Do you suspect someone close to you may have a drinking problem? Do you know the signs of alcoholism? Have you wondered if your husband may be an alcoholic but are not sure how to tell? Have you been around heavy drinkers your entire life and want a new level of understanding of alcoholism? Maybe you have spent time around drinkers in your life, but have misconceptions about what truly constitutes alcoholism.
After living with alcoholism in varying degrees throughout the last 25 years, I know firsthand what alcoholism looks like. Living with an alcoholic can be difficult, but once we understand some of the signs of the disease, it becomes easier for us to know how to handle the alcoholic.
1. Changes in Personality
It is widely known, after consuming alcohol attitudes change. Alcohol is a mood altering substance, but an alcoholic will have a complete change in his or her personality whether drunk or not. When an alcoholic is not drinking his or her body is craving the alcohol, therefore the mood changes. When under the influence of alcohol, their demeanor changes. Some become funny when drunk, but are melancholy when sober. Others are abusive while under the influence. Sometimes when the alcoholic is drinking they appear to be in a good mood, but their mood can transform to sadness or anger. The alcoholic's personality is unpredictable in most cases.
2. Frequently Drinks in Excess
Having a glass of wine on special occasions does not necessarily mean one is an alcoholic. At the same time, not all alcoholics drink from sun-up to sun-down. Many only drink in the evenings or on weekends, but an alcoholic will drink often. He or she will begin to look forward to time away from work or other responsibilities. The alcoholic wants to spend as much time a possible drinking. In some cases, the weekend drinking binges turn into weekday events as well.
3. Drinking is Placed as High Priority
Alcoholics will often avoid leaving the house because they know drinking is limited away from home. Some may spend extended periods of time away from home because he or she doesn't want to drink at home. The alcoholic will place drinking opportunities above everything else in their life. More times than not, drinking is ranked before family or other social experiences. In some cases, it ranks higher than working.
4. Responsibilities Suffer
Alcoholism is progressive. The longer one drinks the more frequently one drinks. Many people will become complacent about home and work responsibilities. Some miss work so much they lose their job. Bills will go unpaid due to forgetting about anything but when they can drink again. Irresponsibility can also come in the form of reckless behavior such as drinking and driving or neglecting children.
5. Memory Loss