If you are drinking alcohol regularly and getting drunk almost every time that you drink, it is likely that you have an alcohol problem. Most people that drink alcohol do not drink enough to get drunk; moderate drinkers have one or two alcoholic drinks, which does not cause them to become intoxicated.
Those with an alcohol problem tend to need more and more alcohol to get the same effects they initially got when they first started drinking, and they often find that once they have had one drink, it’s hard to say no to another and then another and so on. What may have started as a habitual glass of wine after work can quickly lead to half a bottle with a partner. Pretty soon, it could be a bottle of wine every night, evolving from habitual drinking to dependency without the drinker even realising.
Denial is a common occurrence among alcoholics, and there are many reasons for this. It may be that the affected individual does not actually believe that he or she has a problem, or it may be that they do not want to admit to it. Many alcoholics find that it is easier to say that they don’t have a problem rather than admit it. Others find that blaming other people or certain situations makes it easier; still others will come up with excuses as to why now is not the right time to quit.
It is very often family pressure that causes alcoholics to take a step back and take a look at their lives. When loved ones start suggesting that alcohol may be a problem, the automatic reaction might be to get defensive and tell them they are speaking nonsense. Loved ones then continuing to express concern may have the effect of getting the affected person to wonder if he or she does indeed have a problem.
Sometimes family members do not say anything, even if they do suspect their loved one of drinking too much. They may be worried about how this person will react, particularly if the individual has a tendency to become aggressive while under the influence.
It may take the breakdown of a relationship or an ultimatum from a loved one to get the person to realise that they really do need help. Or he or she could experience a health scare that causes them to finally accept that alcohol addiction is blighting their life.
Signs of Alcoholism
Most alcoholics know that they are drinking too much but do not consider their drinking to be a problem and would be appalled to think of themselves as an alcoholic. They may have their own opinion of what an alcoholic is, and it certainly does not apply to themselves. However, if you are such an individual and suspect that you might have a problem or if you simply want to prove everyone else wrong, ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you drink regularly and do you often get drunk?
• Do you often promise that you are not going to drink but then do so anyway?
• Do you find that you cannot stop, despite promising to do so?
• Do you think about alcohol when you are not drinking?
• Have you experienced blackouts while intoxicated?
• Do you need to drink more alcohol than before to get the same effects?
• Have you tried to quit but have been unable to do so?
• Have loved ones expressed concern at the amount of alcohol you are drinking?
• Do you lie about the amount you are drinking or hide evidence of your drinking?
• Do you drink alcohol to make yourself feel better?
• Do you continue to drink despite it having obvious negative consequences?
• Do you take risks when drinking – do you drive while under the influence?
• Is your drinking affecting relationships with your family, friends or work colleagues?
If you have answered yes to two or more of the above questions, then you need to seriously consider the fact that you might have an alcohol problem. Thankfully, there is plenty of help available within both the private and public sectors. For advice and information on what help is available for addictopns, visit our help for addiction page.