Guest post from Cynthia Turner

How Do I Know If I Can Keep Drinking?

This is a question many may have asked themselves on a blurry, nauseous morning after a night of drinking. Only 6% of the population in the United States meets diagnostic criteria for severe substance dependence (alcoholic) yet nearly 90% of treatment facilities require drinkers to be totally alcohol free.  While 6% is a large number-the population of Florida- there is an underserved population of people who struggle with alcohol but do not drink every day, have withdrawals, have a problem every time they drink, or have legal problems as a result. However, they may be dissatisfied with their health, mood, motivation, and relationships.  This quiz is for this group- an estimated 28% of the population- the number of Americans living in the Central Time Zone!


QUIZ: Please answer yes or no to the following:

  1. Do I have any mental health, medical, or legal issues?

  2. Do I have a support person to keep me accountable?

  3. Have I had more than one blackout?

  4. Am I willing to keep track of how much and how often I drink?

  5. Have I have withdrawals from drinking?

  6. Am I free of all other non-prescribed, mood-altering substances?

  7. Am I drinking to change my mood?

  8. Will my family support moderate drinking?

If you answered yes to any of the odd numbered questions, you may not be a candidate for moderate drinking.   Affirmative responses to the even numbered questions increase your odds of being able to drink moderately. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking as no more than four drinks a day or 12 a week for men and three and 9 for women.  If you are wondering if you have a problem with alcohol, it may be best to seek out a licensed therapist who is specifically trained in dual diagnosis and the relatively new concept of moderate drinking. 


Trying to cut back on your drinking can be very challenging to do on your own. Here are 5 tips that may increase success: 

  1. Identify someone who knows what your plan is and be accountable to him.

  2. Ask a sober person what he does to have fun and relax. 

  3. Come up with a one liner for people who may ask why you are not drinking.

  4. Plan how much you are going to consume before you ever take a sip.

  5. Pick a non-alcoholic drink that you enjoy and bring it with you to social events.

Cynthia Turner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner and a Moderation Friendly Therapist. She is the co-founder of Insight Into Action therapy, with offices in Ashburn and Fairfax Virginia, and the author of How Do I Know If I Can Keep Drinking: Thoughts From A Therapist. For more info, email [email protected] or call 703-646-7664 


Find me on the map

Office Hours



9:00 am-8:00 pm


9:00 am-8:00 pm


9:00 am-8:00 pm


9:00 am-8:00 pm


9:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 am-6:00 pm


10:00 AM-8:00 PM