That’s a tough question to answer; especially when you don’t believe you could have issues with alcohol. Most either drink socially or know they have a problem with alcohol. But there are many who may not voice to family or friends that their drinking has gotten out of control. If you’re one of those individuals, or know someone who is, these signs might be of benefit to you.
Definition of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse is defined as the misuse of alcohol or use that causes negative consequences to the individual. People take this definition and mold it to their liking. Either 1) because they feel they are able to drink 2 or 3 drinks and feel “just fine” or 2) because they compare themselves to others who drink and say “my brother or friend drinks double what I drink every day, I don’t have a problem compared to him.” No matter how you justify it, alcohol abuse can exist in anyone’s life by looking at what consequences it’s causing. Consequences can be social, relational, financial, legal or physical.
Is or has alcohol caused conflict or interfered with your everyday life?
It’s common for people to believe that because they only get drunk or buzzed on the weekends and it does not conflict with any important responsibilities or activities that they are all good. But when you spend an entire day hungover and aren’t as productive as you would normally be then that is a sign that alcohol has interfered with your daily lifestyle and is being abused. Hangovers are not a natural or normal part of life!
Are other’s expressing concern about your drinking?
There is a big chance that if you are abusing alcohol there is someone in your life that has let you know, it could be a full on conversation or something as simple as “maybe you don’t need to order another drink”. Stop and allow yourself the grace to consider what they are saying and examine if what they are expressing is factual. Many times when we are developing dependencies, we get defensive out of fear or shame that what others are saying could be true. But remember that when the relationship is genuine and you have people around you that care for you, chances are they are looking out for you and not trying to judge or control you.
Do you find yourself in situations where you are needing to have a drink to enjoy yourself or relax?
Is relaxing, socializing, or responsibilities boring without alcohol? Do you believe that alcohol allows you to deal with situations without feeling nervous or anxious?” If you’re answer is yes to these then you might want to consider that your relationship with drinking is not healthy. When alcohol becomes a necessary part of your activities, then it is rapidly gaining hold of your lifestyle.
Do you find yourself getting out of control or doing things you are embarrassed of when you drink?
Are you waking up thinking “Who might I need to apologize to today for my behavior last night?” Or, do you wake up and not remember what you did the previous night? These are all signs that you may need to take a good look at how alcohol is affecting your life and what consequences you have because of it.
The truth is alcohol grabs a hold of us quickly and without notice. When someone begins going down the road of alcohol abuse, what follows are excuses and rationalizing our drinking. We convince ourselves that we haven’t changed our patterns and that we are still the same social and healthy drinkers we always were but that’s what makes alcohol such a seductive and sly operator.
If at the end of the day you are not sure where you fit, ask! Talk to someone you respect and trust and be open to hearing what they have to say about your drinking. Consider seeing a professional who can help you learn more about yourself, and why alcohol has meaning in your life. Please reach out to Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832.421.8714 if you would like to speak to our LCDC- Adriana.