Ever asked Google if you're an alcoholic? Chances are, you're not alone. In the throes of a hangover, nothing pairs quite as well as asking a search engine if you have a drink problem or not.
And where does Google take us? To the trusty 'Am I An Alcoholic?' online quiz section of The Internet. A swift 11 questions later, we submit our fate to the Internet Gods, and phew, turns out we aren't an alcoholic after all. Time to order a takeaway, binge on Netflix – and repeat this all again in 3 months when we smash a brand new iPhone and throw up in the back of an Uber.
These early episodes of questioning our relationship with alcohol can be a tell tale sign that deep down we aren't happy with the place alcohol has in our lives anymore...
So What Is The Problem With 'Am I An Alcoholic?' Quizzes?
Frankly, for the majority of grey area drinkers – 'Am I An Alcoholic' quizzes, are about as useful as the 'Which Cheese Toasty Am I', quizzes. While they may be fun, they aren't wholly useful.
If we can't be honest with ourselves, are we really being honest with an online quiz? "Do you drink alone?", does the dog count?!
When we are in this frame of mind, we are looking for reassurance
These type of quizzes pander to our vulnerability and questioning of our relationship with booze. Don't wake up and pour vodka on your cornflakes? Then you're probably ok!
It sets a precedent for things to get worse aka a ROCK BOTTOM
These quizzes tell us that when we reach our rock bottom and something goes horrendously wrong (joblessness, relationship breakdowns, bankruptcy, illness) – then it's time to admit defeat, but in the mean time – go for it, you're just a normal drinker (whatever that means)...
We all have a one dimensional view of our drinking... When asked questions like "Has your drinking affected friends and family in a negative way?", it is hard to validate that unless friends or family have spoken with you about your relationship with alcohol before. Nobody knows what people say behind closed doors, or if people are concerned about our drinking unless they have raised it with us.
One person's definition of a problem with alcohol, may be entirely different to another person's definition of what a problem looks like... Within our lives we make up our own rules, limits and expectations – those lines in the sand differ for every individual...
Can you really answer the question "Have you ever been in danger from drinking?" If you suffer from blackouts and losing your memory while drinking, would you ever truly know if you have been in danger? The lost hours from a night out, the trying to retrace your journey home...
It plays on outdated addiction definitions as a disease
Increasing our fears of being pigeon-holed into something as life-changing as being called an 'alcoholic'. Although this term may work for some people, for a newly defined 'grey area' type of drinker, they will not associate themselves with the drinking patterns and stigma of being an 'alcoholic'. It perpetuates the issue when the real question should be about, does alcohol serve me anymore? Am I comfortable with my drinking anymore?
Ok I Get It.
So I should really be asking Google...
What is my relationship with alcohol? And is it getting in the way of the life I truly want to lead?