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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Are we alcoholics?



We knew we were Alcoholics. Not early on, but as time went on, we started identifying as ones with Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AUD), a fancy term used these days for Alcoholics.  In retrospect, we had to come to this conclusion at a certain point in order to heal.  And though our journey through recovery continues in 24-hour increments, we feel that it is important to reconnect to that truth often.  For us, owning this assertion daily is critical to our health.


While others, like family members and our doctors, had their suspicions and declared their stance, we turned to the classic ten-question survey for validation.  Several versions float around the internet, but what follows is good enough to determine us.


For the sober curious, the following questions could clarify the profound internal question. For those, like us, who are in recovery they should be used just to solidify the value of our sobriety and the actions we take daily.


So, without further ado, here are some indicating areas that we have created:


1.       Is alcohol affecting my mental health? My physical health? Is it making me more anxious or more depressed? Has it affected my eating patterns?


Though many surveys ask if we think we are regular drinkers, this examination starts with a fact-based question.  Do we believe, as untrained professionals, that we have a problem with our alcohol consumption? One might even consider the fact that the questioning of a problem could be an indicator of an issue.


2.       Do I crave (a strong desire or to obsess) alcohol at times?


At any time in the past year have we so strongly thought about drinking, and we became obsessed with the notion.  Has the desire and plan for that nightcap become a driving priority? Just the thought of social engagement that doesn't include alcohol as an offering makes us uneasy.


3.       Is alcohol taking up a lot of my time and energy? Do I spend more time with the drink in my hand than I had planned?


Taking these queries to the next level, we must ask if we are thinking about a drink even when our hand is empty.  As necessary, the evaluation looks at how much time and energy we spend nursing the ill effects of a prior binge. Mental energy is as vital as physical energy. Are we taking our time thinking about the drink more often than is comfortable?


4.       Do I drink more than I planned?  Can I slow the intake once it starts?


When reviewing a previous stint with alcohol use, can we honestly answer the question: did we consume more than we had planned? Did we intake more than we could handle? Did we stop when we knew we should have?  Did we consider not drinking before the event? And what changed our course?


5.       Do I lose control mentally or physically when I drink?


Realistically analyzing our capacities and behavior is critical to a proper diagnosis.  Yeah, we made it home safely. But would the more responsible decision be not to operate the motor vehicle in our condition? Or, yes, I tripped, but I can blame it on the tall curb.  Realities are required here, not leaning on lies and false justifications.  Do we carry loads of guilt, shame, or remorse after a drinking event?


6.       Do I retain all of the details? Do I struggle with remembering what transpired during drinking?


We might highlight that we don't have 100% recall, but it is a definitive indicator that we over-consumed.  Any disruption in memory is cause for concern. We score well in this area because our perception is our reality, but if there are gaps, one should be concerned.


7.       Does alcohol consumption negatively affect my personal or professional life? Does drinking cause legal, relational, or health problems?


We have seen thousands of cases of social drinkers who have one, maybe two drinks at an event and then do not drink again for months. This would be considered an average or social drinker.  Question 7 asks us if our continued consumption deters our potential. 


Could relationships be deeper and more legitimate? Would our performance on the job have been better had we not been hungover, drinking, or thinking of drinking? 

Have we received a DUI? -Though this would be considered a good marker, many an alcoholic has skirted this inevitability.


Are others commenting about our intake level or lousy behavior when drinking? This could be its own question, but it hits our relationships.


8.       Has drinking, or the thought of drinking, overtaken my deep-felt interests?


We are wired for enjoyment. Whether taking in the ball game, gardening, enjoying live music, reading, or other healthy habits. The natural alcoholic trend first integrates drinking into our activities and ultimately supersedes them.  It is critical to ask the question, is the event about the event, or is the event about the drinking at the event? A sincere answer is a great indicator.


9.       Has my tolerance to alcohol increased?


This is a pretty simple question to answer. Does it take more alcohol to recapture the buzz we once got from little alcohol? A snapshot of what we drank in the past versus what we drink today would lead to a legitimate answer to this most significant question.


10.   Is my body showing signs of alcohol withdrawal? 


Bottom line, do we shake or get the sweats that can be quickly altered by alcohol consumption? This last indicator is an essential gauge of our body's dependence on the substance.


11.   Can I stop? Permanently


We know many people who have made a life choice not to drink. Can we be one of those people on our own?


What we chose to do with the fact that we were alcoholics was the base for our response.  We have known people who have learned to moderate. We don't believe those people to be extreme like we were.


The point of this exercise for the sober curious is to be clear and prepared to handle the complexities of alcoholism. For the alcoholic, it is to remember where we came from, a life of complication and anxiety. For today, we concede that we are affected by Alcohol Abuse Disorder, and we would choose to respond responsibly.


The survey above could be broken down into one life question: Is alcohol helping or hurting the way I want to live?


We are confident in the fact that we are of the classification “Alcoholic.”


We sought and have found a solution to the drink problem.  We believe each individual needs to decide for themselves if they have a problem.


Will you?

 

 


 

Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #45, titled "Listener Q&A: Rapid Fire - 4 Key Questions”… The session dropped on 2/9/2022….Click here to hear the podcast. 


 

BLOG DISCLAIMER:

Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.

 

 

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