We all drink a little too much from time to time, don\u2019t we? Is there anything wrong with enjoying ourselves? Plenty of people have a little to drink each day. How is a person supposed to know if he is really an addict? How do we know if we need help? Are these the questions and justifications that run through your mind when you consider your drinking? The fact that you are reading this article suggests that perhaps you suspect that your patterns around a certain substance or behavior are not exactly normal. It\u2019s OK, keep reading. The majority of the population, despite appearances, is struggling with some mild to severe form of addiction, or what might be considered deviance with regard to a particular behavior. You aren\u2019t alone. You are, however, wiser than most if you are concerned that your behavior may be moving into questionable territory and are contemplating what might be done about it. Or perhaps you don\u2019t see a problem at all but you\u2019ve had your family and friends harping on you about what they see as more than just a harmless habit. You hear their concerns, but when you think about other addicts you have known, or portrayals of addiction in popular media, you don\u2019t see how you match up. So are you really an addict or are your loved ones overreacting? Maybe you\u2019d like to moderate the behavior in question, but do you need to quit altogether? Has it really come to that point? The tricky thing about addiction is that there is a pretty wide spectrum that extends between the end points of \u2018normal use\u2019 and \u2018full-blown dependence.\u2019 Categories like \u2018habitual,\u2019 \u2018overuse,\u2019 and \u2018abuse\u2019 fall somewhere in the middle. You may feel alcohol\u2019s negative impact on your life well before you hit the dead end of dependence\u2014a process that might cost you many unhappy years in getting there. If that\u2019s the trajectory you are on, it\u2019s better to get off the train somewhere in the neighborhood of \u2018overuse.\u2019 But it\u2019s hard to predict how bad things might get. Perhaps you drink pretty heavily right now. Is that an indicator that years down the road \u2018dependence\u2019 will characterize your relationship with alcohol? Who is to say you might not find yourself progressively drinking less over time? That happens, doesn\u2019t it? We wish. The reality is that alcoholism is a progressive illness. We get worse, not better. So you are not sure you are an addict. The truth is, you may not be. But ask yourself this: when you are willing to be totally honest with yourself, are you concerned about your drinking? Can you see that a problem may be in the works? Are you afraid to talk about it for fear that you might then have to face the problem and deal with it (which would most likely mean giving up alcohol for good)? You are not alone in these apprehensions; millions of drinkers fall somewhere along this fairly fluid spectrum. They drink more than their peers, they drink daily, they use booze to relax, and when they\u2019re not drinking, they are thinking about drinking. Some will make the slow and unhappy transition to full-blown alcoholism and dependence. Millions will remain functional alcoholics\u2014overusing alcohol, but never experiencing the dire consequences. Others will spend a lot of time fighting themselves and trying to gain control, but consistently failing to keep their own promises. The question is not so much \u201cam I an alcoholic?\u201d It\u2019s not a bad question to ask but you can find a host of excuses and examples that will keep the answer coming back in the negative. A better approach would be to look at your life and your patterns around drinking. Are you comfortable with the amount and frequency with which you drink? Are you free of concern about the escalating nature of your habit? Are you able to make the decision to drink less and then adhere to it? If you can answer with a strong and honest \u2018yes\u2019 to each of these questions, you probably don\u2019t have much to be worried about. But if you aren\u2019t so sure, you might listen to your intuition. Perhaps try an experiment on yourself. Give up alcohol for a period of six months or a year. Is it possible? Or, make a practice of having just one drink. Are you craving more? Does one drink only spark the desire and need for another and another? If so, you might have the beginning of a problem on your hands. The good news is that you can stop your train before it derails. Do you think you\u2019re being paranoid, or that you are overreacting, or making too big a deal of it? Maybe you are, but the nice thing is you lose nothing by getting sober. Many people, knowing their family history or their own natural tendencies, choose to completely avoid alcohol. This is a noble decision and nothing to be ashamed of. You may find that sobriety frees you from the fear and concern you have felt around your drinking habit, and that the little bit of enjoyment you found in alcohol isn\u2019t worth the potential consequences.