Table 1

 The alcohol history

Step 1: estimate consumption
Do you ever drink alcohol? What do you usually drink?
How many times each week do you drink—could you say how much you would have on those occasions?
Are there times when you would drink more heavily than this?
(The MCA reference in the route map will help you quantify units and qualify them in terms of risk)
Step 2: establish if they are dependent on alcohol
To clarify, did you say that you are drinking every day?
What time of day is your first drink?
If you do not drink for a day, or miss your first drink of the day, how do you feel?
How would you rate alcohol as one of your priorities? Is it sometimes hard to think of anything else?
Have you ever needed medication to stop drinking?
Step 3: elucidate any problems
Has alcohol ever caused you any problems in the past? Could you tell me more about that?
Has anyone close to you expressed worries about your drinking? Did this cause difficulty between you?
Are you concerned about your alcohol use?
Step 4: further qualify experiences and concerns
You mention that you are worried about drinking harming your health—could you tell me more about that? Is it possible that the alcohol you had drunk that evening may have contributed to you becoming involved in the incident that led to your head injury?
Has alcohol ever affected your work or ability to sort things out at home?
Has alcohol ever got you into trouble with the police?
Is your alcohol use leaving you short of money?
Is this difficult to talk about for you?