All along the way there were signs that I had a drinking problem. I had no interest in reading those signs but some part of my brain registered them and remembers them. In high school I stood in my boyfriend’s kitchen in the dark listening to friends laughing and talking in the other room while I fixated on how many more drinks I was going to be able to finish that night. I remember blacking out at 16 and thinking it was scary, but that probably happened to everyone. I was arrested twice for underage drinking in college. In alcohol class as a result of my 1986 arrest by Ronald McDonnald (more here) the counselor told us that there were some people who once they start drinking, set off a cycle of craving where we want more and more and more alcohol. I brought a keg of beer to a party. Not a case, a keg! I became the person who showed up for the 5K with a hangover because…why not. I measured days by what cocktails I had or would have. One bottle of wine turned into three.
A year before I got sober I had read somewhere that if you could go 30 days without drinking then you probably weren’t an alcoholic. I was so happy to finally determine whether or not I had a drinking problem. I was able to stop drinking for 30 days, but armed with this magical number I had NO inhibitions at all. I really boozed it up. My drinking became heavier and more frequent and my actions more erratic and insane. Alcohol was my most reliable and steady friend until it wasn’t.
If you are lying there by the light of your phone taking online tests to see if you have a drinking problem, you probably do. If you are posting questions to online forums about whether you are, you probably are. If you wake up thinking you are completely alone cause no one else understands and that you can’t live without alcohol in your life, I understand. Connect with someone about this, because once you do, you never have to feel alone again.