What does it mean to be an alcoholic? How do you know when problem drinking has become an addiction? These are some of the most difficult and challenging questions a problem drinker faces, and before he accepts that he is indeed an alcoholic, the drinker is beyond help.
Here, is a check list of criteria that defines most alcoholics. Firstly an alcoholic is completely powerless over alcohol and has no defense against the first drink. Do you find that on the days when you try as hard as you can not drink, that you wind up drunk anyway?
How many times on your way home have you wandered into a bar, off license or other place that sells booze, sure that 'this time it'll be different' and if you have had a problem in the past 'it's OK now'?
Alcoholics all have an internal civil war raging 24/7, they struggle with their desire to drink and a guilty knowledge of the consequences of drinking. Alcoholics find themselves exhausted by this ongoing battle, they find themselves constantly living in shame over their 'weakness' and constantly expecting that they will not be found out by others.
This means that alcoholics need to constantly lie, lie to themselves, their loved ones, their friends, employers and acquaintances. The difference between the reality of their situation and the story that they spin to themselves and others results in a great pain that they must carry around with them.
The fantasy world the addicted drinker has to create in order to sustain a lifestyle that is slowly destroying them as akin to a certain type of madness.
No one can tell an alcoholic that they are one, they must decide for themselves. I have known drinkers to debate the semantics of their condition up to their institutionalization and premature death, because it is an illness with a life of its own, leaving the decision about whether one is or is not an alcoholic down to the drinker can often be Fatal.
Many alcoholics will do anything to prevent themselves from admitting their true nature because they know that when they do, the game is up, there can be no more self-deception.
When an addict admits the truth and accepts defeat there can be no more lies and the addiction is deadly a serious blow, a light of truth is shone upon it and it can never quite have the same hold over the addict again.
If you know that you are powerless over alcohol, but if you still have a mental obsession with drinking, if you are thinking about alcohol now, if you feel that you can not accept without a drink to help you through the day, you may Well be an alcoholic, but it is your decision to make.
I can promise you that there is nothing to fear in making the decision, and if you are ready to move forward and start a new life, you could make that decision today and decide that you are powerless and that you need help.