The vast majority of drinkers seem to be able to handle alcohol in moderation with no problem. There are folks who manage to have a drink or two with dinner, enjoy the social lubricating and relaxing effects of alcohol, and always seem to know when "enough is enough." But there are others among us who know that even one drink will put them on the brink of complete relapse and quickly have them battling to survive a whirlwind of persistent health problems, ruined relationships and shattered careers.
But what if you don't fit either of those profiles? You're neither yin nor yang—or so you believe. You drink a little now and then (maybe if you're honest with yourself, it's actually more "now" and "then"), but you rationalize to yourself that you always hold your liquor, never get drunk and function quite well with a drink in your hand. Is it really possible that you're an alcoholic and you don't even know it?
One way to find out is ask to yourself the following ten quick yes-or-no questions:
10. Has anyone ever mentioned your drinking to you?
9. On the way home from work do you wonder if you have enough alcohol at your place to get you through the evening or the weekend?
8. Do you alternate between wine, beer, and liquor because it feels like you actually drink less of anything?
7. Do you keep a bottle in your desk drawer at work? Hidden in a closet at home?
6. Can you drink more than most of your friends without even feeling a buzz?
5. Do you finish off any bottle you open? Polish off the entire six-pack "while it's still cold"?
4. Have you ever had any legal problems associated with your drinking? DUIs? Fights?
3. Have you ever not remembered something you've done or said while you were drinking?
2. If someone else asks you why you're drinking, do you always have a good answer? "It's happy hour." "I need to wind down." "I'm just keeping up with everyone else." "What are parties for?"
1. Do you drink alone?
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here—just honest ones.
We can all make easy excuses for any of our personal habits, including the "alcohol habit." We might think we know exactly where the line is between social drinking and a genuine addiction to alcohol. But it's that grey area where we just need a couple of beers at lunch to get through the rest of the workday that should alert us to how close we might be to the easy spiral of alcohol dependence. If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you could be walking the fence between the worlds of a casual drinker and a full-blown alcoholic.
The problem with alcohol is that it can be insidious. It makes us feel good...until we need it to feel good and without it we feel rotten. Take one more minute and ask yourself: were you honest with your answers to the questions above? Are you honest with what you truly want out of life? You deserve a life of great health, a rewarding career, and positive personal relationships. That's the life you can only have when you're honest with yourself.
A drinking problem is not "the problem." The real problem is failing to admit the problem when the truth comes to light.