What can I expect

The Warning Signs of Alcoholism

When does the social drinker become a problem drinker? Although it is impossible to draw a definitive line, experts agree that an important clue is when someone begins to lose control over his actions. For instance, the alcoholic may know that he is drinking too much- but is virtually unable to stop. The following quiz, from the National Council on Alcoholism, Inc., will help you recognize if you are suffering from the disease. Answer each question Yes or No.

Do you occasionally drink heavily after a disappointment, a quarrel, or when the boss is difficult?

When you have trouble or feel under pressure, do you always drink more heavily?

Are you able to handle more liquor than you did when you were first drinking?

Did you ever wake up on the ‘morning after’ and discover that you could not remember part of the evening before, even though your friends say you didn’t ‘pass out?’

When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others will not know it?

Are there certain occasions when you feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?

When you begin drinking, are you in more of a hurry to get the first drink than you used to be? Do you sometimes feel guilty about drinking? 

Are you secretly irritated when your family or friends discuss your drinking?

Have you recently noticed an increase in the frequency of your memory ‘blackouts?’

Do you often find that you wish to continue drinking after your friends say enough?

Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? 

When you are sober, do you often regret things you have done or said while drinking?

Have you tried switching brands or following different plans for controlling your drinking?

Have you often failed to keep the promises you made about cutting down on your drinking?

Have you ever tried to control your drinking by making a change in jobs or moving?

Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?

Are you having an increasing number of financial and work problems?

Do more people seem to be treating you unfairly without good reason?

Do you eat very little or irregularly when you are drinking?

Do you sometimes have the ‘shakes’ in the morning and find that it helps to have a little drink?

Have you recently noticed that you cannot drink as much as you once did?

Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time?

Do you sometimes feel very depressed and wonder whether life is worth living?

Sometimes after periods of drinking, do you see or hear things that aren’t there?

Do you get terribly frightened after you drink heavily?


If you answered Yes to any of the questions, you have some of the symptoms that may indicate alcoholism. “Yes” answers to several of the questions indicate the following stages of alcoholism: Questions 1-8 – Early stage. Questions 9-21 – Middle stage. Questions 22-26 – The beginning of the Final stage.

What you can do:

For immediate treatment information, visit here. This is for you if you personally struggle with alcohol or love someone who does.

If you suspect that alcoholism is a problem for you or someone you know, contact:

Alcoholics Anonymous has chapters in nearly every city and small town. Look under A. A. in your telephone directory. If you can’t find a nearby group, write to Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Headquarters, P O Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10017.

Al-Anon Family Groups work closely with Alcoholics Anonymous and are geared to the friends or relatives of alcoholics.

Al-Teens is an offshoot of Al-Anon’s group efforts. Children of alcoholics gain support and guidance from others who face similar problems. Check your local directory.

National Council on Alcoholism also has local chapters. Look under “Alcoholism Information Center” in your phone directory. The national office to contact is at 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016.

City or State programs on Alcoholism are government-run counseling and referral services, generally limited to the big cities. To find out if one is located near you, write to Alcohol and Drug Problems of North America, 1130 17th St. N.W., Suite 615, Washington, D.C. 20036.