Does Your Boyfriend Have a Drinking Problem?

You are in your apartment and have had a couple of beers with your friends when your girlfriend arrives and asks you not to have another drink before you all go out. Then she threatens that there will be no kissing if you drink another beer.

You think quickly. If you leave and don’t drink the ice-cold beer in your hand, your girlfriend will be happy. You will not. If you crack the beer and take a gulp your friends, will be happy, and so will you. You choose the beer!

The above scenario happened to me on a number of occasions. It may surprise you that there was one instance when I chose not to drink and went off with my girlfriend to a movie. It was a disaster. I was bitter. She could tell I was bitter. We broke up the next day as I snuggled into the arms of my good friend Jack Daniels.

Did I have a problem? Absolutely. Does every guy who chooses to drink with his friends over being with his girlfriend have a problem? No way!

Following are some signs that the behavior is normal and signs that there may be a problem.

Signs of Normalcy

  • Your boyfriend drinks infrequently (less than once a week)
  • Your boyfriend is a responsible drinker and does not usually drink to the point of intoxication
  • You are a raving bitch and he just can’t stand you anymore
  • Your boyfriend is open and communicative about his behavior
  • Your boyfriend has many close friends who also do not drink often

Signs of Trouble

  • Your boyfriend gets intoxicated often (more than one per week)
  • Your boyfriend drives after consuming too much alcohol
  • Your boyfriend is a heavy drinker (5 or more drinks at a time)
  • Your boyfriend drinks by himself
  • Your boyfriend’s personality and demeanor change after drinking (change in a good way or bad)

Not too sound like Dear Abbey, but if your boyfriend does not show any of the signs of trouble, the problem may not be his drinking, but your relationship. If he does exhibit one or more of the signs of trouble, there may very well be a problem.

If you think you or your boyfriend have a problem, I urge you to seek help. In addition to programs like Alcoholics Anonymous there are online alcohol classes and alcohol awareness classes that can be taken from home that can be of help.

How to Find your State's Minor in Possession Laws

Often when students attend one of our minor in possession classes, they or their parents aren't sure what laws were actually broken. They know that underage drinking is "illegal" but what specifically is restricted by state laws, they aren't totally sure of. Sometimes this can be quite helpful to know because they can possibly work with the court or their attorneys on a good strategy to deal with the potential violation.

Questions I often hear asked include, "What are the blood alcohol limits?" "Is there an impact on a youth's driving priviledges?" or "What are the penalties for using a false ID to get alcohol?"

Also state drinking laws impact the parents as well. For example in some states, there are severe penalties for hosting underage drinking parties. For example in Alabama, the host must take action to ensure that minors do not drinking alcohol. But Texas drinking laws do not impose any liability for hosting underage drinking parties.

This is why we've created a resource, the State Minor in Possession and Underage Drinking Law Guide. This easy to navigate guide tells you exactly what the laws are in your state so you have full knowledge if you or your children are involved in legal situation involving underage drinking.

Of course this is only a guide and state laws change all the time, but it can be a useful resource to let you get started. 

How Not To Spend Your Weekend

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  As a kid I loved watching the fireworks and the family barbecues where we played softball and Jarts.  Then it was hanging out with my friends drinking beer.  I always knew that I would be getting pretty lit on the 4th.  Every Independence Day was a memorable experience.

The plans for a 4th of July weekend usually were made weeks, if not months in advance.  One –word baby – Vegas!

Can You See My Problem?

The fundamental problem is the importance of alcohol in my weekend.  There was not ever a momentary thought that I would be sober all weekend – despite the fact that I was just getting over a bad head cold.  

My second problem is that I had zero common sense.  Prolonged drinking had impaired my ability to act rationally.  Why else would I have gotten in the car with one of my friends after already spent the last two hours at the local sports bar waiting for my friends to get off work?

