Despite its straightforward nature, the question “Am I an alcoholic?” can be a tricky one to answer. Some people can drink socially or occasionally and have no trouble stopping when they feel so inclined. But many can’t.
Like a person with cancer, alcoholics have a disease. They didn’t ask for it. They certainly don’t want it. But for whatever reason, alcohol affects them differently. It seems to exercise control over them rather than the other way around. Some manage to function while under the influence and can fly beneath the radar for some time. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have a problem.
It doesn’t help that alcohol pervades our culture. The media celebrates alcohol as a party-starter, a rite of passage, an over-the-counter medicine, a fashionable accessory. Therefore, very little attention is paid to its downside. As a result, problem drinkers can hide in plain sight. After all, if everyone’s drinking, it’s harder to spot an alcoholic.
But the downside to drinking is enormous. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that excessive alcohol use costs the US economy nearly $250 billion per year. Plus, approximately 90,000 lives are lost every 12 months as a result of alcohol-related issues. This doesn’t begin to account for jobs lost, families broken, or dreams destroyed as a result of alcohol abuse.
Do You Need Help?
Simply by asking the question, “Am I an alcoholic?”, you’re addressing the problem on the most meaningful level—a personal one. Although the process of alcohol addiction recovery requires assistance, only the drinker can take that crucial first step, the one of admitting he or she has a problem.
But what constitutes a problem with alcohol? How does one define an alcoholic? While there are plenty of short-hand methods used to determine how much is too much to drink, the following questions address the patterns of behavior most associated with alcoholism.
- Does alcohol—thinking about it, drinking it, suffering from it—occupy a great deal of your time?
- Do you have intense cravings or urges to drink?
- Has your tolerance to alcohol increased significantly?
- Have you tried and failed to quit drinking or lessen your consumption?
- Have you suffered withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit?
- Do you drink despite having suffered negative social or professional consequences?
- Do you drink despite having suffered negative physical consequences?
- Do you often find yourself drinking more than you meant to or thought you would?
- Do you drink even though you need to drive or perform other dangerous functions?
- Do you choose drinking over other responsibilities (work, school, family)?
- Do you choose to drink over other activities (social, recreational)?
If you answered “yes” to more than two or three of these questions, you may have a serious issue with alcohol. Now is the time to seek help.
You’re Not Alone
At First Step Center of Arizona, we know that alcoholism isn’t a character flaw, nor does it display a lack of willpower. It’s a devastating disease, and full recovery requires professional assistance. If you’ve asked yourself, “Am I an alcoholic?” and you suspect the answer is yes, call us at 866.832.6398 right away. Your recovery starts now.