Alcoholism

How to tell if you are an Alcoholic or Drug Addict

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The question sounds like a real no-brainer. Am I an alcoholic? Yet it is deceptively difficult to know for sure when you are first teetering on the brink of the disease.

For most of the world, it is painfully obvious to us when someone is a drug addict or an alcoholic. We all know the classic signs and symptoms, and we (unfortunately) get to shamelessly follow along as different celebrities deal with the disease of addiction. If you are anything like I was, then you initially chalked up the phenomenon of addiction and alcoholism to weak-willed individuals who are either lazy or stupid. What a slap in the face it was when I finally had to face my own demons and admit that I had a problem.

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But addiction can creep up on anyone. Many people go their whole lives with no sign of it, and they are able to drink “normally,” and then suddenly develop alcoholism after they retire. In addition to the “late blooming alcoholics” out there, virtually anyone and everyone is open to the possible danger of opiate addiction through a simple slip-and-fall accident. There are also people who have developed wicked insomnia, and have quickly become addicted to sleeping medication. In short, no one is immune to the potential for addiction, so a bit of direction in the art of self diagnosis might be helpful to some people out there.

Keep in mind that self-diagnosis is the only way. No one can tell you if you are an addict or not. There have been plenty of college students, for example, who drank and used drugs very heavily for a period of their lives, and were able to successfully return to a normal life of moderation and social drinking. They are not “true” alcoholics and addicts. Others might have told them that they were addicts, but clearly they were not. Therefore, you will have to diagnosis yourself.

Diagnosis via The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a suggestion for those who are questioning themselves at this point: go try some controlled drinking. Set limits on your intake and stick to them no matter what. Have a 3 drink maximum for yourself. If you happen to use other substances, then set similar limits for those (relatively low amounts). Then, see how you feel when you are actively trying to control your intake. Notice if there is any hint of resentment at having to control and limit your using. Watch yourself and have an awareness about how content you are. If you are an alcoholic or a drug addict, chances are that you will be restless and irritable when trying to limit and control your using. If you are out at the bar with friends, or having drinks over dinner, then you will be more worried about how much you are drinking and not able to enjoy yourself. If this is the case, then what is that really telling you?

“Normal” people (those who are NOT alcoholic) do not obsess over drinking in any way, nor do they become irritated if you make them limit their intake. “Normal” people are perfectly fine with a single glass of wine at dinner, or having no alcohol at all. Notice that any alcoholic can actually control and limit their drinking, but not for any considerable length of time. That is why the disease is so cunning. An alcoholic can fool themselves into thinking that they can control it, simply because they manage to drink moderately and responsibly in the short run. But the true alcoholic or addict who continues to attempt moderation will always return to their full blown level of use at some point. So give it some time. If you are gritting your teeth while trying to limit your use, and you eventually go off the deep end and drink or use very heavily when you hadn’t planned on it, then you are probably addicted.

There is another saying that can help shed some light here. “I didn’t get into trouble every time I drank, but every time I got into trouble, I had been drinking.” In other words, don’t fool yourself just because you don’t land in jail every time you get drunk. Again, this goes back to the idea of control. Almost any alcoholic can control their consumption in the short run. Sooner or later–for real alcoholics–it always catches up with them.

You’re reading this, aren’t you?

The simple fact that you’ve landed on this website and you’re reading this article is already tipping the balance towards an alcoholic diagnosis. Meaning that if you have to ask, chances are good that you are an alcoholic. “Normal” people don’t wonder if they are addicted. “Normal” people don’t question whether or not they might be an alcoholic. Simply questioning yourself is a strong indication that you might be addicted.

Problem drinker versus Alcoholic

There is a revealing saying in AA: “If you give someone booze and they have a problem, that’s a problem drinker. On the other hand, an alcoholic has a problem when you take the booze away.” In other words, true alcoholics have a problem with living sober. Without a program of recovery, they will tend to be “restless, irritable, and discontent.”

So ask yourself: do you tend to have problems when you drink or use drugs, or do you have a paralyzing fear when you imagine your life without any chemicals? If you’re leaning towards the second answer more than the first, then chances are good that you’re an addict.

If you’ve decided that you are addicted, please explore this website further, or contact me directly through email and I will respond within 24 hours.

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  • Brian McArthur

    I would like to talk to you about my drining problem.

  • Patrick

    Hi there Brian

    Feel free to visit the “contact” page and email me at any time. I will do whatever I can to help you.

  • Sue

    I Know I am an alcoholic , I dont drink everyday nor am I homeless , or broke , I have a good job ,a nice car a nice home and I pay my bills every month but every other day almost , I get shit faced till I pass out and my life is virtually run by what other activities will interfere with my drinking besides my job. I want to live a fullfilling life but I am drowning in a bottle that is 20 yrs old and I feel trapped . I Cannot go to rehab because there is people that depend on my income. please help me . If I dont quit soon I know I will die , I Need sleeping pills to sleep and pills to stay awake during the day and my life is out of control , do not suggest and AA meeting as I have been there and it works until I have the urge to drink which is usually within a day or 2 . Any advice would help

  • Patrick

    Hi Sue

    You say that you cannot go to rehab, and you also say not suggest AA meetings because you have done them before. That cuts out quite a large portion of potential support!

    There are two possibilities here. One is that you need other people to help you get clean and sober. The second possibility is that you can do it yourself.

    I wanted to believe that I could do it myself. The truth was that I needed other people to help me. If this turns out to be the case for you, then you are going to have to reach out for help in some way.

    There are probably alternatives out there to rehab and support groups, but I’m not familiar with them. I wish I had a magic bullet that could help you to get clean and sober without having to ask for help….but I don’t know of one.

    One more thing to consider: if people depend on your income, what will happen if your life spins even further out of control? Can that income be sustained if something really bad happens to you?

    I wish the best for you Sue and I hope you can find a way to get back into recovery. God bless.

  • Kat

    How do I know? How, can I tell exactly? I drink, when I go out, or socially with friends. I don’t feel as though I have a problem. However, when I’m with friends I can polish off an entire fith of vodka, in less than a half hour, and I’m left still wanting more. At bars, I run my tab, until my debit/credit cards are maxed out. There have been occasional times that I’ve drank alone, in my room. Infact now, after writing this, I’m craving a jack & coke. I’m only 22 years old. Do I honestly have a problem??

  • Brenda

    I was engaged to a wonderful man and was going to leave Ohio and move to be with him in Tennessee. I was going to be giving up my job, leave my children, the youngest just starting college. Well, he drinks very much. He gets angry over the meaningless things when he is drinking. He says things that hurts my feelings when he is drinking. He says he is not an alcoholic, but an alcohol abuser.
    We had a fight over the weekend and before we called it quits we decided to really think about things. Well, he gave me a list of things I had to do or change in order for him to be able to have a relationship with me. These things included leaving my job, changing schools (i’m in college at the age of 47), leaving my mom, sisters, brother, and children. I told him I would consider it. I told him that I needed him to quit drinking. I said that I am the one who gets my feelings hurt when he drinks and he doesn’t remember saying things. Well, he told me that one day when he quits drinking, he will call me. I say this man is an alcoholic. He says no. He says he can control his drinking but he also says he loves to drink. Can I get his to see that he has a problem?

