I Think I May Be an Alcoholic
I have been drinking since I turned 21, and I will be 32 next month. In the past year, I have seen disturbing patterns develop with my drinking. I have found, that I have switched from drinking only social drinking to drinking because I am stressed/anxious.
I also recently, within the last couple months started drinking more alone than with others. Also, the quantity of alcohol has gone up, I no longer drink one or two drinks, it is always at least three or four drinks, often more. I drink much more frequently than I have in the past, and feel like I lose control and can't stop until I am sufficiently drunk.
In the last month I have spent most days recovering from hangovers, which is worrisome to me. This has hit a whole new level recently, but I'm not sure if it's alcoholism or alcohol abuse/misuse. I alternate between thinking I am and thinking that it is not that bad, but rather just a phase. I don't really know ... what do you think?
You've talked about displaying the two primary characteristics of alcoholism: 1) Dependence (Emotional and/or Physical). You're using alcohol to fill an emotional need, i.e. stress/anxiety. 2) Loss of Control. Once you start drinking you can't stop until you're 'sufficiently drunk.'
Have you tried this test for alcoholism?
Because that will paint a pretty good picture of the degree of your problem. One thing you could try is to simply not drink for a while - and if you manage that comfortably, then try having just a drink or two and stop. If you can do that, maybe you're not an alcoholic and this is just a bad phase you're going through.
But that's probably unlikely. Don't also get stuck on a label. Alcoholic or alcohol abuser - does it really matter? If alcohol is causing you sufficient problems in your life and affecting how you feel about yourself - you've got yourself a problem worth being concerned about - and is something you should act on. Because it doesn't just suddenly go away. In fact it gets worse over time.
Don't be afraid to reach out and get professional help. Get into a specialist alcohol treatment program, and start the process of turning your life around. There is so much help available out there today, you've just got to take those first few steps.
Yes it's scary, but in the long run you'll be so glad you did. You don't want to look back in 10-20 years and wish you'd done something when your drinking first started to really worry you. Because you'll have lost so much in that period. So act now. Get help. And start the process of recovery. You deserve that for yourself.