Am I too young to be an alcoholic?

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How can I be alcoholic ? I’m only 17! Everyone drinks in France. I tend to get drunk when I go out with my friends but it’s no big deal. I’m not the only one who’s missed classes due to a hangover. That’s part of college life! My girlfriend told me that I drink too much, therefore I need to change girlfriends! What’s the point of « appreciating » a fine French wine when we can buy a bottle for 5€ anywhere in Paris and get drunk? Do these statements sound familiar? Not everyone who drinks heavily or recklessly is an alcoholic. Martha discovered, however, at an early age that her drinking had in fact become a problem.

Martha – 29 yrs old, Sobriety date: 16/06/08
“I’m not sure how old I was when I had my first drink, but I do remember the first time I got drunk. I was 15, it started at my friend David’s house, and it ended with me vomiting in a Houlihan’s bathroom. Alcohol didn’t really become an important part of my life until I was 18 when I went to France for the first time on an exchange with a lycée. I’d never partied in high school, but the French teenagers all looked so cool and attractive and at ease with their drinks in hand, so I joined in and I felt at ease and cool and attractive. Starting university I was surrounded by an active drinking culture on campus and I participated enthusiastically. But while I still felt cool the other students my age all seemed to be able to connect to each other and I just couldn’t, not without a drink. So I drank more. I kept it to nights and weekends, but I would have violent hangovers in the morning. I would drink until either the money ran out or I physically couldn’t drink anymore. 7 months into my freshman year I woke up in hospital. I would often have lapses in consciousness while drinking and would suddenly find myself somewhere or with someone or doing something that I didn’t want to be doing. People around me started to notice something was wrong, but I would think, “They just don’t understand”. Alcohol wasn’t the problem, my life was the problem besides, I was 21! Not drinking could NOT be the solution.

But finally, I was miserable and desperate enough to figure it couldn’t possibly get worse, so why not consider AA? At my first meeting I heard people speak who’d felt the same way I did! They said they were better now because they got sober so I kept going to meetings. I asked people in AA how they got sober and I took their suggestions. I got sober too, and today I don’t miss drinking at all. I’ll be 30 next year, and since that first meeting my life has gotten a little better every day thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Of the estimated 1,348,072 members of Alcoholics Anonymous as of January 1, 2016 in the US and Canada, 10% are under 30 yrs old. If you think that you have a drinking problem, Alcoholics Anonymous may be a solution for you.

Alcoholics Anonymous in Paris,
3 Rue Frédéric Sauton, 75005 Paris

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