When I was in College some twelve years ago, I stumbled along the following twelve questions, which are posted on the Alcoholics Anonymous website. Now, at the time I was in full drinking and party mode. I would drink pretty much every night of the week, as well as smoking plenty of hash and popping ecstasy pills/yokes/bangers at the weekend. There was never a question in my mind as to whether I had a problem or not – I was sure that I was good. I was still playing football at a high level and studying a pretty heavy degree. I was in good spirits most of the time and never had any trouble with the ladies. When I answered these questions back then I honestly answered ten out of twelve as yes. For me this meant only one thing – that Alcoholics Anonymous were seriously wrong when they were vetting who had a problem and who didn’t.
When I answer those questions again now, I could answer yes to each one at some stage in the past. That is a pretty damning statistic. Even now when not drinking, I still envy people who can drink and not get into trouble. It means I have a drinking problem. But it is under control.
If you are curious yourself as to where you stand, then you should answer the following truthfully. If you answer more than four as YES then the AA reckon you need to react to potentially harmful drinking habits. I always thought I could just take it or leave it with drinking. But there have been a few years of lows before I came out the other side. If you are concerned then get in touch with me, the AA, your doctor or someone you can trust. There is always time to have the life you wanted and not just one you fall into.
Answer Yes or No to the Following Questions
1.Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days? Most of us in AA made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to AA AA said: “Just try not to drink today.” (If you do not drink today, you cannot get drunk today.)
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking– stop telling you what to do? In AA we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own drinking, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk? We tried all kinds of ways. We made our drinks weak. Or just drank beer. Or we did not drink cocktails. Or only drank on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we drank anything with alcohol in it, we usually got drunk eventually.
4. Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year? Do you need a drink to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not drinking “socially.”
5. Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble? At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.
6. Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year? Be honest! Doctors say that if you have a problem with alcohol and keep on drinking, it will get worse — never better. Eventually, you will die, or end up in an institution for the rest of your life. The only hope is to stop drinking.
7. Has your drinking caused trouble at home? Before we came into AA, most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us drink. We could not see that our drinking just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.
8. Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough? Most of us used to have a “few” before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if drinks were not served fast enough, we would go some place else to get more.
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to? Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we drank because we wanted to. After we came into AA, we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn’t stop.
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking? Many of us admit now that we “called in sick” lots of times when the truth was that we were hung-over or on a drunk.
11. Do you have “blackouts”? A “blackout” is when we have been drinking hours or days which we cannot remember. When we came to AA, we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of alcoholic drinking.
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink? Many of us started to drink because drinking made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into AA, we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.