Substance Abuse

So, I'm taking a couple months off from drinking.  I decided to after a party at which I got significantly drunker than I had intended, through remarkably little prodding.  It seems odd, because I knew I hate being drunk.  I've been that drunk before.  And while I never intend to be that drunk again, I'm sure it will happen, and I'm sure it will suck.  (John Cheese of calls this a "safety net," and says I should be ashamed of myself for using them.) Nonetheless, I will drink again.  I've specifically promised myself to put it off until the first Halloween party of this year, or November 1st, whichever comes first.  And I'll do that -- I won't drink until then, and I will almost certainly drink then.

Whenever I go through one of these introspective periods of abstention, I tend to wonder about the broader concerns of addiction and recovery.  I know, for example, that I meet like half of the warning signs  on alcohol abuse checklists.  Those ones that say something to the effect of, "If even one of these apply to you, you may have a problem.  If you check two or more, seek help."

And I knew that when I started drinking (about four months after my 21st birthday) I was a serious risk-group for alcohol abuse.  I had two significant motivations to drink -- to make the miserable pain of my loneliness and recursive depression a little bit duller (which probably wouldn't work anyway), and to lubricate social activities with intellectuals over one or two drinks in an evening.  I didn't start drinking until after the second motivation emerged from the aether.

The thing is, the entries I check off for abuse problems?  It's not the "damaging relationships" or "interfering with work life" ones.  It's just the other stuff -- drinking alone, drinking to deal with emotions, underestimating quantities of drinking, and so on.

So, should I be worried?

I mean, I am worried.  And I'm pretty sure that the experts would say that's a good reason to worry.  Mainly, I don't want to get to the point where I am checking off those other boxes, with a network of mental rationalizations at my back and a real, serious physical dependency.

Isn't ambiguity fun?