The purpose is not to threaten you with scare tactics, but to provide you with information about your drinking to help you determine whether it is problematic enough to warrant modification.

Alcohol problems are not either/or phenomena. People vary tremendously in terms of how much they drink, why they drink and how drinking affects their lives.

Some people drink a relatively small quantity of alcohol, yet it is enough to cause significant problems in their lives. Others drink more than average and do not find important aspects of their lives to be impaired.

The Self-Scoring Alcohol Check-up will help you examine your drinking from a number of perspectives: quantity consumed, situations in which consumption occurs, severity of consequences and a number of other variables.

Each section is followed by a paragraph or two of "feedback" which will help you make sense out of your responses. This is not a "diagnostic assessment" and is not designed to identify "alcoholics."

Indeed, the term alcoholic is quite nebulous and as of yet has not been assigned a definition with which all addiction professionals agree.

The following is a screening to help you consider various facts about your drinking. What you choose to do with the information is, of course, up to you.

1. QUANTITY OF ALCOHOL.

1 The following are considered standard drinks:
Beer: one 12-ounce can or bottle
Table wine: 4-ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol)
Fortified wine: 2 1/2-ounce glass
Spirits (80 proof) 1 1/4-ounce, straight or mixed
Spirits (100 proof) 1-ounce, straight or mixed

How many STANDARD drinks do you consume (at least) during a typical week? (Keep in mind that due to bold mixing techniques and the fact that drinking glasses vary in terms of how much they can hold, one drink may equate to 2 or more standard drinks):

* William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Munoz's offered some eye opening statistics about American patterns of drinking in their excellent book, "How to Control your Drinking: A Practical Guide to Responsible Drinking (1982).

This book is the definitive guide to controlling alcohol. According to the authors, about 68% of Americans consume at least 1 or 2 drinks per week. Three drinks may seem like nothing over a week's time, but only 27% of Americans consume this amount or more.

If you consume at least 10 to 13 drinks per week (two drinks per night on the average) the figure drops to about 18-16%. That means that more than 80% of Americans drink less than this or not at all.

If you consume 20 drinks per week (about 3 per day) the comparative figure is about 11% . Double that and the figure drops to 6%. If you are consuming at least 10 drinks a day, whether you believe it's a problem or not, you are representative of only 3% of the American Population.

2. PATTERNS OF DRINKING

Think about how much alcohol you drank during a typical month.

On how many days in this typical month did you not have any alcoholic beverages?
 
On how many days in a typical month did you have only 1-2 drinks?
 
On how many days in this typical month did you have only 3-4 drinks?
 
On how many days in this typical month did you have more than 4 drinks?
 
When you drink more than four drinks, how many do you typically drink?
 
* If you are unsure whether your drinking is truly "social," consider the guidelines for moderate drinking which have been accepted by many clinicians and researchers: DO NOT DRINK DAILY, DRINK NO MORE THAN 3 DRINKS PER DAY, DRINK NO MORE THAN 12 DRINKS PER WEEK.

Drinking in excess of these guidelines can lead to negative consequences in many realms (legal, health, interpersonal, vocational). If you drink more than 3 drinks per day on a regular basis, are drinking every day, or are prone to binges of 10 or more drinks, quitting or cutting down is certainly worth considering.

3. DRINKING SITUATIONS

The following questions will provide information about what situations place you at risk for heavy drinking. Score each item from 0-5 depending on how heavily you have drank in that situation ( 0 = did not drink heavily... 3 = sometimes drank heavily...5 = usually drank heavily)

When I was experiencing unpleasant emotions (stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom)
 0  1  2  3  4  5

When I was experiencing physical pain or discomfort.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

When I needed to function more efficiently (to increase motivation, to feel more amorous, to get to sleep).
 0  1  2  3  4  5

To feel good. To enhance a pleasurable feeling I am experiencing.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

To test myself (e.g. "I haven't drank in three weeks. Let's see if I can handle a glass of wine).
 0  1  2  3  4  5

Strong urges and craving.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

Conflict with others (e.g. relationship disputes, difficult work relationships.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

Pressure from friends and/or family to drink.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

Good times with friends and/or family.
 0  1  2  3  4  5

* Which areas place you at greater risk for heavy drinking? In which areas are you relatively adept at controlling drinking. Not only is this information useful in helping you determine whether too many areas of your life are associated with heavy drinking, but which areas you need to focus on specifically.

For example, if heavy drinking only occurs when you feel sad or anxious, then learning alternative ways of dealing with negative emotions will be imperative in your alcohol control care plan.

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For online form with results, see original HabitSmart page