Drinking alcohol is a facet of everyday life for many people. A glass of wine with dinner, a cocktail at a reception or social function, a beer while you watch the big game:  alcohol intake can be a fairly normal ritual. And in most cases, light to moderate alcohol consumption is not really an issue.

When alcohol consumption goes beyond a couple of drinks and becomes a dominant factor in your life, though, it is a problem. Alcohol is an addictive substance and overusing or abusing it can have serious consequences for both your life and your health. However, when you have formed a habit, it can be somewhat difficult to determine whether you have a problem on your own.

Take this self-assessment quiz to determine whether you should seek some help or advice for your alcohol relationship. Keep in mind that this is just an assessment; only a qualified medical professional can provide a definitive diagnosis of alcohol dependence or alcoholism. But answering these questions can help you take the first step toward seeking some help for a potential alcohol issue – and getting your life back.

  1. Do I mostly drink alone or with others?
  2. Drinking alone, or hiding your drinking from friends and family, might be a sign that you have a drinking problem, particularly if you go to great lengths to hide your drinking from others.

  3. Do you crave a drink at the same time each day?
  4. If you must have a drink every day at the same time – be it morning or night – it could indicate an addiction, especially if you have to have a drink each morning to start your day.

  5. Has your drinking interfered with your job?
  6. Some ways that drinking could affect your job include missing work because you are drunk or hungover, decreased interest or ambition to get your work done or having to explain your behavior to co-workers or employers because of something you did while drinking.

  7. Is drinking causing financial problems?
  8. Are you spending a great deal of money on alcohol or finding yourself unable to pay bills because of your drinking habits?

  9. Do you regularly lose memories or do things you don’t remember after drinking?
  10. Do you drink a lot? Heavy drinking in women is defined as more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 drinks a week for men (a drink being a 12 ounce beer, a five ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor).
  11. Do you binge drink? Binge drinking is defined as more than three drinks in a day for women or five drinks in a day for men.
  12. Do you feel like you have to drink in social situations to reduce anxiety or have a good time?
  13. Do you regularly engage in risky behaviors when you drink, like drinking and driving or unusual sexual behavior, that you wouldn’t do normally?
  14. Have you ever endangered your family or loved ones because of your drinking? For example, have your children had little or no supervision because of you were focused on drinking or intoxicated?
  15. Have you ever had legal trouble because of your drinking? For example, driving citations, citations for disorderly conduct, fighting, etc.?
  16. Do you regularly feel guilty or embarrassed about how much you drink?
  17. Do you spend time with people who you might not otherwise in order to drink? Or does your drinking cause you to spend time with people who you might not otherwise be with?
  18. Have other people confronted you about your drinking, suggesting that you might have a problem?
  19. Do you try to convince yourself that your drinking is normal and that you do not have a problem, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? In other words, do you think that you might have a drinking problem – and deny it?

Again, these questions are not a substitute for an evaluation by a qualified medical professional, but if you found yourself answering “yes” to most of these questions, then you may wish to seek an evaluation and determine whether you need help to reduce your alcohol dependency.

Not all alcohol consumption is a bad thing. The vast majority of people can enjoy a drink or two in a social situation and experience no ill effects. For those with a dependency issue, though, even that one drink can begin a downward spiral into overindulgence and negative consequences.

The good news is that there is help, and with a solid program of support and rehabilitation, you can kick the alcohol habit and return to a productive and fulfilling lifestyle. So if you recognize yourself in this quiz, do yourself a favor and seek an evaluation and help; it just might save your life or the lives of your loved ones.