Since there is nothing new to relate on my front, I’ve been browsing the web this morning looking for a good article with the “signs of an alcoholic” I really can’t find a good one. They seem to be so broad that 50% of the population over 21 fits, or so narrow that only 1/3 of alcoholics fit the bill.
Let me be the first to tell you that an alcoholic CAN hold a good job and go to work every day. That seems to be a common misconception from the sites I’ve looked at. My husband has missed 2 days of work in a year, and neither were related to alcohol or hang overs.
Also, an alcoholic CAN make it to family functions, get togethers, meetings, appointments and what not.
There is even a term for it. A “functional alcoholic” They can do the normal day to day things. They can and do go to work, go to family events, kids plays, parent teacher conferences. All the same stuff a non-alcoholic does.
So here is MY list of signs:
1. He or She cannot relax or wind down without getting “buzzed” A bit of stress increases the drinking.
2. If alcohol is in the house, or readily available, the person seems unable to stop at just a couple.
3. The person becomes defensive, angry or dismissive if you bring up their drinking habits. Also included is changing the subject or deflecting your concerns.
4. The drinking is a “secret”. Not really drinking in secret, but keeping the amount and the frequency of the drinking a secret from friends and family who don’t witness it.
5. Sudden changes in behavior. Tense, anger, anxiety, “grumpiness” and such when alcohol is not available. An immediate turn around when alcohol becomes available.
6. Poor judgement. Most rational people know when they have had too much to drink. An alcoholic tends not to. Alcoholics rack up multiple DUI’s. They insist they are ok to drive. I realize that those who are not alcoholics also drive intoxicated, but rarely get more than one DUI or DWAI.
7. Behavior that seems “unlike them”. My husband is a quiet introvert. When drinking he becomes extroverted and talkative. He says whatever comes to mind, no matter how rude. some alcoholics become brave and initiate fights or become abusive **
(**It’s important (to me!) to note that my personal beliefs come into this one. Although I am not an expert I believe that an alcoholic who is abusive, both verbally or physically, or does crazy behavior while drunk always has those inclinations. I think the alcohol just allows them an excuse to act upon those behaviors. I don’t believe a guy only beats a woman because he’s drunk. I believe that the alcohol gives him an excuse to beat a woman)
8. Blackouts and not being able to remember what happened the night before
9. Constant use of cologne or breath mints to cover up the smell of alcohol
10. The physical aspects. The red nose. The broken blood vessels in the cheeks. Alcohol poisoning, etc. These don’t show up in everyone. My husband does not have red cheeks or nose. He has great blood pressure. Every physical has reported he is in great health. However, if he drinks vodka, his face, knees, hands, neck and elbows develop big red splotches. No matter how much he denies it, I can tell if vodka is in the house.
11. He is unable to have a good time without alcohol. He believes that in order to have fun there must be alcohol provided.
Of course there are more signs. And not every sign fits every drunk. All of these, except 10 fit my husband. He has not had more than one DUI, but I know that he has driven while intoxicated. I know that he will do whatever he can to get his next drink. I have hidden his wallet, keys and shoes before. He has walked barefoot, in snow, with dimes and nickels to the liquor store. His wild behavior can be funny. It was funny when he believed he was in “Pablo’s house” and attempted to pee on the answering machine. It was not so funny when he didn’t know where he was and peed in the kids toy box. Or on the car.
All I can say, is I am not an expert (I repeat that a lot!) nor do I claim to know all the signs. If you have thought rationally about it, and think that someone is an alcoholic, you are probably right.
And, as a final note, if you do find yourself involved with an alcoholic, don’t feel bad if you find some of the behavior funny. I did for a while. But, it also helps to laugh, in my opinion. I still have a private giggle over the time my husband and his friend hugged each other for a long moment, slapped each others butts and declared “I love you man!”