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How many drinks = alcoholic?
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How many drinks = alcoholic?

I'm pretty sure my ex was an alcoholic and often to tolerate him I would drink along with him (and so I could pass out and not deal with him).  When I left him, my drinking habits changed... At first, I was drinking too much because I was going out with single friends and living it up, however I tired of this quickly and now have "settled" into what I think is my "norm".  I'm wondering how one can tell if there is a problem in the first place.  I'm probably having 1-2 drinks about 4 days/week and then 2-4 about 1-2 days/week. It doesn't make me treat people differently, I don't think, however sometimes I can get depressed when I exceed 2.  Typically, I don't feel like it changes me negatively if I keep it at 1-2 drinks.  I would say that some nights I just drink to get a little drunk though... maybe because those days I 'm not doing well and perhaps those are the days I really should not drink.  Obviously, I know better, but still do it;)  I guess I should mention that I'm 27.  
Tags: how to tell
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24 Comments Post a Comment
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190885_tn?1333029491
your just getting started...a newbee alcoholic.....my drinking just kept getting worse over the years...it's funny how we justify things...toward the end of my drinking i would ask people if they thought i was an alcoholic...and everyone said i was fine..had no problem...it was nice to hear but i knew i had a problem......just had no idea my problem was that bad...so watch out...you could start to talk yourself into a lie....good luck...billy
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319766_tn?1198945534
"It doesn't make me to treat people differently,I think...."Better way to look at is is:Do people treat you differently when you don't drink?
If the answer is yes....you probably have a problem
Walter
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463575_tn?1211306288
a lot of people have 1-2 drinks a night, especially in europe. however, most of those people don't drink to get drunk (even on occasion).

if you drink to escape negative emotions, or...and this is the most important - if you even *think* you may have a drinking problem, then it's a pretty good indication that you should be on high alert for alcohol abuse and/or alcoholism.

i disagree with working dog saying you are a newbie alcoholic. only YOU can decide if you are an alcoholic. i'm not bashing him, he's a nice guy. but srsly...if i were you i'd go to an AA meeting or two and see if anything rings a bell. you may be surprised.

better to nip this thing in the bud than to find yourself hitting bottom before you know what's happened.... fo sho. i only drank once a week (friday nights) and found that i am an alcoholic. strange but true.
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Avatar_f_tn
i agree with all these comments and working dog..u were like me...asking other alkies if they thought u were one and the answer was NO!what drunken logic we had!:)
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Avatar_m_tn
I think you're at a stage in your life where this could either become a problem - or not.  I don't see a problem with people who drink 1-2 per night and stop there - as a whole, the medical community has no problem with it either.   At your age, it's a good idea to taper off on too much weekend drinking - you're not old but you're old enought to put that aside.  
To me, those who drink 3-4 on a special occasion are not abusers either, but special occasions don't happen on a weekly basis, right?
I was your age when I slipped from the same type of drinking that you're doing, into the abyss of daily use.  If you want to continue to drink moderately, why dont' you just try taking a few consecutive nights off per week - then you'll be going in the right direction.  If you do this, do not "reward" yourself with 4 drinks (ie: after 2 nights off) - just go back to your regular two.  Everything in moderation, and don't be controlled by it!
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503422_tn?1218560541
I don't think I was an alcoholic per se, but I did have a problem when I drank alcohol.  I used alcohol to change the way I felt and behaved.  

So, my first question to you is do you need the alcohol?  In other words, can you go out and have a good time without drinking alcohol?  If the answer is no, then yes, you do  have a problem. If you can go out and have a good time without the alcohol, then you are better off.

The reality is that alcohol really serves little good for the majority of us.  Alcohol has become such a staple in our society that it's looked at as a right and not a privilege.  I am a firm believer in abstinence with alcohol b/c of all the problems it causes.

My two-cent statement is that if you feel a need to drink either by yourself or with others, then yes you do have a problem - or one is starting.  It's good that you are looking at this now before it gets too bad.

Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for this feedback... it is very thoughtful and I'm certainly needing to digest and consider it all.


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320873_tn?1253092668
I heard an old-timer say this the first time I went back to an AA meeting after being out of the program for about 2.5 years:  "It's not what you drink or how much you drink, it's what happens to you WHEN you drink."

I find that so true.  I look around at all my "friends" that I use to have.  Well, I put " " marks around friends because I don't view them as such anymore.  I view them as they were my drinking associates.  People I need to remove from my life, but is very difficult when my SO still drinks and he hangs around with them.  

Here is something else that the old-timer did as well.  He read a pamphlet outloud to everyone and we answered silently.

Take this 20 question test to help you decide whether or not you are an alcoholic.

Answer YES or NO to the following questions.

