How can I tell if I’m an alcoholic?
Forget all of your preconceived notions about what an alcoholic is. What it looks like to be an alcoholic; how you think they live, whether they are homeless or have a house, whether they have children or live alone. And so on.
Alcoholism is what’s been dubbed a non-discriminating disease. And what that means is that it affects people from ALL walks of life. Some alcoholics are homeless, others are high-powered attorneys, airline pilots, maybe even your family physician. Alcoholics can be Black, white, Asian, young, old, rich, poor, male, or female.
If you’re asking yourself, “How can I tell if I’m an alcoholic?” chances are that that alone is an indication you have a problem when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. You might think, “well, I’m just a social drinker,” or if you’re willing to admit that you hit the sauce a little harder than others, maybe you prefer the term “problem drinker.”
Making justifications and excuses and trying to come up with euphemistic and more palatable terms is quite funny to those of us who have been there and who now realize that we, indeed, have a problem with alcohol and this is why: Non-alcoholics don’t spend any time at all wondering if they prefer the term “problem drinker” over “alcoholic.” That kind of thinking is the mental part of your disease and it’s pushing you back towards that drink because, after all, you were never really that bad. Right?
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re an alcoholic, chances are that you are one. “Normal” people – the ones who don’t have the disease of alcoholism – don’t have to ponder this type of thing. There is simply no indication of a problem. But, if you’re thinking about this at all, you just might be an alcoholic.
Now, more specifically, alcoholism is a medical disease that involves a couple key aspects. First there is the mental obsession. If you find yourself thinking about drinking, or thinking about not drinking, then you are experiencing the mental obsession of the disease. Many alcoholics continue to drink despite genuinely wanting to stop. But they keep drinking because they simply cannot stop thinking about it.
And this leads us to the next aspect of alcoholism: the physical compulsion to drink. When your mind keeps racing about that next drink, your actions soon follow. The mental obsession of the disease then leads the alcoholic to compulsively drink, again, even if it it’s against their will.
Alcoholism is chronic, progressive, and deadly. No one chooses to have it. There are both genetic and environmental factors that cause this disease. The only way to keep from drinking is to find a solution, which is referred to as recovery. But because alcoholism is chronic, meaning a life-long affliction, drinking socially is not an option. Once that first drink goes down, the phenomenon of craving (that mental obsession) kicks in and a chain reaction soon follows.
Putting any mood or mind-altering substance in your system can reignite your alcoholism all over again. It’s possible to come back, but it’s just as possible that you will never get that chance.
Alcoholism is a serious disease and needs to be treated as such. It’s one that affects more than just the alcoholic; it affects their friends, family, and other loved ones. As we learn more and more about the disease, we find new and better ways of treating it as well as tried-and-true methods. The best approach to treating alcoholism is a program that incorporates several different methods and therapies. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 to find out more about getting help for your alcoholism. You are not alone.