This may be a tough topic to read, but if you are wondering whether you or a loved one is in fact an alcoholic, it may be one of the most important self-assessments or assessments you make. Look through the following questions and answer honestly.1. Do you feel you can't stop drinking, or control how much alcohol you consume? 2. Do you feel the need to consume more alcohol in order to achieve the same "high"? 3. Do you feel compelled to drink, or have an extraordinary craving to drink? 4. Do you gulp your drinks in order to more quickly achieve the desired high or just to feel normal and fit in? 5. Do you experience any of these symptoms of withdrawal when you stop drinking: anxiety, shakiness, sweating or nausea? 6. Do you find that much of your time is spent recovering from the effects of too much drinking? 7. Have you given up other activities in order that you can continue to drink? 8. Have you lost interest in activities that you used to find pleasurable? 9. Do you drink alone (or in secret)? 10. Do you stash alcohol in hiding places at home or at work or other locations? 11. If you find that there is no alcohol available, do you immediately have to rush out and get more? 12. Do you maintain a normal ritual of drinking (cocktail hour, before or after dinner, bedtime toddy, etc.), and become annoyed if your ritual is disrupted? 13. Have you tried and failed to stop drinking (or cut back on the amount of your drinking)? 14. Have you continued to drink despite harm to your relationships? 15. Have you continued to drink regardless of the appearance of physical (or mental) problems? 16. Do you suffer blackouts (not remembering conversations or commitments) or brownouts from drinking? 17. Do you have frequent memory loss, confusion, slurred speech, reduced reaction time? 18. Have you continued to drive after consuming too much alcohol? 19. Have you ever been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI)? 20. Have you suffered other legal consequences due to your drinking related to relationships, your job, or finances? Remember that there are no right, and no wrong, answers to the questions. A "yes" response to several, however, may indicate that you or a loved one is either an alcoholic, or alcoholic dependent, or an alcohol abuser. In any case, use the information as a guide and seek appropriate help. There are self-help groups available, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. You can talk with your doctor. Do research on the Internet using a Google search for help with alcoholism. Confide in a trusted friend or member of the clergy. But, most of all, if you suspect that you or a loved one is an alcoholic, act now. While alcoholism has no cure, and is a chronic, lifelong condition, it is treatable. You can live a successful life as a recovering alcoholic.