Nobody knows your drinking habits better than you. You know if you drink because you like it or you drink because it’s there. If you’re worried that you’re addicted to alcohol, you probably are.
The fact that you’re worried means you want to change.
If your loved ones think you are abusing alcohol ask yourself:
Do you drink everyday, automatically, without questioning whether you want a drink, or keep drinking when you don’t enjoy it?
Do you try and fail to stop drinking before you get drunk?
Do you drink and drive or engage in other risky behavior while drinking?
Has drinking damaged your health or your personal and professional relationships?
If any of these are true, you might be abusing or addicted to alcohol.
That doesn’t make you a weak person. Alcohol is one of the most addictive substances. There may be a genetic component, too.
Society doesn’t frown on alcohol the way it does on most forms of drug abuse and other addictive substances.
Instead, alcohol is legal and is everywhere, openly sold in restaurants, supermarkets, and corner stores. It’s even used in church services.
If you can’t drink responsibly, if one drink leads to another and another, then there may be many negative effects, both physical and mental.
What Happens When You Drink Too Much?
Alcohol does produce pleasant effects, at low doses or in the short term. Alcohol releases endorphins, a morphine-like substance in the brain that blocks pain and makes you feel good.
It also can be a social lubricant. Maybe you’re shy, and a drink or two makes you feel more open, less inhibited, more comfortable with hanging out at the bar singing karaoke with your friends.
But that feeling won’t last. When you exceed a moderate alcohol level too often, excessively drinking on a regular basis, you risk developing a tolerance that prevents or delays those pleasant effects.
Your body adjusts to the intoxicant, requiring more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect, and increasing the likelihood of bad effects, including addiction.
Drinking too much, that is drinking until you’re drunk – and that amount is different for everybody, based on age, weight, and genetic disposition – is alcohol abuse, and leads to a vicious cycle of tolerance and drinking more alcohol more often.
Eventually you become dependent on alcohol, and drink not to feel good, but to not feel bad. Being unable to stop drinking, even when faced with negative effects, is alcoholism.