It’s very difficult to define exactly what alcoholism entails in this era filled with social drinking and ‘being cool’, we could define it as a condition, a disease, or a problem, but none of those words can fully explain what it means to the family and people surrounding a person dealing with alcohol abuse or addiction.
How is it possible to know if I (or someone I care about) have a problem? What are the signs that point towards a problem that needs immediate attention? Alcoholism can be a sneaky disease, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for any warning signs in order to receive (or get that person to receive) the necessary help before it’s too late. Here are 4 warning signs you may be facing alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
1. There Is Always An Excuse
As it was mentioned above, drinking alcohol has become such a common social activity, that the warning signs usually come when someone is NOT drinking at a party or a gathering, this can make very difficult to point when someone is drinking a bit more than ‘usual’ in their regular social life.
Whenever there is always an excuse for a drink, an ‘extra glass’, another toast, when it’s just to relax, to finish the day or as a reward, and it happens every single day, then there is definitely a problem. Night outs become very common, and being drunk is a normal occurrence. Usually, it comes with a defensive posture anytime a person mentions just how much are you drinking, as you don’t recognize it to be a problem
2. Your Attitude Has Changed
You used to be the life and heart of the party, people loved to go out with you and you had a great time, booze was just a part of the fun you had, right?. Nowadays, your friends may be giving you excuses not to go out every night, you decide to go on your own and you start experiencing blackouts, you may start calling in sick because you are too hungover during the week.
Has someone you know mentioned you have changed? Constant alcohol intake (and its correspondent hangovers) can make you irritable, aside from changing your entire perspective on your priorities in life; this can be reflected when you start to spend more while drinking than in rent, food or even your child’s support.
3. You Drink Alone And Hiding
Now you don’t even need an excuse for drinking, which is even worse because you know that you are doing something wrong thus now you hide your drinking from everyone. Are you using excuses such as it’s been a long day, I feel very stressed, I’m depressed or anxious? Do you use these as a ‘solid’ reason for a drink (or a bottle)?
This is probably the most dangerous sign; using alcohol as a tool to cope with any negative feelings will only make your problems get worse. Masking your issues with alcohol may feel good, but in reality, your brain will associate drinking as a ‘reward’ to make yourself feel good whenever you’re down, releasing endorphins artificially; and that is where alcoholism begins
4. It Becomes An Everyday Part Of Your Life
It used to be something occasional, but now alcohol is a solid part of your life, from the moment you wake up, until the moment you pass out at night. Your diet basically consists of a bottle, another bottle, and something solid a loved one may squeeze in from time to time to try to make you eat something.
Your job, if it still exists, means trying to mask your drinking while you are working, trying to work while you are drunk, or trying to be useful while hungover; but even so, it is not a major concern as long as you are able to get that next glass soon.
Masking, or trying to mask your drinking habits becomes a daily routine too, and you need to add a lot of conversations where you justify your drinking and assure your loved ones that it really is not a problem, you have everything under control. You feel judged, hence you need to hide your drinking so everyone can stop judging you.
Alcoholism can come in several shapes and forms, and they are all equally dangerous. Just because you may think you have your life in control, and up to this point you have been able to run your alcohol-filled life without any major consequences, don’t think it is something that will last. Drastic changes to your relationships, your job, your studies, your priorities and your responsibilities will start to appear, and sooner than later, you may end up losing everything you hold dear.
There Is a Way Out
Alcohol addiction is a disease, but it can be treated successfully. There are many treatment options for alcoholics, and even though that first step of admitting you have a problem and you need help is not easy it will always be the right choice. Getting professional help is crucial to overcoming the disease once and for all. And remember, you will not be alone, your loved ones will be thrilled that you recognize you need help and will be there every step of the way, as well as the team of professionals that will aid and guide your addiction recovery.
Hopefully, this article has served its purpose and has opened your eyes to alcohol addiction, its warning signs and its dangers, and it has given you hope in terms of recovery and treatment options. If you are here, it’s a great sign, it means you know something is not going right, the next step is getting the right help.
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