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Am I an alcoholic?

Have you ever wondered if you were an alcoholic, looked up online about alcoholism, or taken a quiz to know if you were an alcoholic?


The term "alcoholic" is often used to describe someone who has developed a dependence on alcohol, where their consumption has negative effects on their health, relationships, and daily life. While the label "alcoholic" can be helpful in understanding and addressing such issues, it's important to approach it with care. Labels like these can carry stigma and might not fully capture the complexity of an individual's relationship with alcohol.


I am discussing labels with caution, as for some people, identifying themselves as alcoholic is a relief, an explanation, and a significant part of their ‘why’ they are staying away from alcohol. However, for an important number of people, especially those who lean more towards binge drinking, they may not feel they are alcoholic because they can occasionally stay away from alcohol for certain periods and moderate their consumption.


So, when it comes to questioning our relationship with alcohol, we’ll often observe some signs that may indicate if alcohol is causing some issues in your life.


Here are some signs you can consider:


Loss of Control: You find it difficult to stop drinking once you start, often exceeding the limits you initially set for yourself – in other words no off button after a few drinks.


Neglecting Responsibilities: Drinking starts to interfere with your professional life or personal and family responsibilities, leading to missed obligations or poor performance.


Drinking Alone or in Secret: You often drink in isolation or conceal your drinking habits from others by lying, minimising, hiding the truth about it.


Loss of Interest: Activities you used to enjoy have taken a back seat to drinking, and you find yourself spending more time focused on alcohol-related activities.


Continuing Despite Consequences: Despite experiencing negative consequences such as health issues, relationship problems, or legal troubles due to alcohol, you continue to drink.


Failed Attempts to Quit: You've made multiple attempts to cut back, moderate or quit drinking, but these efforts have been unsuccessful or short-lived.


Cravings and Preoccupation: You often find yourself thinking about alcohol, experiencing strong cravings, and planning your activities around drinking. Alcohol takes a lot of your mental space, it’s part of your planning, rules, rewards, and regrets.


Ultimately, what matters most is recognising when alcohol use is causing harm and taking steps to address it in a supportive and non-judgmental way. If you're concerned about your own relationship with alcohol, seeking guidance and support can provide valuable insights without getting hung up on labels. Usually, when we question something, it’s because we have a hunch or an itch, and something doesn’t feel entirely right.


Personally, I think label can be limiting and stigmatising. They can contribute significantly to the shame caused by alcohol in many cases. This was certainly the case for me, and I wish I hadn't waited so long to talk to someone about it. That's why I'm now open about it and offer counselling services to anyone who questions their relationship with alcohol.

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