How To Know If You Have A Drinking Problem
If you’re trying to accomplish a goal and your drinking interferes with it, then you need to cut back or stop drinking. If you can’t, then you have a drinking problem. I’m on 23 months of not drinking so the following is from my heart, but it should give you the framework to evaluate your own decisions and goals.
By that definition I don’t consider most alcoholics as people with a drinking problem. If you have decided that you’ve done what you’re going to do in life and want to spend most of your free time getting hammered, that’s fine by me.
If you want to be nothing more than a high school drop out making 10 dollars an hour, then by all means drink until you throw up, multiple nights of the week. If you’ve made a few million dollars and are content just letting it ride while drinking many evenings away, then I don’t think you have a problem.
If you hurt people while under the influence of alcohol, you’re a criminal and you’re stupid–but I don’t think you have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol is supposed to make you dumb and dull. If you do dumb shit while under it’s influence, that is not a sign of a problem. That’s a sign it’s working!
If are you are earnestly trying to improve your life but alcohol is interfering, then you have a drinking problem. You don’t have to get smashed all the time, but your drinking is problematic if it interferes with your goals.
Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about lofty goals that you imagine you’ll one day achieve. If you want to get down to 10 percent body fat—you’re eating all the right foods and working twice as hard as you need to in the gym—but you go out and drinking every night, then your drinking is a problem. In fact, it is THE problem.
If you are doing all the right things in your relationships–romantic, platonic and familial– to make them strong and lasting, but the majority of your problems are happening when you drink—you have a drinking problem.
There are some people with shitty personalities that become worse when they drink. These people are assholes, but they don’t have problems. This is for the person who acts right most of the time when they’re sober but acts wrong most of the time when they’re drinking.
If you put effort into a portion of life but alcohol is undoing that progress, then you need to change your relationship with booze. Maybe you take a short break. Maybe you drink soft drinks. Maybe you go on a permanent break. But something must change.
This isn’t for the people that drink all night and end up late to some job they hate to pay rent to live in a shit hole. I’m not dropping this message for the people who had 5 kids by 25 with no means to support them and maybe drinking too much is messing up the family. This definitely isn’t for the kid in college that’s majoring in bullshit that spends every night fucked up and still has a 3.9 gpa.
You can be a heavy drinker, but if you don’t have any other goal that you’re working towards, so the fuck what? I’m a big believer in relaxing and enjoying life if you feel you’ve earned it. I also know that everyone ain’t gonna have the same goals me. If your goal is to make rent, chase girls and feed yourself and drinking doesn’t keep you from doing that, you’re good. If your goal is to get smashed at happy hour 5 days a week after work and your honestly content with your salary, go for it. You’ve earned it.
But if you are after more in your life and you find that your greatest inhibitor is alcohol, then you have to pull back off the bottle. Better to fail because you went all out than because you were nursing a hangover. Better to lose a friend because you actually pissed him off rather than because he finally lost patience with your drunken antics. Better to have control over your life than not.