Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

“Maybe I Drink Too Much” asks: Hey Docs. So some people in my family and my girlfriend have told me that I have a drinking problem. I don’t think they are necessarily right. I mean, I do drink all of the time but I drink with other people at work. We all go out on the weekends and drink together. It doesn’t really cause a problem in my work life or my relationships or anything. In fact, I think not drinking would cause problems at work because all of my business’s social events involve drinking and everyone in our office drinks. How much alcohol is too much? When do you have a problem?

Hello, Maybe I Drink Too Much. Thank you for your question. First of all, this is a great question, and it’s a question many of us get frequently in our practices. There is a very thin line between being a health drinker who uses alcohol in moderation and being an alcoholic. If you drink more than one to three alcoholic beverages per week, you are drinking more than you should from a health standpoint.

Alcoholism is a real disease. There is a genetic component. Consider your parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Does alcoholism run in your family? You may think you are functioning perfectly well in your life, but if your loved ones are telling you that you drink too much, there’s a chance that it’s harming your relationships without you even realizing it.

In this day and age, unfortunately, alcohol is so ingrained in our society, and it is such an integral part of many social and business events. If you were to stop drinking, it may become awkward for you at these events, but if your co-workers really like you for you and what you bring to the company, they will accept your desire to cut down on drinking or to stop drinking altogether. If they don’t, perhaps that is not a place where you should be working.

I cannot definitively say whether or not you have a drinking problem. But I think deep down, you know if drinking is a problem for you. I would talk to other people in your life about it. See a physician or counselor and talk to them about it. Try going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and just see what you think of it. If you find that you need help, there are many resources out there where you can find help. (See below.)

It’s important to remember, though, that no one knows your body and your life as well as you do. However, when it comes to alcoholism and addiction, many people will try to convince themselves that drinking and using drugs is fine. Seek the advice of physicians and people in your life who care about you.

Helpful Resources:

AION Recovery
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration