Could I be classed an alcoholic?

The key questions you should ask yourself.

Could I be classed an alcoholic?

I visited my doctor for a check-up recently. She took my blood pressure and asked a few questions. One was how many days of the week did I drink alcohol?

“I try to limit myself to days ending in ‘y’,” I replied.

“No, seriously,” she continued.

“I am being serious,” I said.

To her credit, she wasn’t judgemental, but did suggest I try to have at least two or three alcohol-free days each week.

I was given a clean bill of health, but when I got home, I did some research to determine whether or not I had a drinking problem. I found a survey that asked six questions.

  1. Do you drink more than you planned?
  2. Does drinking consume a lot of your time?
  3. Can you be happy without alcohol?
  4.  Does seeing alcohol advertising make you want a drink?
  5. Does your drinking cause you to give up other activities?
  6. Does your drinking cause social or family issues?

The only answer that caused me to, perhaps, ponder what I was doing was my reply to the first question – I do drink more than I planned, simply because it is often my intention to have at least one alcohol-free day each week, but I don’t, although I did have one in April.

Call me weak, but I find it impossible to not have a glass of wine if I’m sitting down to a good dinner. One complements the other. Conversely, it’s an insult to the food if I don’t respect it with wine.

The second question also raised an issue, for while I don’t spend a lot of my time drinking, I do think about it quite a lot. For example, if I’m having a steak for dinner, I might start looking forward to a good red wine during the day, and I might think about that red wine several times as the afternoon unfolds.

As for question five, yes, one of the activities I don’t do as much is drive. That’s a good thing on several fronts – safety, pollution and cost to name just three.

It was over a couple of beers recently that I mentioned my medical check-up to a friend. He’s in his early 70s and during a recent medical his doctor told him that too much alcohol can be linked to at least 60 different health conditions, all of them bad.

This doctor described heavy drinking as 15 standard drinks a week for a male, eight standard drinks a week for a female.  But, my friend went on, this doctor did say that it wasn’t a matter of drinking every day that defined an alcoholic, but rather the affect it had on them.

“I don’t black out, I don’t have hangovers, I don’t feel guilty about my drinking and I don’t lie to people about it,” my friend said. “My drinking doesn’t cause me problems.”

Nor me, I think. So I asked my wife. Did my drinking embarrass her? No. And I asked my kids. Same answer. No.

So I’m not an alcoholic, but by consuming more than 15 drinks a week – I estimate I’m nearer 25 – I am certainly having a negative impact on my potential for the fullest life possible, whatever my life expectancy may be.

Daily drinking, I know, increases my chances of liver, stomach and bowel cancers. It can also decrease my testosterone levels and sperm count, not that this worries me at 65.

Drinking as much as I do is also expensive. I could estimate how much I spend annually on alcohol, but, to be honest, I’d prefer not to know. It would only add to my stress levels, and that might kill me.

And I know that giving up alcohol would improve my chances of losing weight, but without wine to fill me, maybe I’d eat more.

Anyway, the upshot is that I’ve decided to make one concession – I won’t drink on Mondays. To help me achieve this, I’m going to have a Monday night dinner that doesn’t deserve wine as an accompaniment. Sardines on toast perhaps, or poached eggs.

This is a prospect that already depresses me, but don’t let’s start worrying about depression. There’s already too much to worry about at my age. 

Are you concerned about how much alcohol you drink?

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    COMMENTS

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    disillusioned
    13th Jun 2019
    10:34am
    It's not only cancers that are caused by alcohol - one of the main areas harmed by alcohol is the brain! Alcohol is a drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier, and damages the ends of neurons in the brain, called dendrites, which makes it difficult for neurons to relay messages to one another! Also, heavy drinking is linked to an increased risk of dementia, injuries from falls, epilepsy, high blood pressure, and other nasties! So for your brain's sake, guys, stick to the 2-3 alcohol-free days per week, and limit the amount of grog consumed on other days!
    Agnes
    13th Jun 2019
    2:03pm
    I think you may mean synapses (or synaptical points of neurotransmitter transfer), the dendrites are the long arms of the axonal cell body, and typically the end at the synaptic space where a multiplicity of other dendrites join and transfer the the contents off the synaptic vesicles once the cell body is depolarised ( by electrical conduction along the myelin sheaths)
    Mindy
    13th Jun 2019
    11:10am
    As soon as I finish the 400 bottles in my cellar I will give up.
    KSS
    13th Jun 2019
    1:02pm
    So in just over a year then? :-)
    Circum
    15th Jun 2019
    7:34pm
    Less than 3 months if I give Mindy a hand.
    Circum
    15th Jun 2019
    7:34pm
    Less than 3 months if I give Mindy a hand.
    McGroger
    13th Jun 2019
    12:15pm
    Tooheys Old turns 150 this year. I'm celebrating their milestone by aiming to drink 150 schooners/stubbies by December 31. (Don't worry, that's less than 3 a week.) Cheers!
    Charlie
    13th Jun 2019
    12:15pm
    If its a problem then stop doing it... Sometimes it is easier to quit, than to cut back... There is only one way to give up up "drinking,"don't consume any drinks that have alcohol in them
    KSS
    13th Jun 2019
    1:04pm
    What's that old saying?

    "I don't have a drinking problem. I drink. I get drunk. No problem!
    Kaz
    13th Jun 2019
    9:12pm
    Sugar is very bad Charlie so hopefully you only drink water?
    DM
    13th Jun 2019
    12:26pm
    Answering the questions...I came up with almost identical answers to Steve, so....
    I'll keep trying for those alcohol free days, but ... if it becomes too "stressful" I may have to put them on the back burner
    Cheers
    KSS
    13th Jun 2019
    1:04pm
    Ït's enough to send you to drink then.
    Mindy
    13th Jun 2019
    1:37pm
    Apart from disillusioned, nobody is taking this thread seriously.

    That is a good sign - if you can laugh, relax and have a few drinks without going overboard you will be fine.
    Agnes
    13th Jun 2019
    2:04pm
    Couldn't agree more Mindy. Moderation in everything.
    The Bronze Anzac
    13th Jun 2019
    2:54pm
    I don't drink alcohol on February 29th. Otherwise, I am normal.

    14th Jun 2019
    9:02am
    I gave up the smokes after indulging for 30 years and I am not giving up the drinks as well. All my mates drink and we meet every afternoon in the clubs. How many soft drinks can you consume?


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