To answer key questions, you will have to ask yourself these questions: Am I in trouble due to my drinking? Have I had too many close calls or free passes? After reviewing the signs and symptoms, you can judge for yourself. Only you will know the answer, so for your own peace of mind, be honest with yourself.
Alcoholism is a disease that is progressive and potentially fatal. A person inflicted with this illness has continuous or periodic impaired control over their drinking, a preoccupation with alcohol and the use of alcohol despite adverse consequences. There is often distorted thinking, most notably denial.
Despite the quantity or the behavioral consequences of drinking, you may go to your favorite bar after work to have a drink or two. The next thing you know, you’ve had several and are highly intoxicated. You may only drink occasionally, but on those times, you drink more than you should. You ask yourself things like, “Why did I drink so much?” or say things like, “I’ll never drink again.” There is no obvious reason why you consumed the amount of alcohol you did. There can be long periods of time in between drinking episodes. The bottom line is that you either do not have control over the amount you drink or you take on a behavioral pattern that strays from your normal healthy behavior. Your friends notice that you are not the same person when you drink. You become excessively angry, remorseful, happy or sad and you say or do things that you later regret.
A person may start out by drinking very little initially. As the amount of alcohol usage grows, so does the preoccupation or anticipation with alcohol use. A person may find themselves watching the clock at work, waiting for the end of shift so they can go to the liquor store or the bar and have a drink. They may schedule their lunch break at a place that serves alcoholic beverages. In an effort to control their drinking habit they schedule certain times that they may partake. For example, “I’ll only drink on weekends,” or “I won’t drink until my RDOs.” An individual will start planning to go to events that have alcohol associated with them. If you are experiencing problems in your life and you believe it might be due to your drinking, you might want to seek assistance.
If you think you might have a drinking judgment problem, or someone has mentioned this to you, there are several options available to you. Contact me or one of our doctors at Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) at (213) 738-3500 for a confidential consultation or counseling. Check to see if you have a Peer Support Program member at your unit and talk with them, or call one of the Peace Officer’s Fellowship (POF) members listed above. These members have agreed to give up their anonymity so that others who are in need of help can find the support they need. Don’t worry about calling us, helping other alcoholics is one of the ways we stay sober.