20 Questions

Are You an Alcoholic? To answer this question, ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

You do not ever have to show this to anyone, nor should you!


1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?

2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?

5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?

7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?

8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?

9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

11. Do you want a drink the next morning?

12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?

15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?

16. Do you drink alone?

17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?

18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?

19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?


If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic.

If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.

If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic.


From a contact from Johns Hopkins' media relations department:

"The Johns Hopkins Twenty Questions: Are You An Alcoholic? was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Robert Seliger, who at that time was a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was intended for use as a self-assessment questionnaire to determine the extent of one's alcohol use. It was not intended to be used by professionals as a screening tool to help them formulate a diagnosis of alcoholism in their patients. We do not use this questionnaire at any of the Johns Hopkins substance abuse treatment programs. To the best of my knowledge, there have never been any reliable or validated studies conducted using the Hopkins Twenty Questions. I advise you to consider using other instruments such as the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test or the CAGE both of which have proven reliability and validity as reported in the scientific literature."

So, the questions should be attributed to Dr. Robert Seliger of Johns Hopkins (in the 1930s), not to Johns Hopkins itself as they no longer advocate their use. I note as well that the e-mail I sent to you all earlier from the Literature Desk at GSO stated that the hospital had requested that GSO not attribute those questions to their institution in the pamphlet "Memo to an Inmate Who May Be an Alcoholic."

If you know anyone who would like permission to reprint this piece, I have a contact at Johns Hopkins to whom I can refer them. I have been in contact with the faculty member who knew the history of this document and who recommended that we not use it. She was very adamant about it--in a second e-mail to me, she said that she'd grant permission to any AA group who wanted to use it, but that she really recommended that we don't.


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