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
YES __ NO __

2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
YES __ NO __

3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
YES __ NO __

4. Is your drinking affecting your reputation?
YES __ NO __

5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
YES __ NO __

6. Have you ever got into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
YES __ NO __

7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
YES __ NO __

8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
YES __ NO __

9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
YES __ NO __

10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time?
YES __ NO __

11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
YES __ NO __

12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
YES __ NO __

13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
YES __ NO __

14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
YES __ NO __

15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?

YES __ NO __

16. Do you drink alone?
YES __ NO __

17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
YES __ NO __

18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
YES __ NO __

19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
YES __ NO __

20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution because of drinking?
YES __ NO __

What's your score?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic.

If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.

If you answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.

(The test questions are used at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD, in deciding whether or not a patient is an alcoholic).

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320873_tn?1253092668
Here is the official AA website:
http://www.aa.org

Here is an informal website:
http://www.step12.com/

This is the definition of an alcoholic:
http://www.step12.com/alcoholics-definition.html

Hope this helps someone.
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539694_tn?1298833732
Being an alcoholic is not down to how many drinks you have as such. I can drink many glasses of hard spirits and barely feel it at times whereas my female friend of 5''2' can drink 6 beers and get completely smashed. We both drink completely diffrent amounts but we are both alcoholics. Its more about patterns of drinking rather than the amount consumed.

Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. And it is an addiction to a nerve a poison in the case of spirits and anything higher than 30% it is a drug and a drug that everyone consumes completely blind of what its doing to their body and mind.

If you drink daily and its anything above moderate i would say you could be a addict if you get anxious about ceasing these behaviours.

He should go see a doctor.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am a 23 year old female and I drink a 750 ml bottle of wine 4 sometimes 5 times a week am I an alcoholic? In the past I have drank a bottle (sometimes 2) every night but then my liver enzymes were high on a blood test and so I cut down but people are telling me that it is still too much and if I don't stay within the recommended limits that are set for women. They say I should not drink more than 14 units a week and no more than 3 units in any one day. But I find that I love the taste of some cocktails and staying within these limits is impossible for me since I have calculated it 14 units a week is less than 2 wine bottles per week and as people have stated I am supposed to spread these units throughout the week but I can't do that since whenever I have a bottle I usually like to finish everything at once. For example I will have a 750 ml bottle of Chardonnay in a half hour then then next day another and would have 3 bottles this size 3 days in a row sometimes 4 or 5 continusely every week. I do have 3 or 4 alcohol free days each week, however people tell me that it isn't enough time for my body to recover since I drink 3 or 4 wine bottles a week and sometimes 1 bottle of cocktails. Some people are even telling me that the only safe limit for a woman is 1 drink a day and anything more is not safe. I am not an expert in this, in fact in the past I never even knew that there was any recommendation for males and females on how much to drink each week. In fact it all depends on the countries I have read that some countries don't even have any recommendations on alcohol consumption. I want to have fun and I am not thinking about changing my drinking habits I just want to know if I am a severe alcoholic or just someone who likes to drink. If 14 units a week is safe for a woman then that is only 250 ml of wine per day which I CANNOT stick to these low limits. If I do not change the way I drink and continue it can there be damage in the long run, if so how much do I have to drink and for how many years for any serious damage to start? I would also like to know if there is anything I can take to reduce or prevent any serious damage. Please let me know. Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi. Sorry for posting a question on your page I thought this was the place where you ask questions but I guess I was wrong. I reposted in the question section.
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1305762_tn?1311552599
There is no magic number of drinks that crosses the threshold form social drinker to heavy drinker to problem drinker to alcoholic.

Alcoholism is not defined by how much you drink or how often you drink. Alcoholism is when you continue to drink even though the drinking is having negative effects on your life. Does it cause financial problems? Social problems? Family problems? Do you have trouble making and keeping appointments, etc... Really think about it and see if your drinking is causing you any problems in your life.

That said, you're still young. But you're at the age where the "lets party it up" mentality should start going away a little bit. There's no harm in being young and single and going out and having a good time, even getting a "little drunk" is not healthy but not abnormal.. But does it end there? That's the question.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. One drinks turns into two, turns into three, etc. If you feel compelled to drink, or if you can't help but drinking until you get drunk.. therein may lie the problem. But also, be aware, that even if theres no problem now.. keep an eye on how much you're drinking and if it starts getitng more and more as you build up a tolerance to it... bad times may be ahead.

That being said, heavy drinking is not a good thing for your body. Given time, alcohol will have a negative effect on nearly every major organ: Heart, liver, pancreas, brain, even your skin. Yes, the skin is an organ. Heavy drinking over a period of time will damage and compromise all of these organs.

