Sunday, February 10, 2013

Are you a high functioning alcoholic?

An unofficial quiz.

I am a high functioning alcoholic.  I know a lot of women wondering about their alcohol use; if they have a problem.  I know of a lot of women who manage to scrape by on a daily basis because they are high functioning: holding down a career, a relationship, managing kids and a household.  Smart, capable, strong women whose control is starting to slip.  Starting to wonder if maybe they have a problem.  

Many women think an alcoholic is the dirty, homeless man under the freeway overpass.  Many think they have to lose their job, get a DUI, or put their family at risk to really be an alcoholic.  Many are quietly drinking by themselves in the safety of their homes, after the kids have been put to bed and hubby is in his man cave.   Many tell themselves they need to drink to deal with stress, anger, sadness or fear.  Some variation of “if you had my life you’d drink too”.

Many women, after a couple/four glasses of wine start looking online for answers, trying to figure out if they have a problem with a heart full of fear or at least trepidation.  Some are looking with righteousness, to prove they don’t have a problem.  Most are excellent hiders and managers of their alcohol use.  So what’s out there doesn’t look like them, and they keep drinking.  So I've attempted a list of my own.
  • Do you maintain drinking rules by time?  Such as not drinking during work hours or not drinking before a certain time of day?  Have those times shifted due to circumstance? 
  • Do you only drink certain drinks because you can predict how they will affect you?  Examples: only drinking red wine or only drinking beer.
  • Do you curtail certain activities after a certain time because you expect to have a buzz? Such as not taking phone calls or going online after a certain time at night?
  • Can you keep alcohol in the house without drinking it?
  • Have you decided not to drink for a day or period of time, but then ended up drinking anyway?
  • Do you avoid certain activities or friends because you will not be able to drink?
  • Do you drink to handle work related stress or particular people?
  • Can you leave alcohol in the glass without finishing it?
  • Do you start to feel anxious or irritated if it is time for a drink and you haven’t had one?
  • Is drinking still fun?
  • Do you drink to avoid dealing with an unhappy relationship or a situation you don’t know how to handle?
  • If someone asks you how much you drink (i.e., a doctor during a physical), is your answer less than your actual consumption?
  • Do you find yourself committed to not drinking in the morning, but find reasons to have a drink or two by the end of the day?
  • Do you drink to get in the mood for sex?
  • Do you have a glass on display when drinking at home, but have another source of alcohol hidden somewhere, in the house or car?
  • Do you need a “loading dose” or to “have a couple drinks” before an event where there will be alcohol served?
  • Do you have bottles hidden in your home or car?  
  • Have you ever had a drink in a bathroom stall?
  • Have you watched something on television but not remembered the end because you fell asleep before the end due to drinking?
  • Have you ever put a drink in a container such as a coffee cup or water bottle to take it with you?
  • Have you ever disposed of bottles someplace other than the household trash?
  • Do you seek out the company of people who drink like you do or drink more excessively than you do?
  • Do you curtail certain activities or time spent with friends to certain times to ensure you can get to a drink when you want one?
  • Have you slept with someone you didn’t mean to because you were drinking?
  • Have you had a fight with a significant other because you were drinking?
  • Have you ever told yourself or someone else “it was the alcohol talking” or “that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drinking” or had to apologize for your behavior while drinking?
  • Have you ever had to check your Sent Message, Facebook page or phone history to find out who you emailed or called or what you posted while drinking?
  • Do you visit different places to buy alcohol because you worry the clerk might notice how much you are buying?  Do you make offhand comments to the clerk about “having a party” because of the amount you buy?  Do you use the self check-out line at the grocery store so a clerk won’t monitor your purchase?
  • Do you know the hours of your alcohol supplier: liquor, grocery or party store?  Have you taken your children into a store expressly to buy alcohol?
  • Have you started buying bigger bottles or boxed wine so that someone can’t see your consumption?
  • Do you purchase certain types of alcohol on a regular basis because they don’t require an implement to open, i.e. wine with a screw top cap rather than a cork or beer bottles that don’t require an opener?
  • Has anyone in your immediate family or close circle of friends expressed concern over your drinking?
  • Have you forced yourself to throw up in order to drink more?  Or thrown up and kept drinking?
  • When you read the label on a bottle of pain reliever that says: do not take this medication if you drink more than three alcoholic drinks per day, do you pause?
  • Have you ever searched for a bottle of alcohol in your home because you can’t remember where you left it?
  • Do you find you can only access emotions when drinking?  Do you mainly feel numb or empty when you are not? 
I am not a qualified professional.  But I am a high functioning alcoholic who knows what I did to keep my drinking going.  I put together these questions based on my experience and those of others I have met and worked with.  It’s unofficial.  There is no scoring system or  official measurement.  However, I would say if you identify with more than 5 of them and you are worried about your drinking, you may want to talk to a qualified helping professional, check out AA, or talk with someone you know who is sober.  Help is out there.  I’ve linked to some resources that helped me after the questions.  Or  you can always contact me.

Resources Links: 


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