For many people, alcohol is an occasional pastime, a means of celebrating with friends, or a comforting treat after a long work week. However, it’s also very easy for a small habit you keep in good company to become something more, not only an uncomfortable habit but an addiction, and an unhealthy influence in your life.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to be a full-time alcoholic to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. In fact, being able to identify the latter before it becomes a chronic problem will absolutely help you avoid moving into less-than-healthy habits.
Of course, it’s also important to stipulate that less healthy drinking habits are not always a sign that you’ll get worse and become more irresponsible. That said, it’s always worth having a crystal-clear perspective on your decisions so no unhealthy decisions creep up on you unawares.
In this post, we’ll discuss eight simple warning signs that you may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. If you hit any or all of these signs, it’s worth considering your habits or reaching out for further help:
- You Hide How Often You Drink
Put simply, if you feel the urge to downplay your alcohol intake, or you hide it from your loved ones, then it could be a sign of a developing problem. Most of the time we understand that drinking regularly or as our first pastime is unhealthy, and the people we care about most are those we hope to maintain our best image or sense of rationality around. As such, feeling that you not only should hide it from them but have to, is a sign that habits need to change.
- You Self-Medicate With Alcohol
People drink for all kinds of reasons, some for fun and socializing, others for calm and enjoyment when watching an occasional movie, but others may drink to cover other issues like anxiety or depression. If you find that you reach for alcohol when you feel unhappy or frustrated, it could be that a problem needs to be addressed.
- You’ve Tried To Quit Or Cut Down & Failed
This is the clearest sign of an issue in full form. If you’ve tried to quit a couple of times but always find you drink on days you had promised yourself you wouldn’t, don’t ignore that. It’s essential to get the help you may need and be honest before the problem continues. If you’ve broken a few promises to yourself, it becomes easier and easier to do so in the future, and this can become a vicious cycle if you’re not cautious.
- Alcohol Is Affecting Your Life, Finances, Relationships & Employment
Ultimately, it’s important to identify the real impact of alcohol on your life. Very rarely is alcohol a side vice that can be compartmentalized away from the rest of your daily experience. In almost all cases, it can affect our work, our finances, our relationships, and even how productive we are.
For example, an employer noticing you’re inebriated and sending you home, a partner who complains about your intake, or perhaps having difficulty looking over your home and your personal appearance as you once did are all signs that it’s having a very real effect. We haven’t even mentioned your health, which can be ravaged by this disease. If you notice any of this, then rehab for alcohol can be your best choice.
- You Find It Hard To Accept You Have A Problem
It can feel like a bind to be in, but if you find it hard to accept you have a problem, or that you can quit anytime, or that the troubles people have mentioned to you are overblown, it may be that the problem is more pernicious than you think. After all, if you only drink once every two weeks when with friends, then you would absolutely know that you don’t have a problem. If the question mark is hanging in the air, that can be its own answer.
- You Drink Much More Without An Effect
As alcohol tolerance builds, you need to consume more to have the same effect. For some, this might involve simply drinking more before they have the desired effect, for others, it’s about switching to stronger spirits or higher percentage ABV beers or wines.
This is a sign of escalated use, and a fantastic place to bring back your use and have a long detox. However, at this point your body may have begun to adapt to the alcohol, and so speaking to your doctor immediately and being very clear about the difficulties you’ve been having will help you.
- You Drink To Stave Off Negative Effects
It’s easy to become dependent on alcohol after repeated use and consumption. If you find that you need to drink to feel “normal” after waking up, there’s a strong possibility you’ve been going through withdrawal, which is a sign of addiction.
In this case, stopping drinking cold turkey may actually be more harmful than helpful for you, as you will need to be tapered off very very gently with expert help to guide you. That’s why it’s so important to speak to your doctor and to find professional treatment, because managing this habit yourself may cause more harm than you expect.
- You Make Excuses To Drink
If you notice that constant justifications to drink seem to come to mind, such as after finishing a “hard workday,” “to enjoy this movie,” or “because I haven’t had one in a little while,” you’ll have begun to develop the addictive mind that seeks to rationalize, minimize and justify. This is a good sign that your habit may be a little more out of control than you had assumed, especially because you wouldn’t need excuses for this if you knew you had a healthy relationship to alcohol. For that reason, reaching out for help could be the smartest plan you’ve made thus far.
With this advice, we hope you can find the strength to reach out to help. Know that you deserve it, and you’re not an inferior person for struggling with a challenge, you can overcome it better for the victory.