More often than not, families are shocked to discover the alcoholic tendencies of a loved one. The media driven version of interventions and taking a loved one to inpatient treatment are mostly inaccurate. There is no real dividing line, however, not everyone becomes a whirlwind disastrous drunk. On the contrary, some of the most insidious and truly destructive alcoholism is that which occurs subtly, under the radar to even the drinker themselves. For the alcoholic who doesn’t hit that “bottom” by getting a DUI, being arrested, going to the hospital, they may continue drinking alcoholically for time to come creating a bigger and bigger problem. Denial is usually the word applied to such alcoholics. Yet, without the knowledge of what alcoholism truly is or what it can truly look like, it might be easy to miss.
Thankfully, treatment for alcoholism is wide spread. Programs exist all over the world at varying levels, from detox to inpatient to outpatient. Living a life of sober recovery is entirely possible. As it is famously said the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. If you are unsure that you or a loved one might be suffering from alcoholism, look to these commonly unseen signs which may indicate a problem.
Setting Drinking “Goals” And Failing To Meet Them
One of the first signs of alcoholism is being unable to control your drinking. You’ll notice this developing when you find yourself in need of setting drinking goals or limits. You intend to have just one or just two. Time after time, meaning every time, you fail to stay within these restrictions. It seems as though once you have one, you cannot stop. This is a hard warning sign of alcoholism.
Drinking For A Reason
There is always an occasion to drink- someone’s birthday, a holiday, a movie, a wedding, a social. If there isn’t an occasion to drink there’s a justification – a hard day at work, a fight with a friend, a personal accomplishment, rush hour traffic…almost anything can be rationalized to call for a drink. Alcoholics, in part, drink as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, the more you drink “because” of something, the more your brain learns how to rely upon, and crave, alcohol in stressful, uncomfortable, or even joyous situations.
You Don’t Get As Drunk As Fast
Before you started setting limits for how much to drink because you didn’t want to get out of hand, you had limits because you knew how much before you got too drunk. Somehow, your drinking tolerance has changed. Once you get to that drink count where you should be starting to slide into the other side of intoxication, you notice that…you aren’t. You aren’t getting as drunk with the amount of drinks you are used to. That is because you have started developing a tolerance. While it may come on as a sudden shock, your tolerance has been building over time.