  • Patrick

    Hi Brenda

    My heart goes out to you, I think you’re in a very tough situation. The problem with trying to get him to see things your way is that it will come off as pushy and manipulative on your part, even though you are genuinely trying to help him.

    It’s impossible to tell someone that they are an alcoholic. They have to admit it for themselves, and to themselves. To their innermost self. Only then will someone start to change. If he loves to drink, but says he can control it, then this is probably a contradiction. If he truly limits himself, he probably isn’t having any fun and is resentful of the fact that he has to control his drinking. If so, then that is a strong indicator right there.

    Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to this. Hopefully he will either back off the drinking or come to a realization and seek help. There’s not a lot you can do other than make sure you’re not enabling him to continue to hurt himself. Sometimes the best we can do is to stay out of the way.

    Anyway, good luck to you Brenda and take care, stay safe. I hope things work out for you.

  • Craig

    Hey I am writing to you regarding a family member. He drinks straight vodka and whiskey most evenings and always drinks on his own either in his bedroom or sits in his car in the drive and gets wasted. He still holds down a full time job but does nothing around the house and has no motivation. He won’t listen to any of us and believes he does not have a problem! He lucks unwell he is very thin and his skin is blotchy and his eyes some mornings are red roar.. I really want to help him what can I do?

    Look forward to your reply..

  • Patrick

    Hi there Craig

    Really all you can do is one of 2 things:

    1) encourage him to get help, and
    2) Not enable him further

    Really that’s about it. Now there are lots of options in those 2 ideas. One is to organize a formal intervention, maybe look into some treatment centers in your area, see if they can help with that, or if you can arrange to get him checked in some where, but then of course you have to convince him go give it a try. That might be difficult/impossible.

    The other idea is about you and your family. You could go to an Al-Anon meeting and get information about how to behave around him, so that you don’t enable him in any way. Basically the idea is to let him take on the consequences of his drinking, do not rescue him, and hopefully this will lead to his wanting to get help.

    I’ve seen people suggest contacting the employer to get them involved in an intervention and a push for treatment, but I would have a tendency to avoid that route.

    At any rate, good luck to you and to him, God bless.

  • Steph

    Hi Craig,

    I am 24 years old, and am having a really tough time admitting my disease of alcoholism. I know that I fit the description of an alcoholic, such as sometimes losing control when I drink, a change of personality, and blackouts. There are several times when I can have a couple of drinks and be fine, but I am never sure when that will be. I guess I am just scared of thinking that I will never have a drink again in my life! I am only 24 and not married, and the thought of not being able to drink champagne at my own wedding freaks me out! Also, all of my friends drink, and my social life revolves around drinking on the weekends. I am so scared and do not know what to do. I am also afraid of hanging out with friends and others, such as my boyfriends family, and not drinking b/c I have a hard time letting loose sober. Any suggestions would be great!!!

  • Steph

    Sorry! I meant to post that for Patrick. I just saw Craigs name and put that on accident! Oops!!!

  • hattie

    hi, my boyfriend is a soldier in the army, and he’s recently been drinking to the point where he cannot remember anything. i just found out he’s been doing cocaine aswell and he cheated on me with one of my friends when he was drunk.

    i confronted him about it and he was so shocked and ashamed to find out he could have done this to me. he honestly didnt remember a thing.

    i’m really hurting inside but i cant stay angry. now, all i want to do is help him and make sure this never happens again, but how do i?

  • Patrick

    Hi there Hattie

    Sounds like you and your boyfriend are going through some rough times. If he is truly an alcoholic or an addict then you should consider some space. That doesn’t mean you have to break up but it might help him to realize that you’re not going to accept a lifetime of addiction and abuse on his part. You might also try going to an Al-Anon meeting so that you can learn more about how not to enable him. The quicker he can surrender to his disease the better. Until he does, there is likely going to be a roller coaster ride in store for you and for the relationship in general. Things always get worse with an addiction, never better. They only appear to get better on the surface for a short time and then you realize that his drinking is worse than it was before. This is the cycle and the trap of addiction.

    Don’t let it ruin your life, too. Perhaps find a way to step back enough so that he can see what he is doing to himself. Only when he really takes an honest look at himself can he consider a real change. He needs to surrender. That will not happen if everything is going good for him.

    I hope this helps you in some general way. No magic bullet for you, I’m afraid to say. But we are praying for you and good luck to both of you….

  • Jennifer

    I think my husband is an alcoholic. He drinks everyday 3-4 beers after he gets home from work which is after 8pm. He drinks everyday. He gets up every morning and goes to work without every calling in sick or being late. He had a DUI once over 12 years ago, before I knew him. Every time I have ever brought up the subject of his drinking he gets defensive and act as if I’m over reacting.
    We had a verbal blow out about 2 months ago and I told him he had to stop for a week and we would see if the beer was causing some of our problems. He made it 2 days before asking if he could have a beer. He bought non-alcohol beer to try and stop his cravings, but, in the end he was drinking before the week was over.
    He never drinks more than the 3-5 beers and he does not drive after drinking.
    How do I judge if he is drinking too much. The only people it affects are myself and the children. His Father and rest of his family all drink socially, so I believe that he truly believes his drinking is normal.
    What resources can I use to have him receive a wake up call from someone who is a proffesional in addiction?
    I noticed in the previous answers to questions you always say to stop enabling the drinker. I don’t buy it, put it in the fridge, or remind him when he is low. How else could I be enabling him that I don’t know?
    I love my husband but he is so far removed from me now that I feel something has to give.
    Thanks for taking the time to listen.

  • Patrick

    Hi Jennifer

    This is a tricky situation and I don’t want to throw an opinion out there such as “oh he is definitely an alcoholic, things are just going to get worse.” Some would call me naive but I just cannot make that diagnosis.

    And I don’t necessarily think anyone can, except for the alcoholic himself. That is part of the problem.

    On the one hand, I can’t believe that someone could be an alcoholic if they never drink more than 5 beers. On the other hand, how much we drank is not important, it’s how the booze affected us and what consequences we suffered.

    I just don’t know what to tell you….if he is an alcoholic then it sounds like he has a long road ahead of him, as most do not even think of quitting until they have suffered major consequences and really gone through a lot of turmoil over their drinking.

    On the other hand it doesn’t sound like you are enabling him at all, he is still quite functional. If there is no problem then there is no problem.

    I’ll have to think some more about this one. Keep us posted with any developments. Does anyone else have any insight into this for Jennifer?

