The stereotype of the alcoholic has been completely turned on its head in recent years. Although the public perception was once of an alcoholic that leads a lonely life, drinking away their sorrows, we now know that is not true. Just as often as not, alcoholics may be high-functioning members of society. In fact, it’s extremely likely that you personally know a few—or that you may even be one yourself. Here are 10 warning signs that indicate you may have a problem.
1. You Keep Promising Yourself You’ll Stop Tomorrow
Have you ever sworn off alcohol for a certain period of time—perhaps a week, for instance—only to find yourself drinking the next day? This may be a sign that you need professional help. It shows that you recognize a need to stop drinking, yet you can’t quite stop for some reason.
2. You Black Out
Do you often find yourself with a limited recollection of the prior evening? If so, you may be struggling with alcoholism. Becoming so impaired that you lose your memory is a definite sign that you are drinking much more than your body can handle.
3. Your Personality Alters Significantly When You Drink
If you’re a meek and mild person in your daily life but suddenly morph into a monster whenever you drink, you may have an alcohol problem. Instead of dealing with emotions, you’re squashing them down by drinking.
4. You Have a DUI
Although there are very rare cases of someone drinking two beers for the first time in a year and then getting pulled over immediately, these cases are the exception. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has released a statistic that alcoholics will usually drive drunk upwards of 80 times before they are ever stopped. The fact that you have been arrested means that there is a strong likelihood you have been making a habit out of driving drunk.
5. You Miss Work Because of Hangovers
When your alcohol use starts to affect other aspects of your life, it’s time to reassess whether or not you’ve crossed the line into dependence. Sometimes this line can be quite fuzzy, so you may want to consult with trusted friends, family members and counselors to find out whether or not you have developed an addiction.
6. You’ve Been “Cut off” at a Bar or on a Plane
Many servers, flight attendants and bartenders deal with alcohol on a daily basis. This is why they have a refined sense of when they may be encountering someone with a drinking problem. If one of these professionals has indicated that they will no longer serve you, it’s time to reevaluate your drinking.
7. Loved Ones Have Tried to Talk to You About Your Drinking
If your drinking has been having an impact upon your relationships, it’s time to listen to your friends and family. Perhaps they can help you to gain a better understanding of how your drinking has been impacting those around you.
8. You’ve Started to Notice Physical Changes
Human beings were not designed to drink massive quantities of alcohol, so signs of physical discomfort may be trying to tell you something. From neuropathy to weight gain, alcohol can wreak havoc upon your body. Although you may not feel like you have a hangover often, consider the fact that your drinking may be affecting your health in sneaky ways.
9. You Use Alcohol to Cope with Stress
If you’re utilizing alcohol as a crutch, it’s probably time to do some self-reflection and seek more healthy ways of coping with life’s inevitable curveballs. There is no shame in asking for help.
10. You Go “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”
Although pop culture has taught us that is okay to treat drinking as s social activity, the reality is that it’s not healthy to become a “regular” at a bar. There is an air of acceptance that enables more drinking, and the bar banks on you purchasing even more alcohol. The more you develop positive associations with people at a bar, the more difficult it becomes to break the cycle of drinking. These people will not support you if you want to get sober, because it will put a spotlight on their own drinking problems.
If you feel as though alcohol has become an issue in your life, it’s never too late to reach out for help. The faster you do, the quicker you’ll be on the road to recovery.