Thursday, February 20, 2003

I have just finished reading A Head Full Of Blue by Nick Johnstone. "When I was fourteen," the book begins, "I got drunk for the first time. Champagne drunk. My mouth stretched in a smile so wide my jaw hurt."

He discovers that drinking temporarily gets rid of his depression, makes him more fun to be with, less shy, makes him feel better. So he drinks more - a lot more. The book is an honest account of alcoholism. Midway through the book, he is sitting up every evening drinking an entire 5-litre box of wine, squeezing the last few drops out of the silver bag. He destroys his relationships, deliberately cuts himself, develops bleeding ulcers, wrecks his life.

The book struck a few chords with me. No, I don't sit at home draining a box of wine, but I do often open a bottle of red when I'm on my own in the evening - and sometimes finish it. The list below is the test the AA use to determine whether you are an alcoholic. Go through it yourself, counting up your yesses. Then continue reading the comments.
1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time of day?
11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
16. Do you drink alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

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