcoholic and explained that alcoholics can go weeks or months without drinking, so abstaining for a period of time may not answer your question. He said that the best test for alcoholism is to buy a good supply of your favorite drink and then have one and only one drink at the same time each evening for one month. Apparently, no alcoholic can pass that test.

I have questioned from time to time whether I'm an alcoholic, as my drinking patterns are not unlike yours, and I've never gotten into any significant trouble from drinking. For now, I don't care if I'm an alcoholic. I know I'm better off not drinking at all, so that is what I've chosen to do.
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