When I am at work and I am having one of those days, I sometimes calm down by picturing myself at home at the end of the day, relaxing with a chilled glass of wine. Is this a warning sign? Or an excellent stress-management technique? Or maybe both?
The other weekend I took a quiz called ‘Are You an Alcoholic’ on About.com. I don’t think I am an alcoholic. Honestly, I took the quiz out of morbid curiosity mingled with self-righteousness. I took the quiz because I am fairly certain I am NOT an alcoholic. I figured it would be like one of those soft-ball quizzes they have in Seventeen Magazine entitled ‘Does He Like You?’ where the questions are extremely obvious. (“You sit next to him in class and he: A) passes notes with you B) Ignores you C) Punches you in the throat”). However, THIS quiz didn’t pull any punches. My results told me I probably have a drinking problem. Apparently that’s the verdict if you answered ‘Yes’ to three questions.
First of all, what kind of quiz is that? Every answer on a quiz is not supposed to be ‘No’! About.com! Isn’t that kind of obvious? Mix it up a little here. Not only that, but I don’t think all of the questions on this quiz were equally serious. Take one of the questions I answered ‘Yes’ to:
‘Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?’ Can anyone reading this say ‘No’ to this question? Anyone I would get along with, anyway? What other reasons are there to drink, except maybe in celebration—and don’t celebrations, like weddings, or company Christmas parties, make most people kind of miserable deep down anyway, which they then drink to escape? Ok, fine…I may have other problems.
Furthermore, if someone says ‘Yes’ to the ‘escape from worries’ question, would you be more or less alarmed if they also said yes to THIS question:
‘Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?’ WHAT. Ok, a ‘Yes’ to this question should be worth at least 5 points more than a ‘Yes’ to the previous question. Having a drink after a long day at work or a bad breakup is not on the same level as endangering your family’s welfare (unless you are drinking at a family reunion, which is highly advisable).
All right, here’s another question I said yes to: ‘Do you drink alone?’ Again, is that always so bad? Particularly since this question is not very specific and could therefore reasonably encompass many different kinds of solitary drinking. I mean, there’s “It’s Saturday night and The Wedding Date is on Lifetime and me and this bottle of wine are going to watch Debra Messing be unconvincingly dowdy together until I turn in at 11pm” alone-drinking. Then there’s drinking alone in the bathroom at work, or in your parked car underneath the turnpike. About.com, can you please be more specific here? When should I really worry?
I don’t remember the other question I said yes to; the one that pushed me over the edge into problem-drinking territory. It was probably something similarly ambiguous and open-ended, such as, ‘Do you drink because you are shy around other people?’ or ‘Do you drink to raise your self-esteem?’ No, I drink because I feel too hydrated.
That’s what I get for being honest. I guess when it comes down to it, are there really any legitimately good, healthy reasons to drink? Does a quiz like this automatically set you up to fail? One thing is for sure; from now on I’m sticking to quizzes that help me discover my fashion IQ and tell me which kind of Spirit Animal I am most like. If any of those quizzes tell me I have a drinking problem, I’ll listen.