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Ask Amy: Scotch and wine might lead to a problem

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a 70-year-old retired man.

I am content and keep myself very active.

I do have one concern however: Each afternoon at around 5 p.m. when I'm ready to sit down and enjoy my newspaper, I treat myself to two Scotch and waters. Then when I have my dinner, I typically drink two glasses of wine.

After dinner I have either bottled water or a cup of hot tea.

I’m concerned about my drinking. Am I an alcoholic?

— Concerned

 

Dear Concerned: Let’s agree that you have a drinking problem. Why label your habitual drinking a “problem”? Because you are concerned enough to ask about it.

The newer term for alcoholism is “alcohol use disorder,” and it is defined as a physical or mental dependence on alcohol, even when consuming it causes physical or relationship problems, makes you feel ill, and impairs functioning (I hope it is obvious that you must not operate a vehicle any evening when you’re drinking).

Have friends or family members remarked on your drinking? Do people know not to call you after 8 p.m. because you are impaired? Are you missing social or other opportunities because of your routine?

One obvious way to address your concerns is to cut down. You could cut your consumption in half by substituting flavored seltzer for one cocktail and one glass of wine (drink it from your favorite tumbler).

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