Alcohol and drug evaluation?

Alcohol Services has been providing evaluations for people in the Syracuse area who have been concerned about their drinking and/or drug use for a long time.  What about the people who may be concerned about their drinking but don't want to consult with a professional?  Are there any special criteria or formulas people could use on their own?  Is there a test that's "So simple you can do it at home!"? 

Here's one approach.  It's not going to involve stopping drinking completely.  Instead, take a 12 oz serving of beer, 4 1/2 oz glass of wine or an ounce and a half of liquor.  (They are considered standard drinks)  Now, for the next 45 days drink one, and only one, drink.   The key is to drink no more than one.  You don't have to finish it but you can't exceed it.

With alcoholism it is easier to stop drinking completely for a period of time than it is to have only one.  The technical term for it is "loss of control".  That doesn't mean a person gets drunk every time he/she drinks.  Instead, it means a person with alcoholism loses the ability to predict how much will be drunk once drinking has started.  It's like the Lays Potato Chip commercial where the person is challenged with the dare "Bet you can't have just one!".  

So there it is.  If you were able to follow through on your commitment and drink one drink a day for 45 days then maybe you were just drinking in a high risk manner and it wasn't alcoholism.  The next step would be developing a low risk manner of drinking which is no more than two standard drinks for a man and one for a woman per occasion.

If you weren't able to drink only one then there's a good chance you've lost the ability to control your drinking and you should come to a place like ours for an evaluation.  "I changed my mind" "My friends were in town" "My favorite team was in the Super Bowl" are all code for "I can't keep my commitment when it comes to drinking".  People in AA have two sayings that capture this: "One is too many and ten aren't enough." and "It's not the fifth or sixth drink that gets you in trouble; it's the first one."

Finally there's one last thought to leave with you.  The only people who have to control their drinking are people whose drinking is already out of control.