The new year is a time to reflect on where your life is going and where it’s been. It’s easy to reflexively pick the standard resolutions – eat better, exercise more, lose weight, spend more time with family – but what if another resolution could more permanently and positively change your life? Not all alcoholics recognize they have a problem. Indeed, denial is a powerful coping tool that rarely fades before you addiction gets out of control. If you’re not yet a full-fledged alcoholic, now is the easiest chance you’ll ever have to quit. And if you already have a drinking problem, quitting now is the very best thing you can do to achieve a lifetime of good health. Remember, being an alcoholic doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re drunk all the time or that alcohol has ruined your life; it simply means that if you don’t stop drinking, you’ll eventually experience serious consequences.
Your Loved Ones Are Worried
Not everyone in your life is trustworthy, of course. Your teetotaler friend might think any drinking signals an alcohol addiction, while your alcoholic buddy will happily encourage you as you drink yourself into a coma. If the people you love have expressed concern that your drinking is harmful or could become so, don’t write them off without hearing them out.
You’ve Gotten In Fights About or Due to Alcohol
If alcohol is a source of conflict between you and the people you love, your loved ones – not alcohol – should be the winners of this fight. No drink is worth fighting with the people you love the most, and if alcohol is compromising your relationships, it’s a sure sign you have a problem. And if alcohol is causing conflict outside your home, with strangers or acquaintances, you need to ditch the habit immediately.
You’ve Broken the Law Because of Alcohol
Alcohol is a legal drug, which means there’s no reason drinking should cause you to break the law. If you’ve been caught driving under the influence or otherwise endangering yourself because of alcohol, though, you need to kick the habit before you end up in jail. You Drink to Feel Normal, Not to Have Fun In the early days, you probably got a great buzz, and maybe even felt more relaxed when you drank.
Alcoholics, though, drink to feel normal. If you fear symptoms of withdrawal, or have previously experienced detox symptoms, you likely are an alcoholic. Likewise, if you stay under the influence of alcohol only to avoid craving it, it’s time to re-evaluate your habit.
You Don’t Experience Pleasure From Drinking
Many alcoholics are so desensitized to the effects of alcohol that they no longer feel drunk or buzzed. If you’re able to drink large quantities of alcohol without feeling drunk, you’re in serious danger. The alcohol still harms your body, but you’ve lost your ability to detect the harms. This subjects you to an assortment of risks, including alcohol poisoning, liver and other organ damage, and arrest and incarceration.
You Drink Large Quantities of Alcohol
One of the simplest ways to evaluate your behavior surrounding alcohol is to look at how much you drink. Heavy drinkers are men who drink more than two drinks per day and women who drink more than one drink per day. If you’re a heavy drinker, you’re at a high risk of becoming an alcoholic. Among binge drinkers – men who drink more than five drinks in two hours, or women who drink more than four drinks in the same time period – the risk is even greater. If you engage in binge drinking more than once per month, you are almost certainly addicted to alcohol.
Your Life is Getting Worse
If your life seems to be getting worse over time or if bad things keep happening to you, evaluate the role of alcohol. Denial may cause you to overlook the role alcohol plays in family conflicts, financial problems, or health challenges. If you pause to reflect on your difficulties, though, you may find that alcohol plays a central role.
You Miss Work or Other Important Events Because of Alcohol
It’s not normal to repeatedly call in sick because you’re hungover or drunk. If you miss work or other important functions because of alcohol, it’s time to evaluate why you drink. Alcohol should be a backdrop to everything else that happens in your life, not the central task of your life. If you’re missing the things that matter to focus on something that doesn’t – alcohol – then you’re doing life wrong.
Alcohol Figures Prominently In Your Bad Decisions
We all make stupid decisions. From the mundane – eating too much cake or staying up too late – to the more severe – cheating on your spouse or screaming at your child – alcohol can play a significant role. Your mistakes should be your own, not something that the compromised judgment of drinking causes you to do. If you find that bad decisions tend to co-occur with drinking, you’ve lost control. Get it back by kicking alcohol to the curb.
You Lie About Alcohol
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a little drinking. People who drink some wine with a meal or a few beers every now and again have nothing to be ashamed of. If you find yourself lying about your alcohol consumption, ask yourself: why am I doing this? If you feel ashamed of your drinking, the odds are good that something about your drinking is problematic. Otherwise, you’d feel no reason to lie. If you cover up your drinking by dousing yourself in cologne, mislead others about how much you drink, or routinely drink alone, the odds are high that you have a problem.
Northpoint Recovery is a private, highly specialized drug and alcohol detox and rehab treatment center located in Southwestern Idaho. We specialize in helping adults, adolescents and families affected by substance use who require inpatient and detox services. We accept most forms of insurance, credit cards and private payment. For More information, please visit us at www.NorthpointRecovery.com