Am I an Alcoholic?

Question: A few of my friends and family members have said something to me about my drinking recently. I never thought I was an alcoholic. Neither of my parents are alcoholics, and it doesn’t really run in my family. How do you know when you are an alcoholic? When can I know that it’s time to start drinking? – Concerned in Asheville

Hello, Concerned in Asheville. Your problem is a common one that a lot of people wrestle with.

First of all, your parents don’t need to be alcoholics in order for you to be one. Alcoholism is genetic. It can also be brought about by your environment. Whatever the reason, it can be hard to know what the difference is between someone who likes drinking and someone who is an alcoholic. Here are a few questions that will help you to determine whether or not you are an alcoholic:

Have multiple friends and/or family members said something to you?

Based on your question, it sounds like they have. I know it can be tempting in these moments to brush your family and friends aside but if multiple people who care about you are saying something about your drinking, it may be a problem.

Do you drink alone?

If you drink alone multiple times a month, you may have a real problem. Most casual drinkers certainly don’t.

Do you often black out?

If you often get so drunk that you black out, you may need to think about your drinking.

Do you drink every day or even every weekend?

You might want to think about how often you are drinking.

Could you go without drinking for a month?

When you think about not drinking for a month, does it feel like no big deal? Does it make you panic?

Have you tried to quit drinking before?

If this is not the first time you’ve thought about quitting drinking, it might be possible that alcoholism is the root of your problem.

It can be difficult to admit to yourself that you have a problem with drinking, but admitting that you need help is the first thing that you need to do. And you can always come back to the Hope Line if you need help!