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Old 08-11-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Alcohol Faqs

Alcohol Faqs

Q. How do I know if I'm "alcoholic"?
A. That is an extremely important question, because we are unable to do anything about our alcoholism until we answer that question for ourselves.

There are, of course, numerous checklists that let us rate ourselves, with questions like:

* Have I ever missed work because of alcohol?
* Have I ever blacked out while drinking?

Most of us in AA usually answered most of those type questions with "yes's" but told ourselves that "everyone drinks like that." Later we realized that it only seemed like everyone drank like that because we only socialized with people who drank like we did. So our frame of reference was skewed by the settings in which we placed ourselves or in which we grew up. Besides, most of us shrugged off the results of such quizzes because we weren't quite ready to give up drinking and the way it let us feel or act. We had to wait until the pain of continuing overcame the fear of changing.

Here are what we believe to be facts you can use in making your own decision:

* It is not a matter of what we drink. Some alcoholics favor scotch, some drink tequila, others drink nothing but beer.
* It is not a matter of when we drink. Some of us were daily drinkers, beginning before we got out of bed in the morning and continuing throughout the day; others of us would hit it hard on the weekend and moderate during the early part of the week; still others were more episodic, perhaps drinking only once every several months.
* It is not a matter of where we drink. Some of us were bar drinkers, some were literally closet drinkers, drinking only alone at home.
* It is not a matter of economic circumstances. AA members include judges, surgeons, entertainers, auto mechanics, waitresses, and people who were living under bridges at the end of their drinking careers.
* It is not a matter of race or ethnic origin. Alcoholism is an equal opportunity disease.

The one common element is that we cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving more alcohol. In the book Alcoholics Anonymous, the section entitled "The Doctor's Opinion" likens this phenomenon to the manifestation of an allergy that is triggered by the drinking of alcohol.

One exercise you might take is to write down on a piece of paper all those things you have done in your life that have caused you the most regret, remorse, guilt, or shame, and then put a check mark next to the ones that occurred while you had been drinking. Many of us have again shrugged off such exercises because we were always drinking so of course those things occurred while we were drinking - everything in our lives occurred while we were drinking. Only when we were able to overcome that strange compulsion to take that first drink and started associating with different people and living different lifestyles did we realize that our basic assumption was wrong - not everyone drinks like we did, and there is an association between alcohol and things like family arguments, DUI's, and just generally feeling bad about ourselves.

One thing to consider is that most "normal" people (you know, the ones who leave half a glass of wine on the table when they walk out of the restaurant) don't have occasion to ask themselves if they are alcoholic.

AA has a pamphlet called "44 Questions" that contains further information on this topic. It can be obtained at most AA meeting places and/or Central Service Offices.

Q. How do I contact Alcoholics Anonymous?
A. Most AA clubs and Central Service Offices are listed in the Yellow Pages under Alcohol or Alcoholism. The numbers are also available by dialing information and asking for Alcoholics Anonymous. Many cities have on-line meeting schedules for different areas of the city.

Q. What goes on at AA meetings?
A There are many types of meetings, some involve general discussions about recovery from alcoholism, some are "Big Book" meetings where the discussion is focused on reading and discussing certain passages out of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and others are speakers meeting where most of the meeting is spent having a speaker share his or her experience, strength and hope in recovering from alcoholism.

Q. Do I have to give my name or participate if I go to an AA meeting?
A No. The formats for meetings vary somewhat from meeting to meeting. At many meetings, only those who raise their hands or want to share contribute to what is said. At some meetings the leader may call on various people but it is virtually always acceptable to respond with "My name is Bill (or whatever your first name is), and I would prefer to just listen for now."

Many meetings offer people attending their first AA meeting the chance to identify themselves as newcomers, but as with most things in AA, it is your personal choice.

Q. How do I deal with someone else who has a drinking problem?
A There is no simple answer. If you are in a long-term relationship with someone with a drinking problem (e.g., son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, etc.), you may want to attend some Al-Anon meetings. This is a fellowship where the members learn to address this very issue. There are also chapters in the book Alcoholics Anonymous that are helpful ("To Wives," which is also appropriate for husbands of alcoholics, and "To Employers"). The AA Central Service Office in each city will have a list of meeting times and addresses where more information can be obtained. You can check out the Al-Anon web site. It has further information and ways to contact them. It is located at

Regardless of the type of relationship, there are a few well-accepted principles for dealing with people with drinking problems:

* Many drinkers keep at it until they can no longer deny they have a problem. People who delay that day of reckoning help delay recovery. Shielding drinkers from the consequences of their actions can be killing them with kindness. Make a decision: no more lies to employers, no more paying bail bonds, no more making apologies on behalf of someone else's drunken behavior.
* Separate your feelings for the person from your feelings for his or her actions. Loving someone does not mean that you have to love or accept their actions.
* Know that you are a child of God and you have rights. Physical or verbal abuse are not acceptable behavior.
* Know that it is not normal or acceptable to be mildly or moderately intoxicated every day. Millions of people deal with stress on the job, loss of jobs, deaths of spouses or parents, deaths or life-threatening illness of their children, bankruptcy, divorce and other calamities without becoming drunk.
* Know that the drinker has to want to quit. Accept the fact that you can't do it for them.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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