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Early Signs of an Alcohol Problem

The following is a list of questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you or someone you know has a drinking problem.

  1. Are you uneasy about your drinking behavior? (Why you drink, how much, how you feel when you drink?)
  2. Has someone close to you spoken to you about your drinking behavior?
  3. Do you drink at most social occasions you attend, such as parties, dates or informal get-togethers?
  4. Do you sometimes think that you need to drink to have a good time?
  5. Do you seem to have more courage to meet and talk to people when you have had a few drinks?
  6. Do a few drinks allow you to be more yourself, more the person you would like to be?
  7. Have you ever taken a few drinks before going to class, to work, or before dates or appointments to bolster your courage?
  8. Do you keep a bottle in your apartment or car so it will always be handy if you need it?
  9. Do you do things when you drink that you wouldn’t do if you were sober?
  10. When things go wrong with work, school, in your home life or with your parents, do you drink to forget about it or to make yourself feel better?
  11. Do you sometimes forget things that happen while you were drinking?

Blackouts are a definite sign that your brain can no longer tolerate alcohol – whether you have been drinking one year or twenty, whether they occur after a few drinks or many, or whether you appear intoxicated or not.

The questionnaire above is not meant to diagnose alcohol problems, but it is a rather good indicator. One “yes” answer is reason to be alert to the possibility that alcohol could be a problem for you. The likelihood that it is a serious problem increases with each succeeding “yes,” and even two “yes” answers should be considered a danger sign. It may mean that you are using alcohol to deal with stressful situations in your life. Many of us tend to postpone accepting or even deny that drinking is becoming a problem for us or for those close to us. While it may not seem to be a problem now, it could set up a pattern that could lead to a more serious problem for you as stresses in your life become greater. You may want to start now to develop some other methods of coping with stress. You may choose to do this on your own or with the help of friends, but if you would like some professional help, consider contacting Counseling Services at (563)588-6571, Mercy Hospital Turning Point at (563)589-8290, Substance Abuse Services Center at (563)582-3784 or the mental health center or Alcoholics Anonymous group nearest you.