How do you know you’re life has become “Unmanageable” and that you have a problem?


The very FIRST step in recovery of any kind, is to admit you have a problem and that your life has become unmanageable. The problem for us alcoholics and addicts, our lives have probably been that way for many years prior to us coming to that conclusion. Nine out of ten times, everyone in our lives realize we’re out of control way before we do. So how do you know when your life has become completely unmanageable?  One of the people I sponsor asked me that, and I got to thinking about that one day. My method of teaching isn’t exactly what you would call “conventional” I put things in such a way that makes it somewhat easier to understand, yet I’m very blunt and to the point. I got to thinking about “Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a Redneck if…” With pen and paper in hand, I created a list to help the people I work with figure it out……Please keep in mind, that most of the things on this list are in fact from my own personal experience. I have highlighted the ones that pertained to me just to give you more insight on how bad things were for me. I firmly believe that when you see things in print, right there in front of you in black and white, it tends to hit home which was the sole purpose of my doing this exercise.




  1. You’re down to your last few dollars, you haven’t eaten in days, yet you use that money to go buy a bottle (or your drug of choice.)
  2. Your family and friends keep telling you that you have a problem and you autocratically get defensive and bitter.
  3. You don’t think twice about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after a night of partying.
  4. You wake up on more than one occasion and have no recollection of the night before.
  5. When it takes more and more alcohol (or drugs) to even give you a buzz
  6. When you put the alcohol (or drugs) before all else…ie; family, employment, spouses, children
  7. When you frequently wake up and have no idea where you are or how you got there
  8. When you won’t purchase your alcohol at an over priced liquor store, that’s close to your house, but you will go there to purchase the .99 cent airplane bottles to drink on your way to the ABC store (true story…)
  9. You get easily irritated and even violent towards those who try to tell you that there is a problem.
  10. When you attend a party or family function and they hide the liquor bottles
  11. When you STOP getting invited to family functions or parties altogether.
  12. When those closest to you suddenly seem to be avoiding you when you’ve been drinking
  13. When you wake up in a hospital, detox or police station after a night of drinking or using and you have no idea why or how you got there.
  14. When you have no problem driving with your children or others in the car while you’re under the influence.
  15. When you will steal to get that bottle or drug
  16. When you repeatedly lie about the amount you’ve drank or used
  17. When you hide bottles (or drugs) all over the house in the fear that someone will find them
  18. When you no longer care what you look like
  19. When you can not cope with any life situation without the assistance of the bottle or drug
  20. When you experience the shakes or get sick when you can’t drink or drug
  21. When your job and making a living in order to survive becomes secondary to your drinking or using.
  22. When you’ve been fired from your job because of your drinking or using
  23. When you find  yourself constantly apologizing for your actions while under the influence then you constantly repeat them.
  24. When you’ve lost everything and everyone in your life but don’t care as long as you have that bottle or drug.
  25. When you harm those around you (whether it be physically or mentally) while you’re under the influence
  26. When you manipulate situations just to get that next drink or drug
  27. When you have lost interest in everything EXCEPT that next drink or drug
  28. When you justify your bad behavior and start to believe those justifications.
  29. When you use other people to get what you want
  30. When you don’t remember important functions such as weddings, christenings, birthdays because you were tossed the night before
  31. When people are embarrassed to be around you while you’re under the influence.
  32. When you wake up in a strangers bed with no clue how you got there.
  33. When you tell yourself on a regular basis “I can quit any time I want” but you continue to repeat the behavior
  34. When someone tries to take your bottle or drug away from you and you get violent
  35. When you can’t remember street names or landmarks, but you have memorized the location of every liquor store and drug hot spot.
  36. When you wake up in the morning soaked in your own vomit or urine
  37. When you get kicked out of clubs or bars for acting like a drunken ass on more than one occasion.
  38. When you’ve gotten kicked out of your house as a direct result of your overindulging and even at that extent, you don’t care about anything but that next drink or drug.
  39. When the police, judges, prosecutors  know you by first name because you’ve had run-in’s with them on a regular basis due to your drinking or using
  40. When you find no enjoyment in life and NOTHING matters except that next drink or drug.
  41. When you laugh off your bad behavior because you can’t come up with an excuse for it that even you can believe.
  42. When the employees at the local liquor store know you by name, exactly what you want, and how much of it.
  43. When simple, everyday things seem to be unbearable without a drink or drug.
  44. When you can no longer look in the mirror because you loathe the person looking back at you.
  45. When you will pawn or sell things you own (including yourself) just to get that next drink or drug.


I’m going to stop there, but trust, I CAN continue.  If there are things that you would like to add to this list, feel free to do so. Now if you can relate to 5 or more of these examples, you might want to seriously consider that you have a real problem. While all the highlighted ones are in-fact from my own experience, I swore up and down at the time, that I didn’t have a problem and everyone else was crazy to think that I did.  It’s called EXTREME denial. But after seeing this list, IF you can be completely honest with yourself, you will see how unmanageable your life has gotten.


This list may seem very extreme and graphic, some may even view it as harsh. Don’t think for a single moment that the things on this list are exaggerations.  The truth of the matter is, the things listed are NOT uncommon to an alcoholic or addict. It doesn’t make them bad people, it just means that they need HELP.  Recovery is extremely possible no matter how far down the line your addiction has dragged you. However comma….in order to seek recovery, you have to first admit there is a problem and WANT help.

AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist
April 28, 2014

images (1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s