There is a fine line between enjoying a few drinks on occasion and developing an alcohol dependency. We’d all like to believe we won’t fall victim, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone. These warning signs will help you determine if you’ve been overindulging in the adult beverage department, and can help keep your drinking in check so that it doesn’t become a necessity.
If Alcohol is an Emotional Crutch
Have you ever had a particularly stressful day at work and rewarded yourself with a glass (or several) of wine? You’re not alone, and as an infrequent indulgence, you’re in the clear. However, when you’re continually turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism, it’s time to check in on your drinking habits.
Reaching for a cocktail, glass of wine, or bottle of beer to cope with your emotions can evolve into a habit. Be mindful of your emotional dependency on alcohol and, when in doubt, opt for a different form of stress relief.
When You Always Pass Your Limit
It’s all too common to set a drinking limit for yourself and accidentally exceed it due to peer pressure or lowered inhibitions. If you set a three-drink limit for a night out and have five, you’re probably okay. But if you find that you are surpassing your limit every time you drink, you’ve likely formed some bad habits.
Pay attention to the limits you set – don’t write them off. If you can’t control the amount you drink once you start, a more sinister habit is forming that you need to recognize and address.
When Others Comment on Your Habits
If your friends praise you for “your ability to keep up” or for your “high tolerance,” or if you have friends who comment on your drinking habits in other ways, it’s time to take a hard look at how often (and how much) you are drinking.
Your friends and family are likely to notice a problem before you are. If those around you are continually bringing up your drinking habits, don’t just brush those comments off. Listen and assess their accuracy.
If Your Social Life Only Involves Drinking
Getting together with friends quite often includes cocktails. However, if you’re only willing to get together with friends if alcohol is involved, there’s a bigger problem at play.
Social drinking is fine, but refusing to participate in social gatherings without it suggests dependency. If you feel you fall into the latter category, start creating alternative plans that don’t involve alcohol, and consider cutting ties with people you are only willing to be around if alcohol is involved.
If You Are Concerned
Check-in with yourself. Do you ever wake up feeling guilty about how much you drank the night before? Do you frequently blackout or exceed your drinking limit? Do you experience frequent hangovers?
If you are grappling with concerns about your drinking habits, take yourself seriously. Cut back on how much you drink. Set limits and ask someone you trust to hold you accountable if you have trouble sticking to them.
Enjoying the occasional drink is not a problem, but it can develop into one over time. Be aware of the amount you drink on a daily and weekly basis. Checking in with yourself will help keep your adult beverage consumption in the realm of enjoyment rather than dependency.