I don't think I have a drinking problem, but...

Hi everybody!

It’s time for my semi-regular weekly meltdown. Yes, I’m drunk again, although not stinkingly so. TVeblen and other helpful dopers from my Jack Daniel’s thread will be happy to know that I have come to understand and appreciate the “sipping” concept, and I’m taking full advantage of it tonight. And I’m feeling just fine, thankyouverymuch.

So, lately I have noticed that I’ve been drinking a lot more than usual. This is not saying much, because I used to never drink hardly at all, but it’s something that has given me pause. I was out with a couple of friends last night, and I had three drinks. Two glasses of wine and a Seven and Seven (which is a mixture of whiskey and 7-Up I think). No big deal, I didn’t drink myself sick or anything. But… do you ever drink, then thank God you’re not an alcoholic, and then think about how “Well, the only times I ever drink are when I’m out with friends, or home with the family, or…” and then you start to think about how often you actually do drink? And then you think about all the times you drink alone, like right now, for instance.

I’m not pathetic, really, I’m just a guy who hardly ever used to drink (because it made him sick a little too often) and now happens to drink with greater frequency. I don’t drink every day, maybe a few times a week.

But what disturbs me is this: I am profoundly dissatisfied with my life right now. I am taking steps to change it - being proactive, if you will. I have decided that I want to live in a tropical climate (or that I want to have lived in a tropical climate so that when I’m on my deathbed in sixty years I won’t have to regret that I never lived in a tropical climate). So I am involved in an active job search for employment in a tropical climate (America’s Wang, specifically Southwest America’s Wang). I’m making progress and I’m proud of myself for making this decision and taking steps toward carrying it out.

But there can be no doubt that the dissatisfaction is the reason for the drinking. What this says to me is “You are a person who turns to alcohol when you’re not feeling tiptop.”

I’m also mixing the alcohol with medication. And no matter what I do, I can’t force myself to care. I take SSRI’s, and the psychiatrist recommended I watch my alcohol consumption. But I was on Prozac all through college, and I used to get really tanked sometimes back then. Much worse than nowadays.

So I guess what I’m saying is… I don’t know what I’m saying. Do any of you know what I’m saying?

No, seriously, I think I’m saying that I like the booze, but I don’t like to drink alone, and since I am alone an awful lot these days, partly due to my profound dissatisfaction with life, I like to post to the SDMB when I’m drinking, because that way I feel like I’m at my favorite bar (pub for you UK and Ozzie dopers, but you knew that) tossing a few back with friends.

I guess that’s all. Thanks for being there, dopers.

Much love,

My mother is currently battling the alcohol demon. We have such a family history that it’s rare to see me drink anything stronger than Mt Dew.

If you are “thinking” that you might have a problem, you probably do.

Tons of misconceptions about what an alcoholic is - from booze dependant… to binge drinking.

whether you want to consider yourself an alcohlic or not, the bottom line is that you don’t seem to like your behavior.

above all else… have some freakin’ compassion for yourself. if you were outside looking in on your life… and saw the person you are; lonely, perhaps depressed with a “profound disatisfaction for life”, chances are you wouldn’t beat him up over it. You’d have compassion for him.

right now… you ARE caring for yourself. you are drinking as a way to soothe yourself, care for yoursef… AND THAT AINT A BAD THING necessarily. It’s not. Just keep an open mind for other methods of caring for youself.

I really really wouldn’t go messing with mixing booze and medication like that, cuauhtemoc. There are very good reasons why your psychiatrist told you to watch your level of consumption. Especially while you’re continuing to feel this sense of dissatisfation with life.

Take care of yourself.

Are there growing consequences (financial,personal,etc) as a result of your drinking? If so, do you drink despite them?

those are the questions you need to ax yourself…

I should have written: those are some of the questions you need to ask yourself…

The problem with an addictive behavior isn’t that you might suspect you are addicted—that can happen to anyone, regardless of a real addiction. It is that, by the time one knows one is addicted it is too late. Does drinking interfere with anything? —like a sleeping schedule, or other habits you’ve had?

My one friend is 26, and I’ve watched him become an alcoholic. He’s to the point now where if he stops drinking he shakes. :frowning:

Drinking more than usual now and again… well, that happens to a lot of us. I go a month or two only having a beer every other week, then blammo, I spend a month buying twelves and bottles. Then nothing again for months. This isn’t very responsible of me, but it has kept me away from alcoholism.

