Do you have a drinking problem? Is it affecting your work performance?

Feb. 18, 2014
There are signs that can help you determine if you're an addict.

There are all kinds of addictions. Do you have one? My urge to get to Macy’s every time I receive a coupon could be considered an addiction, even though I rarely buy anything. It is a compulsive need to make sure I’m not missing a great buy that propels me into my car and over to the mall in subzero weather.

What about other addictions? For the purposes of this article, let’s talk about alcohol addiction. Is that addiction interfering with your work performance? Do you often deny that it is a problem, even when others confront you about it? (You can substitute food, cigarettes, prescription and non-prescription drugs, shopping, relationships, and sex.) What exactly is alcohol addiction and what can you do about it?

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In a former life, I was a drug counselor. (Let’s just say I’ve had many lives.) One thing I learned was that the smartest people you will ever meet are those suffering from addictions. Think about it. You have to be pretty savvy to feed an addiction and survive.

As a drug counselor, this is how I would assess if someone had an addiction to alcohol. Ask yourself these questions.
1.Do you use alone? Perhaps when you’re bored or lonely.
2. Do you use to be social? Are you more comfortable around a party situation if you have alcohol?
3. Have you tried to stop and before you know it, started back up again? (This is the Stop-Start Syndrome.) Social users don’t try to control their drinking. They don’t think they have a problem, so they don’t try to stop drinking.
4. Do you use to medicate feelings? Do you drink to numb your pain?
5. Do you have increased tolerance? Does it take more alcohol to get your buzz on, or has reverse tolerance kicked in where it takes less to get buzzed?
6. Has it caused trouble with your family, work, or the law? DUIs? Relationship problems? Problems getting to work, keeping a job, and maintain relationships on the job.
7. Do you have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use? Shaking, sweating, nausea, headaches, vomiting, hallucinations, seizures.
8. Do you have a preoccupation with drinking? Much of your day is caught up in thinking about drinking, when you will do it, how you will get it, dealing with the hangover, and more.
9. Do you have blackouts? Episodes where you were awake and functioning, but you don’t remember these periods of time.

If you think you have a problem, call your doctor. Go online and find out where the closest Alcoholics Anonymous meets. This is an organization that you can turn to for support as you start dealing with some pretty sobering issues. You are not alone and you don’t have to deal with this problem by yourself. Asking for help is a sign of strength and smarts. If you need help, ask for it. If you have any questions, you know where to find me. I’m at [email protected].

Talk to you next month!

Lisa Newburger, LISWS/aka Diana Directive, provides humorous ways to deal with difficult topics. Check out Diana’s webpage at