(Please note, we use a husband / wife scenario in this article but this by no means men are more likely to be problem drinkers or that these types of situations ONLY happen between husband and wife—this is a scenario in which the “characters” could easily be changed to mother/father, sister/brother, friend to friend.)
Your wife comes to you and says, “Honey, I think you have a drinking problem.” And you say, “Why? I don’t have a problem. I can quit anytime. I don’t drink every day. I work and pay the bills, it’s ok for me to have some beers with friends after work…” etc.
So what’s the problem?
- First off, the husband was immediately on the defense in his reaction to his wife.
- Second, the premise of “I can quit anytime” is often believed by problem drinkers, and it may even be true, but it’s not always the case. Often times problem drinkers have a bigger problem on their hands than they realize and it’s the outsiders, like the wives, family members and friends who recognize the problem first—the husband in this scenario is in denial.
- Third, the drinking is being downplayed and the situation that is clearly worrying the wife is being taken as “nagging” more than as “loving,” In this case, the husband is looking at the wife thinking “you’re just upset with me, I don’t have a problem, and neither should you—I work, I pay the bills, I should be able to drink too.”
If you live with an alcoholic or a “problem drinker” you’ve probably lived or replayed this EXACT situation over and over again.
You approach the individual, he or she denies the problem altogether, the situation gets turned back to you and why YOU shouldn’t be “nagging,” and that’s the end. End of story…
But it’s really not the end, is it?
You still feel like validation is necessary for the problem at hand—the problem with your loved one’s alcohol consumption that may be taking place on a regular basis and causing an array of problems that are now not only impacting his or her life—but yours too.
Problem drinking comes with an array of symptoms commonly considered alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Use Disorder (Problem Drinking) Symptoms
You may not even recognize these as danger signs, your husband or wife certainly doesn’t even realize at this point that his or her drinking is a problem—but it is. The bottom line is, if drinking is causing problems in your life—it’s a problem…period.
Here are the most common symptoms of problem drinking:
- Drinking more than you intend to.
- Drinking more frequently than intended or than promised.
- Having a desire to cut back, scale down or drink less—and failing at every opportunity to do so.
- Struggling with situations that are a problem as a result of your alcohol use. This includes risk behavior, getting hurt while drinking, operating heavy machinery or otherwise doing things you shouldn’t do while under the influence of alcohol, or taking part in risky behavior while drinking.
- Drinking more than you once did, just because you’re trying to get drunk and your tolerance is developing. (this is a sign that you’re headed into the further stages past problem drinking onto alcoholism.)
- Spending excessive amounts of time drinking. Maybe you should be at home but you’re at the bar. Perhaps you should be playing ball with your kids, but instead your inside drinking? Or maybe you ARE playing with the kids, but you’re placing them in a dangerous situation because you’re drinking while you’re playing with them.
- You’ve been in legal trouble as a result of your drinking—DUI, DWI, disorderly intoxication, public intoxication, etc.
- You’re feeling sick when you don’t drink—these are the early signs of withdrawal.
Where can I get Help?
Are you struggling with alcohol abuse and feeling like maybe this problem is getting out of control? You’re not alone! More than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol and need help. If you’re a problem drinker, or if you’re feeling like maybe your drinking is more than just a problem, call our helpline at 1-800-552-0697 for help.
Caring, compassionate alcoholic treatment advisors are standing by to accept your phone call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support your recovery needs. Remember, misery is optional, recovery is possible, and one call could change it all!