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How to Know If You Are an Alcoholic

answered 02:33 AM EST, Sat February 23, 2013
anonymous anonymous
Who can help me with a drinking problem? I have been to 12 steps meetings and they just don’t feel right to me. I feel like everyone there has a problem that’s 10 times worse than what I am dealing with. I feel like a poseur. But on the other hand I keep getting into trouble with drinking and with drinking and driving and from my wife who I am separated with at the moment in part because of the problems from my drinking. I have a problem but I do not drink every day and I do not think I am an alcoholic. I feel like AA and rehab and what not is all set up to deal with people who are alcoholics and I am not sure where the guy like me is supposed to turn? Can you offer me any advice on getting some help, even though I must stress, I am not an alcoholic?

Anna Deeds Says...

Anna Deeds A. Deeds

Thank you for your question. Before I answer your question, I would like to clear up some misconceptions about alcoholism. Alcoholism is not about how much or how often you drink. A person can have the disease of alcoholism without drinking every day. I have known alcoholics who only drink on the weekends. Alcoholism is about the problems that alcohol causes and the inability to stop drinking despite the problems. 

From your question, it is obvious that alcohol is causing problems in your life. However, you have continued to drink. That you are asking for help suggests that you have been unable to quit drinking on your own. Therefore, you meet the two requirements for alcoholism that I explained above. Alcohol is causing problems in your life yet you have been unable to stop drinking. 

The reason you don't feel like Alcoholics Anonymous and rehab are not appropriate for you is because you are seeing the differences between yourself and alcoholics. I suggest you look for the similarities. Notice what you have in common with alcoholics. You may not drink every day but alcohol has caused you trouble with the law and your wife.

To answer your question, I suggest you try individual counseling. You can complete alcohol abuse screening tools which will help determine if you are an alcoholic. I think that talking to a professional who is familiar with alcoholism will help you come to terms with the effect your drinking is causing in your life. This may help you feel more comfortable with AA or rehab. You may come to realize how many similarities you have with others in recovery. 

If you truly are not an alcoholic, then counseling will help you find ways to cope with life without alcohol. You can learn new coping skills, stress management and relaxation techniques. You can gain insight into why you drink and what emotional need alcohol is meeting. 

I commend you for recognizing the problems alcohol is causing you and for reaching out for help. I wish you luck with getting help and hope you find the answers you are looking for.

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Page last updated Feb 23, 2013

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