I am 18 and I think I might have a drinking problem. I don’t want to say I might be an alcoholic, because I don’t think my drinking is that bad; I only drink because there is nothing else to do where I live. If there was something to do around here I know that I wouldn’t drink as much, but there isn’t and I get bored so I drink.
All of my friends drink, so I never noticed how much I drink until I met my new girlfriend. She doesn’t drink at all and doesn’t like it when I drink. She is always on me about my drinking and I was going to break up with her because of all the [nagging] when she challenged me to go one whole weekend without drinking. I never turn down a bet or challenge of any kind, so I took her on figuring it was an easy win. Tazi, I lost. I made it until Saturday night and was going out of my mind for a beer!
I did break down and start drinking that weekend, but every beer I drank tasted funny. I kept thinking I might be addicted, which ruined my buzz. I have been fine since, sort of; I can drink without the beer tasting funny, but its not as fun as it was before my girl pointed out what she calls my “dependency upon beer to have a good time”. Tazi, am I an alcoholic?
Likes My Beer
Dear Likes My Beer:
It is not for me to decide whether or not you are an alcoholic; only you can come to such a personal realization. I can, however, provide for you a list of characteristics of an alcoholic, courtesy of WebMD.com:
Signs of alcohol abuse
You have problems at work or school because of your drinking, such as being late or not going at all.
You drink in risky situations, such as before or while driving a car.
After drinking, you can't remember what happened while you were drinking (blackouts).
You have legal problems because of your drinking, such as being arrested for harming someone or driving while drunk (intoxicated).
You get hurt or you hurt someone else when you are drinking.
You keep drinking even though you have health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use, such as liver disease (cirrhosis).
Your friends or family members are worried about your drinking.
Signs of alcohol dependence or addiction
You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
You need to drink more to get the same effect.
You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering.
You have given up other activities so you can drink.
You keep drinking even though it harms your relationships and causes health problems.
Whether or not you recognize yourself in the above list(s), I do believe that you are abusing alcohol since you are using it as a cure for boredom. The next time you find yourself reaching for a drink, ask yourself, “Why do I want this drink?” When you discover the cause of your desire for alcohol you can work on finding a cure for it. If the cause is boredom, I suggest you find a hobby – other than drinking – to occupy your time.
If possible, I suggest you visit a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to see where your drinking could lead you if you do not get your desire for alcohol under control. If you find this visit helps you, I suggest that you continue to go to these meetings. “Bill W.” has many friends who would be happy to help you through your struggles with alcohol abuse.