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Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:11 am
by kraton
I'm not sure where to start here. I'm 28 and have been drinking fairly regularly for the last 12 years, that is to say I'll go down to the bar on Friday night and drink anywhere from 8-10 pints of beer and usual blackout through drinking. I have also more recently started drinking on a weeknight around 4-5 beer bottles (just enough to make sure I can't feel the effects the next morning). My behaviour when I am out drinking is erratic and it has become an issue for my girlfriend who I'm only seeing around 2-3 times a week. Does this sound like the hallmarks of an alcoholic? I want to start taking steps to stop and want to know the best way to go about it.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:12 am
by avaneesh912
Does this sound like the hallmarks of an alcoholic?


Yes, But try to quit on your own resource and be honest about how you handle your emotions. That will give you good idea whether you are an alcoholic or not.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:47 am
by Chelle
Hi Kraton,
You might be. When I started trying to control it and could not keep a quit, I knew I was in trouble. Normal people who want to quit just do it. No fuss, no muss. The fact that you are questioning it should give you pause. Check out a meeting and see if you can relate. You might be a hard drinker. For me, it just kept getting worse. Only you can declare yourself an alcoholic. I once quit at 27. I kept that quit for years, picked it back up and it took 10 years to put it back down and a whole lot of misery in between.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:29 am
by kraton
Thanks for all your comments I really appreciate you taking the time. For me the question of alcohol centres more on my morality - am I a bad person for going out to the bar and displaying actions which would repulse me if I was sober. I think the most difficult part for me, and I wonder how others have managed, is actually quitting the act of drinking. So many of my friends and family are used to meeting in bars and it always looks odd ordering soft drinks as they are so used to seeing me with a drink in hand. Im interested how others get round this? Might be worth mentioning I'm from the UK and it's difficult to go home from work without seeing 2-3 different groups of people drinking outside, it seems it's everywhere.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:23 pm
by PaigeB
... am I a bad person for going out to the bar and displaying actions which would repulse me if I was sober. I think the most difficult part for me, and I wonder how others have managed, is actually quitting the act of drinking.

I had to DO something different. For a while, I needed a substitute and I went to a lot of meetings. I know now that I was not bad - I was sick. I have a disease, like cancer, called Alcoholism. I need to treat it.

I found that by going different places with different people proved to me that it was not that everyone was drinking... that was me THINKING that everyone was drinking. I was truly amazed that normal people and drunks don't go to the same places, so I wasn't seeing the other side!

There is another entire reality than the small one my mind created to protect my drinking! A new Freedom, indeed.

("new freedom" - page 83-84 Big Book)

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:09 pm
by JohnDaniels
kraton wrote:Thanks for all your comments I really appreciate you taking the time. For me the question of alcohol centres more on my morality - am I a bad person for going out to the bar and displaying actions which would repulse me if I was sober. I think the most difficult part for me, and I wonder how others have managed, is actually quitting the act of drinking. So many of my friends and family are used to meeting in bars and it always looks odd ordering soft drinks as they are so used to seeing me with a drink in hand. Im interested how others get round this? Might be worth mentioning I'm from the UK and it's difficult to go home from work without seeing 2-3 different groups of people drinking outside, it seems it's everywhere.


I don't usually write posts this long but in this case I believe I need to.

Welcome Kraton,
I hope you quickly find the answers you are looking for.
I believe you are an Alcoholic and I believe I can tell you that, however it is you who will have to decide if you want to go to any lengths to achieve sobriety that is talked about in depth in the book that is our text for living. We call it "The Big Book" is titled "Alcoholics Anonymous".

It is often asked "Am I an Alcoholic?" I say yes you are. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and has feathers like a duck it's a duck. I know a duck when I see one and so does anyone with half the size of a pea for a brain.
Alcoholism is a real disease. It is not because we are immoral or bad.
There's some holy roller preachers in the Bible Belt who actually pass that shame off on people. I believe you are a good person, I believe you have a good heart, you are not bad, you are an alcoholic.
I don't get into immature arguments with people who spout off "Hey! You're not allowed to say that!" I don't know where that came from but I have an idea. Well, I AM allowed, I'm saying it and I have good reason to.
When a person describes their drinking behaviors as an alcoholic, then goes into all the excuses that are preventing them from moving forward into recovery and why they are hesitant about recovery because they might not look good to their drinking friends and drinking family, I see an alcoholic conning themselves and that is the cunning, baffling, powerful disease of Alcoholism. If you really want to get sober and live, it really doesn't matter if someone else wants you to keep on drinking and die from Alcoholism. But it's been my experience 9 times out of 10, those people don't care if you get sober. From what I've seen they are supportive of your decision to get sober.

