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19 August 2008 @ 10:22 am
Straight Talk About Problem Drinking  
I ran into this on Womenheart and felt like it answered a lot of my questions about problem drinking.

In particular, I appreciated the description of the two kinds of problem drinkers, chronic and situational, and this list of signs to watch out for:

How to Recognize a Drinking Problem

Not everyone who drinks regularly has a drinking problem. You might want to get help if you:

* Drink to calm your nerves, forget your worries, or reduce depression
* Lose interest in food
* Gulp your drinks down fast
* Lie or try to hide your drinking habits
* Drink alone more often
* Hurt yourself, or someone else, while drinking
* Were drunk more than three or four times last year
* Need more alcohol to get "high"
* Feel irritable, resentful, or unreasonable when you are not drinking
* Have medical, social, or financial problems caused by drinking
labrys6 on August 19th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Not trying to add levity to this very serious situation, but I did find myself suddenly having a belated attack of my Monday loony moods reading this! The very first line triggered the giggles...because MY "problem drinking" is related to the fact that I canNOT drink alcohol at ALL in any of the states in the first line. Every drink offered to me in my entire life while I was upset or depressed or angry always has made me want to barf at the very first sip!
So, yes, I have a problem in that I can't drink when people think I should...
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
My problem with drinking is that although I love the flavor of margaritas I HATE being intoxicated. If someone comes up with a tequila flavoring that doesn't give you even the slightest buzz, I want a gallon of the stuff. Virgin margaritas just don't taste the same.
labrys6 on August 19th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
I don't care for the feeling of intoxication either. I like just a wee bit of a buzz...and I do mean wee. I seem to have a hereditary tolerance, one beer doesn't make me notice a thing--one alcoholic cocktail barely makes a dent. But two of anything is too much any more.

Of course, it is a whole 'nother topic of "problem" when people THINK you should drink for any of the "usual" reasons---to relax, etc. My only self-medicating drinking is for literal physical pain, since I have allergies to many OTC pain meds. Nothing like a vodka to put the screaming nerves to sleep for a few hours when it is intolerable, but it has to be absolutely intolerable for me to engage in the pain relief.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
I am tired of running into the attitude that if I don't enjoy drinking I am some kind of square or judgmental bitch. I tried to get into the occasional social drinking thing when I got over the Hare Krishna prohibition but by then I was already accustomed to enjoying myself without booze.

I would just find it distracting to be intoxicated while trying to be social--I feel like I need my brain intact to carry on chitchat. I get very quiet if I have more than one drink because I feel so insecure about my mental faculties.

I do tend to enjoy non-alcohol-based parties more because if I'm sober and others are getting pretty plastered, I'm going to be very very bored. What I enjoy about social gatherings is witty conversation.
labrys6 on August 19th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
There is quite a bit of pressure to drink, isn't there? I personally don't see the point; I don't care much for parties where the entire point is getting plastered. And even tho' I do enjoy alcohol very moderately, if it doesn't taste good I am not drinking it for alcoholic effect alone (the medicinal vodka aside!); so why would I ever presume to inflict that upon guests?? I tend to offer many options to my guests, but if I know someone is attending who gets sloshed and annoying, I make it a "dry" party for all rather than put up with the problem.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yes in some segments of society it seems like it's expected. And moderate drinking is considered to be a couple of glasses a DAY. My family wasn't like that so it came as a shock to me. When I do health questionnaires and they ask if I drink I put yes and then they ALWAYS have a follow up about how many drinks per day. So then I have to write in that I drink a couple every couple of months (when I crave the flavor of margaritas with Mexican food, basically).

I am also really annoyed if a party has a gazillion options for drinkers and one or two bottles of soda or juice for the non-drinkers. WTF?

(Of course the bias in society is revealed by the very term "drink" being assumed to mean alcohol. If I offer someone a drink in my home it's most likely to be juice, soda, tea, coffee, water...etc.)
labrys6 on August 19th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the one or two per DAY idea boggles my mind. When I offer a "drink" I usually mean coffee, tea, juice or ice water. I don't keep many sodas about unless an actual party is happening. It never occurs to me to automatically offer alcohol at non-party guest occasions, to be honest. Wow...you know, I never thought about it; tho' we have wine and usually beer, and many distilled things on hand at all times, I don't think about offering them. I don't think about them often at all. I bet I am considered an inferior hostess....man, I never even thought about it. ::::sitting back, feeling a bit stunned::::::
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Some people do feel deprived in this situation--others don't. Depends on their own preferences. But in some circles, drink means alcohol and they'd be surprised and maybe pitying of anyone who thought it only meant regular beverages. That's what I mean when I say I'm tired of some people assuming that those who don't make these assumptions or drink all the time are square or uptight. It's just that our lives don't happen to revolve around alcohol.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on August 20th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
In the South, the first thing to ask someone when they come into your house is, "What would you like to drink?" This almost always means lemonade, iced sweet tea, or iced water...
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on August 20th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Feel irritable, resentful, or unreasonable when you are not drinking

How about flipping that around and adding

Feel irritable, resentful, or unreasonable when you are drinking

to the list?