6 Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Sometimes, drinking alcohol can be synonymous with having a good time. Of course, alcohol isn’t mandatory to have fun, but it often makes its appearance at parties and social events. Some people like to wind down a long day with a glass of wine, or head to boozy brunches on the weekend. When used carefully, alcohol can be a little extra, to add some buzz into a social event and act as a kind of social lubricant.
Personally, I drink at the weekend with my friends, but no longer have any alcohol in the house or drink at home unless we have friends over. This is because for a while, when I was going through a breakdown because of anxiety at work a couple of years ago, I started using alcohol as a bit of a crutch. I would drink wine after work – only one or two glasses – but it meant I was drinking a lot more than usual. Then I went through a phase of drinking when I was out with friends, and then continuing to drink – on my own – at home. Not to crazy excess, but still, more than I needed.
I felt constantly hungover and when one finally ended, I’d be drinking again. As well as the drinking, I would be eating rubbish to combat how bad I was feeling, meaning I was being very unhealthy and also putting on weight. I realised I needed to stop this behaviour after a particularly heavy evening – there was no need for me to be drinking this much and if I needed help, I wouldn’t find it in the bottle. That’s why I knew that my drinking had tipped over from fun, to dependency.
So how do YOU know when your alcohol intake has tipped over from just having fun to addiction? Here are 6 alcohol addiction signs to look out for.
#1 You’re always the drunkest
We all have that one friend who is the biggest lightweight, acting the fool when you’ve all barely sniffed your second drinks. However, this is different to being the drunkest in a group because you’re drinking the most – tanking your drinks and looking for the next one before everyone else is done. Do you suggest a bottle of wine at the table, although it’s Monday and your friends were thinking of having some Jasmine tea with dinner? If your priorities and amount you are drinking differ from your friends, take a look at this.
#2 You buy alcohol to take home with you
After a boozy dinner, are you happy to head home and sleep it off, ready to be fresh for the next day, or can you not resist the pull of a shop-bought wine, bought on the basis of a ‘night-cap’? Before you know it, you’re singing Disney at 3am and are neck-deep in your exes Instagram. Step away.
#3 You drink alone
There’s nothing wrong with an after-work drink, or a bit of fizz when you’re getting ready to go out, especially if you live alone! The problem comes when you have a habit of it. Does a bottle of red wine find its way into your basket as you’re buying your dinner? If you’re drinking more than a couple of nights a week alone, perhaps make a not of how much and how many units this adds up to – you might surprise yourself!
#4 You find excuses to drink
Birthday? Drinks! Wednesday? Drinks! Thursday? Drinks! There is honestly absolutely no limit to what can be taken as a ‘drinking occasion’. Take a note on whether you’re the first one to suggest it all of the time.
#5 It’s on your mind
We all look forward to popping a bottle on Friday evenings, or sinking a few cocktails with the girls at the weekend. However, if the actual alcohol is more on your mind than the excitement of the evening or the company, you may want to reign it in a bit.
#6 Your wallet is taking a hit
All that booze is expensive! If you’re constantly short at the end of the month, have a look at your finances. I have to say that I am so much better off now I’m not spending much money on alcohol – you would be surprised how much this adds up, especially in the Capital!
Luckily for me, my drinking alcohol has become much more balanced. As mentioned, we don’t keep alcohol in the house and I’m careful with my intake now. I’m still prone to the odd hangover, but it’s no longer constant. Here is a great motto for you, and one I used very frequently:
When the fun stops, stop.
If you need help with your drinking, feel free to get in touch for some friendly advice, or head to Drink Aware for some more formal support.