If you find yourself reading this article, chances are that you are either worried about your drinking habits, or someone else has expressed concern about them. Maybe it’s both. Either way, if you’re asking yourself: “Am I an alcoholic?” we can help.

This Achieve Wellness and Recovery article presents some questions you can ask yourself to help determine whether or not alcoholism is a problem for you and some helpful advice on the next steps.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism or an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a chronic disease characterized by an inability to stop or control your alcohol consumption despite negative social, work, or health consequences. Alcoholism can be severe, moderate, or mild, but recovery is possible regardless of how far the disease has progressed.

In simple terms, alcoholism isn’t defined by regular or even heavy drinking. An alcohol use disorder has as much to do with your relationship with alcohol as the amount that you use. People addicted to alcohol indeed tend to drink more than most other people though. It’s also true that the disease is progressive. That is, over time alcohol consumption usually increases.

What we mean by alcoholism being defined by your relationship with alcohol is that the key difference between a person with alcoholism and a person who just enjoys drinking is that the latter will stop drinking or cut back in the face of consequences. The person who is addicted to alcohol generally will not or can not cut back or stop their drinking, even after fairly serious and mounting consequences.

Alcoholism or an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can be defined by:

  • Drinking at inappropriate times or in inappropriate quantities.
  • Lying, misleading people, or concealing your drinking from others.
  • Persistent urges or a need to drink alcohol to avoid anxiety, insomnia, or discomfort.
  • Continuing to consume alcohol, even in the face of repeated negative consequences.

Questions You Can Ask Yourself About Alcoholism

Bear in mind that only a medical professional can formally diagnose someone with an alcohol use disorder. That said, there are some basic questions you can ask yourself that could help you determine whether or not it is likely you have a problem with alcohol.

Here are a few of those questions:

1. Do you regularly drink by yourself? More than one or two drinks?
2. Do you drive under the influence regularly or have you ever had a DUI/DWI?
3. Has anyone ever expressed their concern about your drinking? More than once?
4. If you get upsetting news or feel stressed, is your first instinct to seek out a drink?
5. Have you been late to work or called out sick due to drinking? More than once a year?
6. Do you ‘pre-game’ (drink at home) before going out to a bar or restaurant with friends?
7. Have you ever refused to go to an event when you heard alcohol wouldn’t be served?
8. Would you refuse an invite to a fun weekend with friends if there would be no alcohol?
9. At a party do you often have your next drink or beer in hand before you finish the first?
10. Do you get anxious or have trouble sleeping if you go without alcohol for 48 hours?

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than one of the questions above, then it is certainly possible you have alcoholism. As mentioned, only a professional can formally diagnose an alcohol use disorder — but answering ‘yes’ to a couple of these questions is reason enough to do some further investigating. Consider getting a formal assessment.

You can call Achieve Wellness and Recovery for a confidential consultation over the phone to begin with at (833) 680-0142

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcoholism

What is the Difference Between Alcoholism and an Alcohol Use Disorder?

There is no difference between alcoholism and an Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. These are different terms for the same condition. Alcohol Use Disorder is the more modern, preferred term in clinical circles. We sometimes use the term alcoholism too though, to avoid misunderstandings.

Do I Need To Go To Rehab To Overcome Alcoholism? Can’t I Just Go To Meetings?

How you handle your alcohol addiction is entirely up to you. Some people have managed to get sober and stay that way by attending AA meetings and working the 12 steps of the program alone. However, your chances of successful recovery increase exponentially if you supplement your meetings or outside support groups with professional medical treatment.

How Much Help Do I Need To Get Sober? Isn’t It Just About Discipline?

Overcoming alcohol addiction is very difficult. It may very likely be the hardest thing you ever do. Your best bet is to take advantage of all the help you can get if you hope to succeed in sobriety. Overcoming alcoholism isn’t a matter of discipline or willpower, it’s a matter of strategy and support. You can’t muscle your way through, you need to use your head and be willing to accept help.

Can I Detox Myself Off of Alcohol At Home?

It is never a good idea to attempt to ‘wean’ yourself off alcohol or detox at home. Not only is it uncomfortable, it’s also rarely successful and it can be dangerous and even deadly. We’re not being dramatic when we say that. Alcohol is one of only three categories of drugs that can actually kill you in withdrawal (the others are benzodiazepines and barbituates). Every year people die due to seizures from unmedicated, unsupervised alcohol withdrawal. Do not take chances. Call Achieve Wellness and Recovery at (833) 680-0142 for immediate alcohol detox placement.

Why We’re Moving Away From The Term Alcoholic

For many reasons, including when people ask themselves “am I an alcoholic?”, the term ‘alcoholic’ has been phased out of the conversation about alcohol dependence and addiction in recent years. The reasons why are important to discuss because they relate to the shame and stigma still sometimes associated with addiction to alcohol or any other substance.

The difference between saying someone is addicted to alcohol or “they are an alcoholic” may seem subtle, but it carries far more weight than you might imagine. Consider that, when you say a person is addicted to alcohol, you’re describing a current state. There’s nothing permanent implied there. You aren’t talking about who the person is or their identity.

Alcoholics Anonymous does teach that alcoholism isn’t cured, it merely “goes dormant”. This can be a helpful way to think, in that it keeps a person from letting their guard down or taking sobriety for granted. But, when we say someone is an alcoholic, the implication is that their alcohol addiction is their identity.

We think it’s important to strike a balance between recognizing if addiction is a problem for you — while at the same time, not accepting shame or taking on a disease as your entire identity. You are more than your addiction. Acknowledge that you are addicted to alcohol if you are. But you do not need to label yourself as “an alcoholic” in the process. Especially if it harms your self-esteem because that’s not going to help your recovery.

Overcome Alcohol Addiction at Achieve Wellness and Recovery

If you’re tired of letting alcohol run the show — Achieve Wellness and Recovery wants to help. Even if you’re not sure if you’re ready for treatment yet, just starting the conversation about recovery will give you a reason for home. Don’t wait.

If you have questions about alcoholism treatment in NJ, we’ve got answers. Achieve Wellness and Recovery is dedicated to providing a safe place where people can heal and recover from alcohol addiction and live better lives.

Give Achieve Wellness and Recovery a call at (833) 680-0142
You can also click here to find out how our program can work with your insurance.

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