We live in a culture where alcohol is common. At least 60 percent of American adults drink at least occasionally and about one in six American adults binge-drinks four times a month or more. We drink with dinner, we drink watching sports, and we drink to celebrate. With drinking being common and socially accepted, it can be hard to tell when normal social drinking has become a problem. The following are some signs your drinking may be out of control.

You cancel plans so you can drink.

One big red flag of addiction is that you prioritize drinking over everything else. In the beginning, that might mean you cancel plans with friends because you would rather stay home and drink. Incidentally, canceling plans with friends so you can drink alone is the opposite of social drinking. As your drinking gets worse, you may start bailing on family obligations or even work. People will typically go to great lengths to keep their drinking from affecting their work, so if you drink at work, leave early to drink, or come in late because you’re hungover, you should seek help for your drinking right away.

You lie about how much you drink.

At some level, you may know that your drinking is unhealthy, so you don’t want people to know how much you drink. Sometimes that means you lie about it outright, but more often you might just be secretive or deceptive. For example, you may have a few drinks at home before you meet up with friends so they don’t see how much you really drink. You may take precautions so others don’t smell alcohol on your breath or put alcohol in a coffee cup so people don’t see you drinking.

You have to drink to relax.

Once you’ve developed a physical dependence on alcohol, it can be very hard to relax without drinking. This is because your brain is producing less of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which helps you relax and more of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate that makes you feel on edge. As a result, you may feel tense and anxious without alcohol. You might even shake or become aggressive. This indicates your body needs alcohol to function normally.

You can’t just have one drink.

Often, alcohol use disorder is not characterized so much by daily drinking as it by not being able to stop drinking once you start. This leads to frequently passing out or having blackouts since you’re unable to cut yourself off before you go too far.

You’ve tried to stop drinking but you can’t.

Perhaps the clearest signal of an alcohol use disorder is when you try to quit drinking but you can’t. Often, people will decide to quit drinking or reduce their drinking, but then change their minds. This is often just denial or rationalization. If you see that alcohol is damaging your life but you keep drinking anyway, you should get help as soon as possible.

At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.