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November 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Personality

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What makes an alcoholic?


I feel I may drink too much but it doesn't damage my personal life. I drink the equivalent of a bottle of wine every evening; I don't generally drink during the day. This does not affect my family life, in that I am happily married and have a daughter I love. This drinking does not affect my attitudes or behavior towards them at all, and I don't go out to drink generally. If I do, I rarely drink more than this amount. I very rarely feel hung-over the next day, and I don't feel drinking affects my work ever. My concern is that I have become a habitual drinker and that this will affect my health in the long term.

I can control my drinking, but I also do look forward to it when working a long hard day, and want to be able to break the cycle without worrying about having nothing to look forward to after a hard day's work. Also, I am worried about the fact that when I don't drink (which I have done for a week at a time now and then) I often feel listless and without that essential relaxing agent! I worry that paradoxically, I will become a grumpy husband without the booze, and will stop being fun to be with for my wife!

Scrawny, 32-year-old man


Dear "Scrawny",

From what you write, you do not have the symptoms of being an alcoholic (yet). However, it may be a good idea to go for a liver test to see if the amount you drink has caused any damage. People vary a lot in their inherited resistance to alcohol, and you may be lucky. And one good rule is:

"If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't work, do something else."

For you, a drink in the evening works. If a medical examination shows that it has not harmed your body, then it's fine for you to continue. However, if there is some sclerosis of the liver, then you'd better find some other way of relaxing and being a fun husband. This is perfectly possible. The wine is a tool you are using to achieve certain outcomes. Given your particular interests, strengths , and other habits, you can find other tools to achieve them. Read my page on how to change habits .

Changing a long term habit is difficult but perfectly possible. You might invest in a few sessions with a psychologist or drug/alcohol counselor.

Have fun, with or without the plonk,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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