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for answering so fast. Even if someone can’t solve your problems in one letter, it’s nice to know there is someone that knows how you feel.
    Is there a web site or place to go to find a questionair on alcoholism? I feel I would only have one shot at this and I would like whatever advise that others could share with me. Jen

  • Patrick

    Here is a test right here that asks you questions to determine if you might have a problem with alcohol:

    http://www.alcoholscreening.org/

  • stan

    I am having a problem facing the reality of me being an alcoholic. I don’t believe that I am, but my wife does. I love her, and I don’t want to lose her. She has just recently, in the past week begun to go to AA meetings. She believes she is an alcoholic, but I don’t. She doesn’t drink much at all, maybe 1 drink a week. She said she went to the meeting because she had questions about how to find out if you are, but the questions were to find out if I was an alcoholic. Now she suddenly thinks she is. She is threatening to leave my and I feel like I’ve just been blind-sided. I don’t know what to do. Alcoholism runs strong in both of our families, but I really feel like I can control myself. Yes there have been instances of unfortunate events and very bad decisions on my part, when I was (under the influence), but I’ve learned from them and they won’t happen again. But still, my world is crashing around me. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?

  • Patrick

    Hi there Stan

    It sounds to me like you are wrestling with the idea that you might be an alcoholic.

    Maybe you aren’t one. I don’t know, and no one can tell you whether you are or not.

    The Big Book of AA has a suggestion for you: try a prolonged period of controlled drinking. Take one drink per day for a year, for example. If you slip up and go beyond your one drink limit, then that is a huge red flag. Or you could try complete abstinence for a few months. Set up a time frame and stick to it.

    Be especially aware of how you feel when you are limiting your intake. If it drives you nuts or takes a real effort to limit your alcohol intake, then that is a huge red flag. “Normal” people have no problem with restricting themselves to 2 drinks per night. It is easy for them to do. If you limit yourself like this but have smoke rolling out of your ears all night, then you might want to take a look at your drinking.

    Good luck to both you and your wife….

  • Anonymous

    that’s bullshit that because i’m on this site im an alcholic. I drink occasionally and when i do that it is still one or two drinks. I’m just bored at work and had decided to stop drinking for the month so thought i’d check in to see if i was addicted. apparently not.

  • Patrick

    Hi Anonymous

    No one can diagnose you as an alcoholic, it can only be you who decides if you are or not. And I didn’t say just coming to this website meant you were one, just that it was a strong indicator. Seems like I struck a chord though…..good luck to you either way and God bless….

  • honey

    That’s a very good explanation but if yu don’t mind may i ask you
    specifically how many drinks would you consider an alcoholic? as well as the frequency? per day? per week? Does drinking occassionally makes you an alcoholic? like once or twice?.. i’m confuse actually about the term alcoholic? what does this mean? thanks!! god bless..

  • Patrick

    Hi there Honey

    That’s a good question and I understand your confusion. Really there is no set amount of alcohol or number of drinks that defines alcoholism. Some people drink heavily as a “phase” in their life (such as college students as an example) but then move on without being true alcoholics. Others seem to get drawn into the addiction and it becomes a lifelong struggle.

    It really has nothing to do with the amount you drink, or even how frequently your drink. It has more to do with the obsession and the compulsion to drink. Do you think about it all the time when you’re not drinking? Can you start drinking and abruptly stop? Try this: have one drink every day for a year, never more than one drink in a single day. Is that easy for you to do? Any “non-alcoholic” person would have no problem doing this. Nor would they have to really challenge themselves to do it.

    Hope that helps you some….

  • Vicki

    I’ve had several addictions…the lasted being drinking. I’m scared cause I look forward to drinking because it’s the ONLY thing I have to forget my problems in life. One of them being my children…my ex has my kids and even though I see one of my three I can’t seem to deal with life. I miss them so very much! I’m lonely…afraid….sad…..just don’t know what to do anymore.

  • Patrick

    Sorry to hear that Vicki. Sounds like you need to ask for help. Maybe a treatment center could help you out? There is another way to live other than to medicate your problems with booze. I know that might seem impossible to you right now but it can be done. The key is that you have to make the decision to get sober and then ask for help. Good luck….

  • kate

    Hi Patrick, I am an addict(painkillers). I went to treatment and after almost a year, I relapsed with the pills and started drinking again. Now I have gone back to meetings and I know I can’t drink alcohol and be in recovery. Although I was only drinking sporadically and usually only a couple of drinks when I did, now that I’m trying to stop…I am CRAVING it and thinking about how much I want a drink many times a day. And having a really hard time imagining never enjoying a margarita or a martini ever again! Do you think this makes me an alcoholic? I don’t have a hard time moderating when I do drink(like it was almost impossible to do with the pills), but I don’t know how to do without it altogether? Does that make any sense? Thank you in advance…

  • Patrick
  • Chris

    Hey guys…

    Im a little worried about if i am an alcoholic.
    My dad was a serious alcoholic and it ruined his life and mine. He passed away in April last year.

    Im 15 and i sometimes go out and drink with my friends. I never drink more then them and they haven’t told me or thought i have a drinking problem.

    Please help me! I am very worried.
    Chris
    I never crave Alcohol, Im just worried because apparently alcoholism gets passed genetically.

  • Patrick

    That is pretty young to be drinking so frequently, Chris. I would back off if you can and play it safe. You are right, there is a genetic factor but it is nothing set in stone…..but yes you are at high risk based on genetics and also the fact that you are drinking so young. You should definitely try to stop at such a young age and wait until you are 21 to start experimenting again.

  • Jessica

    Hi my father in law and mother in law both have drinking problems and are seperated,My husband has had a hard with getting up the courage to confront them with their problems.I want to know if its a good idea that i approach them and which way to do it? any suggestions?

  • jan

    i have not drank for over four months now and i feel i am in control of my life , i have plenty of money now and enjoy spending hehe but i feel like a damn lepper when my friends have get togethers as i am not invited anymore , i feel like screaming at them but it wont make much difference as they will then say i am paranoid , can you suggest anything please

  • Seb

    Hello,
    i know you get a lot of questions.
    and i hope this one finds its way to your respond list.
    i feel like im a rare case, and if not then great, but either way
    i’d like to know anything you can give me.
    i feel as though i may have a drinking problem.
    im 18 years old, and im not even old enough to buy alcohol.
    my friends, and family members tend to buy it for me.
    i know im young, but i had my first drink at four
    and when i was 12 i got drunk for the first time
    when i was 16 i realized that alcohol made everything feel better for me. i felt so lost then, though i know it was just an awkwird age for any teenager that age.
    but ever sinse i managed to drink heavily.
    occasionaly id go a couple months
    but usualy i drank everyday, at least twice a day,
    i suffer from insomnia, and drinking was a cheap quick way to
    become sleepy, and that also may have hindered this problem i am having.
    when ever i got some what put down i’d drink, when i was having a good day i’d have a quick drink to celebrate or just enjoy, and when i was bored, i’d drink to get the day moving.
    basicaly, i kept myself tipsy and or drunk 24/7 if i was awake at least.
    latley it’s gotten out of hand i have to admit.
    im working full time, trying to save up for a car, rent for a place (for i am being kicked out soon). and paying tuishion.
    and my girl friend for a year and a half left me for another man last month.
    I have been drinking all day everyday, sleeping maybe every other day or when i pass out from the alcohol, and rarily eat, i’ve lost 10 lbs..im 6”5 and weigh 179 lbs, i used to way 190ish. i wanna move on from everything thing, drinking, my ex, get a car and a place, finish school,
    and be a success to my family, not just a burden.
    they ignore intake, sinse my dad and my granderperrents were heavy acoholics and drug abusers, and i’ve been to ashamed to tell my mom, but my friends are constantly trying to get me to stop, i just cant anymore though, im tired, im always sick, my kidneys ache when i dont drink, when i do they tingle..i feel i cant go to a dr. for fear of my age, and my mom finding out..what do i do?

    i’d appritiate any help you could give me.
    thank you for reading, and God bless.

