3. You find yourself drinking on the days you said you wouldn’t.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
For many of us, drinking is something we enjoy immensely with our friends and loved ones and don’t put much thought into whether it is truly serving us or not.
By serving, I am referring to making our lives better as opposed to making them worse.
For many, the concept of drinking is as accepted as eating food. It’s not a question of whether you’re going to do it; it’s a question of how much and how often you are going to do it.
For that reason, many people never consider if they may have an issue with drinking, as they are under the assumption that they have to be living a life of desolation and despair if they do.
They don’t think that they can be someone who is highly successful and pretty much have everything working in their favor and still have or be on the way to having a major issue with it.
I was definitely in that category, and many people now ask me if I quit drinking because I had a drinking problem.
The answer to that is no.
I didn’t HAVE a drinking problem, but I was well on my way to developing one had I not been fortunate enough to have been failing as my business to make this a last-ditch effort to save it.
However, most people aren’t as lucky as me to have “stumbled” upon alcohol-consciousness, so I wanted to share five signs that I recognize now were warning signs that I was well on my way to having one, and others should be leery if any of this sounds like them.
1. You refuse to mix alcohol and food
This was the weird one for me that I never really caught in the moment, but a lot of my friends would catch and call me out on it.
I would never drink and eat at the same time.
For me, alcohol was an experience to be enjoyed completely, and the thought of watering down or cutting down on the effectiveness of the alcohol by putting anything else in my stomach other than ethanol seemed ridiculous.
I could eat when I was finished drinking but not before.
This was my mind’s desire to maximize the effect that alcohol was having on me and increase my tolerance and build my dependency on it.
As your body begins to physiologically change and adapt to making alcohol more important than other things, you will find that you are able to function without the need for many things other than alcohol.
This is why so many people begin to gain weight when they first stop drinking because the body is getting back used to getting all the nourishment that it needs without alcohol taking up all the focus.
This is a definite sign that you need to look at your drink a bit more closely.
2. You don’t do many (if any) activities that don’t involve alcohol
This second truth was pretty much how I lived my life.
I was down to do about anything if it involved alcohol.
Baby shower? Are they going to have alcohol? I’m down.
Birthday party? Will alcoholic beverages be served? Say less.
Movie? Can we BYOB and sneak it into the theater? Let’s DEF go.
Completely flip that to include the same activities but not include alcohol and my answer was completely different.
A baby shower with no alcohol? Yeah, that sounds miserable. Who wants to see someone just open up a bunch of baby gifts? I’m good.
A birthday party without alcohol? In what world does that make any sense? What are we 12-year-olds? I’m out.
We can’t drink at the movie theater? Why don’t we just watch it at home so it’ll be cheaper and we can enjoy it more? Plus, I can just pause it when I need to pee instead of missing a good part.
I didn’t realize this until I stopped drinking and was open to doing so many more things than I was before based on not caring if alcohol was served or not.
Keep this simple test in mind when others ask you to attend activities.
3. You find yourself drinking on the days you said you wouldn’t
First of all, having drinking days and non-drinking days during the week is a good sign that you may be heading down a path of trouble.
However, if you find yourself drinking on the days when you told yourself you weren’t going to drink for some specific “good” reason, then this is definitely a red flag to which you need to pay attention.
Honestly, this was probably the only red flag that I actually did recognize while I was still drinking and part of why I decided to stop drinking for my business.
My wife and I were living together for the first time after dating for 2 years, and we just had this natural effect to be on different cycles as it related to our “I need a drink or I might lose my f*cking mind” days.
What that meant was the days in which she just felt like she had to have a drink for whatever reason that didn’t fall on one of our pre-determined drinking days (usually Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), was not a day in which I was feeling that way.
However, since she just drank with me last Monday because I was having a bad start to the week, I felt compelled to drink with her on Friday because she had a rough ending to the week.
This resulted in us going from drinking three days per week to us drinking five to almost drinking every day because we were feeding off each other.
We did recognize this was a problem at the moment and a clear sign that we could be heading down a destructive path.
4. If someone doesn’t drink, they are probably not considered a friend/someone you could date.
As I think back on my group of friends before I started drinking and all the females that I dated, I didn’t have any who didn’t drink alcohol.
I actually remember having a friend who decided to stop drinking for a period of time for whatever reason and not really hanging out with him during that period because I didn’t think he really wanted to do anything “fun.”
I remember also going on a date with someone who actually wanted to just have dinner for a first date and not meet at a bar and remember thinking emphatically while we were doing it, “This sh*t is NOT going to work.”
For me, if you didn’t drink, then I just didn’t know what we would do together.
As shared above, everything that I did pretty much revolved around alcohol, and no one really likes to drink alone.
Therefore, if you weren’t willing to partake with me, then I couldn’t really see us vibing or enjoying anything together.
This was the hallmark of all of my relationships for a long time and kept me feeling that my drinking habits were normal since all of my friends drank as much as I did.
This protected me from facing the truth and truly looking at my habits and myself in the mirror.
5. The thought of living a life without alcohol seems like it would be COMPLETELY miserable.
This last one is probably the biggest identifier if you might be on your way to having an issue.
Alcohol was a big part of my life.
So big in fact, the thought of giving it up and not doing all the things that I was used to meant I would have to somewhat completely re-engineer how I would live my life.
I was so used to alcohol being such a large part of my social activities and what I did to have fun, that the thought of it not being a part of it seemed like I was resigning myself to living a terribly boring life.
I remember thinking specifically how TERRIBLE life must be for people who don’t drink because they were missing out on all the amazing fun they can have with it, and I couldn’t ever see myself doing that.
This thought kept me drinking for a long time and prevented me from realizing that life doesn’t end when you stop drinking, but you actually finally give yourself the emotional and cognitive abilities to truly live life to its fullest.
And while I can’t promise that you will be able to make every event fun without alcohol (I mean…a baby shower is kinda just watching people open baby presents…not a whole lot going on there), at least you’ll be open to going and can prevent needing to sneak in a 5th of Jack Daniels to make it through…even though I can see how it would help.