Over the years, alcohol addiction has yet again manifested herself as wicked of a muse as she's always been. Sure, a few pints a week may seem harmless at first, but before you know it, you’re hooked.
Slowly but surely, you say goodbye to the days when you used to drink just for the sake of it. You start to say hello to the dark times when you drink because you’re in desperate need of an escape.
Before you down that eighth tequila shot of the night, think of the millions of individuals from all around the world who have fallen victim to alcoholism. Most of them have never looked back, and they have ended up facing fatal consequences.
Here are nine of the most common signs someone could be a high-functioning alcoholic (or HFA):
1. You become nervous, uneasy or ill-tempered if you don’t get your daily alcohol fix.
This one is particularly telling. When an HFA is compelled to forgo drinking entirely, his or her entire body undergoes severe adverse reactions.
He or she is reliant on the calming effects of alcohol. Quitting cold turkey can cause tachycardia, anxiety, excessive sweating, nervousness and even seizures.
2. You prefer drinking over eating.
Choosing booze over a delicious stack of bacon burgers may seem unfathomable to a sober person, but to an alcoholic, it sounds like a really good compromise. In fact, most — if not all — HFAs use every meal time as an excuse to break out the good liquor.
3. You are not satisfied with just one or two drinks.
If you’re an HFA, you will most likely have trouble stopping once you start drinking. You will almost always finish other people’s drinks.
You will invariably have a half-baked excuse for wanting “one more round.” There will never be a shot glass left unturned when you’re around.
4. You wake up without feeling really hungover, even after a multitude of shots.
Now, this may sound like some sort of super power, but it really isn’t. A healthy person’s liver can process roughly one drink per hour. That’s usually how long alcohol stays in one’s system.
For some, one shot of the wrong drink is enough to set them up for the hangover of a lifetime the following day. However, if you’re an HFA, regular booze consumption has made your body dependent on alcohol. This will make the effects of hangovers, such as headaches and nausea, seem more tolerable.
5. You always have a good reason as to why you drink as much as you do.
Whether it’s problems at home, difficulty sleeping, an abundance of parties or stress at work, an HFA will always find an excuse to rationalize his or her harmful behavior. It’s either that or avoidance through denial.
6. You suffer from regular blackouts or memory loss.
Do you usually partake in all sorts of family or work activities, but have no memory of them whatsoever the following day? Even though you didn’t seem all that intoxicated at the time, you may still go through regular short-term memory loss incidents when you’re an HFA.
7. You have a hard time coming to terms with your behavior.
Once HFAs are accosted with the issues regarding their alcohol consumption — as is the case with addicts of all other substances — they will usually revert to hostility or denial, rendering healthy discussions difficult or futile.
8. Your behavioral patterns significantly change while you're under the influence of alcohol.
Alcoholics, in general, undergo a Jekyll and Hyde scenario, wherein they notably change behaviors when they drink. For example, a normally rational, responsible and gentle person may all of a sudden become impulsive, unreliable and rough.
9. You go out of your way to hide your alcohol.
Most alcoholics discreetly sip drinks from a bottle in their cars or at their office desks. They often drink alone. This is probably the biggest red flag of all.
For those who have finally been able to see things clearly, the bad has ultimately outweighed the good for far too long. Taking back the control one has once lost has proven to be very difficult to achieve on its own.
If you or someone you deeply care about has alcohol problems, head to a recovery center near you, or seek professional advice from a trusted health care practitioner.
Hope is never lost. Reach out and have faith that all things will be OK in time.