Am I an Alcoholic? How to Know if You Need Help

Am I an Alcoholic? How to Know if You Need Help

By Jennifer McDougall

If you’ve been reaching for a drink more often than usual, or if the thought of going without alcohol is making you anxious, it might be time to get help. If you suspect that your drinking is becoming a problem, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do you feel you have to drink every day?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It impairs your judgment and slows down your thoughts, reflexes, and speech. Drinking too much can cause:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow reactions (slower than someone who hasn’t been drinking)

Is alcohol affecting your personal relationships?

If you find yourself drinking to be social or to fit in with a group of people, that’s more common than you may think, but you shouldn’t need alcohol to have a good time. Alcohol is a social lubricant and can help people feel more comfortable with each other. But if you find your drinking habits negatively affecting your personal relationships and even causing conflict between friends or family members, it could be time to take action.

Some examples of how alcohol can affect personal relationships include:

  • Being too drunk to attend important events like birthdays or family dinners
  • Repeatedly canceling plans with friends because you’re “too hungover”
  • Letting work responsibilities slide because you drank too much the night before

Are you drinking to avoid uncomfortable emotions?

Drinking alcohol to avoid uncomfortable emotions is a sign of abusing the substance. Do you use drinking to avoid uncomfortable emotions like anger, fear, or sadness? If you drink more than usual when dealing with an emotional situation, that’s a red flag. One example of this is someone who has just been fired from their job and goes straight to the bar instead of going home and talking about it with their partner. Although it might feel good at the moment to pick up a drink during a stressful moment, avoiding your feelings by drinking will only make them worse in the long run.

Instead of drinking your problems away try this:

  • Talk about what happened with someone who cares about you and that you can trust—your friends or family members for example.
  • Exercise—exercise releases endorphins which make us feel better

Are you drinking more than usual lately?

If so, it could be a sign that you have a problem. In fact, one of the first things to look for is whether or not you are drinking more than before. If your friends say they haven’t seen or heard from you in a while but they know that’s not true—because they saw how much alcohol was left in your glass that night at dinner—it could mean something has changed and now you’re drinking more often than when they last saw or talked to you.

Also, keep an eye out for any changes in how much alcohol is consumed per day. For example, if it used to be one drink every other week but now it’s three drinks every week (or even if it’s just two drinks instead of one), this could be a sign something has shifted in your relationship with alcohol.

Is it difficult for you to moderate how much you drink, once you’ve started drinking?

If you find it hard to moderate your drinking once you’ve started, that can be a sign of a problem. It is common for most people to have difficulty controlling their intake of alcohol. But if you have trouble with moderation on some nights and not others, or if your drinking has become more frequent or heavier over time, this may indicate an issue.

Alcohol is essentially a poison and very addictive. There is no shame in asking for help and it’s always better to reach out before you feel your life spirally out of control.

Does the thought of not being able to drink make you feel anxious or stressed?

Alcohol is a depressant, so if you’re feeling anxious or stressed, alcohol will make those feelings worse. It also makes people feel more social and relaxed when they drink, which can lead to people drinking more than usual if they’re anxious about something.

If any of these questions hit close to home, it’s time to think about getting help.

  • Do you ever drink alone?
  • Do you drink more than your friends?
  • Have you had a drink to celebrate something that is not an actual accomplishment or occasion (such as getting out of work early, having the day off work, or just because it’s the weekend)?
  • Have you ever had a hangover that lasted longer than 24 hours?
  • Have your friends or family said they’re worried about your drinking?
  • Have any of these problems kept happening despite promises to stop drinking: Professional problems at work, financial troubles, legal trouble like driving under the influence or being arrested for public drunkenness; relationship conflicts with spouse or partner; children’s behavioral problems causing concern with neighbors or co-workers?

At Passages, we do not label you an “addict” or “alcoholic.” You have merely become dependent on an addictive substance, but help is available.

At Passages, we do not label you an “addict” or “alcoholic.” You have merely become dependent on an addictive substance, but help is available.

At Passages, we are a non-12-step addiction rehab that helps individuals just like yourself to discover and heal the underlying conditions causing substance abuse-related issues. We focus on one-on-one, holistic therapy methods rather than 12-Step meetings that shame and embarrass you. Our licensed therapists have many years of experience helping individuals worldwide break free from addiction. Your addiction does not define you; there is so much more to who you are than just your past mistakes! You are a wonderful person with endless possibilities within you—we want to help you realize those possibilities by giving back some of our own strength and positivity, as well as teaching skills needed for healthy living in today’s world (in addition to strengthening your body).


If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, it’s important to seek help. It can be difficult to know where to start or how much is too much when dealing with addiction issues but always remember that there are people who care and will listen, whether they be family members friends, or even strangers, if need be, always keep trying until someone comes along who understands what it’s like being in our shoes today so never give up hope!

Non-12-Step Addiction Rehab at Passages

Passages Malibu is an alternative to traditional rehab that provides a holistic, client-centered approach to addiction treatment. Find lasting healing through our model of care and experiential therapies. You will uncover the root causes of your addiction, and we will provide you with tools for lifelong sobriety and change. We can help you turn your life around and find hope again. Call (888) 397-0112 today for more information.

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