Things that told me I was addicted to alcohol despite holding down a job (sometimes three at once), home, family relationships, managing money and staying ‘healthy’ through the gym, running and eating well – in other words despite functioning in life were:
– Choosing a drink instead of eating as it kept the weight down (not the bloat though) and anyway after a few drinks I lost my appetite.
– Finding that as the years went on I was getting fewer really major hangovers and just felt shit all the time, but dealt with it by keeping busy and making a joke of it, as so much in my life.
– Really anxious, panicky, irritable when a drink wasn’t likely in the evening, such as if I had to work late or social pressures meant proper drinking (meaning heavy drinking) was off the radar.
– My character changed after a drink; my husband has lately told me how he dreaded me drinking because I became aggressive and snappy, or else too lazy to be bothered with anything and he also often felt lonely when I drank. Or I would do/say impulsive things which didn’t make sense. Either way, I wasn’t Binki.
– I could never leave a bottle till it was fnished, and the thought of that unfinished bottle was enough to drive me crazy. Likewise a glass had to be emptied (even someone else’s). If having people round or going out to eat, the table shouldn’t have any half finished drinks on it and the alcohol bill was often bigger than the food bill, but that was a sign of a good night.
– There was always a part of the previous evening that I couldn’t remember, quite often the end of it, and the details would be filled in by others, quite often as a joke, but sometimes as a developing row.
– If anyone tried to confront or talk to me me about the possibility that I was drinking too much I would be defensive, or at the very least deflect the conversation, again wth a joke. I would metaphorically delete the conversation.
– I could always explain why I had to have a drink. Very rationally and articulately. There was always a very good reason. Unshakeable reasons.
– I sometimes hid alcohol. My husband for instance was given a bottle of Jack Daniels for his birthday once and I told him I had chucked it out as I didn’t want alcohol in the house (another vain attempt to ‘cut down’) but actually it was hidden by me under the sink and I had sips from it as I cooked each night. He perfectly well knew where it was! I also kept vodka in the freezer under the frozen chips etc with the same motive, not to mention the open wine behind the pans in the kitchen to glug from while the petite glassful sat untouched in the living room.
These were some of my signs – I was functioning in life and people with passing acquaintance assumed I was normal in the most part…but really my daily battles with cravings took up most of my thought processes, looking back. If you have read any of the above and thought me too, I hope you are now enjoying your sobriety and you have surely done the right thing.
If you are reading this and thinking, I still do that, please do know there is much support out there on social networking, in face to face support groups and in the form of professional help, but you must come out of denial before you can move on, just as myself and my sober companions eventually had to do – many of us after decades of drinking, as a ‘functional’ person in life. It can be done.