A bit of background on alcoholism and addiction. Addiction occurs when a substance breaks the blood brain barrier and stimulates activity of neurotransmitters and receptors within the synapses of the brain. There are two ways to become an alcoholic: the first is a genetic predisposition which is where you have alcoholism or addiction already running in the family. These people can become alcoholics after just their first drink. A quick side not addiction does not equal dependence. When you think of addiction, popular US culture depicts the homeless old guys when this couldn't be further than the truth. The second way to become an alcoholic is from prolonged binge drinking with a duration longer than 5 years.
Alcoholism is tricky because your mind constantly tells the individual that they do not have a drinking problem. They become experts of deception and lying, even to themselves. They can rationalize their actions extraordinarily well. It also doesn't help that when an individual is trying to determine if they have a problem online tests and whatnot are bullshit, doctors always err on the side of caution, and society doesn't have a very good grip on what alcoholism is actually like. For an example I've now got a felony conviction, DUI, and STD all from drinking and it wasn't until this summer after some serious counseling that I finally realized I had a problem. I was able to rationalize this things as just flukes, or one time occurrences. The people I surrounded myself with were also drinking as much as I was so it was easy to rationalize this that "everyone" drank like this in college, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Rehab was interesting. I went in expecting not to fit in, and thinking this was an over reaction on the part of the courts, my friends and family, and thinking I could stop/ control my drinking at anytime. It wasn't anything like I expected. The people there weren't fuck ups. We had a doctor, a business owner, a few college students, and other respectable people. All of which were very nice when they were sober. They introduced us to alcoholics anonymous and had a reading the big book daily where I found I wasn't alone in my feelings or reactions to alcohol. This rehab program and specifically my councilor have saved my life.
So if your wondering if your an alcoholic I have a few simple questions for you to ask yourself.
1) when you are start drinking are you able to stop?
2) Do you drink to get drunk/ for the effect. And Enjoy this feeling above all else? (I'm going to elaborate on this one, for example I would hurry up and finish while having sex with my girlfriend so I could go finish that bottle of wine we had for dinner)
3) If you've gotten in serious trouble from drinking did you stop or even consider stopping?
4) Think of the worst situation alcohol has gotten you into. Write about how back it actually was. What happened, who was effected, and how don't leave out any details. If you look at this sheet and think oh shit. It might be time to call an therapist and schedule and appointment.
Overall I'm still kind of baffled by how long I let this go on, honest to god, without thinking I had a drinking problem. I'm also disappointed by the lack of actual alcoholism/ addiction they teach in school. I along with many of you went through DARE and I know the stuff they taught was ridiculous.
So feel free to ask me anything, about anything for a while before I go out for the night