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Am I Addicted to Alcohol – The No Holes Barred Truth

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Imagine a middle-aged woman in her 40s sitting alone in a dark corner of her home. She's a mother of three, a former business executive, and a woman who has a fairly strong taste for alcohol. She sits alone because her partner has taken the children on 'holiday' for a few weeks. As she sits quietly with a drink in hand, she asks herself, “Am I addicted to alcohol?”

The picture we have painted is fictional, yet it is also very real. As many as 6% to 7% of the adult population in England and Wales exhibits some of the signs of alcoholism. Many of them will never get help because they do not take the time to step back and honestly assess their circumstances. If the scenario we have described sounds familiar to you, we encourage you not to ignore what you're thinking and feeling. Make the effort to find out once and for all if you really are addicted to alcohol. You can never get well until you are willing to take this step.

Addiction Is Easy to Identify

Alcohol is so addictive that it is possible to get hooked in just a matter of weeks or months. Furthermore, addiction to alcohol (aka alcoholism) is something that comes on a person gradually. Most future alcoholics do not even know they are developing a dependence on the drug as they progress along the troubling road to addiction. They don't find out until addiction is already firmly entrenched.

We don't want that to be you. The good news is that it does not have to be. Alcohol addiction is easy to identify among trained professionals who know what to look for. Our counsellors are the kinds of trained professionals who are very familiar with all of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism. They can identify your problem by asking you a series of questions and then grading your answers according to the Alcohol Dependence Scale.

Our counsellors know to look for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Physical and psychological cravings
  • Defensiveness about drinking habits
  • Hiding alcohol at home or work
  • Lack of concern over personal appearance
  • Gradually increasing isolation
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Noticeable mood swings, including periods of anxiety
  • Noticeable weight loss due to poor eating habits
  • Gradually increasing alcohol intake.

The above list is just a starting point for figuring out whether you have a drinking problem. Depending on these symptoms and your answers to the questions our counsellor would ask, you could have one of three problems: problem drinking, alcohol abuse, or alcoholism. Each of the three problems shares similar symptoms in that they are all just three levels of the same condition.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Am I addicted to alcohol? The only way to know for sure is to undergo a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a trained counsellor or medical condition. If you are at all concerned about your drinking habits, now is the time to call our 24-hour helpline or make an appointment to see your doctor. The cold, hard reality of alcoholism is that it is a problem that will not go away by itself. Ignoring the fact that you might have a drinking problem is only going to make your life worse. It could eventually kill you.

Still not convinced? Here are five questions to ask yourself about your drinking habits. Your answers to these questions should provide all the motivation you need to get help.

1. How often do I binge drink?

Binge drinking is defined as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol over a moderate-to-long period. For example, constantly drinking from Friday night through until Sunday afternoon is considered binging. Most people without alcohol problems binge once or twice per year. If you have been binging more than that, you definitely have a drinking problem. Now it is a question of how severe the problem is. The more you binge, the more likely it is you are addicted to alcohol.

2. How often do I forget things that happen while I am drinking?

Memory lapses are a very good indication of intoxication. A person who forgets events that occur during episodes of drinking is not abnormal if such instances are rare. On the other hand, forgetting every weekend because you are drinking is a sign of trouble. The more often you forget what goes on during your drinking episodes, the more likely it is you are an alcoholic. Do not take memory lapses lightly. Memory lapses mean you are drunk. And the more often you are getting drunk, the more your drinking is a problem.

3. How often do I let drinking interfere with social obligations?

People who are addicted to alcohol have a tendency to withdraw themselves from social gatherings unless they can be guaranteed free access to alcohol. Even at that, alcoholics are reluctant to engage socially because they feel guilty about what they do. So, how often do you let your drinking interfere with your social obligations? If you have a drinking problem, you will find yourself withdrawing from social gatherings more often than not. Don't ignore this important warning sign.

4. How often am I late for work or school?

Everyone finds themselves running late every now and again. For the alcoholic, however, running late is a way of life. If you constantly find yourself running late because you are drinking, you have a drinking problem. There is no other way to say it. You need to find out whether you are a problem drinker, an alcohol abuser, or an alcoholic. And you need to do so before it's too late. Ignoring the problem could mean the loss of your job or your removal from school.

5. Do I have hidden stashes of alcohol at home?

Lastly, ask yourself if you have hidden stashes of alcohol around your home or workplace. Hiding drink is a common practice among alcoholics who fear they might find themselves in a position of wanting a drink but having nothing available. If you are hiding the booze, you have a drinking problem.

Get Help Today

If you are wondering, “am I an alcoholic?”, that should be enough motivation for you to at least call and talk to someone. You need to get help today – not tomorrow; not next week; not next month. Alcoholism is a progressively degenerating condition that will steal from you everything that is important if you continue to ignore it. It will consume your finances; it will ruin your family relationships; it will destroy your health; it may end your life prematurely.

We encourage you to stop asking whether or not you are an alcoholic and, instead, do something about it. Call our 24-hour helpline and speak to one of our counsellors. We can refer you to treatment that can start in as little as 24 to 48 hours. You do not have to continue living with your drinking problem if you don't want to. It only takes a phone call to get things started.

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