I used to tell others they were the only ones who could decide if they were alcoholic or not. That's just a chicken shirt way of pulling back and not taking the responsibility we should to the newcomers and for the newcomers coming into AA. It's a chicken shirt way of not reaching out to the newcomer and then STAYING with them. That's our job as an experienced AA member, to reach out to the newcomer who has come to us because they already suspect they are an alcoholic, it's their way of asking us for our help. It's their first major step into honesty, being honest with themselves. If we respond by telling them "Only YOU can answer that question. We can't" that's just bull shirt.

Here's why:
They can't really answer that question about whether they're the only one who knows if they're an Alcoholic because nobody comes into Alcoholics Anonymous knowing what an Alcoholic is.
At my very first meeting I heard everyone get up to the podium and say "Hi everybody my names Joe Sobriety and I'm an Alcoholic".
When they called on me I walked up to the podium shaking in my boots and I said "Hi everybody my names Climbing the Walls and I'm an Alcoholic". I said it but I had no idea what I was even saying introducing myself as an Alcoholic. Heck if they all would've said "Hi everybody my names Ivan Oder and I'm a Barney Surfer" then that's what I would have said too just because I knew I was in trouble and I knew I needed help. At that first meeting I wanted so desperately to be among the smiling happy sober faces in Alcoholics Anonymous! I knew I was in the right place but I was confused like we all are when we first come to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh there's a few here and there who have a good idea of what an Alcoholic is the first time they come into Alcoholics Anonymous if they've been through a very good treatment center who focuses on the disease of Alcoholism and the treatment of Alcoholism. And I don't mean that buzz word "diss-ease" as in "Oh you're just diss-eased about yourself. What we need to do is make you more at ease ..." and then go into all that inner child garbage and focusing on all the pain and blame and Victimization Therapy. No! This is a real disease that people really do die from. The quicker we reach back to these Alcoholics, the better chance they have of staying alive. I'm not nearly as patient anymore about waiting around to see if an Alcoholic will decide for themselves if they are an Alcoholic because I just got tired of hearing they died or watching them die. There's just way too many Alcoholics dieing from Alcoholism and it's getting worse. I came from a group that believed in working through the steps, engraving the long form of the 12 Steps in our thoughts and living them, and when we got to Step 12 we didn't consider it just good reading material, we live it. There's tons of 12 Step work we can all do. I had a sponsor who told me working directly with the suffering alcoholic is what would work best for me. So I man the AA phones in my home at midnight because that's when the sickest ones need help and we need to be there for them. So that's what I do and I tell you, we really can stop them from dieing.

This needs to be told:

I shared with a beloved friend late last night early this morning about the seriousness of Alcoholism. It was when I heard an Alcoholic moaning in agony in an alley who I walked back to help. By the time I walked through that dark alley maybe 25 to 30 yards in length, I squatted down to help him and he died moments later while I cradled his head in my arms and held him to my chest. All I could do in the last few moments of his life was look directly into that mans eyes and reassure him and minimize the fear, horror, terror and bewilderment he was feeling. I prayed with him and he said "They're here. I see them. I hear the music." He smiled and said, "It's the Angels. It's the Love". But just moments earlier he was suffering in terror and horror, moaning in total bewilderment. I have seen this often and it may be the prayer we shared in at the end. I know some doctors disagree and call that experience something else chemically going on. Maybe so, but even at that it's happening because God designed it to happen that way. God is one heck of a scientist.

Guys like that on skid row dieing don't walk into a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and wait to be called on, then say "I want to ask you fine people if I am an alcoholic because I suspect I might be one." If someone told them "You're the only one who can answer that question" if that happened in that situation that Skid Row Alcoholic would be out of that meeting like a shot! He'd be saying "Yesss! That's exactly what I wanted to hear" as he headed to the closest liquor store to lift a cheap bottle of Thunderbird Wine. Those Alcoholics almost always die from Alcoholism in a dirty filthy rat infested dark alley just like the Skid Row Alcoholic I mentioned who died in my arms in that alley.

