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See Through the Lies – 7 Tell-Tails Signs of an Alcoholic

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Becoming an alcoholic is not hard to do. In fact, it is easier to get addicted to alcohol than it is to stop using it. That's why so many people are seeking help with alcohol every single year. Alcohol is the drug of choice in the UK, a drug that is devastating individuals and families alike. Yet it does not have to be this way.

If you or someone you love is drinking too much, now is the time to recognise the problem and do something about it. Now is the time to wilfully see through the lies alcohol presents, and instead, come to terms with the truth that alcohol addiction is a serious condition that can lead to family breakdown, lost income, serious health issues, and even death.

We use the phrase 'see through the lies' because alcohol tends to cause people to think irrationally and live lives of denial. Even when the signs of an alcoholic a readily apparent to everyone else, the individual being controlled by alcohol cannot see them. And any attempt to help that person figure it out is met with tremendous resistance.

We urge you, if there is any possibility that you or a loved one has alcohol abuse problem, to step back and honestly take a look at the situation. Below are seven tell-tale signs of an alcoholic that should be easy to spot if you are willing to be honest. They are warning signs that should not be ignored.

1. Rationalising the Use of Alcohol

No one becomes an alcoholic overnight. Transitioning from casual alcohol use to eventual dependence is a gradual process that develops over time. Key to making the process work is the practice of rationalising one's use of alcohol. For example, have you ever heard someone tell you that the main purpose for drinking at parties is to relax and be more social? This is one of the earliest manifestations of rationalising. If a person needs alcohol in order to avoid social awkwardness, he or she has a problem waiting to develop.

As a person progresses through the various stages of alcohol abuse and dependence, rationalising becomes more frequent. The alcoholic is capable of coming up with some pretty impressive excuses as to why drinking is necessary or why no problem truly exists.

2. Alcohol Is the Solution, Not the Problem

One of the most prevalent signs of an alcoholic is his or her belief that alcohol is the solution to his/her problems rather than the cause of them. A classic example is a person who says alcohol is the only thing helping him/her cope with a bad marriage and crumbling finances. What he/she fails to see is that excessive drinking is what has caused the relationship problems and financial disasters. In simple terms, alcoholics tend to see life backwards.

3. Lack of Concern over Consequences

Alcoholics tend to live in a bubble permeated by the lie that excessive drinking has no consequences. They fail to understand that alcoholism is ruining their marriages and alienating their kids. They fail to understand that if they continue missing work, they will eventually lose their jobs. They have no concept that alcohol is damaging their brains, their livers, and many other vital body parts. This lack of concern over consequences is obvious to outsiders but non-existent to alcoholics.

4. Noticeable Physical Changes

Hand-in-hand with the lack of concern over consequences are the inevitable physical changes that result from persistent alcohol excess. For example, one of the prominent signs of an alcoholic is unexplained weight gain or loss. Some alcoholics put on weight because of the way their bodies process alcohol while others lose weight as a result of substituting a healthy diet with binge drinking. Alcoholics also tend to develop redness on the cheeks and nose accompanied by a pale, almost ghostlike skin tone in other parts of the body. The physical changes are not the result of stress or age; they are directly attributable to excessive and persistent drinking.

5. Engaging in Abnormal Conduct

Among all of the signs of an alcoholic, perhaps none is as obvious to outsiders as the abnormal conduct the alcoholic engages in. Where a person may have been straight-laced and uptight prior to the start of drinking, that same person can quickly become a social monster through an alcohol addiction. Alcoholics tend to make foolish decisions regarding sex, finances, personal obligations and responsibilities, and so on. They also do stupid things like drinking for hours before attempting to drive home.

At the heart of all this abnormal conduct is a brain that is not thinking clearly. Alcohol impairs judgement and distorts perceptions. This results in irrational thinking that manifests itself in abnormal conduct. The truth is that there is no such thing as a harmless drunk.

6. Ever-Increasing Alcohol Cravings

One of the first signs of alcoholism that outsiders might observe is a tendency for addicts to routinely proclaim they can stop drinking any time they want to. Such sentiments may even be uttered without provocation. The truth is, the alcoholic cannot stop – that is why he or she is an alcoholic.

Ever-increasing alcohol cravings are evidence of two things: dependence and tolerance. Dependence is the physical and mental state in which the person simply cannot function on a day-to-day basis without drinking. Tolerance is a condition in which a person needs to consume ever-increasing volumes of alcohol in order to enjoy the same pleasurable effects.

7. Attempting to Hide Drinking from Others

Lastly, alcoholics are often ashamed of their behaviour even if they do not know they suffer from addiction. As such, they work very hard to hide their drinking from others. This is why alcoholics often drink in solitary. They also tend to hide alcohol in various locations at both work and home, so that a drink is always available when they feel the need for one. No matter how many times a stash is discovered and discarded, the alcoholic will replenish it.

The signs of an alcoholics are as real and identifiable as those associated with any other kind of addiction. If you are exhibiting any of these signs, it's time to stop lying to yourself and accept reality instead. You have a problem that needs to be solved before it ultimately destroys everything you hold dear.

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