You Want To Know If You’re An Alcoholic

So you wanna know if you’re an alcoholic…

Used 2012-08-30 Hunter S Thompson quote

Short Answer –

You’re not.


Medium Answer –

Being an alcoholic is like being in love: if you have to ask, you aren’t.

Long Answer –

It all goes back to Step 1 of Alcoholic’s Anonymous‘s 12 Steps.

We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

The second half of that step is the most overlooked and yet most important part of Step 1. Admitting you’re powerless over alcohol is key, but recognizing that you have lost control of your life because you’re powerless over alcohol is what makes a person an alcoholic.

If you cannot control your drinking and your life has been ruined as a result, congratulations: the good news is waiting in the column to the right of this post, under the heading Some R&R (Recovery & Resources).Used 2012-08-30 You're an alcoholic Fuck You Lamp


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on August 30, 2012, in AA Step Work, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It seems like the hard part in recognizing what needs to change is recognizing the “unmanageable” part. That’s so tricky because denial wants to keep us oblivious to the “unmanageable” piece!

    “I don’t need help.”
    “I’m just fine.”
    “I can control this.”
    “Everything is okay.”

    Yeah — I recognize those things because while my life is not unmanageable because of alcohol, it is because of codependency, and maybe once-upon-a-time, eating or depression or other stuff, too. I mean, I know those things are different from alcoholism because of the specificity of ways alcohol works on a person and how powerful it is as a substance to an alcoholic, but I can relate to my life becoming unmanageable (!!!!!!!) and know what that “bottom” feels like. And when a person hits that bottom, he or she (in my case “she”) has to acknowledge (admit) the things that got her there and then deal with them.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I know what it is to have something get out of control and then bury my head in the sand about it, hahaha. I get that part. I get the need to recognize the things I am powerless against and then have to do something about it because of how unmanageable things have become — like admit it is unmanageable and I need help. I’m thankful that I did not find alcohol to be addictive in my life, though. It sure would have complicated things even more than they could be/could have been.

    Thanks for stating this all so clearly, Al. And thanks for the HST quote. 🙂 You know, I think I would amend his quote just slightly. It is also possible to know what the edge is by having watched someone you love plunge over. Maybe one does not *know* it know it unless they have gone over themselves, but they know it enough to know they don’t want to — or, I think as I have noted some people who have watched loved ones go over the edge, they decide the pain of having watched someone go over is too much, so they join them there. Thus a pattern of alcoholism/addiction in families. (I was thinking of that one singer chick on “Celeb Rehab” whose mom OD’d and she was the one who introduced her mom to coke, I think it was…)

    Just a little “furthering of the idea” that is there. And I am thoughtful today. 🙂

    • Hey Angel,

      What a great comment! i know the relief of the perspective change when all of a sudden bags that i thought were full of goodies in the past reveal themselves to be full of dead ends. It’s liberating to be able to drop the sack and soar! 😉

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. I love this post. I also love the hst quote. The challenge is that I can absorb a lot of stuff…I’ve had to sign into work after midnight every night this week and work the normal 10 hour days in the office. My friend is so angry with me and my like whatever at least I have a job and so it goes. It is good but not bc I’m always thinking this is not the worst that can happen and maybe in a way tempting tptb.

    • Working On It!

      Thanks for stopping by! Your comment reminded me of an AA expression, “It works until it doesn’t.” In my case, i could absorb a lot of shit until i couldn’t anymore. i hope you don’t get to that point!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  3. My father likes to joke that an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than his doctor.

  4. princessvonvoodoo

    Shut the front door! I found another blog…congrats to me and to you for getting hitched! (nothing to do with your post, I know, but I haven’t had the chance to say)

  5. HST, gotta love him. Great post Al. Loved the comment from Celeste above. Hope you guys enjoy the rest of your week.

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