Thursday, 10 July 2014

How to Tell if You're an Alcoholic

This is a question I often asked myself when I was hoping I wouldn't have to stop drinking. I know from other sober blogs and fora that many people wonder the same thing. Why? Because if we don't meet the criteria to be labelled an alcoholic then we are okay, aren't we? We are not that bad, need not worry and can carry on as we are. Deep down we know that's not true.

Asking whether or not you are an alcoholic is the wrong question.

What we need to know is whether or not we have a problem with alcohol. 
 This week new guidance issued to GPs in the UK shows a simple way to decide.

Previously, the GPs would ask you about the number of units of alcohol you consumed per week. You would answer, telling the truth divided by 2 (or 3 or 4) and they would compare this to the weekly recommended limit of 14 units for women and 21 for men. Translating a bowl of wine into units and multiplying by number of top ups and 7 days in the week quickly gave us a huge number. But this number was not particularly meaningful to us on an individual, personal level.

Now it is simple. The Doctor can ask 2 questions.

1. Have you ever done anything you regret whilst drunk?

2. Have you ever had more than 6 drinks in one sitting?

These we can immediately relate to. These are easy questions to answer with a simple Yes/No required.

So have you? Have you had more than 6 drinks at one sitting OR regretted anything that's happened whilst you were drunk?

If so, relax. You're not an alcoholic, but you do have a problem with alcohol.

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