You like a drink, is that really a problem? It depends.
Read the signs of alcohol abuse below and learn if your habit is becoming an addiction and it’s time to seek support.
1. You are drinking at places and with people you don’t like sober.
When it comes to alcohol, do you end up in places you’d usually avoid? Or with people you wouldn't be around otherwise? If your standards bottom out for a drink, it's a red flag.
2. You are drinking alone.
An occasional glass of wine or beer alone doesn’t an alcoholic make. But a regular habit of drinking alone at home, or when your partner has gone to bed, or going to bars alone, is something else entirely. If you are also then drinking until you are drunk, there is a problem.
3. You can’t be bothered to go to events that don’t serve alcohol.
Do you say no to concerts without alcohol? Always meet friends at a bar and never a cafe? Revolving your life around the availability of alcohol is a sign of dependency.
4. You drink for alcohol percentage over taste and quality.
Do you choose your drinks by how much alcohol they contain over whether you actually like them?
5. You hide your alcohol intake from others (or even yourself).
Do you underplay how much you have had to drink when asked by friends or a partner? Hide bottles at the bottom of the recycling bin? Refuse to track your intake as you don’t want to know?
6. You get drunk when nobody else is.
When you are at the point you drink far more than everyone else you are with, or are even known for this habit, there is likely an issue.
7. You keep drinking even if you know you will be sick.
You know one more drink means you’ll throw up later that night, or spend the next day in bed. But you drink it anyway. When we are being unkind to ourselves with alcohol, it’s definitely a sign of alcohol abuse.
8. You think about drinking when you are not doing it.
Do your last few hours of work involve thinking about that first drink you’ll have at the pub after? Are you sitting through a film on a cinema date waiting for it to be over so you can get to the bar?
9. You are using alcohol to escape.
Ask yourself ‘why am I drinking’. Then be honest about your intent. Drinking to relax a little or be social is one thing. If the truth is you want to feel better, or escape your life and stress, or not feel difficult emotions, then you are using alcohol in an unhealthy way.
10. Other people tell you that you have a drinking problem.
If friends, partners, and family members are hinting you are an alcoholic, then it’s time to listen.
11. Your health, work life, finances, and/or relationships are suffering.
Has a colleague ever mentioned your drinking? Have your been warned by a boss over showing up late after big nights out? Has a partner become distant over your drinking, do you have constant fights because of it, or has someone even left you in the past over it? Do you know your poor sleep, bad skin, and constant colds are alcohol related but don't stop drinking? Have you racked up credit cards to pay for alcohol, or blown the grocery budget on booze?
12. You can’t actually stop.
People who don’t have a drinking problem can stop when they want. And if they do stop, they don’t spend their days thinking about alcohol. If you are an alcoholic, quitting will be hard if not impossible. Even if you do manage to take a break you will think about alcohol nonstop.