Alcohol use is so prevalent in our society that you can easily develop an addiction without noticing until it is too late. While you may not feel like you have a problem, you should always be aware of the warning signs that signal a growing addiction to alcohol. In fact, just asking if it is time to quit drinking is often a signal that you have crossed the line. If you or one of your loved ones expresses concern about your drinking habits, then ask yourself these questions to determine if it is time to create a plan for recovery.
You Consume More Than the Recommended Daily Guidelines
Currently, the recommended amount for a person of legal drinking age to consume is one drink for women and two for men each day. Keep in mind that a single drink should only contain one serving of alcohol. For example, a cocktail with four shots of liquor would already leave you over this limit.
You Drink More Than You Plan
Be honest with yourself and consider how often you tell yourself that you’ll just have a beer or two after work but end up drinking more. Binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse that signifies an addiction. You may even find that you don’t drink every day if you have this type of addiction. However, frequently going way over the amount of drinks that you promised yourself you would stick to is a warning sign that you are losing control over your drinking habits.
You Need More Drinks to Feel the Effects
Your body gradually develops tolerance to alcohol, which is why non-drinkers can often feel inebriated after just a glass or two of wine. Unfortunately, increasing tolerance levels also means that your body is developing a physical dependency on alcohol. If you discover that you can suddenly drink more alcohol than everyone else in your group, then don’t take this to be a good thing. You may have done enough drinking to increase your tolerance beyond normal levels, and that is a big sign that you need to stop.
You Experience Memory Loss or Blackouts
Waking up unaware of what happened the night before is scary. You may even find out that you did embarrassing things while you were drunk or that you got in a fight with someone that you love. Large amounts of alcohol interfere with the chemicals in your brain, and you may find that you have temporary blackouts from the time period that happened just before you passed out. Over time, these chemical changes can lead to permanent cellular death in the brain that affects your ability to think clearly.
You Hide How Much You Drink
As your drinking begins to get more out of control, your friends and family members may voice concern. You may also start to notice that you drink way more than everyone else at social events so you start to have a couple extra before you head out for the night. Alternatively, you may hide bottles around the house so that your spouse can’t tell how much you drank the night before. When you need to hide your behavior, there is definitely something wrong. Seeking help for alcohol addiction allows you to stop having to feel ashamed of how much you drink.
Your Doctor Expresses Concern
You can hide bottles from your roommates or spouse, but you cannot disguise the damage that overdrinking does to your body. Ideally, you are honest with your doctor about how much you drink, and they have already asked you to consider the possibility that there is a problem if you regularly go over the limit. However, your doctor may also notice early warning signs of alcohol-related issues such as uncontrolled diabetes or liver damage. Always take your doctor’s advice if they notice physical changes that are caused by drinking too much alcohol.
Although many people can drink without going to excess, there are even more people who simply cannot stop once they start. While the realization that you drink more than you should may fill you with shame or even fear, the truth is that you’ve already made the first step toward ending your addiction. By recognizing that there may be a problem, you can reach out for help so that you can start your journey to recovery.