Now, the disease of Alcoholism doesn't care who any of us are or how old we are. It will kill us all the same unless we get in to Alcoholics Anonymous, get a good sponsor who knows what Alcoholism really is, and who knows the 12 Steps and will get down on bended knees praying to God for guidance when they both start on that journey inward via the 12 Steps.

I just love Alcoholics like the one I mentioned on skid row. As that man died in my arms I saw gold in his eyes before I covered them. That and others are what prompted my wife and I to open a 501 (c) 3 halfway house 13 years ago for Alcoholics. It has 12 rooms. It makes no profit. We take in the sickest ones we find sleeping in cardboard boxes, under freeway overpasses, in bushes beside 8 lane streets with heavy traffic, the dry river bottom in the bad part of town. They come in hurting, they come out of the halfway house winners with a purpose in life. I just can not set back and watch them die any longer. I'm just tired of hearing about or seeing Alcoholics dieing all because they were told so smugly to decide for themselves if they are an Alcoholic. So if they ask, I'll tell them and I won't be a hard ass about it.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:47 pm
by avaneesh912
So many of my friends and family are used to meeting in bars and it always looks odd ordering soft drinks as they are so used to seeing me with a drink in hand.


Early in recovery its advised to stay away from places where you could be enticed into drinking. That will get you a fair idea of your state of being. If you are an alcoholic, you will drink where ever you are. We tend to withdraw from society when we realize we drink more than others drink. And they start telling us we drink too much. Read Bill Story from the book Alcoholics Anonymous you could relate to what I am talking about.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:00 am
by avaneesh912
Also, we think we drink for comradery but if you look for the real reason, we drink for the effect produced by alcohol. But then some of us are bodily defunct, so we cant stop with just 1 or 2 drinks.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:46 am
by WendyR
Hi Kraton,

Chelle wrote:Hi Kraton,
When I started trying to control it and could not keep a quit, I knew I was in trouble. Normal people who want to quit just do it. No fuss, no muss. The fact that you are questioning it should give you pause.



This quote from Chelle makes a great point. If you're trying to "control" it, chances are you either are an alcoholic or well on your way. Brock made a statement in another post that that hit home for me.

Brock wrote:normal folks don't look forward to, and plan nights of drinking


That's exactly what my life was like on a daily basis. By 11 am, I was already thinking about buying that night's 12 pack. By 2 pm I was already itching to start drinking but knew it was too early (I mean, what would people think? Not to mention I still had to pick my kids up from school). By 5 pm, I would pop the top and don't look back until the next morning after I passed out the night before, not remembering if I even tucked my kids in for the night. So sad.

It's actually a good thing that you're questioning yourself. The first step is realizing you have a problem. Now you can work towards nipping it in the bud before it damages your life in ways you can't repair. Keep head held high! You can do this! :-)

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:24 am
by Roberth
Hi Kraton and welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. It really doesn’t matter if you are an alcoholic or not, what matters is that you want to stop. It sounds like you are having a bit of stopping on your own and that is where AA can help. You can give AA a try and if thing don’t get better you can always go back to your old ways.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:25 pm
by Saratonin88
I believe that if you need to ask yourself if you're an alcoholic, then you probably are.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:23 am
by Bcarolan
There are plenty of 10-20 question quizzes online that can help you answer your question, but sit with yourself and think about it. Without getting all crazy with questions....
1) How is your drinking vs your friends/family/colleagues/peers?
2 Is it intruding and/or causing (too) many province your life?
3) Can you stop after, say, a couple of drinks?
4) Have you tried to drink only on weekends and then the weekend starts on Friday and next week Thurs and next week on Wednesday?

All alcoholics drink differently. I didn't drink in bars, never got arrested, never got a a DUI, never got in fights, and maintained my job quite well. So, this is something only you can figure out. Alcoholism is self-supporting, self-diagnosed, and self-treated. Hope that helps.

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:20 am
by avaneesh912
Another key question Bill W and Dr Bob ask Bill D is: Can the person stay stopped on their own accord?

Re: Am I an alcoholic?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:46 am
by Spirit Flower
Can the person stay stopped on their own accord?
For me, one could say I wasn't "that bad." But I would have tried the experiment of the first drink over and over without AA. My other was a long term functional drunk. I would have lived that miserable life without AA.