Are You an Alcoholic? 3 Key Indicators

It seems crazy when you’re first asking yourself ‘am I an alcoholic’?

An alcoholic is a down-and-out tramp foaming from his mouth on a park bench, right?

Alcoholics don’t hold down jobs and relationships. Do they?

The answer is that alcoholics come in all forms.

Alcoholics who maintain jobs, relationships and an air of social ‘normality’ are actually known as ‘high-functioning’ alcoholics, and furthermore, an alcoholic isn’t always defined by the amount of drinks he consumes.

The chances are that by reading this article we can establish that your drinking has at least gotten out of control.

Below are three steps to ascertain whether you are a mere heavy drinker or have veered into alcoholism.


Every alcoholic in recovery knows that it is his thinking, not his drinking that can lead him back to alcoholism.

The same is true while alcoholics are still ‘out there’ on the lash.

Take away the amount you drink and honestly ask yourself: ‘how often am I thinking about alcohol?’

The majority of my drinking life was spent in binges that got progressively worse over time.

While I started with getting heavily pissed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights (and spending the rest of the week sober) I was still exhibiting alcoholic behaviour, even though I wasn’t drinking in the mornings, or every day of the week.

The reason for this is because I deeply loved the weekend for the drunken escapism it offered but lived the rest of the week reeling from the mental and physical battering of the nights out.

Essentially, I was either in drinking binge mode, reeling from drinking binge mode or preparing for drinking binge mode.

I was perpetually in a state of defining my sense of wellbeing in reference to alcohol.

If you notice this same pattern in your life, this is the first key indicator that you may be on a slippery slope.



Just as alcoholism in individuals ranges from the rich and successful to the poor and destitute, withdrawal symptoms also range in severity.

If you are a heavy drinker and do not allow yourself to detox properly, please read the below piece, bearing in mind that alcohol withdrawal can be exceptionally dangerous.

Even in my aforementioned weekend spree drinking, I began to get minor to moderate withdrawal symptoms after binges.

Symptoms included increased anxiety, confusion, disordered thinking, running a temperature, nauseous feelings, depression and minor tremors.

Now things got pretty nasty for me a few years down the line when I graduated to severe withdrawal issues as my sprees increased in severity and longevity.

However, the warning signs were there from the early days.

If you are finding yourself noticeably anxious and physically weakened after your drinking, it is another key indicator of an underlying alcoholism.



There is a consensus amongst alcoholics that when they drink they become who they really are.

The fake confidence and numbing effects alcohol offers lead people to a state of non-anxiety and calm: A place where they can be who they want to be.

In sobriety, alcoholics have to face whatever internal fears, memories and personality flaws that led us to use alcohol to medicate ourselves in the first instance.

Despite being initially very frightening, this venture is the most rewarding of many people’s lives, and offers men the opportunity to live free of fear, shame and pain, without reliance on any substances at all.

C.S. Lewis on How to Find Your Inner Heaven

Essentially, the question: ‘Am I an alcoholic?’ is synonymous with ‘Am I harbouring hidden pain and or fear?’

If you are drinking to cover such pain and/or fear, it is another key indicator of alcoholism.

The three key indicators outlined in this piece provide you with a framework with which to review your drinking, yet it is only you who can truly label yourself as an alcoholic or not.

A safe barometer is that if you’re searching on the internet for answers, it is very likely you have a problem.

Non-alcoholics do not tend to search ‘Am I an Alcoholic?’ on Google.

For many, acceptance is extremely difficult, yet for those that do accept, a life in recovery becomes the best choice they ever made.

For any immediate help with your drinking, you can search for a meeting in your local area using the AA Find a Meeting function.

Meetings are completely free.

Read more: Reframing – How to Find the Blessing in Being an Addict

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