  • Patrick

    Hi Seb

    Yes you are very young to be having these problems but it sounds like you need to take action. No one can tell you for sure that you are an alcoholic, only you can make that diagnosis. If I was forced to guess, I would guess that you are a true alcoholic and always will be. Just my opinion of course but the things you describe, the feelings you drank over, the young age you started at, and so on all just points to the same thing.

    Even if you are not a “certified alcoholic” it sounds like you need some help. So I would start with that idea and make the decision to get yourself some help. A scary step to be sure but it will change your whole life and you will be much happier in the long run.

    If you do not know how to go about getting help then you need to ask. Ask people you trust, ask a counselor at school, ask a therapist or call one of those help lines, just keep asking people until you find someone who can direct you to professional services for this. You need professional counseling at the least and hopefully you can get inpatient treatment some where (that means you would go stay in rehab for a few weeks). These are really your 2 best options at this point.

    Good luck.

  • Kristina

    I don’t know how to tell if my husband is a “full blown” alcoholic or just on a dangerous path to becoming one. First let me start off by saying that he never was a drinker. I have been with my husband for over 17 years and have only seen him drunk a handful of times and that was at weddings and special parties, but those were very few and far between. Recently he started drinking beer, about 2 1/2 months ago. He started out by drinking a few beers at a ball game, then progressing to about 10-12 on a Saturday while doing yard work, to now- where he drinks about an 18 pack of beer daily. He works from home, so thankfully he is not in danger of getting a DUI , however I am sure his work performance is suffering as a result. I keep trying to point out to him that the amount of beer he is consuming is not “normal”, but he just gets angry with me and tells me that he doesn’t like people trying to tell him what to do. He gets angry and makes me think it is my fault, my “problem”. We have 3 kids ranging in age from 5 to 12 and I am very concerned about having them see their father “buzzed” all of the time. My husband claims that he does not have a problem and that he can stop at any time (when he is “ready” of course). This is not the life I imagined for myself and my children. It sounds like the easy solution would be to just leave, but I love my husband so much and I know he loves me, but unfortunately not enough to stop drinking. My question(s) is how can I tell if he has a serious problem? How long does it take someone to become completely dependent on alcohol? Due to the amount he is consuming, is it too late for him to stop on his own without an “intervention”? I am trying to nip this in the bud before it causes long term health problems or a divorce. Like I said, I love him sooooo much and couldn’t imagine my life without him, however I love my children and want the best for them. Thank you for your time.

  • Patrick

    Hi there Kristina

    This sentence jumped out at me:

    “I love my husband so much and I know he loves me, but unfortunately not enough to stop drinking.”

    That is not how it works. I promise, that is just not how it works. The logic in that sentence is wrong.

    He might love you much, much more than an equivalent “sober” person. Truly, he may be torn far worse than you imagine by his need to self medicate and his desire to please you by being sober.

    I am not saying you are wrong. I am also not saying you should stick it out because he loves you. All I am saying is that his love for you can not be measured by whether or not he stops drinking. Alcoholism is completely separate from his love for you.

    Your logical conclusion is that if he loved you enough, he would stop drinking, and everything would be fixed. This is flawed thinking. It misses the point. He probably loves you with all his heart.

    But, this has nothing to do with his drinking. Nothing at all.

    And that is why this disease sucks so much. Because it makes no sense. There is still hope though. Have you gone to an Al-Anon meeting yet?

    If not then that is your next step. God bless.

  • Angelina

    I am wanting to consider my husband an alcoholic, however…he insists that he is not. We are in our late 20’s and I have been with this man for 10 years now. We have a young daughter together. He was a big drinker when I met him and was abusive through my pregnancy upon drinking-both verbally and physically. I left him for several months and when we did reconcile he continued the drinking and abuse until he was arrested for domestic abuse and later that year was arrested for a DUI. This was about 7 years ago. He then said slowed his drinking.
    However, his family is full of alcoholics, his father died of cirrhosis of the liver. Every time we visit his family they pass him beers until he gets drunk and tell me to “chill out” when I tell him to slow down or stop. I stopped going over there with him because I cannot take my child there when everyone is drunk…I hate it. He does not know how to drink in moderation, he only knows how to drink ’till’ hes drunk. Occasionally he will only drink 2-3 beers….very rarely just one. If I open a bottle of wine for cooking, it is mysteriously empty the next day. He drinks at home alone a few times a week. He recently said he “craves beer everyday” during the week…when I called him on it and told him sounds like hes got a problem… he got mad and said he didnt mean it the way it came out.
    Every few months he goes on a binge drinking splurge. He gets off work, tells me hes on his way home and never shows up..he calls a few hours later from a bar with work friends and I tell him to stay gone..he sleeps at his families while continuing the drinking with his loser family all night. Im at a loss here…I dont know what to do…it is hurting our marriage as well as my child…he did one of his binges last nite and never came home…promised my daughter something and never showed up. The worst part is that she worries about him when he stays out. She worries if hes ok or if hes in jail with another DUI, she worries if he has somewhere to sleep, or if hes going to die from drinking like his father… I want him to get help or leave, yet he is the sole income in our home…I do not want my daughter to grow up thinking that his behavior is normal…nor do I want her to look for someone like him. How do I help him without seeming like just a nagging wife…I am drowning in his misery…please advise.

  • Patrick

    Hi there Angelina

    My advice is to help yourself first. I do not think you can help him directly or necessarily convince him to get help in any direct way.

    The way you might do this indirectly is to help yourself first. That means establishing some level of independence and self reliance. If you can walk away from the marriage and take your kids and support yourself, then that is a huge bit of leverage. If you have the ability to do this then it can become a bargaining chip. You will no longer be stuck. You can then intervene and start demanding some action and change on his part without being at his mercy because of money.

    If you are not in this position right now then start working towards it. If you want the best for you and your daughter then you need to reduce your dependence on the alcoholic.

    The amazing thing is that if you do achieve this goal, then he will see this and he may actually start changing at that point, because he will see that his life is about to change if you have the power to leave.

  • Angelina

    Thank-you for your prompt response patrick…your advice is much appreciated. I am actually in school right now I am going for my BSN…so I am in the process of becoming self reliant. Im working on it though, I never wanted to be one of those women who was dependent on her husband, which is why I have chosen to continue my pursuit of self reliance…eventually I will achieve my goals. Thank you again Patrick.

