OK, so, it’s come to mind, “Do I have a problem?“ When was the point when you actually posed this question to yourself? Some of you have not asked, but you have stated, “I have a problem”, to yourselves.
I was telling myself this for a long time.
Whenever I ran out of weed, I would scrape the the pipes, knowing that the resin was going to give me a massive headache, but I did it anyway. At restaurants, I would complain about the $17 salmon plate and not order it, but the $30 bottle of wine that I drank myself was a deal! Not feeling good about my lack of physique, I would purposely go to the donut shop around closing time, knowing they gave away the leftover pastries that I would binge on shortly after. Waking up next to an unknown person, or in an unknown place. “Almost“ getting busted at the police raid last night or not knowing how the car magically got home from a few states away. How did that happen?
There was always a rational behind all of this. Besides, I was a “good” kid who had never really gotten into any trouble besides the “good student, but talks too much in class” commentary on my report card.
Consequently, nothing that I could see had ever happened to me, so I would just brush it off and move on. I started noticing more and more things happening to people around me. One person was hit by a car, another fell onto the subway tracks, a friend of a friend was raped at a party I was at, all under the influence. I was sleeping on random floors more than I would like while I started blacking out more frequently. After countless “almosts”, that little voice in the far corner of my brain was telling me that something was up. Then at the opening of a new bar that I was working at, the coworker that I thought had the biggest problem I ever saw was the one who carried me home (may the universe continue to look after you Eric!). Reality sunk in and that train wasn’t stopping anytime soon.
In giving you this lovely picture of my existence in another life, you might not have had any of these experiences. You might have had all of them and then some. These events and endless others spanned a 30 year period. I had a problem I did not recognize very early on. Truth is, you don’t need to be an alcoholic to have a problem with alcohol or an addict to have a problem with drugs. Many people with eating disorders are not overweight nor underweight for that matter. You’re not a thief until you get caught, right?
Here is a document with a few screenings you can use yourself for Alcohol problems. The simplest one, the CAGE Test, is my favorite.
C Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
A Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
G Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
E Eye opener: Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
You can always substitute the word alcohol for any other substance or behavior you might participate in that hasn’t been suiting you so well, ex.:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down (i.e. on weekend cocaine use, eating fried foods, working so much, seeing a person that you know you don’t have a future with, etc.)
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your…
- Have other been annoyed by your….
- Have you ever felt guilty about…
- Have you ever acted out the next day after…
There is a drug self screening test here.
In addition, here is a copy of the Jellinek Curve. E. Morton Jellinek was the researcher who brought us the understanding of alcoholism as a disease back in 1946. These are all meant to assist you in pondering your reality.
Now, you might not have made it down that far in the curve yet, but when you think of the time you didn’t eat much, but had that extra drink at the staff party and had to leave; the time you “just” smoked some pot and became afraid that they might randomly drug test you at work; that person that you really, really liked stopped dating you because you slept through and missed your date due to your overindulgence earlier in the day; ate the whole quart of ice cream when you just wanted a scoop, got a stomach ache and did it again a week later; or that time you were pulled over, “feeling good” after a few beers at your friend’s house watching the game by the cop who happened to be a friend’s brother, wasn’t a problem, then you might want to think about it again.
If you’re thinking that you might have a problem, then there just might be something there. You can do something about it. Forget everyone else and give yourself credit for being honest with yourself.