It isn’t good to turn to alcohol when you are depressed, but plenty do, and as long as it isn’t a self-perpetuating cycle and you don’t stay depressed, well, chalk it up to a minor character flaw that isn’t really harming you. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “I drink when I’m upset so I must have a problem.” It simply isn’t true. But it is an indication that you could be starting to have one.

I think your awareness of the issue is a note in your favor.

I drink a lot and I know it’s too much. I often drink alone when I’m reading through these pages. Nevertheless I always know where my personal space ends and the public space begins. Drinking a few beers can help me ignore life’s injustices that I don’t feel ready to confront yet. As long as my work and my public life don’t suffer I don’t see the harm in a little diversion. I can’t fix everything at once so I might as well dull the things I can’t fix today.

Of course you have a better idea?

Alcohol can be a warm, convivial grace note in life, or a very bad enemy indeed.

Mixing it w/ medication is generally a very bad idea. So is using it to blunt the emptiness of lonely moments or depression. That “cure” just way compounds the problem.

IMO the grape and grain are best used for their taste, first, and their warming properties second. Taken in moderation and savoured, they can be blessings indeed. But never be afraid to walk away from them, either. They’re graceful adjuncts, not substance. Any good–or bad–time that depends on alcohol for quality is a warning sign.

Heck, when in doubt, don’t. Alcohol can’t give you anything you don’t already have. Rationing pleasure can make it sweeter. Poisoning the use by abuse can spoil knowledable, aware enjoyment for all time.

Good luck, cuauhtemoc, and take it slow.

(Who’s drinking green tea at the moment)

Thanks all. I’m a little embarrassed, but I’ll try to save a little bit of face before I go to bed.

I really don’t drink to the point where there are consequences. I’m not showing up late for work or spending a lot of money on alcohol or anything like that. My relationships with other people (the few that I have) are not suffering due to alcohol, and no one has ever made a suggestion to me that I cut down on my drinking.

As far as the mixing goes, my doctor said that if my meds make me drowsy, then alcohol might intensify that effect, with the caveat that it’s different for everyone and it might not affect me the same way it affects someone else. Since I started on this medication, I feel like I get drunk quicker when I do happen to drink, but that’s the only side effect.

The sad thing is, if I had something in my life that gave me happiness or satisfaction, I’m sure I would hardly ever drink. Or at least I would never drink alone. There would be no need for artifical stimulation. I’m working on making changes in my life, but it’s a slow process with a lot of hard work involved.

Basically, I’m whining. There’s nothing really wrong here, I’m just bored and drinking to entertain myself. When the weather gets nice again in a couple of months, and I have another night like this, I’ll deal with it another way, like taking a ride into the city and walking around, or something like that. But right now, this is how I’m choosing to deal.

Then, I do hope you find that happiness and satisfaction with life you’re actively seeking, cuauhtemoc. All the best to you.

I could have written that, especially the following:

I looked for an answer to my problems - anything that would fill that void, so that I wouldn’t drink “as much.” Maybe a new love interest, or a new job, or a new environment, or a change of medications - anything.

I just drank more, obsessed with the idea that one day, somehow, I’d be able to drink “normally,” because something would change in my life, and everything would be good.

I realized that my life was shitty because I drank, not the other way around - this was what I call the gift of desperation. When I stopped drinking, I found that the only way for me to ever be happy - in fact, the only way I could ever hope to survive - was to stay sober.

My entire outlook on life has changed, and only now is the happiness I sought with such earnesty, but with such futility, becoming a reality.

And guess what? I don’t feel the need to drink. At all. There is a solution after all, but it was up to me to come to that realization, make that decision, and make that one important phone call.

Yikes. That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone or something.

You started this thread because you were thinking about how much you drink. If you’re self-medicating because of loneliness or depression, I think you have a problem, even if it’s only a couple of times a week.

Perhaps you would consider going to an AA meeting, and sitting in the back. Or if AA isn’t your style, there are other programs that you could try.

I’m not suggesting that you have to sign up for the full meal deal of treatment - maybe just go and hang out. See if you see yourself in any of the stories the other participants tell.

Finally, please feel better. Depression is a debilitating illness - please don’t let yourself sucumb to it’s effects.


Excellent point, alice. To feel a need in one’s life and to search for someone to fill it is a sure way to scare the hell out of someone you’ve just met.

cuauhtemoc, you’ve always struck me as an intelligent and perceptive person, and I’m sure you see that there is a lot of good advice here. For me to post all of mine would be redundant, so I’ll just say that no one can make the judgment for you; you’ve got to decide if it’s time to change or not. You don’t have to lose a job or a girl/boyfriend for alcohol to be fucking up your life.

