Alcohol is used by most of the U.S. population to some degree. After all, social drinking can be an enjoyable activity, and it can even be a bonus at the end of a stressful day. Indeed, research has even shown that moderate daily consumption of red wine can lower the risk of heart disease, possibly by reducing stress. Unfortunately, some people develop problems with alcohol, and those benefits quickly evaporate and are replaced by increasing problems with health and daily life. If you’re wondering if alcohol is becoming more of an enemy than a friend, here are some signs you should look for.
Resolutions to Quit Go Unfulfilled
At some point in their lives, nearly everyone who uses alcohol will have a bad experience with it. This may involve getting sick, an epic hangover, going home with someone they normally wouldn’t, or making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves. Other possible deal-breakers include fights, being arrested for disorderly conduct, and pulling stunts that result in physical injury. It’s not uncommon for people to swear they’ll never end up in these situations again, and many don’t. If you’ve had an abundance of troubling experiences with alcohol and made these same promises to yourself repeatedly only to break them, you might have a problem.
Showing Up Late
Some people just have a bad habit of showing up late to work and other engagements, but in some cases, this behavior can also mean alcoholism. If you’re arriving late to school, get-togethers or work when you never did before, it can be a sign of alcohol abuse. The same applies to your performance. If the quality of your work is suddenly going downhill, drinking might be to blame.
No Alcohol, No Show
Social drinking can be a pleasant experience that helps loosen inhibitions and bring friends closer together. There’s no inherent problem with moderate social drinking, but it can become that way for some people. Ask yourself if all of your social plans are starting to revolve around alcohol. Do you insist on meeting at the bar first, or having friends stop by your place for a pre-dinner drink? Perhaps you find yourself shunning invitations because you don’t think you’ll enjoy yourself unless there’s alcohol. These are all signs that alcohol is taking over your social life.
From Lightweight to Heavyweight
You most likely remember your first experience with alcohol. It probably didn’t take much for you to feel pretty tipsy and start slurring your words. This is because your body had no tolerance to alcohol at first. Over time, however, your body adapts to the repeated drinking by increasing its tolerance to the alcohol. This means that you require more, sometimes considerably more, than you used to to get drunk. Similarly, you may also chug your drinks or drink them on an empty stomach to get them to kick in faster and harder. If you notice these behaviors in yourself, it can be a sign of alcoholism.
Alcohol clouds judgment, and in excess, it can cause you to think dangerous or irresponsible behaviors are a good idea. The most notable risky behavior is driving under the influence, which kills roughly 10,000 Americans annually. However, drinking too much can also lead to unsafe sex, negligence, verbal indiscretion and other things that can lead to legal trouble, health problems, job loss and financial problems.
When you drink, do you ever realize later that, try as you might, you just can’t remember large portions of the night before? Do you feel confused when your friends tell you about things from that night that you could swear never happened? These memory lapses are called “blacking out” and are caused by overconsumption of alcohol preventing memory formation. This is a frightening situation. It’s most likely that all you’re forgetting is ripping your shirt off and dancing badly on a table. However, some people have committed serious crimes while blacked out, and are now sitting in prison for things they genuinely don’t recall doing. It’s also important to remember that blacking out once increases your odds of doing it again. If this happens to you repeatedly, it’s important to evaluate alcohol’s role in your life.
If alcohol addiction is having a negative impact on your life, you have options. Many experts recommend enrolling in an inpatient treatment center. One of the biggest benefits is the professional medical care you’ll receive. The staff will be able to help keep you comfortable during the early recovery process and address any medical problems you may have. You’ll also benefit from the psychological and emotional aspects of inpatient treatment. With no real-world stressors like work, screaming children and bills to trigger a relapse, it’s easier to focus on your recovery and take it one day at a time.