How to know if you have a drinking problem

If alcohol is interfering with any of your goals, you need to either cut back or stop drinking entirely. If you can’t, you have a drinking problem.

I’m on over 4 years of sobriety now, and the following post is from my heart. Use it to evaluate your own decisions and goals.

By Ed Latimore Last modified

Most people do not have a drinking problem.

In fact, I don’t even think most alcoholics have a drinking problem.

If you’re fine with where you’re at, drink until your liver falls out. It’s not what I’d do, but you don’t have a drinking problem.

There’s nothing wrong with drinking hard if you want nothing more out of life. If you’ve made a few million dollars and want to let it ride while drinking all your evenings away, then you don’t have a drinking problem.

If you hurt people while drunk, you’re a criminal and you’re stupid but you don’t have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol is supposed to make you dumb and dull. If you do dumb shit while under its influence, you don’t have a drinking problem. In fact, if you dumb shit it’s a sign the alcohol is working!

How do you know if you have a drinking problem?

If you’re trying to improve your life but alcohol is interfering with that, then you have a drinking problem. Doesn’t matter if you only go out once every other week or if you get smashed every night.

Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about lofty goals that you imagine you’ll one day achieve.

But if you want to get down to 10 percent body fat — and 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 does right when sober but wrecks havoc while drinking.

If you put effort into a portion of life but alcohol undoes or impedes that progress, then you have a drinking problem. You should take a break. Maybe you drink soft drinks. You might even need to go on a permanent break. But something must change.

Is your alcohol problem actually an ambition problem?

If you drink all night after working all day at a job you hate, this ain’t for you. If you have 5 kids by 25 with no money, this ain’t for you. This definitely ain’t for the kid that’s majoring in bullshit drinks every night and still has a 3.9 GPA.

If you don’t have any real goals, it’s fine if you have a drinking problem.

If your goal is to just make rent, chase girls and eat, you don’t need much else. You don’t have a drinking problem. You have an ambition problem. There’s a different remedy for that.

If you want more from life, a hangover is a waste of time. Fail because you didn’t work hard enough — not because you got a DUI. Lose friends because you’re an asshole — not a sloppy drunk. Have control over your life — even over the mistakes.

And next, read this: Year 3: Sober thoughts from a former drunk