1. You show up and he’s randomly drinking
This could be the most obvious sign or the easiest thing to overreact to—people drink at home, it doesn’t always mean that the drinker is a blackout mess, but if you make plans to hang with this guy and when you get there he’s three quarters of the way done with a bottle of wine he cracked open a couple hours ago, it may be a regular thing.
2. All of a sudden, you two are on very different pages
You’re pretty sure that you’ve been drinking at the same pace all night but all of a sudden, he’s very, very drunk. And this is a dude that can normally drink everyone else under the table. I’m going to go ahead and guess that you joined him at the tail end of a day of drinking or that he’s been popping pills to handle his hangovers.
3. He’s broke… except he’s not
He doesn’t take you out to fancy dinners because it’s out of his price range, but if you suggest that the two of you hit the bars, he’ll pick up tabs all night. His favorite jeans have a hole in the ass and his sneakers are rotted out but you drink top shelf and gorge yourselves on a late night $80 Pizza Hut order, his treat. There’s plenty of cash to keep the party going, know what I’m saying?
4. He ruins events
Drunks usually drink to knock out their nerves and weddings, family reunions and the holidays bring out the social dreads in all of us. An open bar plus a meal made entirely of apps equals a completely embarrassing display that’s so bad that, rather than harp on it, you just forgive and choose to never speak of it again.
5. Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
Your girlfriend’s are obsessed with him when he’s sober—the nicest guy ever, he’s totally perfect for you—but after the last couple of times you all drank together, they’re not so sure. He was kind of nodding off and when you tried to wake him up, he called you fat and told everybody to shut up. He laughed and apologized right after, he was clearly shitfaced, but it was super uncomfortable.
6. He doesn’t take care of himself
He eats like a fourteen-year-old homeless boy with an expense account at 7/11. He has a beard but it’s completely by default—he wakes up too late to shave most days. His apartment is Katrina. Like, it’s the actual hurricane. He MAY have mentioned something about his car insurance being lapsed but you chose not to hear it.
7. He pukes when he drinks
Hey! This is not normal after a certain age. You should be puking from drinking maybe once every three years and because of like, a combination of motion sickness and you haven’t had a drink in months and of course you were going to have a Mai Tai on your first cruise. If he pukes when he drinks, it’s because his body is like, “No, I can’t do this anymore. Enough of this shit.”
8. Every occasion is an excuse to drink
We’re on a plane! We’re on vacation! We just got home from vacation! We need a vacation! Happy weekend! We never go out to dinner anymore! I got a nice bottle of wine, we never make dinner at home anymore! You did that thing today! It’s Wednesday! I’m not tired!
9. It runs in his family
Addiction can be genetic and while not all children of addicts repeat the pattern, if you’re already questioning someone’s relationships with substances AND you know their dad is a brutal drunk, you might consider that to be an indication that there’s a problem there.
10. All of that said, he’s incredibly charming
Because alcoholics are usually depicted as a fall-down drunks and monsters, people are often quick to give a pass to a problem drinker because they’re fun to be around. A lot of people drink because drinking is fun and it brings out a more sparkling version of your personality at times, guys. That can be part of the addiction. Staying in that “happy zone.”