1. Have you ever thought about cutting down on your drinking?
Have you ever decided at the start of the night that you’re not going to drink, but you inevitably end up with a beer in your hand? You’ll have “just one more vodka, lime and soda,” but you end up downing another five … or more.
Maybe you’ve tried to stop drinking altogether, but keep slipping back into old habits.
Your health isn’t great and your relationships are suffering. You know you’ll feel worse in the morning, but you keep drinking.
If your social time revolves around bars and you’ve let go of old hobbies and interests, it might be time for some life balance: less time getting drunk and more time doing all the things that you love to do when you’re sober.
2. Have you been annoyed by others criticizing your drinking?
Do you avoid criticism by drinking alone? Do you drink alcohol in your bedroom so your housemates don’t find out? Are you storing used bottles under your bed or sneaking them into your neighbor’s recycling bin?
Close friends or family will often be the first ones to tell you to cut down on the booze because they care deeply about your health.
Strangers don’t care about you at all, so it’s a big warning sign if you’ve been approached at the bar and asked to cool it.
Personal comments about your drinking habits might be annoying, but others sometimes know us better than we know ourselves.
3. Do you ever feel guilty about drinking?
In the morning, it’s common to hear people shouting, “I’m never drinking again,” but it’s rare for anyone to actually stop drinking.
Too many Long Island Iced Teas might have given you a horrid hangover, but you can regret more than just getting a headache and a dry mouth.
Alcohol decreases our inhibitions and we can start feeling intense happiness, sadness or anger.
Happy drunks can be overly amorous, putting their trust in the arms of a stranger.
Sad drunks sit in the corner of the room, regretting their life decisions and filling up their empty wine glass with tears.
Angry drunks can be a danger to themselves or others, taking risks and picking fights with strangers, friends or partners.
Blackouts and memory lapses are a worry as anything can happen to you when you’re in a vulnerable state. Waking up in a stranger’s bed, a garden, a building site or a hospital might be a bit scary, but next time you might not wake up at all.
Drinking injuries can affect your pride and physical health, but they can also act as a painful motivation to reduce your alcohol.
4. Do you fix your hangover with a ‘hair of the dog’?
A hangover can make you feel tired, shaky, nauseated, dehydrated, anxious and depressed.
When you’re drinking every night and hung over every morning, it’s easy to think that another glass of bourbon is the best cure, but it only delays your hangover.
Drinking heavily for long periods of time will make your body dependent on alcohol and some people need to drink just to feel normal. Suddenly stopping alcohol can cause confusion, hallucinations and even seizures. Heavy drinkers need to slowly decrease their alcohol use, or cease drinking in a clinic under close supervision.
If you often wonder where your Sunday mornings have gone, or have answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, please chat with your doctor.