Am I an alcoholic?
“Am I an alcoholic?” Many alcoholics are familiar with the question. I have dealt with the issue directly and professionally as a therapist and a medical doctor. Only I, an ex-drinker, am aware of the number of hours I sat in front of my computer, mindlessly clicking on link after link in pursuit of information I didn’t want to know.
Almost everyone I’ve dealt with as a therapist has brought up this subject in one way or another; some wanted me to let them off the imaginary hook, while others were adamant about “proving” to me that they “don’t have a problem.
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober author Catherine Gray noted with great insight that “the most typical thing to do in the year before quitting drinking is to bend over a laptop and miserably write ‘Am I an alcoholic?’ into Google at 1 am.”
Why Is “Am I an Alcoholic?” Such a Fixation?
Of course, drinkers have a reasonable cause for asking this question. Drinkers in our society are typically divided into two groups: “responsible drinkers” and “alcoholics,” or, to use a more professional term, “normal drinkers” and “difficult drinkers.”
We want to think that if a person fits the stereotype of a typical drinker, they are somehow immune to this terrible illness known as “alcoholism.” Regular alcohol consumption is not only permitted but also encouraged. However, suppose a person falls into the problematic drinker category. In that case, they suddenly become a different species that, for whatever reason, cannot safely act around alcohol as everyone else appears to be able to.
Even experts can become preoccupied with whether a person has an “alcohol consumption disorder.” We overlook that all problem drinkers have previously engaged in regular drinking. None of us were predisposed to alcoholism from birth. We nevertheless keep focusing as a group on a question that seeks to identify the “problem drinkers” so that the other “regular drinkers” can carry on drinking “responsibly.”
How Much Does It Cost to Ask “Am I an Alcoholic?”
The fact that the response “yes” has such a heavy price is one of the main costs of asking, “Am I an alcoholic?” The seemingly straightforward query carries a terrible burden. The term “alcoholic” is very divisive. In addition to carrying an indescribable amount of shame and stigma, it is also often believed to be an incurable illness.
Answering “yes” to the questions is comparable to accepting a life sentence that declares one to be one of the “others” who will never again be able to enjoy a life similar to that of the rest of the world. It makes sense why drinkers frequently try to hide their drinking problem or act defensively when confronted. Being reluctant to accept such a divisive name is a rather adaptive reaction. The question’s unbearable weight makes it difficult for drinkers to consider their interactions with alcohol honestly.
If we stopped asking ourselves, “Am I an alcoholic?” what would happen?
As a former drinker and a therapist who works with other drinkers to change their drinking habits, I don’t think the question “Does someone have a drug use disorder?” is insightful. The solution establishes an arbitrary boundary between different levels of drinking. Even a “typical drinker” now runs the risk of developing drinking issues later on. One group of drinkers from another offers some people a false sense of security to keep using an addictive substance that is socially acceptable. That is the only thing such a question achieves.
Individuals and professionals must focus on the only issue: whether your life would be better off with less alcohol. The old question is no longer taken seriously because of this new one. The answer can no longer define a person or their future course of action. One would finally be free to respond honestly to a question without worrying about being judged or stigmatized.
Are you interested in altering how you feel about alcohol? Do you want to stop drinking and enjoy sobriety? Stop asking yourself: “Am I an alcoholic?” and consider the Esperal implant. It helped many people. Read here: https://philaaddictioncenter.com/esperal-implant-for-alcoholism/
Alcoholism treatment at the Philadelphia Addiction Center.
If you asked yourself: “Am I an alcoholic?”, most likely you are. That means that you may need professional help. The use of implants for alcoholism is one of the most effective treatments for alcoholism available at this time.