7 Experiences That Indicate You May Have A Drinking Problem
Could you be better off saying farewell to alcohol for good?
By Beth Leipholtz
Before admitting I had a problem with alcohol, I spent a lot of time and energy denying that problem. Through meaningless hookups, nights I didn’t remember and alcohol-inflicted injuries, I was still adamant that alcohol was not the problem. In fact, everything but alcohol was blamed for the experiences I had while drinking.
Now, three years sober and looking back, there were many situations I often found myself in while drinking that other people did not. These experiences should have been a sign that my drinking habits weren’t normal, but I refused to see them as much. The following is a list of situations that may indicate your drinking habits are not healthy.
1. You often don’t remember parts of the night before, or can’t recall the night as a whole. I know when I was drinking, I often brushed this off as normal, even comical in a way. But now if I stop and think about it for a moment, it’s absolutely terrifying that I have moments in my life where I have no idea what happened to me. For all I know, I could have said something awful or had something awful happen to me. One time I went to a party and the person hosting it was incredibly upset with me, yet I had no idea why. I still have no idea why. All I know is it had to do with something I said when I was blackout drunk, and I never found out what that was. That’s bothersome. If not recalling parts of the timeframe when you were drinking doesn’t bother you, I urge you to reconsider. It SHOULD bother you.
2. You engage in meaningless hookups or wake up with a stranger. I don’t often talk about this because it embarrasses me still, but when I was drinking, I sought reassurance and validation through hookups. I saw it happening all around me, so I didn’t think anything of it when I also took part in that college hookup culture. I’m lucky no one ever took advantage of me, at least not that I know of (see number 1 above), but it’s still really unsettling to think I physically engaged with people I barely knew, or knew well and didn’t think of romantically. Today, physical aspects of a relationship are important to me and really, truly mean something. I despise the fact that I wasted time and energy on meaningless hookups when I was drinking. It was yet another repetitive situation that should have clued me into the fact that alcohol and I did not mesh.
3. You often wake up with physical injuries. Most people can spend a night out drinking without falling repeatedly or running into objects around them. But not me. After I spent a night out drinking, I often woke up covered in bruises with no recollection of how I got them. At one point, I ended up in the hospital for stitches. At another point, I woke up with self-inflicted cuts on my arms and no reason for my actions. On top of heavy drinking, I played rugby, so I was often covered in bruises everywhere and just had a general unhealthy appearance. I look at photos now and cringe. When alcohol begins to take a toll on your physical appearance and well-being, it’s time to part ways. I only wish I had come to that conclusion sooner than I did.
4. You do anything it takes to get a drink. Since I got sober before turning 21, I couldn’t always obtain alcohol easily. As such, I had to rely on others and was probably a pain in the ass about it. I stole alcohol from friends occasionally, and paid others to buy alcohol for me. I honestly didn’t care what it took, I just wanted to have alcohol at my disposal. Now I realize that most people don’t have this desperation when it comes to drinking. That feeling of “needing” alcohol was yet another indication that I had a serious problem.
5. You drink in inappropriate situations. For me, this was class. There were days in college when I felt like drinking, so I did. Then I went to class, thinking I was being sneaky and no one would know I had drank beforehand. In retrospect, I’m sure my pre-class actions were obvious. I felt that alcohol made me a better and more interesting person, so I drank. In reality, alcohol made me obnoxious and annoying, but I refused to see that side of myself. I felt good when I drank, so I just assumed it came across that way to others as well.
6. You wake up the morning after a night out and have to make apologies to numerous people. I always dreaded this part of the next morning after drinking. I often said and did things that I didn’t mean when under the influence of alcohol, and as such, had to make amends the following morning. Sometimes I remembered doing what I had done, while other times people had to tell me what had happened. It never got any easier knowing I had hurt people I cared about, yet that realization didn’t keep me from drinking. It should have, though.
7. Your relationships begin to take a toll. Towards the end of my drinking career, I had burned many bridges. Certain friendships had ended, while others were on the brink of falling out. Luckily, sobriety had allowed me to repair many of those relationships. However, I shouldn’t have let it get to that point. The minute my relationships started being negatively affected by alcohol, I should have said “enough” and put down the drinks for good. But in that timeframe, I cared more about getting drunk than I did about the people surrounding me. I regret that immensely, even three years later.
The frustrating truth is that often, when drinking, these situations don’t seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But when they become normal occurrences, I urge you to step back and examine your relationship with alcohol before it’s too late. You, like me, may be better off saying farewell to alcohol for good.
Republished with permission. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared on The Fix .
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