It doesn't sound like you're drinking too badly right now but it does seem a little too often. See if you can't take a break from drinking for a few weeks and see how that makes you feel. Consider getting some bloodwork done by a doctor to check your liver function just as a precaution. This may help put things into perspective.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi I read this thread and saw your comment. I went through the 20 questions and answered yes to 6 of them, but they were what i believe to be the less serious ones. i am only 20 years old and have been thinking about stopping drinking for about a year now. My usual is about 6-9 shots of vodka a night. Every time I try to quit its not that hard I go a couple of days or even a week, some days I can feel that i need a drink (which is not that easy to get as for most people since im not 21) but I usually dont give in. It on those days that i least expect it that i begin drining again, which i just dont understand. I am soon to turn 21 and i dont want it to get any worse. do you have any advice?
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Avatar_n_tn
alcohol itself is bad for your body so that makes it negative already. it makes a negative impact on everyone no matter what. i don't believe alcohol improves health. so find out how much negativity happens and adjust it with how much you drink because I think there is no positive side to alcohol except for the high. drinking responsibly is all you can do, not healthily.
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Avatar_m_tn
When you start to question your habits and routines then you know that you want to change or are thinking of changing your lifestyle. To be honest you got no problem but alcohol like cigarettes is a poison and a killer, alcohol is worse as it can effect your behaviour and your future and the quality of your life. FOr me it was the difference between being stuck in a rut in the same job for years and happiness and freedom. Sounds a bit drastic but when youve been drinking for over 15 years frequently it inevitably negatively impacts on health emotions and quality of life. Just have a drink at the weekend would be my advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
those of us here who accept that we're alcoholics completely abstain from alcohol/drugs....its the first one that leads to too many.One drink on a weekend for many of us here led to a weekend drunk.We accept the fact we have no OFF switch!
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Avatar_m_tn
in my opinion you are definitely an alcoholic. I drank like that when I was 20 and have been to rehab 3 times. Do you know anyone else who drinks 9 shots/night and cannot stop for more than a few days? That is not normal, controlled drinking.

There is a simple test you can to diagnose yourself: Try to drink and stop abruptly after 3 or 4 drinks, try it more than twice in successive nights when you drink. If you cannot control the amount you have, you most likely are alcoholic. Or, if you try to stop drinking and find you cannot, then you are probably alcoholic.

hope this helps and good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
well put and right on!
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Avatar_f_tn
Well im not gonna state my age but I drink because I cant blaze because im looking for a job and its a way to blow off steam and helps me through this new "college life" well like im young so I dont see the problem.. Take 2 shots of amsterdam gin and half of any citrus soda, or if your like me take shots then sip the soda.. Much better results! I have a revolver system in which I reach 6 shots.. If you can hold your booze then kudo ppl who cant or get a little silly avoid this it is not for you.. Well umm peace ;) wish me luck on the job hunt..
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1475202_tn?1388955435
It's too bad you don't have the self-confidence to start a career without drinking or blazing a fatty! I think your abilities and education are questionable. Your performance is probably significantly better with a sober mind this indicating you already have a problem. Good luck on the job hunt!

Randy
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey Kat,
  This post is old so if you're reading the comment you most likely have a drinking problem because you're still worrying. But my advice is to ignore my advice and those of other strangers. No one knows yourself better than you do. With that said, those closest to you know you next best, but they still don't understand the details, nevertheless ask them for their opinions and consider their words within context.
  If you're taken to the point of posting a thread about drinking, I believe you are worried enough to know that there is a problem. That problem, however, may or may not be alcohol addiction. The matter lies within the troubles you're going through and what you do about them. My opinion:
  If you feel cruddy, you do cruddy things. Cruddy things done reinforce cruddy feelings and a cycle establishes itself. That's the text book story of addiction where someone had a great life then ruins it. But the common truth is much more mixed. We have problems every day and deal with it be developing different solutions. Perhaps one drinks to soothe the pain, is that a sin? If it is then what's the point of taking a substance which dulls pain? The matter at hand is the big picture. Drink every day if you must. Drink until your heart says no more. But listen to what your heart says because once you drink in solitude to numb the pain in hopes that it will disappear forever, you have begun to live in denial. My advice:
  Drink, then take advantage of the "I don't give a hoot" effect to take initiatives in a direction which will help heal the fundamental problem at hand. Life is painful sometimes but we also complicate things beyond need. Keep life simple and keep it full of love.
  My best wishes to you fair Kathryn, I hope you have a happy life.
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Avatar_f_tn
The reality is that you can be an alcoholic and still function during the week.  For example if someone only drinks on Fri and Sat and gets drunk it is considered binge drinking.  People here saying that it is up to you as to if you feel you have a drinking problem or not is not enough and most often people that do have a drinking problem will most likely deny it.
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Avatar_f_tn
It isn't about quantity for some. It wasn't for me. For me, it is about the thought process. That process can be applied to anything potentially.  I've been sober 3.5 years. I still battle with my thinking a fair amount ...

Dor
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