I was 22 when my brother took me to my first recovery meeting for my drinking. 25 years ago, that was considered young to get sober and I was surrounded by people much older than me telling me what to do. I looked at all the differences instead of the similarities in our stories and I STRONGLY doubted I was an alcoholic. If the following lists of questions existed, I don’t remember them. I posted them here thinking that they might help you or someone you know:
“To help you decide whether you might have a problem with your own drinking, we’ve prepared these 12 questions” from https://alcoholics-anonymous.eu/new-to-aa/12-questions/
- Do you drink because you have problems? To face up to stressful situations?
- Do you drink when you get mad at other people, your friends or parents?
- Do you often prefer to drink alone, rather than with others?
- Are you starting to get low marks? Are you skiving off work?
- Do you ever try to stop or drink less – and fail?
- Have you begun to drink in the morning, before school or work?
- Do you gulp your drinks as if to satisfy a great thirst?
- Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?
- Do you avoid being honest with others about your drinking?
- Do you ever get into trouble when you are drinking?
- Do you often get drunk when you drink, even when you do not mean to
The answers are nobody’s business but your own. If you can answer yes to any one of these questions, maybe it’s time you took a serious look at what your drinking might be doing to you.
“Am I an Addict? Only you can answer this question.” from https://m.na.org/?ID=ips-an-an-IP7
- Do you ever use alone?
- Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking that one particular drug was the problem?
- Have you ever manipulated or lied to a doctor to obtain prescription drugs?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to obtain drugs?
- Do you regularly use a drug when you wake up or when you go to bed?
- Have you ever taken one drug to overcome the effects of another?
- Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of you using drugs?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Has your job or school performance ever suffered from the effects of your drug use?
- Have you ever been arrested as a result of using drugs?
- Have you ever lied about what or how much you use?
- Do you put the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities?
- Have you ever tried to stop or control your using?
- Have you ever been in a jail, hospital or drug rehabilitation center because of your using?
- Does using interfere with your sleeping or eating?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?
- Do you feel it is impossible for you to live without drugs?
- Do you ever question your own sanity?
- Is your drug use making life at home unhappy?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without drugs?
- Have you ever felt defensive, guilty or ashamed about your using?
- Do you think a lot about drugs?
- Have you had irrational or indefinable fears?
- Has using affected your sexual relationship?
- Have you ever taken drugs you didn’t prefer?
- Have you ever used drugs because of emotional pain or stress?
- Have you ever overdosed on any drugs?
- Do you continue to use despite negative consequences?
- Do you think that you have a drug problem?
“Am I an addict?” This is a question only you can answer. We found that we all answered different numbers of these questions “yes.” The actual number of “yes” responses wasn’t as important as how we felt inside and how addiction had affected our lives.
Some of these questions don’t even mention drugs. This is because addiction is an insidious disease that affects all areas of our lives – even those areas which seem at first to have little to do with drugs. The different drugs we used were not as important as why we used them and what they did to us.
Some people say, “If you’re asking whether or not your an alcoholic/addict, then you already know you are one!” I gotta tell ya…I was either too young, too dumb, too drunk, too anorexic, too boy obsessed, or too clueless to know. I really wasn’t sure. About my 12th year of sobriety I found an 8-page letter I wrote to that brother who took me to my first meeting. I wrote it when I had about 30 days of sobriety. I went on and on about my doubts and fears over whether or not I was an alcoholic. I didn’t want to make a LIFE LONG DECISION AT 23 YEARS OLD. I saw a beautiful meme recently that would have really helped me back then…
This confusion lasted until I had about 3 months of sobriety. I went to a meeting Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired (HALT!!!). I decided that I had enough of these meetings and all of this sobriety BULLSHIT! I was pissed at everyone and everything! So, after the meeting, I decided I was going to drink. My sponsor’s husband must have picked up on that because he walked right up to me and said that I needed to go with him to their house to see my sponsor. Nope. He insisted that I go. Nope. He asked why not. I said I didn’t want to. He knew that I made up my mind and that there was NOTHING HE COULD SAY OR DO TO PREVENT ME FROM TAKING THAT FIRST DRINK.
What immediately followed proved to me – for the last 25 years, without a doubt – that I am an alcoholic.
Normal drinkers don’t dig for change in the bottom of their purse so they can spend their last $2.75 on the cheapest bottle of wine they can afford (Boone’s Farm) and drink it while they drive home BECAUSE THEY ARE MAD ABOUT SOMETHING. I was completely drunk in the 10 minutes in took to finish the bottle and get home. I ended up on the kitchen floor. What bits I do remember from that night involve me calling my sponsor; her telling me to pour out all of my vanilla extract (I DIDN’T KNOW I COULD DRINK THAT TO GET DRUNK!!!); her asking me if I was an alcoholic (UM…YUP!); the guy I was dating showing up; me not being able to get off my kitchen floor; my long hair being stuck in my own drool; and my roommate putting me – fully clothed – in a cold shower, shutting the bathroom door, and leaving me there so she could go to bed.
Can you say “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization”?? Ugh.
There were no, “Oh, you poor baby!” or, “Oh Sweetie, can I do anything for you?” The last 4 people who gave a shit about me were my sponsor, my brother, that guy I was dating, and my roommate. And you can see how they all felt about me! My brother wasn’t even talking to me at that point. I had lost everyone on the outside and absolutely EVERYTHING on the inside. I was an empty shell of a person…wanting to die, without the courage to kill myself or the will to live.
The next day, when I finally came to, I KNEW I was an alcoholic. I had limited choices and I knew I had to make one. You see which one I chose.
My hope for you is that you make the choice that heals your soul and fixes your broken heart. If you are already sober and in recovery, I am so grateful that you are “trudging the road of happy destiny” with me! Either way, we have so much to learn and wonderful things we can offer this world.
It’s never too late…