Frequently the determination of whether someone is or is not an alcoholic can take the form of affectionate teasing and banter, where status is implied by the sometimes wild behavior of a party-goer. When asking, do I have a drinking problem; status is not the issue so much as the control and enjoyment of alcohol. Typically people drink because they like the relaxing carefree effect, and normal drinkers tend to moderate this to suit their lifestyle without difficulty.

The signs that alcohol and not situation are the source of discomfort or unease about behavior can be easy to confuse, particularly when the carefree association with alcohol is not something we want to part with. Evidence of problem drinking can begin with situations such as missing work or school as the result of drinking, wanting to continue drinking when everyone else has had enough, and making regrettable decisions while drunk. Consequences such as DUIs, blackouts, and damaging relationships can escalate the desire to drink to escape. A problem drinker will often times wish they could drink without getting into trouble, drink alone, or try switching various forms of alcohol to better control their drinking when in public.

When asking yourself if you have a drinking problem, an important consideration is how people use alcohol safely and to enjoy themselves; if drinking becomes endangering to others, is creating problems in personal life or work and controlling the desire to drink requires effort, alcohol has ceased to be something carefree and enjoyable. Alcohol can exaggerate feelings and moods, increase anxiety and create counterproductive cycles of depression, lethargy and sleeplessness.  Whether or not a drinking problem is the source of difficulty, it is important to remember alternative methods to relax and let go of stress which will have long lasting and positive effects.

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