  • Ana

    My boyfriend of a year works in the wine industry. Over the course of our relationship, I have noticed that he drinks everyday, drinking at least 3-4 glasses of wine, if not more. I can’t remember a night we have been together where he has not had several drinks. Occasionally, when he goes out with his friends, he will drink excessively and come home black out drunk, not remembering how he got home and feeling hungover the next day. While he has never said an unkind word to me, or done anything to jeopardize our relationship while drinking/drunk, I am concerned about the amount of alcohol he consumes and whether it could lead to some kind of dependency. I tried to bring it up recently and he said I have no need to be concerned. He says that he has a higher tolerance from working in the alcohol industry so long and he enjoys drinking, but does not see it to be a problem. Should I let it go now, or am I right to be concerned? Can I ask him to stop drinking to see how he feels without alcohol in his life? I love him and I only want him to be happy and healthy, but I don’t want to be overbearing or demanding. I am not sure how to proceed. I would appreciate any advice you have to offer. Thank you.

  • Michelle

    I have been struggling with my boyfriend’s alcohol addiction for 3 years. He has a problem with binge drinking to the point of blacking out. I would say this happens as much as once or twice a month, but sometimes several months will go by without any incident. When I bring up the issue his answer is always “I’m not perfect” and that he knows he has a problem “knowing when to stop”, but just leaves it at that. I have given him information on local AA meetings and counselors who specialize in addiction, but he never does anything with it. I have learned to remove myself from the situation when he drinks, but I am now at the point of considering ending the relationship. I feel like we have the same recurring argument every time but nothing changes. I don’t want to continue this cycle for rest of my life. I guess it is hard feeling like the situation is hopeless on my part, because HE is the only one who can change. I am just very frustrated. It’s about time we put a big tax on alcohol and use it to educate people against the bad effects (like we do for tobacco) because it really ruins people’s lives!

  • Patrick

    @ Ana – I don’t think you can push it much, since he is not suffering many consequences of his drinking yet, he will not be receptive to the idea of change. Maybe he will but I doubt it…..

    @ Michelle – Yep you may have to choose at some point between staying with him and dealing with the drinking or just walking away. Maybe if you get closer to that point you can let him know that you have been wrestling with the idea and you are warning him that you might leave. This probably won’t help much though and he might just drink more as a result. If so, you can’t take the blame for it as you have to live your own life. You are right…it is up to him to change. Not you. Good luck….

  • Kristina

    Is it possible, ever, if two functioning (working, cleaning, DUI free) alcoholics live together and one decides to stop and the other doesnt, that A. She can make it(not drink) and B. The relationship will survive? the only hitch to it is his best friend comes over 5/7 nights a week and he drinks more then us too…..

  • Patrick

    Hi Kristina

    That is tough to say, but yeah the odds do not look great for a “functional” relationship when one or both are still drinking.

    Plus, “functional” is usually an illusion. Functional alcoholics are just getting lucky. Consequences are inevitable, eventually.

    I’ve seen a lot of relationships fail like you are describing. Can’t think of any examples where they worked out long term. But that does not mean it will never happen. It just….usually doesn’t work out. (Just my observations…..)

  • lisa

    So obviously knowing that I am reading this and researching all this must mean im some kind of alcoholic or im at least scared to go in that direction. I just want to know one thing. I have been really depresed lately but ive been coming over it. Now that im fine I still drink alcohol sometimes on the occasion to have fun with friends but everytime I do its like I’m straight back to where I was and I am always like holyy shit im never drinking alcohol again and than when im sober again I feel like I need to drink alcohol but everytime I do i’m like fuck im not gonna do this again. Idk maybe i shouldnt drink as much? what should i do.

  • Danielle

    I’ve been dating a guy and it has been amazing. It started with us hanging out and I knew he had a bit of a problem with drinking but with him being a professor and it also being the summer he told me this wasn’t how it always was. Now I’ve moved halfway across the country to be with him. He told me he would prove to me that he doesn’t drink they way he did in the summer. Now, everytime we go out he gets blackout drunk. He says crude things and at times makes me feel awful by commenting about other women in bars, saying things like, “Wow! She is the hottest girl in the bar”. I know he loves me and I know he is attracted to me and I feel the same towards him but he definitely pushes my limits when he gets this way. Since the beginning of our relationship I’ve told him how my father is an alcoholic and growing up with his disease was awful. I also told him that I would never willingly go into a relationship thinking a person who could father my children would put them through what I’ve gone through. I recently told him that he needs to stop drinking or I’m gone. He told me based on his principles he wouldn’t stop drinking and it was my decision if we split. I don’t want to give up on him and after reading some of what you wrote I feel it was wrong of me to give him this ultimatum. I want to work with him but I also can’t live with someone who isn’t willing to get help. What are some suggestions you would have for me to help him?

  • http://razorbek777@yahoo.com I Feel Pain and Scared for a long time now.how can i overcome this?

    i have a family,but i feel alone.every time i look at my 2 kids i felt sorry for my self.my wife actions is pulling me down.she always tells me words that hurt my feelings.im scared.help me to overcome this.ice i always used when i do drugs.i want to stop.but im weak inside.

  • Glo

    Hello,

    I have been with my BF for about 4 years now. At the beginning we both used to drink a lot, I got pregnant which made me stop drinking but he has continue. I have asked him to quit several times and there has been arguements about the amount he drinks when he does drink. He is not an everyday drinker but is a every weekend drinker, also he has this saying, “I drink to get drunk” or “I dont get drunk, I get wasted” He has has ended up in Jail twice for abusing me while being drunk and the next day he calls me from jail stating he doesnt understand why he is in there. Then yesterday I picked him up from detox for his second time. I am pregnant with his second kid and we currently don’t live together and I am pretty much raising my daughter on my own since he is not very dependable. I have left him but I still want to help him out for our kids. I grew up with both my parents and the stories I hear of those who haven’t are fearful. What can I do to start directing him in the correct direction.

  • Jay

    I’m a 22 year old female. I’ve graduated college and been working in the social service field for a little under a year. In my current position I’m working with drug addicts and alcoholics.

    I guess I’m writing because I’ve seen many red flags in my own life, with my own alcohol use that are worrying me some. I drank for the first time at about 13…my mother was dying of cancer and I self medicated with alcohol and marijuana. My mother passed when I was 14, and my drinking continued. I spent about a month in a psychiatric facility for adolescents because I tried to take my own life at age 15…anyway…I used to think that I was just experimenting and that I didn’t have any problem. Since I entered college, I got two underage drinking violations through the school. My drinking decreased some because of pressure from my father. At one point in college I was drinking almost daily for a few months.

    Currently, I drink about 1-2 times per week, but if I don’t consciously try to control how much I drink, I often drink way too much and I tend to get very mean and not myself. Never physical, but it has caused some problems between my boyfriend and I. My other issue of concern is that I have frequent black outs, and sometimes they occur when I’ve only had 4 or 5 beers. When on a night when I drink ‘a lot’ I have 6-10. I guess I pretty much know the answer to this question..but I guess I want to here it from someone else. Does it sound like I’m an alcoholic?

