Ten questions can tell you the Yes or No of it all
I’ve hesitated about writing today’s words, but no matter how I’ve pushed the idea aside, it’s persisted. I’ve even wakened from sleep with some of the phrases forming in my mind, and so, I bend to fate and here goes.
During the Holiday Season I met this delightful person who, I’d be willing to bet, will become Alcoholic or already is. Oh, how I wanted to talk to him\her about it, but I didn’t. There would have been anger, indignation and I would have been told, entirely truthfully, that it was none of my business. But at one stage of my life I was active in Alcoholics Anonymous, and while not alcoholic myself, I learned an awfully lot about the disease.
So I finally shuffled through my long unused AA files to find this list of questions, and I use them because they were true then and are just as true today.
If you answer ‘Yes’ to even one of them, the chances are you have a problem, and if you answer ‘Yes’ to three or more you are alcoholic. It may take years before you admit it, but the course of the disease is absolutely down-hill, and will worsen until admitted and faced.
You needn’t tell your answers to anyone, but for heaven’s sake listen to yourself, and, oh, I wish/hope that wonderful person I talked to will see, read and act.
1. Do you ever take a drink in the morning?
2. When people mention drinking do you walk away in anger, thinking they were speaking about you, and wish they’d mind their own business.
3. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you stopped drinking?
4. Have you ever said, “I can stop anytime I want”, and then poured yourself another drink?
5. When having guests or going to a party do you ever pour yourself a secret drink beforehand just to ‘get in the mood’?
6. Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or two and then find yourself drinking again within one or two days?
7. Does your drinking ever cause trouble at home? At school? On the job?
8. Do you have blackouts? Partial memory loss?
9. Have you ever gotten drunk when it was the last thing in the world you wanted to do?
10. Have you ever switched from one kind of liquor to another in hopes it would keep you from getting drunk?
Simple, aren’t they? But their very simplicity is deceiving, and all the disbelief in the world won’t change the truth of them or your answers.
Like question No. 8. A blackout doesn’t mean ‘passing out’. ‘Blacking out’ means that you were on your feet, talking, laughing, dancing, but the next day you can’t remember one thing of what happened. You ‘blacked out’ and it’s a mean thing, for no one there would have seen one thing odd in your behavior.
Now, it doesn’t help if a spouse or parent recognizes these traits and tries to help by telling the person. The one who has the disease will fight back, maintaining ‘there is no problem’, (see No. 4) and, anyway, ‘living with you would drive anyone to drink’.
And if question No. 7 is brought up, it will always be someone else’s fault. Always, always, always, and never, never, never, theirs.
But thank heavens today we all know about alcoholism from TV, Internet, radio or magazines. You will find AA meetings in your own neighborhood, across town, or, if you wish to be truly anonymous, there are even groups which absolutely insist upon it and one’s Last Name is forbidden from use and Nick-Names used.
It’s not an easy journey, but the sooner the alcoholic realizes the disease, and only then, can it be controlled. And, as I once learned, it is not a case of just the alcoholic needing help, but everyone whose life has been touched, needs help. Which is why meetings for the non-alcoholic, teens, adults, and even for adult children of alcoholics are so well attended.
Oh, wouldn’t it be great if someone, even if not the one I met so briefly, would read these words and get the help that is now to easy to get. Well, miracles do happen, you know.