Q:How do I know if I am an alcoholic? I donít usually drink too much, but a friend says I have a drinking problem because sometimes I canít stop once I start.He says my personality changes when I start drinking.I donít need to drink, so Iím not an alcoholic, right?In fact, I go weeks at a time without drinking.Then Iíll drink for a month or two on the weekends, just partying with my friends.Iím 29. A:Itís hard to know when you have crossed the line between social drinker and alcoholic.One good clue that you have an alcohol problem is the fact that your friend thinks you do!A huge obstacle to helping an alcoholic is the denial that goes along with alcoholism.Although itís perfectly obvious to others, the alcoholic is often the last to know.ďI only drank a lot last week because I was upset about work.Ē Ask yourself if you have any of the following symptoms.Ask a non-drinking friend for a reality check on your answers. 1.You need more alcohol to become intoxicated or have the desired effect. 2.You have withdrawal symptoms when stopping, or you use a related substance to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 3.You canít always control how much you drink or how long you keep drinking. 4.Youíd like to cut down, or youíve been unsuccessful in your efforts to cut down or control your drinking. 5.You spending a lot of time obtaining or using alcohol or recovering from its effects. 6.You blow off social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use. 7.Even though you know of physical or psychological problems as a result of drinking, you keep drinking. If you fit 3 or more symptoms, you may be alcohol dependent. If you recognize yourself in even 1 of these criteria, even if you are not alcohol dependent, you are most likely abusing alcohol. Talk with your medical doctor or psychologist.Psychotherapy can help.Also, attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or check out AA out at www.alcoholicsanonymous.com.AA works for many and itís a great place to find information and support from people who have been there.If you try and fail, remember that many attain sobriety only after several tries.Try again. Good luck!