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How I Knew I Was Not a Normal Drinker

For over a decade I thought I was a normal drinker, I thought everyone got hangovers, blacked out, and overdid it as much as I did. I would poll people that I went out with to see if their hangovers were as bad as mine. My tolerance was increasing steadily in my 20s and I wore that as a badge of honor. Being able to keep up with my husband and co-workers made me proud.  It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I realized that my relationship with alcohol was not like other people’s.

Here are three things that helped me realize that I had a problem with alcohol.

1. I noticed that others could take it or leave it

If there was no alcohol available, it wasn’t a big deal for most people. For me, however, I would get very irritable if there was no alcohol around. If we were out at a restaurant and they didn’t have my favorite drink, I would get angry and make a scene. Looking back, this was one of the first red flags that something was not right with my relationship to alcohol. I was embarrassed by the amount I could drink and would often drink prior to going out as well so I felt more relaxed.

2. When I drank, I had no off switch

Other people could have one or two drinks and then be done for the night. For me, once I started drinking, there was no stopping until the booze was gone. This led to many nights of heavy drinking and blacking out, which in turn led to a lot of regretful decisions and regretted memories. I would see friends toward the end of the night switch to water and that just blew my mind. It became more of a routine to try and hold it together with friends to appear “normal” then drink more when I got home.

3. My drinking was negatively impacting my life

Because of my drinking habits, things in my life started to not go well. My business was losing money, I noticed my kids struggling more and felt disconnected from my husband and isolated from my friends. I had lymph nodes that were swollen and went to every doctor possible never disclosing how much I was drinking. I was positive it was lymphoma, a disease or some other rare form of cancer. Those magically went away after I quit drinking.  For years I blamed everything else. It was never about my drinking, it was always my husband, the situation, there was always an excuse. It became apparent that my drinking was causing more harm than good in my life, and that is when I realized that I needed to make a change.

If you can relate to any of the above signs, then it might be time for you to reassess your relationship with alcohol. When drinking starts to impact your life there becomes a point when the benefits of drinking are no longer worth it. You don’t have to wait for things to get really bad to quit. Start learning more about alcohol by listening to sober podcasts and quit lit books. Reach out to me for more support, you are not alone.

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