This article was published on November 19th, 2018
Most people like to go out and have a good time with your family and friends, with alcohol and not. Drinking in gay culture is intrinsic considering gay bars have historically been outlets where queer people could meet, gather, and feel protected under one roof and with lowered inhibitions. But there is a fine line between being someone who casually drinks alcohol versus someone who is a regular drinker of alcohol on the daily. Or even several times of the week. If the latter is you, it’s time to ask yourself: am I a social drinker or am I really an alcoholic? Here’s a series of questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re just a party animal or whether or not you’re heading in a down ward spiral.
Are you drinking all the time?
The line between whether or not you have a problem with drinking can be a bold one. Random alcohol drinking here and there is one thing and on the other hand, drinking on a daily basis is common in countries like France and Germany, where wine or a pint are as basic to their culture as music and art. Having a brewskie at lunch time or a glass of wine at dinner on the daily is not an issue, although the caloric intake alone might make you want to reconsider. It’s when you feel like you are losing control of your daily life and the responsibilities you have as an adult that you know you most likely have a problem. Feeling like you need to or want to drink something alcohol might be your first realization that you have a problem. Missing work or adult responsibilities due to drinking is a sign you’ve a problem.
Do you feel the need to always include alcohol in every social situation?
Alcohol is great for calming the nerves, but if you feel a need to mix both alcohol and every single social atmosphere you step into, you might want to talk to someone about potential social anxiety and the masking of it using alcohol. The body eventually develops a tolerance to alcohol and those who frequently drink do require more and more to “feel good”. A true social drinker can go out without the need to partake in adult beverages.
Are you consistently getting black out Betty drunk when you’re out with your friends?
This is a sign you’re drinking way too much for your body to handle. A drink or two here or there is fine. But if you are getting so sloshed every time you go out or even a few times a month, you probably have an issue with alcohol or at least controlling your consumption. A social drinker knows their limits and abides by them.
Are you drinking as one of the last or first things you do with your day?
A true sign of alcoholism is the necessity to drink every day and as one of the first or last parts of your day. “Needing it” to wake up, stay awake, calm your nerves all the time, and get to sleep are indications you are indulging in too much alcohol. A social drinker doesn’t need alcohol for anything.
Are you hiding your drinking from family, friends, and colleagues?
If you are drinking so incessantly that you feel the need to have to hide your drinking from your friends, loved ones, or colleagues, you’re drinking too much. You obviously don’t want to disappoint the people closest to you, but hiding your addiction is an indication you have one.
Are you drinking to mask what you’re feeling?
If you are constantly turning to alcohol for a solution to your depression or to make you feel better, you are only masking your true feelings instead of dealing with them head on. Alcohol is a bad bandage to put onto a depression wound that needs to heal otherwise.
Are you drinking and driving?
Drinking and driving is illegal, and its consequences can ruin yours and others lives forever. Social drinkers know when to stop, when to call a Lyft or taxi, or get a DD, and know to never mix alcohol and heavy machinery. Don’t drink and drive and if you’ve done so more than once recently, you probably have an issue with drinking.
Are you able to take off drinking for at least a month?
A nice separation from drinking can go a long way and if you think you aren’t able to take a break from drinking, it might be time for a reality check.
If you said yes to any of these questions, you might have an addictive issue with alcohol or alcoholism. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of resources out there for you to turn to. AA is a great start as well as most 12 step programs. Alcohol is often associated with depression, so consider seeing a counselor. Try and stop drinking on your own, but know that it’s ok if you cannot do so successfully on your own. Take it one step at a time and maybe you might be able to go from alcoholic to social drinker, all for the better.