After finishing my last beer I was on my way to meet my friends.  Thank God I didn’t have to drive.  On my way out the door, another buddy insisted I have a toast to the 4th with a shot of Crown, with a beer chaser.  I apologized for having to rush off after just one toast but I was on my way to Vegas.  Of course he understood.

I jumped in my car and had just made a safe turn into traffic when I saw the flashing lights from hell.  My day, my night and my 4th of July weekend were done for.  A failed breathalyzer and physical sobriety check later, and I was getting a free three days and three night stay at the county jail!

Can You See My Problems Now?

Man, things can almost always get worse.  They say you have to learn from your own mistakes.  While that is certainly the case for me, it does not have to be for you or someone you know who might be suffering from alcoholism.

In addition to programs like Alcoholics Anonymous there are online alcohol classes and alcohol awareness classes that can be taken from home that can be of help.  For loved ones of those suffering from drinking problems there are amazing support groups like Al-anon.  Alcohol consumption can have serious consequences.  Don’t let one of these consequences happen to you or someone you love.

Understanding the Mind of an Alcohol Addict

Often when I teach alcohol awareness classes students ask, “How can I tell if I am an alcoholic.” This is the second in a series of articles where we look at “The Mind of an Addict.”

Beware of Your DNA!

Research has conclusively shown that your DNA and genes make a significant contribution to whether or not you might be addicted to things such as alcohol. If your parents or other relatives suffer from addiction, you are more more likely to become addicted to something at some point during your life. It's similar to other ilnesses like heart disease, cancer and depression. So why should addiction to alcohol be any different?

Let’s say your grandmother and father were alcoholics and your mother was a compulsive gambler.  Does this mean that you are guaranteed to be addicted to something during your lifetime? Absolutely not!

Does it mean that you have to be super careful about becoming “addicted” to a substance or activity? The answer is, "Absolutely!"

With respect to addiction, genes play a big role, but even if you have this DNA burden, you can stay addiction free!  We all are blessed with the power of free choice.  Choose not to be addicted.  It’s that easy! Well in theory at least... sometimes practice is more difficult.

The Mind of An Addict

I want to clarify that my definition of “Mind of an Addict” is fundamentally a person’s ability to rationalize their drinking behavior.  Take a moment to take in the power of our mind.  This is not “psycho-babble”.  Our brains are very powerful and combined with our ego can create powerful and persuasive reasons to justify our actions. 

I’m Just Like Everybody Else – The Beginning

The most common form of denial starts with, “I am no different than anyone else.”  If you are drinking more than two drinks at a time,  if you are getting intoxicated often, if you drink every day, if your friends and coworkers are consuming just as much be advised – you all have a problem!

The Time Component of  “Mind of an Addict” Thinking

Even if you are not like everyone else, or even if you are drinking daily, by yourself, your mind can find ways to justify your behavior. In this stage of what I coined “Mind of an Addict” thinking, we use time as the component used to justify behavior.

In my alcohol awareness classes it is not uncommon to hear students say, “well I have been going through a rough patch and have really only been seriously drinking for the past three months – or six months – or it has been only a year.”  This is common but it is a sign that addicts are trying to justify the fact that they have been drinking in perhaps a problematic pattern for a  “short” time.  This "short time frame" varied among my students from 2 weeks to 5 years.  Of course those justifying five years of aberrant behavior can relate to those who have a “lifetime” of problematic, alcoholic drinking. 

Don’t Become A Statistic

Participation in a program such as Alcoholics Anonymous can be a huge help in an addict beginning and maintaining abstinence from alcohol. There are also online alcohol classes and alcohol awareness classes that can be taken from home that can be of help.  The alcoholic's body does not "forget" alcohol, and induced enzymes formed from years of drinking remain ready to continue their metabolic actions if alcohol use resumes.

Picking the Right Alcohol Awareness Class

When trying to pick an alcohol awareness classes, often it's hard to to decide what is the right class to take. The choices are endless, but often the most popular classes are 8 hour, 16 hour, and 24 hour classes. Hopefully this will help you pick the right class length for you.

