Many people, at some point or another, question how much alcohol they are consuming. Maybe a friend or loved one has suggested there might be a problem. A drunk person might do something wrong that he will regret eventually. Either way, it’s important to consider the distinction between healthy alcohol consumption and troubling, addictive behavior.
Culturally, you can drink to excess on important occasions to celebrate major life milestones. Most common occasions are graduation, getting married and work promotions. On these occasions, binge drinking is not really considered to be problematic in the same way that consuming that same amount of alcohol might be if done on a random Tuesday at lunch. Therefore, the context for drinking is important to consider when you are asking questions about whether you are becoming alcoholic.
An additional element of context involves what time of day you drink and whether you drink alone or with companions. Most happy hours begin in the late afternoon because drinking later in the day is considered more acceptable. If you’re drinking earlier in the day, especially drinking early in the morning, then you’re probably engaging in addictive behavior. Drinking alone could also indicate a level of dependence on alcohol that is not as easily suggested by drinking to facilitate social interactions with other people.
How to Assess Alcoholism
The idea of being social with others is a key indicator in another way. If your personality changes greatly while drinking, for example, if you become more belligerent or antagonistic when you drink, this could definitely be a sign that you have a problem involving alcohol. In this scenario, your alcohol use is not helping you to have a good time with others
The issue of quantity is also a determining factor in assessments of alcoholism. Alcoholics often cannot stop drinking once they have started and will continue their consumption well beyond that of the other people who are joining them. “Blacking out” is a potential sign of serious addiction. It happens when you’re drinking too much to the point where you have trouble remembering what you said or did.
The alcohol’s effects on your body are also a good way to gauge whether you might have a drinking problem. Waking up with muscle tremors could indicate that your body is going through withdrawal. This means that you’ve been drinking so much and so regularly that your body has developed a dependency on alcohol. Whether you can “handle your liquor” can also point to a problem with drinking because an alcoholic whose body is developing a dependency will need to drink more alcohol in order to achieve a drunken state.
Think about all of the various activities that fill your time. If you build your schedule around activities that involve alcohol consumption, then seek help from a therapist dedicated to recovery.
After nearly two decades of drinking and destroying just about every relationship in my life, I decided to get help. I didn’t know what to expect (and in some ways, I still don’t), but getting sober has been the most rewarding, fulfilling decision I’ve ever made. In the years since I entered treatment, secured an AA sponsor, and forged friendships in sobriety that rival all the others in my life, I feel like a completely different person. It’s as if I woke up in another person’s life. I’m a married father of three young children who lives in Columbus, Ohio, along with a bossy cat named Dr. No.
Most of my recovery has been spent writing about my experiences, and I’ve been fortunate to have my work picked up by The Fix, AfterParty Magazine, The Literary Review, and The Live Oak Review, among others. I want to help others find meaningful, lasting sobriety in any way that I can, which is part of the reason I’m so committed to Genius Recovery. More than that, though, I sincerely believe in the vision, aims and purpose of Genius Recovery. I’m as passionate about recovery as I am about discovering levels to my life that I didn’t know existed. After all, addiction recovery is about hope as much as it is about possibility. Through my writing, I hope to guide others to discover what’s possible for them, too.– Paul