What is Considered a Drinking Problem?
Alcohol drinking is a sensitive subject for those who drink but profess they do not have a drinking problem.
Awareness is the first step in how to know if you have a drinking problem.
Admitting you have a drinking problem is the first step, but we look at the different things that indicate dependence (addiction) on alcohol before we go that far.
If you or a loved one drinks a lot, this article will give you a better understanding of alcohol dependence.
- Do you drink throughout the day?
- Do you need alcohol to get through any type of social gathering or event?
- Have you noticed that you are always holding a beer or drink in photos?
- Do you lose track of time or have blackouts?
- Has your loved one left you because of alcohol?
Is Alcohol a Drug?
Alcohol does not have the same chemicals that drugs do.
However, alcohol is a depressant and is classified as such.
You can grow dependent on alcohol.
We want to give you an overview of what alcohol addiction looks like.
Alcohol is classified as a depressant. Although it is a beverage and obtainable by going into a store, it is a drug.
A drug is defined as a substance that has the potential to enhance physical or mental welfare. It is not used medically.
Tranquilizers, sedatives, sleeping pills, and antipsychotics produce the same effect as alcohol.
Anytime a depressant enters the body, our brains tell us to relax and loosen up.
This is why you see alcohol present in almost every kind of social gathering.
It helps us to mingle and socialize.
Light drinking keeps us giddy, happy, and relaxed.
Whereas, heavy drinking is sedating to the point you have impaired function.
6 Red Flag Warnings: How to Know if You Have a Drinking Problem
As you read through the below red flags, you will notice a vicious cycle of cause and effect that never ends.
This is what keeps us trapped in the addiction to alcohol.
Red Flag #1: You Feel Like You Have No Control Over Your Life
Obsessive thinking about whether you may need help is an indicator of knowing if you have a drinking problem.
If you must ask yourself that question, you may have a problem.
Many of us who do have an alcohol dependence feel as though we are losing control.
This can happen because of losing loved ones, friends, or jobs because of our drinking.
When the bank forecloses on your home, or a recovery truck pulls up and hauls your car off because you no longer have a job that makes you feel very helpless.
The thoughts that race through our mind on what we are doing to ourselves causes us to drink more.
Red Flag #2: You Drink at Inappropriate Times and Places
Alcoholics do not care where or when they drink. The craving and need for alcohol distort all reasoning and rationale.
Such scenarios that will help you with how to know if you have a drinking problem include:
- Showing up to church with alcohol on your breath or a flask neatly tucked in your pocket
- Driving while drinking, which is especially dangerous if your loved ones are with you
- As soon as the alarm clock rings in the morning, you opt for a drink instead of coffee or breakfast
- You need “chasers” to help a previous binge
- You drink heavily in front of children, therefore, setting a bad example for them
- You rush home every day to have that cocktail, which is followed up with dinner, wine, and a bedtime nightcap
- You show up at an AA meeting drunk or you sneak off to the bathroom to drink during a meeting
- You must spike your coffee at work, or you have a bottle hidden in your desk that you retreat to when no one is looking
Do you get the picture? Alcohol seemingly finds its way into every activity during the day.
Red Flag #3: You Have a Criminal Record Because of Drinking
You have been pulled over for drinking and driving. As a result, you were arrested. This is a BIG red flag yelling at you: “This is how to know if you have a drinking problem!”
One arrest leads to two or three, and before you know it, you no longer have a driver’s license and must depend on public transportation or someone else to get you to where you need to go each day.
Spending time in jail is not what you had in mind, but it has happened to you. Repeated arrests lead to longer jail sentences as well.
Once you are out of jail, you go home and grab a beer because you have missed having it while in jail and just need to unwind.
Red Flag #4: Your Drinking Drove Away Loved Ones
Have you been in such a drunken rage that you hit your spouse or threw something at the TV and broke it? These are two examples of how to know if you have a drinking problem.
As our husband or wife walks out the door, we know we cannot stop drinking to keep them from leaving.
We will promise and beg to be better, but we do not get better.
Having our children witness their dad or mom lying on the floor in urine-soaked clothing or vomit from drinking is humiliating, to say the least.
Our families lose all respect for us when we allow alcohol to dictate our lives.
Many of us have such violent outbursts after drinking that we have physically and emotionally hurt those we love.
The regret that comes after the alcohol wears off is so painful that we grab another drink.
Red Flag #5: You Have to Drink More as the Effects Wear Off to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms
When we begin to feel sweaty, shaky, and overall sick, we know it is time for another drink.
We do not want to experience the unpleasantries of withdrawal.
As soon as our body begins to quiver, we drink. This is perhaps one of the main reasons we continue to drink.
Feeding the hungry demon within ourselves leaves us feeling completely out of control.
We know we need help but are afraid to admit our problem.
It is more convenient to keep drinking than invest the time to go to rehab.
Red Flag #6: You Have Repeated Loss of Time You Can’t Account for
Have you ever woken up disoriented and confused about how you ended up in a strange place? Not only is it frightening, but you feel vulnerable and afraid. When you are trying to piece things together, you can only assume your drinking landed you where you are.
Blackouts happen because of heavy drinking.
The college days of waking up on someone’s sofa after a night of partying are long gone.
A blackout does not necessarily define unconsciousness. You can get behind the wheel of a vehicle, walk somewhere, or be a part of illicit activities that you do not remember doing.
The fact that you can harm or kill yourself or others during a blackout should be enough to cause you to seek help.
But instead, you drink to numb the fear and sense of helplessness that a blackout causes you. This is a serious red flag on how to know if you have a drinking problem.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it?
We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification.
We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
How to Get Help
There are so many reasons why you should get help.
We should love ourselves enough to grant ourselves the opportunity to live a clean and sober life.
Now that you have information on how to know if you have a drinking problem, take that step, and get help.
Call North Jersey Recovery Center at 877-786-0572 to schedule your consultation.
You deserve to live a happy life free from alcoholism.