Do I Have a Problem?

Are Alcohol and Drugs Interfering With My Relationships, Job, Finances and Health?

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As you answer these questions, be rigorously honest with yourself. Simply substitute whatever you are using, alcohol or drugs when it refers to the other. Be sure to include prescription drugs.

If you are concerned about someone you love, you probably won't be able to answer all these questions. However, you can answer enough to determine whether or not your fears are grounded. In the mean time, you can also find support at Al-Anon and Codependency Anonymous meetings. As you can see, substance abuse effects not only the user, but family and friends.

1. I don't "show" my liquor. I can drink a lot without appearing drunk.
2. I find I have to use more (alcohol, drugs, pills) to get that nice mellow feeling (or high feeling, etc.)
3. The amount I drink (or drugs I take) could kill someone else.
4. I would want/not want my daughter drinking the amount I do.
5. When I drink, I drink until I get drunk.
6. If there is any left in my glass, I don't stop until it is empty.

1. I find myself thinking about drinking when I am driving my children to school, going to work, etc.
2. I begin to look forward to having a drink before I am able to make that come true.
3. I have become a clock-watcher, trying to calculate how soon I can take my next pill (have my next drink). I know I can't drink until I have my children home from school because I don't want to drink and drive.
4. I only drink or use drugs because …….My husband is never home, I can't sleep, it is the only way I have to relax, everyone else has a few drinks every day, it is a doctor's prescription, I had a lot of problems in my past, no one understands me, I'm hurting, etc.
5. My drinking is not effecting anyone but me.
6. I only drink better and don't do the hard stuff, so it couldn't be a problem.
7. If I could get out of this town (job, neighborhood, marriage) everything would be better and I wouldn't need to use any more.

1. I think I actually drive better when I am drinking because I pay closer attention.
2. Sometimes I drive after I have been drinking, but I don't consider myself drunk.
3. I know I could stop any time I want to, but I haven't wanted to try.
4. I have tried to stop and did for a few days. Then I started again.
5. I stopped using for five months, then started again.
6. People say I am making promises I don't keep.
7. I have changed the time or day I use, ie. I can prove I'm not having a problem because I never use during the day or during the week, after pick up children, etc.
8. Drinking liquor straight.
9. Changing from one type of substance to another, rationalizing.

1. I am having difficulty recalling things.
2. I have had a temporary loss of memory.
3. I have had a total loss of memory, a blackout.
4. People mention that you did or said something, but I have no recall.
5. I can't remember coming home all the time.

1. I don't want to talk about how much alcohol or drugs I use.
2. I haven't told my doctor about my use.
3. At least one person in my family or friend has commented that they didn't like the way I am using.
4. My boss or employees have said something.
5. I am avoiding discussions with people who used to be close to me.

1. I depend upon the drug or alcohol to change how I feel.
2. I often feel bad, low, guilty or overwhelmed.
3. My feelings seem so intense, I seem over-run by them.
4. I am depressed.
5. I really resent…..(my wife, my therapist, others who interfere with what I am doing.)
6. I need to drink, or I need to use drugs.
7. I have unreasonable fears, or I am afraid for no particular reason.
8. I find myself letting my feelings build up, then have outbursts.
9. I really don't care what happens.
10. I have thoughts of suicide.

1. I am hiding how much I drink (or use).
2. I slip in a little extra alcohol when I make a drink for myself.
3. I'm afraid to let people see who I really am.


1. I am doing things I would not do if I wasn't using. (IE., associating with people you normally would not, where you feel superior; sexually acting out; taking more risks, etc.)
2. I can not discuss my problems without a fight or withdrawing from a conversation.
3. I am finding it harder to make decisions.
4. I have difficulty focusing.
5. I have not been seeing my old friends as much.
6. I am avoiding family members.
7. I no longer do as much as I used to (go out with friends, go to church, work on the law, go to children's games, etc.)
8. I make a lot of excuses.
9. I stay out later than I used to.
10. I am not sleeping well without using alcohol or drugs.
11. I am getting into more disagreements.
12. My partner says my using is a problem.
13. I am not eating regularly.
14. I eat more than I used to eat, or binge eat.
15. I find myself being more sarcastic, critical, blaming, putting others down or even beating people up with words.
16. I have become physically aggressive, hitting someone (spouse, children, others), self.
17. I have been thinking about hurting myself.
18. I am taking a lot of risks.
19. I am spending money I don't have. (Using credit cards more, compulsive shopping, buying for others).
20. I'm being extravagant.
21. I find myself buying people gifts after they are angry at me or upset with me.
22. I am lying.
23. I am betraying people I care about.
24. I'm avoiding old friends and hanging out with people I don't really know, or don't really care what happens to me. They tend to be heavier drinkers or drug users.
25. I'm withdrawing.
26. I don't think my drinking is hurting anyone because I drink late at night then go to work in the morning. Everyone else gets what they want from me.
27. I've been hiding my bottles or pills to make sure they are always available.
28. I don't want to share my alcohol or drugs.
29. I drink in the morning, or when I first get up. Or, I take a pill in the morning and drink at night.
30. I tend to not take care of myself like I used to -- not taking as many showers, my clothes are disheveled, I don't really care that much about how I look, etc.
31. I am manipulative.
31. I am withdrawing more, being more silent.
32. I am staying in bed longer.
33. I get no sleep, I wake up frequently, or I sleep all the time.

Work or School

1. I am having problems keeping up at work.
2. My boss has talked to me about my job performance. My job is threatened.
3. I have lost a promotion or a job.
4. I can't keep up with my school work.
5. I am just going to quit school because it isn't worth it any more.
6. I have been losing business.

How else my life has changed
1. My partner is doing more without me.
2. My partner is acting more depressed, more angry.
3. I don't do as much with my family as I used to do.
4. I used to go to church, but I don't any more.
5. My family no longer gathers together at dinner.
6. Every discussion with my partner turns into an argument.
7. My partner has threatened to leave me.

Consequences of Behavior
1. I have had a ticket for driving.
2. I have been arrested for drunk driving.
3. I have lost my job.
4. I have lost my marriage.
5. My relationship with my children is very troubled.

Physical Reactions
1. I have developed the shakes.
2. I am having trouble walking, feeling clumsy, finding it difficult to do fine motor work, such as tying my shoes.
3. There are numerous, serious physical reactions from using alcohol and drugs that can go unnoticed until they have reached a dangerous point. It is very important you receive regular physical check-ups and let your doctor know the truth about your behaviors.

If someone I cared about was acting like I am, what would I do or think? What do I need to do to take care of myself today?

This may have been an eye-opener for you. Don't be overwhelmed. Acknowledging you have a problem is the most crucial step. There's plenty of help available to those who suffer from addictions. Call a therapist or your local crisis line. Your newspaper and telephone books will probably list local Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Codependency Anonymous and Al-Anon Groups. They're even available online. Begin with the first step. You'll find a lot of support because the majority of Americans have been touched with the effects of addiction in their family.

Brenda Crawford-Clark, LMHC, LMFT, NCC
Author: Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions 
©Copyright 2001 Brenda Crawford-Clark