Ask Amy: Does this make me an alcoholic?

Dear Amy: I am a 70-year-old retired man. I am content and keep myself very active.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune) 

I do have one concern, however: Each afternoon at around 5 p.m. when I’m ready to sit down and enjoy my newspaper, I treat myself to two Scotch-and-waters. Then when I have my dinner, I typically drink two glasses of wine.

After dinner I have either bottled water or a cup of hot tea.

I’m concerned about my drinking. Am I an alcoholic?


Dear Concerned: Let’s agree that you have a drinking problem. Why label your habitual drinking a “problem”? Because you are concerned enough to ask about it.

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The newer term for alcoholism is “alcohol use disorder,” and it is defined as a physical or mental dependence on alcohol, even when consuming it causes physical or relationship problems, makes you feel ill, and impairs functioning (I hope it is obvious that you must not operate a vehicle any evening when you’re drinking).

Have friends or family members remarked on your drinking? Do people know not to call you after 8 p.m. because you are impaired? Are you missing social or other opportunities because of your routine?

One obvious way to address your concerns is to cut down. You could cut your consumption in half by substituting flavored seltzer for one cocktail and one glass of wine (drink it from your favorite tumbler).

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A newer tradition in the UK has caught on in North America: Dry January. This is where you start the year abstaining from alcohol for the whole month. Abstaining for a period of time helps people to gauge the amount of alcohol they habitually drink, and can lead to more awareness and healthier habits the rest of the year.

Dear Amy: I’m a doctor. I am on the front lines treating COVID patients. I have watched the cycle of fear, sadness, and guilt when I tell a patient they have tested positive. Then again, watching the family go through their cycle of denial, anger, and sadness as I give them the phone call that their loved one is indeed dying.

I know I’m not the only provider who has experienced this, or the first time you are probably hearing this story.

I am …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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