Am I an Alcoholic?
The terms 'alcoholism' refers to the disease of chronic addiction to alcohol. It is a disease that, if left untreated, almost inevitably ruins a person's life, both through the damage the alcohol does to the addicted person's health and due to the broader effects on the alcoholic person's job, family, social life, etc.
For obvious reasons, most persons shy away from applying the label 'alcoholic' to themselves.
Even persons who regularly drink obsessively will say, "I know I drink a lot, but I'm not an alcoholic". For this reason it is helpful to have a list of objective indicators that can help identify whether someone is slipping into full-blown alcoholism.
Ask them these nine questions:
1. Do you find yourself drinking alone regularly?
2. Do you find yourself making excuses in order to pour yourself another drink?
3. Do you sense an inability to stop drinking?
4. Is it difficult to reduce your amount of alcohol intake?
5. Is there a history of alcoholism in the family?
6. How do you respond if someone confronts you about your drinking? Do you get violent?
7. Has your diet suffered since drinking regularly?
8. Are you having trouble maintaining your physical appearance?
9. Are you tempted to take a drink to the workplace with you, or have one while driving?
Of course there is really only one question that defines alcoholism: 'are you able to stop drinking?', but most heavy drinkers who progress into alcoholism do so while maintaining, "I can stop drinking any time I like!" For this reason it is helpful to have the nine questions. If they answer is 'yes' to most of them, that would suggeset that the person in question cannot stop drinking any time they want, despite their protestations to the contrary!
Of course, for a person to recognise that they are an alcohlic can be very confronting, to say the least. Such a recognition can easily lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. For this reason, once a person admits that they have the disease, they need to be affirmed that they have made the biggest and hardest step towards recovery, simply through this admission.
If the person joins an Alcoholics Anonymous group, they will find that every member of the group will begin their time of sharing by giving their name, followed by their confession, "I am an alcoholic". Ask any AA member. Owning the label is the first step to recovery!
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