I have a definition of “alcoholic” that isn’t scientific at all…but it’s based on my personal experiences, with myself and other people.

If you drink because you *need it,*and you miss it when you don’t, you should stop. The quantity of the alcohol really isn’t the question…everybody goes on benders, sometimes for a week/month straight…college/friends/party/whatever…

But for me the question has always been: “Does this drink just sound good at the moment, or does this moment sound bad without it?”

I’ve never gotten to the point where not getting a drink would make me unhappy…but I have friends who have, and it’s not much fun to watch.

Hi. I’m Jack, and I’ve been on the wagon for three days.

Yep. That’s the best advice. “If you think you have a problem, you probably do.” I’m sort of in the same wagon, er … boat.

Most of my family are unadmitted functional alcoholics, and I’m only too prone myself. I never drink liquor, just lots and lots of beer. But it’s all alcohol and I’m not fooling myself.

I too have found myself drinking an awful lot lately. Which is only slightly odd in that when I was married, I hardly ever drank at all. But the vices started to slip back into gear, to the point in the last few month where it was not uncommon to"accidentally" drink a six-pack on a Wednesday night, just because there wasn’t anything better to do.

If not that, I just always had beer in the house, and nursing on a few after work was as normal as breathing.

But the first step in beating a problem, is admitting you have one – just like in the handbook. I’ve done program like stuff on my own before, but obviously it doesn’t always take.

I would suggest to you, cuauhtemoc (and don’t think I’m not giving myself the same advice), that if you really want help, AA is not a bad idea.

The Teeming Millions can only be a part time sponsor.

As others have pointed out, this statement is a very strong sign of addictive behavior. Drinking to fill a void raises the probability that the diagnosis is alcoholism up to well over 95%.

Otherwise talk to your doc and check out AA.


My husband is an alcoholic. He’s been one for 15 years or so and started for some of the same reasons that you say you are drinking. He knows he’s addicted, but figured that as long as it’s under control he’s fine. In the last year he’s started having black outs. When in black out, my normally loving, easygoing husband becomes violent over the littlest thing. Christmas night he tried to kill his sister. Yes she was doing everything she could to make him angry, but that’s still no excuse. For the first time in his life, he’s realizing that it’s NOT under control. It’s going to be a long hard road for him because he knows that the first time he physically abuses me or either of the kids will be the last. Now, I’m not saying that you are at this place, just that this is where the alcohol road leads. True, it won’t necessairly lead here, but are you really willing to take the risk? My husband never thought that his drinking would ever cause problems for anyone else either.

I implore you, please find another way to work out your problems. Don’t risk your future.

BTW, he never got his hands on his sister, in case you were wondering. I’d called a friend to help me get him into bed and clean up a gash he’d gotten falling while trying to pee. My friend walked in just in time to block my husband from closing his fingers around her malicious little neck.

If you think “gee, maybe I have a problem” that’s a good sign because it means you can ammend your behaviour. When you stop thinking you have a problem and start justifying it become defensive, then you have a serious problem that will be tough to shake.

I have the desire for alcohol hard-wired in my brain. My father died of a smoker-alcoholic form of cancer. My potential for alcoholism is high – I don’t seem to have an addictive personality though. But I’m still careful.

I never used to drink much – maybe I’d go out for a half-pint with a friend once a week. But one thing I found alarming is that whenever I see hard liquor on TV, I crave it. I mean, I really, really, really crave it so badly that I practically have to sit on my hands to keep myself from going to over to raid my wine rack (I have a small, modest collection of vintages – stuff I want to brag about, not drink).

My SOs step-father is an alocholic – worse even than my father was. We go out to dinner with him regularly and over the course of the meal, he has a cocktail, orders two bottles of wine for us to share and then usually has a digestif after the meal. To make sure he doesn’t consume too much (he’s old and wobbly on his feet as it is), we make sure our glasses are always full – trying to keep the alcohol out of his glass.

The result? I got really used to drinking. In fact, I found myself having wine with dinner every night! Even when I ate alone. Not large amounts, but still one glass every day for someone who has alcoholism wired into my DNA – not a good thing!

So I’ve ammended my behaviour – totally. Scarey stuff though. And I still crave alcohol. When Frasier says, “some sherry, Niles?” I think “oo! yah! Me too! Me too!”

But, I’m not drinking now.