Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2000

List helps draw line between drinking and alcoholism

June 21, 2000


Dear Ann: I am enclosing a column you printed several years ago that actually changed my life. I never thanked you for it and would like to do so now. My husband would not admit he was an alcoholic until he read your list of questions. He has been sober for 22 years. Please print those questions again. South Bend, Ind.

Dear South Bend: I've received several requests to rerun that column, and do so with pleasure. Thanks to all who asked. Here it is:

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has compiled a list of questions to help a person determine whether he or she has symptoms of alcoholism. Here they are:

1. Do you occasionally drink heavily after a disappointment, a quarrel or when the boss gives you a hard time?

2. When you have trouble or feel under pressure, do you drink more heavily than usual?

3. Have you noticed you are able to handle more liquor than you did when you first started drinking?

4. Did you ever wake up the "morning after" and discover you could not remember part of the evening before, even though friends say you didn't pass out?

5. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others will not know it?

6. Are there times when you feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?

7. Have you recently noticed that when you begin drinking, you are in more of a hurry to get the first drink than you used to be?

8. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?

9. Are you secretly irritated when family or friends discuss your drinking?

10. Have you noticed an increase in the frequency of your memory blackouts?

11. Do you often find that you wish to continue drinking after your friends say they have had enough?

12. Do you usually have a reason for the occasion when you drink heavily?

13. When you are sober, do you often regret things you have done or said while drinking?

14. Have you tried switching brands or following different plans for controlling your drinking?

15. Have you often failed to keep promises you have made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking?

16. Have you ever tried to control your drinking by changing jobs or moving to a new location?

17. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?

18. Are you having an increasing number of financial and work problems?

19. Do you sometimes have the shakes in the morning and find it helps to have a little drink?

20. Do you eat very little or irregularly when you are drinking?

21. Do you get terribly frightened after you have been drinking heavily?

22. After periods of drinking, do you ever see or hear things that aren't there?

Those who answer yes to several of the questions from 1 through 8 may be in the early stage of alcoholism. Additional affirmative answers to several of the questions from 9 through 22 may indicate the middle to final stages of alcoholism. For information about alcoholism, contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 12 West 21st St., New York, N.Y. 10010 (, or call 1-800-NCA-CALL (1-800-622-2255).

P.S.: To those readers who wonder if I am talking specifically to YOU, yes, I am. Get moving.

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