I knew I had a slightly problematic relationship with alcohol from a young age, but because of the societal expectations to drink, I never questioned my alcohol consumption.
My dad was an alcoholic, and I saw the way behaved when he was drinking — I was nothing like that.
I didn’t feel as though the label 'alcoholic' applied to me; I was relatively functional, young, and having fun. Most of my and friends were drinking just as much (if not more) than me.
Sure, maybe I had some sort of problem, but I didn’t have the sort of problem my dad had, not by a long shot.
Sure, I struggled to know when to stop, I’d bottle up emotions and let them out when drunk, and I wasn’t the best version of myself when I was drinking. But who was?!
Unfortunately, not being a stereotypical ‘alcoholic’ meant that I avoided addressing my problematic drinking behaviours. I thought I was a normal, young, party girl. Sure, I had mental health issues, but they were not related to alcohol as far as I was concerned.
There’s a false dichotomy when it comes to alcoholism. The way most people see it, you’re either an addict, or your fine. In reality, it’s a spectrum that most of us are on.
Everyone’s different. Even if you drink an incredibly small amount (whatever that means), it could still be having a negative effect on your life.
You don't have to present as the stereotypical problem drinker to be hurt my alcohol.
If I had considered this, I might have questioned alcohol’s role in my life sooner.
Instead of asking yourself if you're an alcoholic or have a drinking problem, why not ask yourself the following:
1) Do I frequently miss work, uni, or plans because I’m hungover?
2) Does my mental health suffer because of my drinking?
3) Am I unkind or unfair to others when drunk/hungover?
4) Would I worry about someone who drank like I do?
5) Do I act in ways when drunk that I wouldn’t when sober?
6) Do I blackout regularly?
7) Do I end up in dangerous situations on nights out?
8) Do I spend most of my free time drinking?
9) Am I usually the last one standing on a night out?
10) Do I feel hangxiety the day after a night out?
These are just some of the ways that indicate alcohol might be negatively influencing your life. There are so many people out there who answered yes to just one of the above, but it helped them realise drinking wasn't doing them any favours. Whatever your answers, know you're not alone!
Add any additional helpful questions you can ask yourself in the comments below!