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.
You sometimes miss out on plans or work
Many people are unaware that they have a drinking problem just based on the sheer fact that it hasn’t ruined their lives. “Being an alcoholic doesn’t mean that you can’t hold a job, drive a car without a DWI, or maintain relationships. It just means that alcohol is always part of your life and you have no control over your desire to drink,” Cohen says. “Many alcoholics are very high functioning and it only makes it harder to accept when you have a problem.” There are plenty of people who are not alcoholics and cancel plans or miss work due to a hangover, so only you can really know if, even though you’re able to hold down a job, family or a social life, and pay the bills, your drinking is causing you to miss out on things that you otherwise wouldn’t have, and more frequently than you feel good about. These are the 6 things that guarantee a hangover.