How do you know when you're developing a drinking problem?

  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Oct 14, 2009 3:57 PM GMT
    How do you know when you're developing a drinking problem? How much is too much. I used to have three or four beers over the course of a weekend. That was it. then alot of really crappy things happened, plus financial strain, plus my ongoing battle with major depression, I found that I could buy a 12 pack of cheap beer at Walmart for around seven bucks, and I thought that was too good of a bargain to pass up. So, I've been buying one of those per week. But then I discovered that I really like vodka and tonic with a bit of lime juice. So, I started having one of those after work. And then two. And then maybe three or four. The alcohol is a depressant, which I don't need, and I wake up in the morning feeling tired, irritable, and with not much of an appetite. I just want lots of coffee. So should I be concerned? I don't mean to sound naive. I honestly don't know what's normal.
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    Oct 14, 2009 6:48 PM GMT
    Having 4 vodka cocktails a day is a bit much, assuming they each have a full shot (or maybe more?), and done 5 days a week after work (and maybe days off, too?). Your pattern of increased drinking, linked to emotional stress, is another indicator of a growing dependency on alcohol.

    But you already know the answer to this, don't you? Have family or friends been making comments, too? You have a drinking problem when you drink an amount that is unhealthy & disruptive for you, and you can't cut back, or don't want to cut back. Seems like that may describe you.
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    Oct 14, 2009 7:31 PM GMT
    A.A. has a pretty good assessment questionaire. If you answer the questions honestly without qualifying the answers (i.e. "Well most people do." or "That's not really relevant.") then you can get a pretty good idea of if it's true or not and what to do about it.

    http://www.aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=71
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Oct 14, 2009 7:44 PM GMT
    When you avoid social functions that do not provide alcohol because you fear they will be boring...
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    Oct 14, 2009 7:49 PM GMT
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    Oct 14, 2009 7:53 PM GMT
    I think it's as simple as this: If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you probably have a problem with alcohol.


    That was certainly the case for me, but beyond that I had some other cues:
    --- I drank knowing that alcoholism runs rampant in my family.
    --- When I was at a gathering of people and saw someone who was drinking and someone who wasn't, I would stay the hell away from the person who wasn't for fear of being judged.
    --- Every time I promised myself that I was not going to have one, I had one anyway.... and several more after that.
    --- And most interesting was the fact that when I wasn't drinking, I was thinking about drinking and concurrently making everyone around me miserable with my irritability.


    Don't know if this sheds any light or not, but I hope so.
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    Oct 14, 2009 7:58 PM GMT
    Sparkycat saidHow do you know when you're developing a drinking problem?


    The fact that you are asking yourself this question is probably the answer.

  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 14, 2009 8:18 PM GMT
    I assume you've tried stopping? But, even if you find you "need" even one drink a day is a sign of dependence. But, three or four a day does sound to me like you've got a problem. You admit to depression. Sounds like you need help. If you're asking for it here, sounds like you're ready to face your problem. Knowing you have a problem is half the battle.
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    Oct 14, 2009 10:23 PM GMT
    Well, alcoholism is a progressive disease. Has your drinking progressed? Yes, it has. I think that alone is reason to be concerned.

    If I were in your shoes, finding myself having up to four drinks of liquor every night, and on a trajectory to increase, I would definitely make a step to stop this and regain control. Your personal physician might be a good person to talk to.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Oct 15, 2009 1:32 AM GMT
    My straight friend's girlfriend's father used to drink a bottle of Vodka before lunch, and coast on a case of beer until he passed out after watching Letterman. He'd drink even more on weekends. His employer sent him to us a the hospital one weekday to determine his blood alcohol level. At 10 in the morning, it was high enough to kill the average sized man. He drove to the hospital to have it tested, and was functioning normally otherwise.

    If you do AA online alcoholic test, they ask if you have missed work for several days in a row so that you could drink, or if you've missed important family functions because you were drunk, or how often do you drink from morning until bedtime?

    If you answered yes to those and the other questions they have, you'd be a 10 on the drunkard continuum.

    Someone who only has a glass of wine with Mum at Sunday dinner, and feels guilty about it, would be a 1 or a zero.

    The rest of us all fall somewhere in between, if we like the occassional or more frequent tip of the glass.

    How the rest of the world judges your drinking isn't important. When you begin to feel uncomfortable with it, it is important.

    If you you are having doubts when you have 4 drinks a day, it's time to cut back to a level where you can still enjoy the drink, but don't feel guilty having it, or them.

    It's like everything else about being gay. You have to decide what your limits are, and live by them.

    Cheers!



  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Oct 15, 2009 2:01 AM GMT
    Sparkycat: If your drinking makes you feel crappy in the morning, isn't that a problem right there? It doesn't necessarily mean you're an alcoholic (IMHO) but who wants to feel bad before they even get out of the house?
    How about cutting back to your original 3 or 4 drinks over the weekend, and none during the week? If you can do that, and keep it there, you'll probably feel a lot better and avoid future worse problems.
    Good luck...
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    Oct 15, 2009 2:39 AM GMT
  • riverrunner

    Posts: 48

    Oct 15, 2009 2:55 AM GMT
    Normal drinkers don't ask if they have a problem! Try a few AA meeting! It can't hurt. It can save your life!
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    Oct 15, 2009 4:45 AM GMT
    riverrunner saidNormal drinkers don't ask if they have a problem! Try a few AA meeting! It can't hurt. It can save your life!


    Agreed!

    Sparky, I'll second AA, and I'll add you might want to consider going to your local substance abuse treatment facility for an assessment. There are several things that seem to be going on here.

    1. You've increased your use.
    2. You're getting hangovers.
    3. It's throwing off your eating habits and making you irritable, depressed and causing financial strain and so on.
    4. From what I'm getting you're drinking alone. That's not really "normal" or maybe I should say "healthy" since I've come to realize that normal's a cycle on the dishwasher.
    5. You have a history of severe depression, and you're taking a depressant into your system. My own personal experience is that the temporary numbing alcohol only intensifies the depression when you're not drinking. That's how people with mood disorders (depression, anxiety) become dependent. They drink, they feel better for a short time, they withdraw, they feel worse, so they drink again to feel better.

    I urge you to do something about this now.