  • Patrick

    Jay, you are already stating flat out that you have a problem. Blackouts are not a little thing to be having. Especially frequently. I would seek professional help and see what they say.

    Unfortunately, no one can tell you that you are an alcoholic. You have to diagnose it yourself.

    Why not do a 30 day trial with no alcohol at all?

    Then maybe do a 30 day trial with one drink maximum per day?

    Those can be pretty revealing experiments, especially if you see them all the way through to the end.

    Good luck.

  • Al

    Hey everyone,
    I’m curious to know what you think of my situation. I’m 24 years old, about to graduate from 2 university degrees. The thing is, I can go a long time without alcohol without panicking even though I do crave it a lot. I don’t get irritated or on edge if I don’t have any which makes me question whether I might be alcoholic or not. The problem comes when there’s some at home. If there’s some at home I cannot help myself from drinking it until it’s done, even when I have an exam the next day. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Al

  • Nick

    Hello Pat, it is great to see that someone is out there listening to people and providing help and support. I came across this place because I know I am an alcoholic, the worst thing is that I cannot admit it to myself when I am sober. After I am done work I just crash and burn. I don’t drink at work or in the morning when I wake up, but I drink everyday, in that way I mean I go out and buy an 18 pack, or a mickey and some tall boys and polish them off in a night, show up for work the next morning looking like shit, have some coffee, then do it all again the next day. I am only 24, but I have been doing this for an honest 6 years or more now. All my friends drink and we always have a good time and miney is not an issuie, we all good jobs and have fun. I myself own a brand new ATV, truck, motorcycle, and lots of other things, but i am always broke execept for smokes and beer. I am realizing stuff now because I have fucked up two relationships because of drinking ( I think so anyway, I am not dr. phil here, but I am not the kind of guy that gets around, but I have lost out on two beautiful people in four years, like seriousl y hot girls, ( ilive in a small town where there isnt alot of people) anyway the vodka is kick ing now so I better fisnih off… in other words how do you tell someone who know they drink way too much to lay off the sause? I know I am capable of sooo much more but I just feel like I can;t.

    -Thanks.

  • Melina

    I think my brother is an alcoholic, even though my parents deny it. They too drink, not so much anymore but every night they have a few. My brother’s drinking has caused so many problems. He has been thrown out of many accommodation, he has bashed and has assault charges against him. My mothers says he goes weeks without drinking but then always binges so is not an alcoholic. He drinks for four days sometimes until he passes out and can drink no more. He is abusive towards me, he calls me derogatory names and has been a pain and gotten me thrown out of my accommodation. He does not realise his behaviour is bad and laughs about it. He has girlfriends who has problems and also has problems with substance abuse and tobacco. He has been drinking since he was 13 years old and is now 39. None of my family realise how bad his problem is because they are drinkers too. I am a non drinker and always have been. He is not willing to seek help for his addiction and has no respect for me because I don’t work and he works hard. Please help.

  • Patrick

    @ Melina – I would seek counsel at an Al-Anon meeting, and I think they will tell you to use a “tough love” approach. That means you need to let him make his own mistakes at this point, in the hope that he will come to a point of surrender.

    Whatever you do, do not make it easy for him to continue to screw up. I would distance myself from abuse, too. Good luck.

  • chris

    I would like to thank you because I have been wondering if I am an alcoholic for 20 years now. It has escallated into drinking beer every day now and I am scared because I seem to have no control. I get the idea in my head and off I go to the beer store. I have always been an alcoholic since I was old enough to drink and I would like to take steps to stop. I had an unfortunate accident at work and wcb gave me enough money so I can live for awhile without working and this is how I have been dealing with it.I also am trying to quit smoking.

  • brian

    i noticed there haven’t been any replies in a while, and honestly, i don’t even want one. i just really need to get this out of me.

    to call myself an alcoholic would be incredibly inaccurate. for as much as i drink, i really have no extreme preference to alcohol. the truth is i’m an addict. i’ve been fucked up one way or another damn near every day since the age of 13. by the time i was 15 if i couldn’t find a way to score anything i would resort to heavily abusing inhalants. by the time i was 18 i was jobless, with no education or special skills, but thanks to my friendly enablers i was drinking all day every day.

    i recently returned from a deployment in iraq (by the way, i’m in the military) and i clearly remember before i left that i could easily kill a 24 pack of whatever, and still be able to wake up at 5:30 so i could go to work. ever run 6 miles early in the morning after a long night of boozin’? i can’t even lie…it’s a blast. but it’s funny because after a year in the desert, i came back to america with just about the same tolerance level i left with. naturally i puked my guts out the first night, but since then i’ve been fine. a week ago it was my 21st birthday. i got off work, drank a twelve pack (in my room, by myself with the speakers on full blast as usual) then i went to the bar (legally) for the first time and me and three of my buddies drank 4 pitchers, then went home to drink some more. you know what ended up happening? i drank all night long. i drank until it was 5:30 in the morning and then i shaved my face, put on my PT uniform, and went to work.

    this worries me. i refuse to end up a lonely alcoholic, but unfortunately it looks like my best option. i don’t enjoy sobriety. to be honest i don’t enjoy life in general. yeah, you could say i’m “self medicating” and all that bullshit, but in reality i know that all i’m trying to do is speed up time. but for some reason i’m genuinely looking forward to rehab. i love to talk about my problems (but i never do, hence the reason i’m here) and i love listening to other people’s problems. but it sucks because i know that i’m not gonna stop until i hit rock bottom. and i hope i hit that fucker hard.

  • Patrick

    @ Brian – I would say that many alcoholics do not look forward to sobriety. I figured that I would rather die than to be sober. I thought I would never have fun ever again.

    It took time for me to get to a place where I could look back in my sobriety and see how my priorities had shifted, and how life was now worth living again. This did not happen overnight, nor did it happen in one month. It took a few months. Maybe more than a few. But at one point, I think I had about 8 months sober, I realized that I had gone through an ENTIRE DAY without thinking about drinking. Not once. And I predicted that this would never happen for me. Because I thought I was different. I thought I was the only drunk in the world who really loved being drunk.

    I think you are finding your bottom right now, Brian. Make a decision. Ask for help. You don’t have to be in prison for this recovery thing to work for you.

    Take action now….

  • shawn

    Hi I know that I am an alcholic, but I want to change my life and I know it is time. My problem is that my partner of five years is also an alcholic and does not seem like he wants to change. I love him very much and do not want to lose him. What can I do for the both of us?

  • Patrick

    @ Shawn – that is a very, very difficult question with no easy answer. No perfect answer.

    My best answer is this universal truth: you recover alone. When you overcome addiction, you do it alone.

    If you try to “buddy up” in order to beat an addiction, one, or both will fail.

    I know this because I tried to enlist others to buddy up with me to quit smoking cigarettes many, many times. Never worked. Only when I got serious and did it on my own did it finally work out.

    I would say: get sober for yourself, by yourself. He will either follow your example or he won’t. If he doesn’t, then you have another major decision on your hands.

