If you think you need to stop drinking, but you're not sure how close you are to being an alcoholic, then this article might help you make your mind up. If you are reading this then for starters you probably need to stop.
There are many tests on the internet that are designed to tell you whether or not you have a drinking problem. Score two out of ten and you have a dilemma. Have you ever missed a day from work through drinking? Well, who hasn't? Have you ever driven in the morning knowing that you are probably over the drink live limit? Regularly.
The indicator isn't how well or how poorly you score on the test. The clue is in the looking. Casual drinkers don't go seeking questionnaires that question their drinking habits.
If this is the first time that you have looked in the mirror and hated the bloodshot eyes that stare back at you in the morning then the realisation that you may have to stop drinking can be alarming. Over time you'll come to terms with it. How quickly you accept that you have crossed the line onto the dark side will determine how much farther you descend into the abyss. Stop now, before the rope doesn't reach you.
The truth is that for all the Government guidelines that postulate on the subject, alcohol is an addictive poison to the human body. No units are the safest to drink. As you are probably going to scoff at my scholarly piousness the following may help you.
When I was eighteen four pints of lager on my first forays to the pub were enough to induce giddiness. Five or six and the bed would spin when I stumbled laughingly up the stairs to bed. A couple of times a week.
At 22 seven or eight pints of lager was the typical night out. Angrily leaving the pub at last orders because they won't serve you anymore.
At 28 I'd upgraded to Stella. Eight or nine pints was a good Saturday night out probably topping off with a couple of shorts for good measure. I'd be in the pub most days of the week for four or five pints.
At 35 Two bottles of wine during an evening in was a regular occurrence. I'd got kids now and responsibilities. Ahem. I couldn't watch football without a drink to accompany the event.
At 40 a 750cl bottle of vodka would last a couple of nights.
At 48 a few beers in the late afternoon before starting on the hard stuff in earnest in the evening. Always waking up with a terrible hangover and not remembering anything after 7 pm.
When I started sneaking vodka in my Guinness at BBQ's or taking a hip flask with me to the pub, then you could fairly level the accusation at me that I was an alcoholic. But I never saw it that way. I was in denial. Are you hiding bottles? That's a sure sign you have a problem
As you get older, the damage you are doing to your body takes longer to repair. Shaking off a hangover becomes an all-day affair. It's when you try to stop drinking that you realise the vice-like grip that alcohol has over you. No matter how many times you tell yourself that you are not going to drink during the day the pied piper always gets his way.
Alcoholism is a progressive destructive addiction. It will only get worse. If you don't stop now, the madness will continue until you do.
And just because everyone else around you drinks a lot more does not mean you don't have a problem. They all have a problem. When you stop drinking your friends will despise you for leaving the brotherhood. At this point, you discover that you have a lot fewer friends than you thought. This is a sad realisation because when you stop drinking you now become drinkless and friendless.
Counting how much you drink is not the answer to the “How do I know if I drink too much” self-question. It is a rhetorical question. The answer lies not in the amount you drink but how severely it is affecting your day to day life and you won't know the answer to that until you stop drinking.
Trying to justify the amount you drink by equating it with your peers is not going to help. They are falling into the same dark hole as you. They haven't yet realised that all that TV advertising has brainwashed them into thinking it is OK to drink. Or perhaps they have the same secret desire as you to stop the madness but haven't managed to find a way out.
When you stop drinking your life will start to come back together. This is all you need to know. If your life improves by quitting the booze, then you know you are drinking too much. It's that simple. Just because everyone else in your social circle seems to be managing OK doesn't mean that they are. They are all drowning in an ocean of self-loathing and despair.
No amount of drinking questionnaires will help you. You can keep trying to find different ones that will give you the answer you are seeking which is that your drinking is healthy. No ridiculous Government guidelines will soften the blow. Trying to justify your drinking by pointing at others will not help you. The answer lies within the self.
If you think you are drinking too much, then you are.