For a long time now, I've been meaning to take one of those alcoholic screening tests, if for no other reason than to determine whether I am a bona fide alcoholic or just a fun-loving boozer who has it under control.
I guess the reason I never got around to taking the quiz is because I'm a little scared of what I might learn, and also because I'm usually too gin-sick to concentrate on exams.
Today, however, I finally decided to take it. After a little research, I chose the Johns Hopkins University Hospital Alcohol Screening Quiz. The test asked a series of yes-or-no questions. Before proceeding, I made a pact to answer them honestly and completely. Here are the results:
Q: Do you drink to build self-confidence or because you are shy?
A: No. Shyness is the opposite of my problem.
Q: Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
A: No. Drinking makes my home life happier. For one reason, W. is a bit of a boozer herself. We have barbecues and consume beer. We do shots together. While watching TV, we play drinking games like, Drink Entourage or Drink Hogan's Heroes. So much is better around our home because we both booze. Some might call this codependency; we call it a marriage heaven sent.
Q: Is drinking negatively affecting your reputation?
A: This is an ambiguous question. Affect my reputation with whom? Because certainly my reputation with the morality overlords has suffered over the years. But as far as the people who matter--family- and friends-type people--my reputation remains as a fun drunk.
Q: Have you ever felt regret after drinking?
A: Have I ever put food into my mouth? Have I ever breathed air into my lungs? Have I ever fallen off a stool in front of a lady and vomited on her shoe? I regret that I must answer yes to this question.
Q: Is drinking jeopardizing your job? Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
A: No. I have not called into work gin-sick in a very long time.
Q: Have you had financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
A: Another ambiguous question. Are they asking if I spend too much money on booze? If so, then I am inclined to say yes. But if they mean, do I go on benders and squander the rent on gambling, hookers and blow, then the answer is absolutely not (I spend only what I can afford on gambling, hookers and blow).
Q: Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
A: Definitely not! I'd have W. tell you that herself, except she and the kids are on the road right now smuggling moonshine across state lines for me. (Thanks, babe!)
Q: Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
A: Nope. I crave drinks at all different times of all different days and nights.
Q: Do you want a drink the next morning?
A: Ah, the old, Hair of the Dog that Bit You theory. I'll never understand this one. How on Earth does sucking on a larvae-infested clump of dog dander heal canine wounds? Still, I have always marveled at some of my friends who, after a long night of hard boozing, will wake up the next morning on the couch, rub their eyes, grab a half-empty can of warm beer sitting on the coffee table and guzzle it down without even checking for cigarette butts. Maybe it's a sign of alcoholism that I even have friends like that, but the answer is still no--after a bender, I would sooner drink a glass of Satan's foul bathwater than consume another alcoholic beverage.
Q: Do you have trouble sleeping when drinking?
A: How would I know? I'm usually passed out by then. I do know that anyone nearby has trouble sleeping when I've been drinking, what with my snoring and thrashing and yelling obscenities at myself, so I guess I should answer yes to this one.
Q: Do you drink to escape from worries?
A: No. Drinking booze to escape your troubles is like climbing Mt. Everest to escape the cold. I will, however, admit to embarking on an occasional binge to take a hiatus from a problem, but the only true way to escape a problem is to fix it, which drinking doesn't do, unless your problem is that you don't drink enough.
Q: Do you drink alone?
A: Hell yeah! I love drinking wine at my writing desk, or sitting alone on a balcony overlooking a sunset with a stogie in my mouth and a double highball in my hand. Drinking alone is often better than drinking with people and screw you, buster, for giving negative points for it. How is drinking wine alone in my office any more a sign of alcoholism than downing tequila shots with a group?
Q: Have you ever had a loss of memory as a result of drinking?
A: Does water float? Is blood bloody? Have I ever spent an afternoon hung-over on the couch, with the shades drawn, fielding numerous calls from friends telling me outrageous stories I don't recall about people I insulted and the inanimate objects I molested the night before? I'll have to say yes to this one.
Results: According to the quiz, if you answer yes to three or more questions you are 'definitely an alcoholic.'
Uh-oh. I scored four. Bummer. Oh well--the good news is, it's out of my hands. All I have to do now is wait for the interventioners to come. In the meantime, I'll just get drunk and ponder what I've learned.
For instance, I learned that the people at Johns Hopkins don't know the difference between a boozer and an alcoholic.
I learned also that it's always best to blame your alcoholism on inferior alcoholism testing.
I've learned that being an alcoholic means never having to say you're sorry, except once, when you join A.A., then you have to say it a lot.
And, most importantly, I've learned that introspection is a bad thing and not to do it anymore--which reminds me, what was your score? You can tell me when I see you at the bar later.