    Get sober first, then go to Al-anon. Many, many recovering alcoholics would seriously benefit from going to Al-anon in their early recovery.

    As counter-intuitive as it may sound, I really think the best way forward is to get sober one at a time. That is based on watching people in recovery for almost 10 years now.

    In fact, of those couples who try to make recovery work together, I have never seen success. Not once. But they have pulled through by getting sober individually, sometimes even separating briefly, and then coming back together later on.

  • Ang

    Can someone hopefully give me some advice, ive been with my partner for 8 months now and i am at the point of giving up….
    Basically its alcohol, he used to “smoke” every night but has cut down since i came around, though now.. his alternative is alcohol. He works hard all day without alcohol (i think) but the moment he gets home he wants it. I can understand someone wanting a beer etc after a hard day at work to relaxx but i feel this is too much. The problem with him is it cant just have one, and once he starts he cant stop, and he drinks very very quickly to begin with and slows right down once he is drunk, then he crashes out early because he is drunk. I tried everything, i moaned – he carried on. i let him drink what he wanted (which was every night) – no change, and i tried to get him to cut it out during the week and just drink weekends.. there is the ocassional excuse to drink like a celebration but i happen to be working so “we will celebrate when i finish” yet it never happens cause i know his behaviour under the influence so he is asleep within an hour. i dont know what to do. ive found cans hidden. ive been lied to about how much he has had, and i generally believe he is drinking behind my back.. i’ve been with him 8 months… i know when he has been drinking, and i know his behaviour, but yet when he says he has had 3 drinks yet seems half cut, and claims its cause he is tired, i dont know what to think any more…

  • Jay

    Just writing an update. I posted back in March 2010 (post #48) regarding my own issues with drinking. Since March I continued to drink and increased to probably drinking 2 times during the week at home and then 1-2 times on weekends. Still getting black out drunk regularly.

    In late August, I got in an argument with my boyfriend when we were both very drunk and I ended up laying down in the middle of a busy road at 3am because I wanted to give up on life. I’ve been sober since that day. Today will be 46 days. I started going to counseling again and my family is aware of the situation and has been very supportive. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m an alcoholic, but am still struggling with the idea and fact that I really should never drink again. I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to keep my depression in check as well.

    My drinking brought out the worst of my depression and I hadn’t had suicidal attempts or even ideations for a long period of time prior to the incident, expect when drinking, and only when i was drinking with my boyfriend. I’ve come to realize that I think he has a problem with alcohol, too, but he’s not ready to admit it. He has been supportive of me not drinking and has not drank in my presence since that night.

    Just wanted to share that it took me the experience and reality check that I could’ve died that night to really make me realize this needed to change.

  • Patrick

    @ Jay – wow that is an intense story and a powerful revelation for you. Thanks for sharing it with us here. Good luck to you going forward, it sounds like you have made peace with yourself and with your alcoholism…..

  • Joshlyn

    Wow, I have a problem, thats for sure. Totally me. I have no insurance and could never afford a program. Thank you

  • smith

    i belived everything until the last part where you were talkin about problem drinking and alcaholics. i do not have a paralyzing fear but i drink just about everyday and when i get off work and when i cant get any alcahol i feel moody and irritated and pissed off and restless. but when i do get my drink i feel like a normal person? i do not know if i got a problem or its just passing cause i am drunk but what im sayings true. so i have asked myself this question before and i still dont know

  • Mary

    Dear Patrick,

    My first step in wanting to stop drinking and was so pleased when I saw your website. This has been the first morning in over 6 months where I have gotten up from bed and NOT made my morning cocktail for myself. My financee leaves early for work and my job does not begin until the mid afternoon. I use to think I was a social drinker, that became then a heavy drinker,and now where I feel I am probably a “functional alcoholic”. I know there is alcoholism that runs in my family and it was acceptable to drink at an early age in my growing up years. I have at least 3 cocktails every night.
    Drinking has affected my self esteem, physical appearance and my relationship with my financee. I am known as the girl with a Martini glass in her hand each night. When I go to functions and are around people who are also heavy drinkers, I feel not as intimitated to those who do drink little or no alcohol at all. Patrick can you offer some advice of encouragement. I am a good person, kind, considerate and work hard at my job. It’s funny Patrick because if I have NO alcohol around me, I seem to be able to go without it. It is when I know it is at my fingertips which always makes it more enticing. I never get sick, get the jitters or out of control. I look forward to your response. Thank you!

  • Patrick

    @ Mary – well if you do well when you are not around alcohol then I would highly recommend a 30 day trial where you abstain from alcohol completely.

    If you just quit alcohol for a week or so then you will not get a good grasp of the benefits of sobriety. In fact, even 30 days is not enough for most drinkers to really notice the benefits.

    I would say to try a full year of sobriety and really commit to it. If you do it you will never look back because your life will become so much better.

    Good luck.

  • Brandon

    Hi,

    I guess I’d consider myself an alcoholic. The thing is I don’t know how to get help.

    I’m 16 years old. My dad keeps a heavy supply of alchol in the house. When I say heavy supply I mean we have leteratly 100’s of bottles ranging from rums to vodka’s to champagne. He does not notice when I take it, and I drink every day till I pass out.

    The truth is he lets me have it. When my friends come over he will let us smoke pot, and drink in the basement.

    I don’t know how to get help, and am thinking about suicide. I hate my life.

  • bob

    Hey I’m seventeen and have a problem with alcohol abuse. I can not get the idea tht I can live a sober life, I’m always drunk and wanna be it to avoid pressures I’m my life. I have to deal with friends wher I am pretty much a second father for them to makee sure they don’t hurt themselves or abuse while at the same time I gotta deal with my own problems with the family and I am seeing a therapist which helps when I’m there but the second I leave and I’m on my own all I can thbink about is how can I afford the boos and where can I drink with out getting caught. I’m a really smart man and ik I need help but I’m a senior in january and can’t go to rehab nor deal with the pressures of giving up alcohol in my life. Besides tellin me I need rehab and AA can u please giv me some ideas to help me.

  • Jay

    @ Brandon,

    I’m not sure if you will check this, considering you posted about 2 months ago…..but, wanted to let you know that there are resources in every state for you to be able to get help with dealing with drug or alcohol issues, even though you are only 16, and you can also get help without your parents consent or without your parents knowing if you don’t want them to. There are federal laws that allow you to get treatment on your own without your parents consent. I would recommended you look up the phone number for your local “drug and alcohol commission”. Every county has one. Just google your county and drug and alcohol commission. Call them and they should be able to tell you where you can go for treatment. If you don’t have health insurance they also have programs that will pay for you to do treatment since you’re an adolescent.

    Another option is if you’re still in high school, you could also talk to your school guidance counselor or get involved with the Student Assistance program in your school through the guidance department. Every state is required to have a student assistance program and they normally are able to help you get involved with these services as well.

    Hope that helps and I hope you realize that there are people out there that care about you and want you to be okay!

