Have you ever thought you may have a drinking problem? Yet, as quickly as that thought came to you, you shrugged it off even faster? Yet it’s not the first time you’ve had these thoughts either. In the beginning, you tried to downplay the issue, perhaps even trying to convince yourself that you don’t have a problem. Everyone drinks, right? You tell yourself that you can stop drinking at any time. You may even challenge yourself to skipping a few days before picking up your next drink. Or trying to refrain from drinking during the week, only to reward yourself at week’s end with a cocktail (or several). “See, I’ve got it all under control” you proudly think to yourself. This lasts for a week or two, and suddenly you’re drinking on Sunday afternoons, because the official week doesn’t start until Monday.

You’ve had mornings, that after a night spent drinking, and you awake, feeling guilty, mad at yourself. Before your feet hit the floor you make yourself a promise: “I’m not drinking like that again?” Which is a much easier promise to commit to, rather than the “I’m never drinking again!” Depending on the extent of your hangover, this ‘promise’ may last a few days or even weeks. Then magically the ill effects of that hangover are forgotten and you’re hung-over-again.

You still think you don’t have a drinking problem? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning? Regardless of the reason
  • Do you find reason to drink? Look for excuses? Bad day at work, stressed due to spouse or children, angry with a friend or coworker. Not all reasons are negative. You want to celebrate or raise a toast to every happy occasion: birthday, anniversary, promotion, birth of a great-great-niece of a friend. The reasons/excuses go on and on.
  • When planning on getting together with family and/or friends, have you ever had a drink or two prior to going out? Either to help relax or to get a head start on the drinking?
  • Is it always 5 o’clock somewhere?
  • Have you ever hid your drinking from others? Sneaking to get in a few drinks or hiding empties.

Answering yes to any of these questions is a red flag. Yes, alcohol is running your life. It may not be ruining your life at this very moment, but it will eventually catch up to you. You are worth so much more, regardless of your past.

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. About 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence .

If the thought that you may be an alcoholic or have a problem with drinking has ever entered your mind, take the step today to recognize it. Personally acknowledge it. Act on it. Recovery plans or programs offer numerous ways to begin a life of sobriety. Resources for recovery are excellent tools: join an AA meeting, seek out professional counseling. Know that you are not alone, those who attend AA meetings have been where you are today: listen to their stories, get a sponsor. It’s time to be honest to yourself.