Is your partner an alcoholic or addict?
Many people want to know whether their partner are alcoholics. It’s a crucial question for those of us whose lives or relationships are way off track. Yet it’s frustrating to get a satisfying answer-After all there is no blood test. So how can you tell?
Today’s your lucky day because I’m going to help. Ok, here we go. Take a deep breath.
The four correlates that determine alcoholism or addiction.
The best method to determine alcoholism is to break down and examine the strong correlations between alcohol and four key areas of life. Here’s how it works. Take a look at the list below:
- Careers (or schooling).
- Health (both physical and mental).
If you take an honest look at these four categories and whether there is deterioration in one or more of these key life areas, then you will know if your partner is an alcoholic.
So here’s the trick–The only way we really know is by looking at the consequences that accompany drinking. To say it another way, being an alcoholic doesn’t have to do with the number of beers one drinks but instead with the gravity of the consequences that occur when one is drinking.
When clients request an Alcoholism Assessment, I put them through this simple exercise. We examine these Four Key Areas and determine if there is a strong correlation between any of them and their negative behaviors or consequences.
1-Relationships: Is there a direct correlation between your partner’s drinking and deterioration in their relationships with you, family, children, friends, neighbors and co-workers?
2-Careers: Is there a correlation between your partner’s drinking and not living up to their potential at work (or school)? More specifically, have they been losing jobs, not getting promotions or are they constantly being fired? Are their school grades not close to what they should be?
3-Health: Are they often depressed or angry? Do they have panic attacks? Do they have lots of physical injuries (falling down/broken arm) or are they often sick? Lots of flu or colds?
4-Money: Do they spend WAY more on alcohol (or drugs) than they intend to or have in their budget?
And here is the scoring system: If they have a strong correlation between alcohol and one of these areas they might have a problem. If they score a correlation in two areas they probably are an alcoholic.
If they have 3 or 4 correlations; they’re probably (or will soon be) in crisis. There really is no such thing as a “functional alcoholic”. If they’re functioning “poorly” then they CAN’T handle alcohol–period. I know it’s a bummer but they’re not alone. Actually, 17% of the adult population are either alcoholics or addicts.
Common behaviors and/or personality characteristics of alcoholics (and addicts).
- Lying, lying, lying.
- Impaired control.
- Pre-occupation with alcohol and/or drugs.
- Drinking despite adverse consequences.
- Distorted thinking (most notably denial).
- Always running late, cutting corners, trying to pay in cash.
- Blaming others and not taking responsibility for their actions.
- Manipulating situations and people to get what you want.
- Excessive consequences (DUIs, injuries, lost jobs & failing relationships).
- Binge drinking and blackouts.
- Ethical deterioration.
- Grandiosity, aggressiveness and violent behaviors.
- Drinking or using alone.
- Losing friends or changing friendship groups to “lesser companions”.
- No longer showing up for important couple’s/family activities such as weddings, graduations, kid’s sports games, recitals and even funerals.
- Protecting your supply of alcohol (or drugs).
- Having hangovers and withdrawal symptoms.
- Neglecting other people’s needs.
- Neglecting your own needs such as eating and grooming.
So there you have it. The answer to the big question…”Is my partner an alcoholic or addict?”
I hope this helped. If you think they might have a problem and need to figure out the next steps…I can help. Visit my website and don’t hesitate to contact me at: addictioncouplestherapy.com
Goodbye for now.
–Max Yusim, LCSW
Addiction and Couple’s Therapy Expert