Thought Catalog
July 28, 2014

10 Signs You Have A Drinking Problem

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What is the issue?
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I have a rocky history, which can almost completely be attributed to drinking. I’ve come a very long way and am currently living wonderfully on a sober path. Most of my social time is spent with fellow recovered alcoholics. I know their stories almost as well as I know my own. Due to this, I know the ins and outs of alcoholism. I can retrospectively look at my past and see the signs of drinking issues from the very beginning of my boozin’ career.

I’m writing this simply to help. I want to provide readers with some insight on signals that may constitute a drinking problem. You might observe some of these in your own drinking, or more likely your friends’ drinking. These signs aren’t definitive, but they certainly can be an indication that you should put down the bottle.

1. You got 1 DUI and have continued drinking and driving.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re some idiot who didn’t learn your lesson. Most alcoholics can’t predict the decisions they’ll make once they get one drink in them. You can firmly admit to yourself you won’t do it again, but one drink leads to more; Those drinks lead to poor choices you never thought you’d make.

2. It’s never just one drink.

Classically indicative of the problem drinker. “I’ll only have a beer or two.” That beer or two then becomes 8 and some mixed drinks.

3. You’ve slept with a laundry list of questionable people throughout your booze career.

Do you regret letting that hefty guy with the bowl-cut inside of you? Probably stop drinking so his LARPing pals don’t also get the opportunity. This sign encompasses any poor decisions you deeply regret during a blackout. In fact, if you’re blacking out you have a dilemma.

4. You’re under the impression you need a drink to do certain things.

“I can’t dance until I get a couple shots in me.” If you’ve said something along these lines, you likely use alcohol to lube up your confidence or social skills. This may not seem like an issue now, but years down the line it presumably will be.

5. You have THE WORST hangovers.

Have you ever heard someone say their hangover’s so bad they’re shaking and feeling the need to take an early drink to relieve it? That, my friends, is detoxing. Your body has developed an addiction, and all that alcohol leaving your system is causing the shakes and a craving for more. If your friend is describing a hangover like this, tell them to find help.

6. You get incredibly drunk one night and tell yourself it’s not going to happen again. Then the following night you go out and get as drunk or even drunker.

Don’t feel bad, just admit you can’t control your drinking.

7. You become a different person when you’re drunk.

No, I don’t mean slightly more outgoing or friendlier. I’m referring to a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde complex. In my experience, I was always an incredibly caring, easy-going guy. When I drank I became this miserable dick who attempted fighting people. I would have NEVER picked a fight or went out of my way to be argumentative while sober.

8. You drink because you feel depressed, angry or upset. The drink temporarily lifts your spirit, brings you down further and you continue drinking.

Breaking news here: Alcohol is a depressant. Most people know this, yet don’t treat it as such. “I’m feeling really down over this breakup. Guess I’ll chug beers and/or vodka to feel better.” You’re in for a very rude awakening at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. The breakup depression was the start of my downward spiral. Do not delude yourself into thinking a drink is going to improve your negative emotions. If you are under that delusion you have a predicament.

9. You find any reason to drink.

It’s nice outside! It’s raining. I had a great day! My day was terrible. Are you using the weather or whatever happened over the course of your day to justify taking a drink? It’s fantastically probable you’re an alcoholic.

10. Neglecting responsibilities because you’re drinking, or drank the night before.

Nobody forced you to get hammered the night before work or a major event. You chose to, predictably because your mind was convinced drinking was necessary.

I need to make one thing clear: Just because you don’t drink daily doesn’t mean you don’t have a drinking problem. Many recovered alcoholics admit they never drank frequently. It’s all about the effect a drink has on you. If you don’t know what’s going to happen the second you take your first drink, you have a problem. If the drinks are interfering with your life or making it unmanageable, you know as well as I do it’s alcoholism. TC mark