Definition of an Alcoholic and Alcoholic Self Test
First: Not all people who drink too much, or get in trouble while drinking are alcoholics! Only about one-in-ten drinkers, even hard drinkers -- are alcoholic. An alcoholic has a condition that makes them alcoholic. Professionals and those in the scientific fields tell us that "it is a medical condition."
Just like, not all people that eat too much fat in their diets have heart disease. Only some of them do. However, we are warned that any and all of us -- if we do continue to eat too much fat in our diets can develop heart disease.
Alcohol, is the same way. If you continue to drink alcohol after you begin having problems with alcohol -- the risks are high -- that you will develop alcoholism.
Because the book Alcoholics Anonymous has helped more alcoholics to discover that they were indeed an alcoholic -- I'll start first, with a workable A.A. definition of an alcoholic.
Surprisingly, A.A. does not offer an official definition of an alcoholic. This is done intentionally -- because A.A. will not pronounce any drinker as alcoholic.
However, the book, Alcoholics Anonymous does provide the drinker with relevant information -- so that the drinker can make their own judgement and self-diagnosis, in regards to the question of whether or not they are alcoholic.
So we have to look in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous -- to see what it says about an alcoholic -- to come up with a workable definition of an alcoholic. Later on, we will look to see what the A.A. book has to say about alcohol-ism.
1. If you have a copy of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, please turn to page ~ 30, where we read: "We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking."
Does this mean that an alcoholic drinks uncontrollable ALL the time?
That answer is found on ~pg 30, Alcoholics Anonymous: "All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals—usually brief—were inevitably followed by still less control,"
So, the answer is: No. An alcoholic can still maintain intervals -- where it seemed like they were regaining control.
2. On page ~31, we read: "Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class."
Based on this statement, a real alcoholic -- will be a drinker -- that will more than likely DENY that they are an alcoholic.
You may say -- "Well! No one would want to believe or admit they were alcoholic!"
Logically, that's an agreeable true statement.
However, it is easy to find out if it's true or not!
I've done this and I encourage you to try it, too! Take your own little survey of people that drink. And, ask each one this question: "Have you ever thought that you might be alcoholic?"
The majority of non-alcoholics will answer, "I've never thought about it." And, when you press them for an answer of yes or no -- most often, their reply will be: "Maybe I am. Like I said, I've never thought about it."
Non-alcoholics do not question whether or not they are alcoholic, because they have no reason to think about it.
In nearly all cases -- it's only an alcoholic that has thought about it or thinks about it -- because something in their drinking has given them the reason to think about it.
And, when they think about it -- NEARLY ALWAYS -- they will defiantly not believe that they are in the class of alcoholics.
3. In the Doctor's Opinion, section of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, you will read of several different "types" of alcoholics. (This is found in the front section of the book).
The author indicates that there are so many different "types" of alcoholics -- that he will not list them all. Towards the end of this section he writes (~pg xxviii, in the 3rd Edition of the book): "Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people."
Here, and a few other references in the book, we learn that some types of alcoholics -- are entirely normal in every respect -- with the exception in the effect alcohol has upon them.
They are often highly intelligent. Friendly. Educated. Professionals. Goal and success oriented. Business owners, managers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, factory-workers, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, athletes, ministers, high-achievers -- and upstanding, honorable, often admirable, and productive members of society!
They are often wealthy -- or financially stable. They are not the people you will find homeless, in jail, or deadbeats! They don't drink in dive bars. Far from it!
They DO NOT sit around in parks with old, dirty, stinky smelling long coats (warn in the blistering summer time) drinking from bottles and cans that are hidden inside brown paper bags! (Even though, we do have "those types", too)!
As alcoholics of "different types" what is the common denominator? It's "the effect alcohol has upon them" The explanation of this is too lengthy to consider here -- and I'll cover that in a later section. But, I will offer one of a few short answers, found on page xxviii:
"All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence."
I'll discuss the "phenomenon of craving" and "allergic reaction" to alcohol in the section for "alcoholism."
Here, I want to keep it to a simple -- with a brief explanation, with a question, that can be used as a SELF-TEST (Again, this would be from the information in the book Alcoholics Anonymous):
SELF-TEST: After you have one drink -- do you most often want another ONE?
Are you aware that non-alcoholics -- after they have one drink, most often DO NOT want another one!
The majority of non-alcoholics -- do not even finish the first drink. And, if you ask them " Would you like another one?" The answer will most often be: " Oh no! One was fine. I've had enough."
SELF-TEST: Have just one drink. When you finish that drink -- do you want another drink?
If yes -- chances and the odds are higher -- that you are alcoholic.
4. ~pg 21, Alcoholics Anonymous: "But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.
Here is the fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control."
SELF-TEST: Do you sometimes drink more than you planned to drink? Has it ever caused you a problem? Did you do it more than once? If your answer is Yes: You are probably alcoholic.
5. ANOTHER TEST: ~pg 30, Alcoholics Anonymous: "The idea that somehow, someday he (or she) will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death."
Do you think about being able to control your drinking? If the answer is Yes: You are probably alcoholic.
Do you think about having a drink or not having a drink -- until a certain time of day? If the answer is Yes. You are probably alcoholic.
Do you enjoy it -- when you have to control your drinking? Either the time, or the amount? If your answer is --- NO: You are probably alcoholic.
This is not a scientific test -- however, I could refer you to a scientific test, that parallels the questions above -- and that scientific test would tell you that: If you answered YES to more than ONE of the questions above -- you are definitely alcoholic.
If you answered NO to the last question above -- You are MOST PROBABLY -- alcoholic.
6. The Official Medical Definition of Alcoholic, indicates that: If drinking has caused a problem in any significant area of your life -- and you continue to drink -- you are most likely to be an alcoholic. If this is the case: I would suggest that you discuss this with your doctor and/or with a licensed alcohol, or chemical dependency counselor! And, I would suggest that you look into Alcoholics Anonymous, so that you can determine if this is something that may help you.
I hope you keep these few things in mind. They are important!
- a. Alcoholism is treatable. And, even though there is no known cure -- you can recover.
- b. Alcoholism is progressive. It get's worse -- even while you are sober (not drinking).
- c. Alcoholism -- if left untreated -- is nearly ALWAYS FATAL!
Don't mess around with your life!
If you have any suspicions about your condition in regards to drinking -- you most likely have a problem with alcohol -- and seeking immediate medical treatment is the BEST thing you can do!
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