The most basic level is the 8 hour alcohol class. This will give you a pretty good understanding of all the topics. On the other hand it’s very much a superficial look at the topics and won’t give you the full in-depth understanding that the longer courses will.

With the 16 hour/Level 2 alcohol awareness class you can get deep into the subject matter. There aren't more topics than the 8 hour class, but you look at each topic in more detail. In addition, there are lots of more examples and case studies. This class is often actually easier than the 8 hour alcohol classesbecause the examples and stories make the study a lot more relaxing.

The 24 hour alcohol awareness class gives you the most in depth understanding of any class. It goes even further than the 16 hour alcohol class. There are more vignettes, more photos and more in-depth understanding of the subject matter. Taking this Level 3 alcohol class means you will really come away with a deeper understanding of the topics. Sure it’s a bigger commitment, but of you’ve had a serious issue with drinking or maybe have had a continued problems then this could be the class for you.

Woman convicted of providing teenagers with alcohol

In Hamilton, Ohio a local woman received a sentence of two years of probation for buying alcohol for four high school students. This was a violation of Ohio Minor in Posession Laws. She also was required to take a parenting skills class. She could have been convicted to 180 days in jail and a fine of $750. But instead she pleased guilty to contributing the the delinquency of a child.

The 17 year old students were charged with underage consumption after they were caught at a local football game while drunk. Most likely they will have to attend Minor in Possession classes

The woman, Penny Gloeckner was also a parent (though not one of the dunk teens). So even the School Resource officer Deputy Hale was quite surprised of her actions. “Parents just need to understand they can’t do that,” he said.

Hale has been observing the growing problem of underage drinking and he believe that this prosecution will send the message to parents that they will be held liable if they contribute to the problem.

Source: http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/crime/woman-sentenced-for-buying-alcohol-for-teens-1088092.html

Finding the Minor in Possession Laws in your State

Sometimes when minors get arrested for drinking they have no idea what law they violated and what penalties they might face. This really is a factor when they have to make a decision about which is the most appropriate Minor in Possession Class. We've collated the resources from all over the web to give the communitity a resource to find their local minor in possession / minor in consumption laws. Please select your state from the list below to find out more.

Yes, an Alcohol Awareness Class Can Actually Help You

 

Most people who take an alcohol class expect to be bored and to have the topics not apply to them They come in expecting alcohol as a legal, harmless drink that somehow got them into trouble. Almost no student sees that they have a problem.

Most people drink alcohol. It is estimated that more over 50% of all Americans aged 12 and older have consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. Among this group of current drinkers almost a quarter admitted to have indulged in binge drinking (5 or more drinks during any 24 hour period ). Of those adults under the age of 25 the number of binge drinkers swelled to more than 40%.

The general feeling among my students is that "only alcoholics are heavy drinkers". They think that "winos" and "bums" are typical alcoholics. The majority has a mental picture that all alcoholics are "total losers." This isn't the case at all. People who abuse alcohol run the gamut, from corporate officers, professors, attorneys, policement. Almost any profession you can name. There is no race or social class where alcoholism does not exist.

Heavy drinking can be defined binge drinking five or more times in the past month. Many of these students, especially those under 25, were shocked to learn that they have habitually engaged in binge drinking, and that this pattern is abusing alcohol, regardless of your age. 

One of the most important aspects of an alcohol awareness class is meet the realities of alcohol - the dangers to your mind and body, as well as learning drinking patterns and how each student fits in. With court-mandated alcohol classes, you have a group of students who have all had at least one problem situation in their life related to alcohol. That is why they are sitting in my classroom in the first place.

As the alcohol class progresses I slowly see the recognition on their faces as the students try to place themselves within the national patterns. There is not a student that cannot relate to the topics at hand. Recognizing and admitting there could be a problem can be the hardest challenge people who consume alcohol face. This doesn't mean that all drinkers have a problem. Quite the contrary, most people can control their consumption and do not have a problem.

