How to Know When Your Drinking is Becoming a Problem

Is there a problem with consuming alcohol? Of course there’s not—until there is.

That’s a fine line to walk, and sometimes hard even to spot: Most of us would agree that the occasional social drink is relatively harmless, and enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is certainly no crime, yet alcohol consumption can very quickly turn into alcohol addiction, attended by all manner of health problems.

Sadly, we’re not born with any particular knowledge of whether we might be genetically marked for the disease of addiction. Family history can provide some insights, but really, it’s up to individual drinkers to monitor their alcohol consumption and be aware of some warning signs.

So how exactly do you know when your drinking starts to cross the line?

1. You experience memory loss.

Many of us drink as a way to temporarily forget the anxieties of the day—but when that forgetting turns into actual, significant memory loss, that’s a problem.

If you’re consuming so much alcohol that you frequently black out, or if you have huge stretches of time that you just can’t account for, then you’re drinking to an extent that may well cause permanent brain damage.

2. You drink to get happy.

There’s an important distinction to make here: There is nothing wrong with drinking to celebrate a happy occasion. Who doesn’t like to clink glasses or pop some champagne when something positive occurs?

It’s when you start drinking in order to drown your blues that you have a real problem—a dependence on alcohol that is unhealthy.

3. All your social functions revolve around alcohol.

Or, you learn that a social event won’t have drinking and you suddenly find that you don’t wish to attend.

Basically, if drinking is the only way you can enjoy yourself, then you have a potential issue; again, your dependence on alcohol is likely unhealthy.

4. You shrug off the adverse consequences of drinking.

Have you ever gotten so drunk that you did something really foolish or self-destructive?

If you learn from your mistake and make an effort not to fall into the same trap again, that’s positive.

But if you ultimately don’t care about consequences and just keep drinking like nothing happened, that may point to a real sickness.

5. You frequently get into arguments about your drinking.

Do your closest friends and family members frequently confront you about your drinking? If so, that may point to a problem that’s more dire that you suspect. And if you find yourself arguing with them instead of listening, that may point to deep addiction.

These warning signs tell you there’s trouble—but remember that there is also always hope. Alcohol rehab is not just for tabloid stars: Real people find recovery and wellness there every single day, and never experience these dreadful omens again.