  • jess

    hi ive been struggling for the past couple of years trying to admit to myself i have a problem wen i drink ,ive had so many bad things happen whilst drinking which give me the sence to seek help an go to a aa meeting i just cldnt decide if i was the reall deal ,i started drinking wen i was 14 very young i started smoking canibis when iwas 13 .my drinking starting getting out of control in my early 20’s im now 27 ,ive been arrested on a few occasions for drunken disordly ,i have a complete personality change everytime i drink either im on a high and happy or i become really dreppressed ,the thing is i used to be able to drink the next day years ago but now i cant although i wake feeling very anxious and deppressed, i just stay in bed all day. i know its only me who can work out if im an alcoholic or not ,but it does confuse me alot cos i can go a week sometime without drinking its only when i pick up the drink is the problem

  • CJ

    How kind of you, Patrick, to give up your time to respond to people on this site! I was looking for some ideas as to whether my alcohol consumption was something to worry about. I THINK I’m OK, but could probably do with cutting down, as I’ve got into the habit of having a couple of drinks in the evening after work. I don’t get hangovers and I don’t get drunk, just relaxed. I like your idea of seeing if I can totally go without drinking for a few weeks and seeing how stressful that is. I’m really hoping I don’t have a problem as I do enjoy drinking socially. Thanks again for providing such a great and useful service.

  • annonymous

    I wanted to thank-you very much for taking the time to write this article. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it and how much sense it made to me. Finally, answers! I just turned 29 and I have been struggling with staying sober for the past five months. I had 30 days then went back out for a few weeks drinking 2-3 times a week. Two weeks ago I had 63 days and then went out and drank. I ended up blacking out after 6 drinks… :( I felt like all my hard work for the 63 days was gone. I have been too embarressed to go back to the AA meetings and after having another 10 days clean, I went out and drank again. Nothing bad has happened but I know if I don’t get control of my drinking it will eventually lead to trouble. I really like your quote, “I didn’t get into trouble everytime I drank, but every time I got into trouble, I had been drinking. ”
    I am just wondering what you did when you felt the urge to drink?

  • Matthew

    Hi, thanks for writing this post – it was very interesting and insightful. I feel like I’m not quite yet an alcoholic, but that I am certainly nearing the cusp of alcoholism. As it stands, I don’t like the idea of limiting my alcohol intake, but I do feel that I could if I promised it to myself – but if I continue my recent drinking habits then I may well not anymore be able to do that.

    For the last three weeks now I’ve been drinking every day, and on Friday I showed up to work with a hangover for the first time, and on Saturday night I was sick on my floor which was not very pleasant.

    Despite this, I feel that it has become a habit rather than yet a full-blown addiction, though what I am finding difficult is summoning the motivation to curb my drinking. Perhaps I will find that motivation if I do eventually become a true alcoholic.

  • Jen

    Hello,I have been with the father of my kids for almost 8yrs.He has always been a drinker.He has been drinking since 15 now his 26.I hate it so much since am not a drinker I tell him to stop and not to do it in font of the kids but it always ends in an argument.he has the need to drink everyday and not just 1 but 2 of the 16oz 4pack.I really don’t know what to do,I love him but this drinking it killing the relationship I tell him he is an alcoholic but he tells me there’s no way he is for the amount he drinks.please I need an opinion is he an alcoholic?i don’t know what to do…

  • Todd

    Hi Patrick –
    I began to drink and do drugs fairly heavy in around ’02-’03 following a divorce and death of my remaining parent. I was a periodic, 3 maybe 4 nights per week. In the party lifestyle, living downtown, etc…by ’06 it was bad. Health problems unrelated to alcohol, then financial problems largely from drugs/alcohol, BUT – the core problem was increasing depression and anxiety – particular socially. I was diagnosed as such. I’ve been in AA four years and have never had more than 5 months sober. I am now in a 2-month period where I am able to control my drinking, and am doing so about once or twice a week – usually while on a date. I almost WANT to be a 12-Step practicing member of AA, but Step 1 just seems to elude me. Any thoughts? I know the reality is that I may just have to risk the progression occuring again if I continue to drink in moderation. It is truly cunning, powerful and baffling.

  • Phie

    I actually clicked on this article because I am dating a guy who I think is hiding an alcohol problem. I was married to one twice so i know the obvious signs. But my gut is telling me something is fishy. When the subject of alcoholism comes up he gets ANGRY and defensive.
    When he isnt with me and he hangs out at his neighbors the next day he calls off from work.
    I don’t know if I am just gun shy but RED FLAG is up and my alcoholic radar is screaming.
    Any advice? opinions?

  • Guido

    Please help me.I just returned from a one year deployment to afghanistan and since then, about the last month, its been nothing but problems. I’ve ben drinking everyday, but I don’t feel like an alcoholic. I had a hard deployment. Missed the birth of my son, holidays and had some ill relatives while I was gone. I drink maybe 10 to 12 beers a day, but I start drinking about noon. My leave is over in a few days and I start work again. Im not sure if it will help me slow down drinking our what, but I know our bothers my wife when I drink. She says I’ve changed since before I deployed. I’m more angry and I have no patience. But when I drink, I feel as though im back to normal. Someone please help me.

  • Elizabeth

    I really feel for you and your wife. I do not know how you do it. I could not make it a week without my husband. You do have to take respnsiblity for your drinking. I would thing you would want to be sober at home to remember every moment you have. What if you leave and there is no tomorrow? Kiss your wife and enjoy what you have today and right now!

  • Anonymous

    can you stop drinking on your own or do u need help from others what are typical triggers

  • Anonymous

    do people feel better when you talk about drinking to excess
    my life is good except for this one issue

  • Anonymous

    the guilt i feel after drinking is huge it feels like i let everyone down
    i dont crave booze but one minute i am fine then the next i am sneeking drinks

  • Anonymous

    is anyone outt there
    i find myself at tmes like this after drinking too much feeling guilty remorseful etc same old drill i need a smack i the head i know its wrong but i do it anyway why
    i only do it once a month and have gone 5 months with nothing how can i stop forever

  • Anonymous

    yes i relapsed or drank a few brewski after seven months of nothing
    and the guilt kills!

  • Jackie

    I have to have a beer after work which almost always to having at least 3 beers and on weekends while cleaning house or doing outside work I start drinking beer at as early as 11am. I know I am close or am an alcholic. what should do to avoid this?

  • Tash

    I had the worst year of my life and now im about to go through a difficult 6 months and im tired due to the fact i cant sleep and feel stressed constantly, i am always bussy during tbe day so i dont have time to think but as soon as it comes to 7pm everythinh catches up to me. I have never been drunk just buzzed and really tipsy, I always feel happy and forget what ever I am worrying about then I go to bed and wake up and get on with me day. As soon as it hits 7pm all I can think about is how much I want a drink to forget about everything.
    I feel like if I give In to it then I won’t be able to stop, I don’t know if I’m on my way to having a problem or have nothing to worry about at all
    I feel weak for even thinking about it

  • Mat

    I think my bf has a drinking problem but I’m
    Not sure how to ask him without scaring him off.