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Is Drinking Affecting Your Relationship?

How do you know if you have a drinking problem? The following are things to consider to see if you might have a drinking problem.

 

1). When your partner says that he/she is bothered or affected by your drinking.

2). There are consequences resulting from your drinking. For example, are there arguments with your family, a disappointed or angry family member, or regrets about something you did or said at the party? Do you ever go home with someone you don’t know, or promise yourself not to drink so much next time? Are there times when you don’t remember much of the evening?

3). A personality change when you drink. Do you ever get louder or argumentative, silly or flirtatious? Do you repeat the same stories over and over, or think you can dance or have a false sense of confidence when normally you’re shy?

The amount, type and/or frequency are not the place to look to see if you have a drinking problem. In fact, what is missing to complete the above picture is a plain old can of beer. People often think that because they only drink beer they do not have a problem with alcohol. The only difference between drinking beer and hard liquor is that one has to pee more frequently. A shot of hard liquor and a 12-ounce can of beer have approximately the same amount of alcohol.

Speaking of frequency, I have a friend of 35 years who when not dieting, has a drink or two every night and she does not have a drinking problem. Why? Because there is never, ever a personality change. You would never know by her speech or behaviors that she’d had a drink. And there has never been a negative consequence as a result of her alcohol use. She can predict with 100% accuracy her behavior every time she drinks.

Many people can prudently enjoy a daily drink or two. I am not judging those who do. Because I have chosen not to drink, I don’t believe that everyone else shouldn’t either.

I never drank every day and could frequently drink without any negative consequences. However, there were the other times, the times when the consequences were severe, as in shameful and/or dangerous. While I never missed a day of work or got a ticket for driving under the influence, I almost lost my marriage, my self-esteem, and came close to losing my life a few times. I call myself an alcoholic because I cannot predict my behavior with 100% accuracy once I take that first drink. I have a drinking problem. Therefore, I have not had a drink in almost 28 years.

The following information comes from a program that helps people to drink moderately. I am not a fan of moderate drinking if one truly has a problem with alcohol, but their questionnaire is excellent so I offer it here.

If your partner says that you have a problem with alcohol, instead of defending yourself or denying there may be a problem, be brave and ask them to tell you more about what they observe about your behavior when you are drinking.

The following questions cover a wide range of topics having to do with drinking. Please read each question carefully, but do not think too much about its exact meaning. Think about your most recent drinking habits and answer each question by using the criteria listed below. Go ahead, be brave. Take the short quiz below to consider if drinking may be affecting your relationships.

The Short Alcohol Dependence Data Questionnaire

1. Do you find difficulty in getting the thought of drinking out of your mind?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

2. Is getting drunk more important than your next meal?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

3. Do you plan your day around when and where you can drink?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

4.  Do you drink in the morning, afternoon, and evening?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

5. Do you drink for the effect of alcohol without caring what the drink is?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

6. Do you drink as much as you want irrespective of what you are doing the next day?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

7. Given that many problems might be caused by alcohol, do you still drink too much?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

8. Do you know that you won’t be able to stop drinking once you start?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

9. Do you try to control your drinking by giving it up completely for days or weeks at a time?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

10. The morning after a heavy drinking session do you need your first drink to get yourself going?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

11. The morning after a heavy drinking session do you wake up with a definite shakiness of your hands?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

12. After a heavy drinking session do you wake up and retch or vomit?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

13. The morning after a heavy drinking session do you go out of your way to avoid people?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

14. After a heavy drinking session do you see frightening things that later you realize were imaginary?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

15. Do you go drinking and the next day and find that you have forgotten what happened the night before?

Never Sometimes Often           Nearly Always

Scoring:

To figure out your score, give yourself zero points for each “never” answer; one point for “sometimes,” two points for “often,” and three points for “nearly always.”  Out of a possible total of 45, the guidelines for interpretation are as follows:  1-9 is considered low dependence; 10-19, medium dependence; and 20 (or greater) high dependence.

 

Moderation Management Network, Inc.                                                2795 East Bidwell Street Suite 100-244 Folsom, California 95630-6480

 

Email:mm@moderation.org Copyright
Photograph: by morgueFile

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