Throwing back a couple of beers on a hot summer day is about as American as baseball and apple pie. Drinking is a social norm throughout the country, and most people have been drunk at least once in their lifetime, regardless of age or personal background. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 70 percent of American adults reported that they had at least one alcoholic beverage within the past year, and 86.3 percent reported drinking at least once during their lifetimes. According to the same survey, 14.4 million adults over the age of 18 struggled with an alcohol use disorder in 2018, and only 7.9 percent sought the professional help they needed. Why is the rate of alcohol addiction recovery so low? It is partially because many people do not even realize they are struggling with a severe alcohol use disorder. Not only is drinking normalized, but drinking heavily is normalized. From a young age, we learn that it is “normal” to get drunk – from playing beer pong in college to going out for a drunken night on the town when celebrating a birthday. As Americans, we even celebrate “drinking holidays” like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo, which seem to exclusively revolve around getting as loaded as possible. How can one tell if they are struggling with alcoholism when alcohol abuse is so widely accepted? There are several ways to tell. Most people who drink normally will learn from their mistakes, and stop getting heavily intoxicated after one bad night. Those who struggle with an alcohol abuse disorder may attempt to quit, but they will not be able to do so for any length of time. Take a look at these additional signs that you may suffer from an alcohol problem, and if you believe that you have lost control over your alcohol intake, please feel free to reach out to us at any time for more information about potential recovery options.
Am I An Alcoholic?
If you believe that you may have an alcohol-related problem, consider the following warning signs. Remember that not all alcoholics are down and out – functioning alcoholics exist, and it is entirely possible that you struggle with an alcohol use disorder regardless of how high powered your career or how manageable your life may seem from the outside.
- You regularly joke about having a problem. Trying to deflect with humor is a good indication that you actually do have a problem, and that you are simply unwilling to take an honest and fearless look at yourself.
- You get defensive when people bring up your drinking patterns. Do you get angry when someone mentions that you drink a lot? Do you defend your drinking patterns, brushing off concerns and saying things like, “Oh come on, everyone drinks?” If so, you may have a problem that you are not willing to talk about or look at.
- You have experienced legal issues relating to alcohol, but you continue to drink regardless. The truth of the matter is that many people who get DUIs will continue drinking – they will just stop drinking and driving. Those struggling with alcohol abuse disorders will not be able to stop, and they will likely get behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated again… and again.
- You drink early in the day. How early do you start drinking? Do you justify making yourself a mimosa at 9am by telling yourself that it is a “morning cocktail?” This could indicate a problem.
- You drink when you are alone. Drinking alone is never a good sign. Some people will have a glass of wine with dinner after a long day… but not everyone will get drunk (even tipsy) when just watching Netflix at home.
- You have lost friendships as a result of your drinking. If your friends haven’t stuck around, or if you have made a new circle of “drinking buddies,” you may have a drinking problem.
- You have shown up hungover or drunk to work on more than one occasion. This is a good indication that drinking is more than just an occasional social event.
- You feel you need alcohol in order to relax. Do you reach for booze when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Self-medication is a sign that a problem exists.
- Alcohol helps you socialize and it boosts your self-confidence. If you use alcohol in order to feel better about yourself and your surroundings, it is not a good sign.
- You cannot keep up with your personal responsibilities. Keep track of how many responsibilities you are neglecting and how many opportunities you are missing.
- You often get drunk after telling yourself that you won’t. You promise yourself that you will stay sober, or that you will just have one, only to find yourself wasted several hours later.
- You often forget what you did while you were drinking. Blacking out is not normal – FYI.
- Alcohol has been hidden around your house or bedroom. Do you hide alcohol from your roommates, parents, or spouse? Do you stash empty bottles so that you will not get found out or criticized?
- Your loved ones have expressed concern. Keep in mind, it’s because they care, and because they’ve noticed something is off.
- You feel sick when you stop drinking. What some might call a ‘hangover,’ others call ‘withdrawal.’
- When alcohol is not available in social situations, you feel anxious.
- You have previously blown off plans because you are too hungover to function, or because you are already drunk.
- You go to multiple liquor stores for fear of judgement. Many alcoholics will engage in similar behavior, though it might seem irrational to those who do not struggle with a serious alcohol-related problem.
- Drinking has become a major part of your day-to-day life.
- You wish that people would just mind their own business and leave you alone.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Recovery
Even if you are a high-functioning alcoholic, the mental and emotional damage that drinking causes will undeniably destroy you from the inside out. At Chapel Hill Detox, we help those who have been suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder overcome their addiction and go on to become healthy and fully functional members of society. We understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with a serious problem; admitting to yourself that your life would be better without alcohol is one of the most difficult things to do. In fact, admitting this to yourself is often far more difficult than admitting it to anyone else. If you believe that you may have a problem but you are still unsure, we are available to help. Simply give us a call and we will conduct a brief assessment, geared towards evaluating your current symptoms and helping you determine the next best course of action. If you do have an alcohol use disorder and you have decided to commit to treatment, medical detox will be a necessary first step. Chapel Hill Detox offers advanced and quality care, providing those who have been struggling with alcoholism the opportunity to safely detox in a supportive environment. Our state-of-the-art facility is geared towards comfort, and our team of medical professionals and counselors is dedicated to providing each and every patient with the clinical care they need and the respect they deserve. For more information on our program of medical detox, please feel free to give us a call today.