 

Finding an Alcohol Awareness Class for a Legal Requirement

Many U.S. states have specific requirements for alcohol awareness classes when a student needs a class for a legal requirement. For example, if you are looking for a Texas Alcohol Awareness Class (Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program) and are trying to fulfill a requirement for a DUI, you'll need to make sure that the class is approved by the Texas Education Agency.

Other states don't have any specific requirements for an alcohol class. So it's really up to the student to make sure a class that they are considering is going to be acceptable. A good way to do this is to ask for the class curriculum or syllabus from the provider and then take it to your judge or clerk of the court to review and see if it is acceptable.

Often the court will stipulate that they prefer that you  take a weekly a in-person class and not let you take an online class. This is fine if one is convenient, but if one is not, then you can often ask the judge if it's alright that you take a distance learning class. If you have a legitimate reason (maybe you work in the evenings or have a disability), then it's likely that they'll let you taken an online class.

Ways to Cut Down on Your Drinking

If you feel that you're drinking too much, sometimes it's too much to stop by just quitting "Cold Turkey". You can make little changes that will reduce your drinking small maounts at a time. In the long run this will significantly cut down on your changes to have problems related to alcohol abuse. Below is a list of different strategies that you might try. Now not every strategy works for everybody some might work for you better than others. If you try one, make sure to give it a fair go... at least 8 to 12 weeks worth before you give up.

Also remember that these strategies are no substitute for professional help or counseling. 

  • Track your drinking. Count the number of drinks and how many drinks you drink. There are lots of different ways to keep track of your drinking including checking it off in your calendar, using a notebook or using an application on your smart phone. Also if you count the drink BEFORE you drink it, it will help to slow down your drinking.
  • Know how much you are drinking. Understand how much alcohol is in each beverage so that you can accruately keep track of how much you drink. It's easy with a standard sized drink such as a beer, but sometimes harder with wine or mixed drinks where you don't know the size of the glass. If you're at home you can actually measure the drink yourself. It's harder when you are out at a friend's or a restaurant, but make sure not to let the server or host top off your drink if you're not finished with it yet. You can easily lose track this way.
  • Set drinking targets. Before the week begins, choose exactly the maximum amount you plan to drink for the week and on what days you'll be drinking. If possible, decide on a few days that you won't drink anything at all. Research has shown that alcohol use is the lowest for people who have drinking targets.
  • Pace yourself. Make sure when you are drinking that you are doing it slowly and not guzzling. That means sip your drinks. You can also alternate your alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic beverage such as water or juice.
  • Eat when you drink. By drinking when you have food in your stomach, the alcohol will be more slowly absorbed into your blood stream. Also, if you're already full from a meal, you're less likely to drink as much.
  • Do something other than drinking. If alcohol consumption is something that takes up much of your time, then maybe you should have something else on your agenda. Think about healthier things to do such as a new hobby or relationship. Or maybe you can rebuild an older relationship that went by the wayside. 
  • Don't get stuck with "triggers." What is that thing that keys you to drink? Maybe it's coming home from work or watching sports on TV or maybe dinner. Be aware of the times that you really feel like drinking and actively create something different to occupy that time.
  • Be ready for urges. Sometimes an urge to drink is completely unexpected. Be ready for this to happen. Tell yourself again, why you want to change your drinking habits. Often people will keep this in a notebook or on a piece of paper that they can easily reference. Or find somebody that you trust and talk it out. A lot of times it's good to write down "what I should do when I have the urge to drink" because it's easier to read a list than think of things to do and fight the urge at the sametime. Remember also that urges are like clouds, they will pass. So sometimes you can just wait it out.
  • Turn it down. Have you "no" prepared when you are offered a drink. The "no" is usually something polite like "no thanks" or "I'm not drinking this week". So you're completely ready when you're offered that alcoholic beverage and know how to turn it down.

I hope you find these skills helpful. Also consider the availablilty of alcohol awareness classes which can teach you even more skills to cut down on your drinking.

Source: http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Strategies/TipsToTry.asp