Due you lose time from work do to your drinking?
If you are a student, do you miss classes? Losing time doesn’t mean the whole day or the entire class. Are you late? Do you leave early? If you don’t have a job, why not?
Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
The big lie the drinker tells himself is, “I am only hurting myself.” This is simply not true, there are two or three or more people affected by your drinking. The pay check is not getting in to the account to pay the bills, child support is not being paid, the kids aren’t getting picked up from Day Care on time, a mother is going to jail on a Saturday morning to visit her son, on a telephone through a pane of glass are some conditions of an unhappy home.
Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
Do you have to have a drink before you go to a social gathering? Is a family outing at the beach with your son’s soccer team easier with a couple of beers? “Painfully shy” simply means you are consumed with what others think of you and with a few drinks, that doesn’t seem to matter so much.
Is drinking affecting your reputation?
Being in high school and known as someone who could drink everyone else under the table might feel like some sort of badge of honor but how does it feel at 20 and 30? Can you really laugh off being know as “the guy who hits on the boss’s wife at the company party”? Or the successful woman in the company who’s known as “the lady who got her position “drinking” with the boys”?
“I don’t care what people think of me” wouldn’t be necessary if it weren’t for alcohol.
Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
Watch for rationalization, justification and denial when answering this one. If you woke up any morning wishing you hadn’t done something you did the night before, or hoping no one will ever know it was you, then you have experienced remorse and a week, a month or a year later, it is still remorse.
Have you gotten in to financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?
Can you pay your rent, your car payment, your cell phone bill? Living with someone else who pays the rent, not owning a car are not automatic qualifiers for a “no” answer her. Are the bills being paid with money you are earning? Look at your living conditions and honestly state if they are your ideal. If not, does your drinking play any role is this less than satisfactory condition?
Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
In high school there were the popular kids, the smart kids, the jocks and that group of kids who seemed uncomfortable on campus. Those kids weren’t present at the “big party” after the football game but they had their own party. The cheerleaders, the jocks and the popular kids might have beer at their party but this group had hard liquor and marijuana. The teachers and the principal could not have identified them on campus but a student who needed a social group to belong to found them easily. And the parents know. When my son got in to trouble I was always quick to point to Roger. “If you didn’t hang out with Roger, you wouldn’t have these troubles” Years later, I wonder how many parents pointed to my son as the root of their child’s problems.
The same need follows in to adulthood. Most people need social connections. As our drinking progresses we often find it necessary to change social groups. Soon we are not socializing in groups but only one, maybe two other people and our friends do not feel comfortable in the world either.
Does your drinking make you careless of your families welfare?
Have you ever had a drink and driven with a family member in the car? If not, have you ever driven after drinking? Drinking and driving displays a disregard for families. If something happens while you are driving, the family is left to deal with the consequences.
Are you drinking with money that should be spent to pay the gas or electric bills? Is there a risk of the utilities being turned off? Is it disregard to put your family in a position of living without gas or electricity?
Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
Heard at an open Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting. “I sat on a bar stool and dreamed dreams and planned plans but I couldn’t get off the barstool to get them done.”
Did you have dreams as a kid but now, as an adult, you are working a minimum pay job because drinking got in the way of college?
Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
Don’t fool yourself here. If your only drink is a glass of wine every night before going to bed, try going a week without that drink.
Do you want a drink the next morning?
Not “do you take a drink”, do you want a drink?”
Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Do you go to sleep at 2 a.m. and bolt wide awake at 6 a.m.?
The brain chemistry begins to shift with the first drink. The initial drinks seem to give the drinker a sense of ease and comfort. He relaxes after a hard day. She unwinds with a glass of wine after the kids are in bed. Used sparingly, alcohol relaxes and calms the brain and gives the entire body a temporary rest. Most drinkers stop when they achieve this affect. Sometimes they stop half way through a glass of wine. When questioned “why” they aren’t finishing the drink, they may respond with, “I don’t like the way it makes me feel”. The effect wears off as the drinker is sleeping and rarely are there any consequences of the drinking.
There is a class of drinker who experiences alcohol differently. These people drink so much that the brain symptoms are not simply slowed down or mildly repressed. There is so much alcohol effectng brain chemistry that their ability to function is almost stopped.
The sound of a radio turned to full volume can be muffled by putting a heavy wool blanket on top of it but it can still be heard. Another blanket silences it a little more. A third, fourth and fifth blanket make it almost impossible to be heard although we know it is still playing at full volume under the blankets.
This is the drinker who will have difficulty sleeping. When the drinker stops drinking and begins detoxing, the brain begins to be restored. One blanket is taken of the radio.
The drinker stays asleep, ingesting no more alcohol, and another blanket comes off and another. As the alcohol is processed out of his body, the blankets are removed until at about four hours after his last drink the last blanket comes off and the radio is once again at full volume. Jolted awake it manifests in the form of anxiety and excitability. Restless and irritable will be his companions throughout the day or until he can once again drink a sufficient amount of alcohol.
Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
Have you stopped doing some of the things you have always enjoyed? You are not going to the gym as often, you have always been a reader of science fiction books, reading two or three a week and now you cannot remember when you read the last one. When’s the last time you engaged in any activity that didn’t involve drinking?
Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
Have you been counseled for absences or tardiness? It’s often hard to give full attention the day after a drinking binge. Are you giving your employer 100%?
Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
Most drinkers drink essentially because they like the effect produced. Again the brain chemistry relaxes with alcohol. Justification, rationalization and denial momentarily mask worry. Is this why you continue to drink? Somewhere between drinks two and five you grow a couple inches taller, you drop 20 pounds and everything in your world suddenly is easy. Those problems you may have had have mysteriously disappeared. Who wouldn’t drink if this was the result?
Do you drink alone?
“I only drink alone when there’s no one around to drink with”, “I prefer to drink alone. No one really understand. I just don’t want to endure those remarks some people make”
Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?
There is a very small section of drinkers that experience this
Has a physician ever treated you for drinking?
There are a number of conditions that would cause you to see a doctor. Did the doctor ever tell you that you shouldn’t drink?
Do you drink to build up your self confidence?
Funniest thing happened. We were drinking at the bar in a bowling alley and some of my pals wanted to bowl. I knew I was not a good bowler and backed out. I drank as they bowled. By the time the second game started, I knew I could bowl better than any of them What had I been thinking?
I had to give a presentation at work. I didn’t think it was very good. I never really felt like I should be the one selected to put this presentation together. I should have put more time in to it. A group of us went to lunch before the presentation. I had a couple of drinks. An hour later as I approached the podium to give my presentation, I hoped my audience was advanced enough to be able to follow the concepts of my work.
Have you ever been in a hospital or institution(i.e. jail) on account of your drinking?
The big lie the 40 year old man tells himself as he sits in the visiting section of the county jail wearing an orange jump suit. Phone is his hand watching his 67 year old mother sit down on the other side of the glass, picking up her phone, “I’m not hurting anyone. I am only hurting myself.”
Email your questions or topic suggestions to: email@example.com and let’s experience this journey together. You will remain anonymous.