What Are Early Signs of Alcoholism and How Do You Address Them?
Posted by Soribel Martinez, LCSW
Alcohol is a large part of American culture. Bars are popular gathering places at the end of the workday or on the weekends when people want to let loose and hang out. Parents often enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the evening after a busy day shuttling kids or chasing toddlers.
Fancy recipes for mixed drinks have taken their place alongside recipes for entrees and appetizers. Small batch breweries and wineries are exploding. Celebrities endorse favorite brands.
Basically, alcohol is tightly interwoven in our everyday lives. And this is a fact that can be enjoyed and celebrated. But sometimes consuming alcohol grows beyond occasional enjoyment and into a controlling obsession.
Early Signs of Alcoholism
If you’ve never had any major problems because of intoxication, you may assume your drinking isn’t a problem. But this isn’t true.
You Don’t Think You Have a Problem
As with many addictions, those who abuse alcohol often deny they have a problem. You may tell yourself that you’re still doing fine at work or that you don’t need alcohol to get by every day.
It’s often difficult to see when any addiction is taking over your life. But if you take an honest look at things, you can see hints.
You Need More Than You Used To
Do you find you need to drink more to reach your desired level of intoxication than you used to? Perhaps you used to only need one drink to relax, but now you need three.
Drinking Is a Priority
Addicts often become captive to what they’re addicted to. How often do you think about alcohol during the day? Is making a stop at the liquor store after work the first thing you do after work?
Maybe you turn down invitations to social gatherings where you wouldn’t be able to drink as much as you want. Getting drunk can become more of a priority than anything else.
Your Drinking Interferes with Relationships
Have you had friends, romantic partners, or colleagues express concern about your drinking? Have you argued with them about how often you’re intoxicated or how much you spend on alcohol? Have they stopped inviting you to go out with them or come over because of one too many drunken scenes?
You Have Close Calls
Alcohol can affect every single thing in your life. Automobile accidents, of course, are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the dangers of alcoholism.
But there are many other types of close calls. Maybe you’ve overslept too many times with a hangover and have missed important work meetings. Perhaps you’ve had unprotected sex and are worried about a sexually transmitted infection or unplanned pregnancy.
How You Can Address Them
If you recognize yourself in any of these signs, it’s important to reach out for help. No matter how hard it seems, it is possible to achieve sobriety. Alcohol does not have to control your life. Researchers and therapists have developed more and more addiction treatment approaches in the last several decades.
Support groups are a frequent and time-proven way to combat addiction. There’s Alcoholics Anonymous and its many related groups. These operate on the well known 12 Steps.
There are also groups that operate on a different structure. You can look for local options or seek online groups.
Residential Treatment Programs
For those whose addictions have become all-consuming, residential treatment programs are often an important option.
Individual therapy is also an effective way to address alcoholism. It’s less expensive and time-consuming than residential treatment. In my practice, I’m able to help clients find self-understanding as well as build the skills they need to address their problem drinking.
If you’re ready to take back control, please call my office to learn more about addiction counseling. There is hope.
If you are considering finding a therapist for you or your child, we have created a mini guide that shares with you 5 tips on how to select the best therapist for you and your family. You can click here to get your FREE copy:
You can also give us a call at 203.800.9778
Soribel Martinez, LCSW, CEO of SMPsychotherapy