5 Signs You May Have An Unhealthy Relationship With Alcohol 

What’s a return to the office without the return of Happy Hour every Friday? However, you might feel concerned if the pub is your first stop after work each day.

Many adults enjoy recreational adult beverage use with no ill effects. They don’t get DUIs and risk their careers or health. However, trouble can creep up before you know it, often outside your conscious control. What should you look for? Here are five signs that your relationship with alcohol might not be healthy.

1. You Feel Like You’re Losing Control

Let’s be honest – relatively few folks adhere to the “one drink per day” for women, “two for men” rules at happy hour. Most mere mortals are more comfortable with the improved and relaxed British guidelines of keeping it to under 14 drinks a week regardless of gender. You might have a bit much on Saturday, but remain sober as a judge Monday through Thursday – and if this system works for you, good.

However, pay attention if you start drinking on normally dry days or saying things like, “I need a drink,” when feeling stressed. Such behavior indicates that alcohol might have adversely altered your brain chemistry.

Much of the effect is GABA – your brain’s natural relaxing chemical. Alcohol binds to your GABA receptors, making you feel calm when you drink. Over time, it dulls these sites, making you feel anxious and ornery until you take another drink.

One technique you might consider is the Sinclair Method. This unique treatment involves taking naltrexone an hour before drinking to inhibit alcohol’s pleasurable effects on your neurochemistry. Without the pleasant sensation, you’ll find it easier to say no to alcohol and order a tea instead.

2. You Feel Like You Can’t Do Certain Things Without It

Another clue that you’ve formed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol is feeling like you can’t handle certain situations without a beverage. For example, many people turn to wine and beer to ease social anxiety, but doing so could backfire. You could embarrass yourself while drunk, making you inhibited about going out next time.

Look for ways to overcome your inhibitions instead of expecting alcohol to grease your social wheels. Are you dreading your upcoming office holiday party because you know you should go but have no one to talk to? Why not ask a friendly colleague to lunch and form an acquaintanceship so you have at least one person you feel comfortable chatting with during the bash?

3. You Engage in Risky Behavior When Drinking

Frankly, waking up without knowing where you are or how you got there isn’t fun, and it’s downright dangerous if you come to a jail cell with a DUI on your record.

Most sober people know enough to avoid high-risk behaviors like unprotected sex with strangers or going for a midnight stroll down a dark alley. Intoxicated people often throw such caution to the wind, sometimes with life-altering consequences. An unplanned pregnancy, an STD, or a felony record is not a reasonable price for a night on the town.

4. You Lie About How Much You Drink

Read enough recovery stories from people who overcame their addiction, and you’ll discover that lying and secrecy play a huge role in keeping folks hooked. One of the biggest untruths is how much you use.

For example, perhaps you stuck to only two drinks at happy hour. However, you forgot about those two shot-sized vodka bottles you stuffed in your purse and downed in the bathroom at work after that disastrous budget meeting. You say you only had a “few glasses” of wine – but that 5-liter convenience box is now empty.

5. Your Work or Home Life Suffers

Perhaps the clearest indication of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol is struggling at work and home. Fortunately, this sign is also the easiest to identify and correct.

Take occasional temperature checks to see how you’re doing. If you don’t normally meet with your supervisor, check in now and then to inquire about what pleases them regarding your performance and what you should improve. Use the first part of date night with your spouse to talk about things that bother you, avoiding defensiveness if they mention your increased drinking and chatting before ordering a bottle of red for the table.

Heed These Signs Your Relationship With Alcohol Might Not Be Healthy

Many adults have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Others don’t – and an unhealthy one often spills over into other aspects of your life.

Heed these signs that your relationship with alcohol might not be healthy. Get dry long enough to gain perspective and resolve to take better care of your health.

Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash


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