Family members and friends have expressed concern
Typically, an adult may ‘overdo it’ if they’re having a bad day or celebrating a once in a lifetime occasion, and they may say something they shouldn’t have or get sick the next day. But if they’re constantly behaving in a way that makes their friends and families worry enough to say something—and more than once—chances are it’s not all in good fun. “The people closest to us and who care about us are usually the first to express concern when someone is starting to develop a dangerous drinking pattern, because they notice it first,” says Dr. Mogali. “If those around you that know you the best are telling you something’s off about your drinking, you’re probably not merely engaging in ‘social drinking.'”
You drink more than you plan to
You set out to enjoy a glass of wine while reading a book on your couch and suddenly you realize that you drank a whole bottle, or you promise yourself it’ll just be two to three drinks max with the girls “this time” and somehow find yourself losing track. “When someone realizes they have drank more than they planned to and figure why stop now, that’s usually a sign of alcoholism,” says Alyson Cohen, LCSW, a psychotherapist based in New York City. “Especially if they keep going.” You may also have a problem if you find yourself not thinking about what you drink at all.
You resolve not to drink, then can’t say no
You set out to avoid alcohol at dinner or a cocktail party, but when asked if you’d like a drink, you can always find a reason to rationalize why it’s OK. “Not having control over your drinking is a sure sign there’s a problem. If your intention about alcohol and your behavior differ, then it’s definitely something you should look into,” says Cohen. This can be a tricky one—if you’re at brunch with your girlfriends and everyone is ordering mimosas, says Cohen, it’s normal to want to enjoy one cocktail with them. However, if you are the only one drinking at brunch when you had planned not to drink at all, it’s possible it may indicate a problem, and if you are the only one getting drunk at a meal out with friends, that’s another red flag.