Alcoholism is one of the most insidious types of addiction. It can show up unexpectedly in a person’s life, whether it’s over a period of years or during a brief interlude. It can affect any type of person, from the teen next door to the woman with three kids at the grocery store to the homeless person on the street. To make the situation even trickier, alcohol is readily available, legal, and widely abused. Few dinner parties begin or end without drinks. Few college students earn their degrees without indulging in several drunken escapades. For many people, it’s no big deal; they can drink on occasion without becoming consumed by the drug. For many others, alcohol is a major problem.
Because of alcohol’s pervasive presence in our culture, lots of alcoholics don’t even realize that they’re addicted. They think their 8 or 10 drinks a week are normal—especially since they see other people they know doing the same thing. If you’re worried that you have a drinking problem, then here is what you should be on the lookout for:
You drink a lot.
It goes without saying, but regularly imbibing is the strongest sign that you might have a drinking problem. In a detailed article published by American Family Physician, they outline the guidelines for problem drinking. Low-risk drinking would be no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men, or no more than 3 drinks per occasion for women and 4 for men. Anything above these thresholds would qualify as high-risk drinking.
You find any excuse to drink.
A common characteristic of alcoholism is finding any excuse to drink—not just after the occasional long day at work, but during any and every opportunity that might present itself. Parties, small get-togethers, happy hours with co-workers. To become more social and upbeat or to help you relax or go to sleep. If you constantly find reasons to drink, you might be addicted.
You regularly lie about your drinking.
Lying about alcohol use can be a major indicator of problem drinking. If you find yourself saying that you only had one or two drinks last night (or flat-out denying that you had any), but you actually got wasted, think about what’s prompting your lying. Is it shame? Fear of judgment? If you find yourself lying frequently about how much you’re drinking, it’s a cause for concern.
Your drinking has caused you problems.
When people are addicted to alcohol, they can exhibit destructive behavior, like driving under the influence, abusing family members while intoxicated, or getting fired for drinking on the job. Some heavy-drinking students flunk out of college. Some intoxicated parents will forget their kids at school or daycare. When your drinking is wreaking this much havoc on your life, it’s an issue.
Your friends and family are worried about your drinking.
Sometimes, it’s the people who love you the most who will recognize when you’ve changed in a positive or negative way—even before you might. One of the more frustrating aspects of addiction is denial, so try to listen to your loved ones with an open mind. If they are concerned about you, then it’s time to get some help.
Do you have more questions about alcohol addiction?
If you ever want to discuss treatment options, therapy options, or addictions with a professional, at Phoenix Recovery Center we are here to help you. It is our mission to provide professional, caring treatment for both men and women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction in Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.).