Three Unusual Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Skating on Thin Ice
The Holiday season is in full swing, and the signs are all around; from chillier weather to plenty of fa-la-las being sung everywhere you go.
This time of year is ripe with social gatherings including family reunions, friendly get-togethers, and more office parties than you can shake a candy cane at. Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Christmas or are simply waiting for the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve, the signs of the season are visible all around, and with plenty of cheer to be had, it is easy to miss the warning signs that you or someone you know is skating on thin ice—I’m talking about alcohol addiction. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until the ice breaks to make a change, either in your life or the life of someone you care about.
While it is easy to point a finger at the person who drinks every day, and say “yes, he/she is an alcoholic”, you may be overlooking the unusual signs of alcohol addiction that lead up to that moment. Here is a look at 3 unusual signs.
1The “I’ll Just Bring a Flask” Moment
If you’ve been invited to a night out with the co-workers, and before you even walk out the door you tell yourself, “I’ll just bring a flask”, “I’ll stop by the convenience store for a beer”, “this purse is p-e-r-f-e-c-t for carrying a bottle of wine”, or something similar, then you may be a functional alcoholic, a term developed by Researchers at the National institute of Health. This term is used for people who are addicted to alcohol, but manage to carry on with their daily tasks.
Addiction is troublesome, and when you (or someone you know) consistently bring alcohol into places that do not serve it, such as some movie theaters, church, school performances, or an office party, then you’re skating on thin ice. Just because it can be done doesn’t make it right or legal for that matter. An open container while driving can be a costly expense, and a drink inside a theater, public event or other place that doesn’t allow alcohol can get you fined, banned, or both.
Remember: When your co-workers invite you out, then they want to get to know you; not carry you home. A few drunk selfies, social media posts or Snapchat videos could easily cost you your relationship, your job, even your home. If you’re considering drinking this holiday season, then try your hand a mixing a festive mocktail instead. You’ll save yourself a hangover and an embarrassing workplace discussion.
2Family Reunion Dread
Families are all different, from the members that make up the household, to which holidays are celebrated, and even what meals are served. However, if your response to seasonal gatherings is to double down on drinking, despite the relationship problems that it causes, then maybe the problem isn’t the family, it’s the alcohol. Moreover, if this is a consistent issue, then a discussion about alcohol treatment should be arranged with the people affected.
Every family faces its own battles. Siblings argue over heirlooms. Marriages hit hard times. Cousins clash with harsh words. And grandparents don’t always age gracefully. Introducing alcohol to a fragile family situation can create a toxic environment, both for the person drinking and for those around. Family is a priority, not drinking. When in doubt, take a few deep breaths, give yourself some space, and politely excuse yourself from the conversation until you are ready.
The reality is that family get-togethers can feel nerve-wracking; whether you’re hosting a dinner with the whole troupe or meeting a long-lost relative for the first time. Unsettling as family situations may be, drinking should not take center stage, and never become a priority. In the battle against alcohol addiction, family has the home team advantage.
3Loaded But Broke
While alcohol addiction is toxic to health, work and family relationships, it is also hazardous to financial stability. An addict’s inability to stop drinking can have lasting effects on his/her wallet as the cost of drinking increases due to tolerance buildup; what once was a casual drink to unwind can become a ritual bottle to cope. Make no mistake, the effort directed towards sobriety outweighs the price of addiction.
Bar hopping, a few glasses of wine at a restaurant, a case of beer here, a six pack there, a round of shots for everyone…the cost adds up. In the end, your wallet will let you know exactly how much you’ve bought. If you’re unable to stop yourself from drinking, either because of family, work, your spouse, or other problems, even as alcohol and intoxication places a strain on your savings, your budget, your wallet, and relationships, then the addiction is in control. Don’t let a lust for intoxication seduce your hard earned money. Seek help.
Unlike other signs of alcohol addiction, the financial burden that drinking causes are not immediately apparent. You can see when someone has a hangover. You can hear the slurred speech of someone who drank too much. You can smell when someone is drinking next to you in a theater. But you can’t always look into someone’s wallet, their bank account, or their savings. If you’ve found that you bought a shelf of booze that was on sale, but other gifts are scarce, then you need to ask if you really saved on your holiday purchases.
A Sober New Year
While the signs of alcohol addiction vary from person to person, the underlying effects are the same. It damages relationships, can be a strain on your wallet, and is hazardous to your health. If you or someone you know exhibits these unusual signs of alcohol addiction this holiday season, ask for help before it is too late. It is easier guide someone from the edge, than to drag them out of the water after the ice has cracked. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a Sober New Year, cheers!