10 Signs You are Dating an Alcoholic
There is no better feeling than being in love. It brightens everything, it makes us see beauty everywhere and it makes us notice the best in everyone we encounter.
Unfortunately, those rose-coloured glasses of being in love can make it difficult to recognise warning signs of unsafe and potentially harmful behaviour. True, there might be a niggling feeling that something is a bit off, but unless something drastic happens, these thoughts are often pushed away.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s relationship with alcohol, consider the following list of signs that you might be dating a person with alcohol use disorder:
1. Alcohol is a major factor when you’re making plans
Considering that drinking is often a staple of Australian social culture, this warning sign often goes unnoticed for a long time. However, if your loved one is constantly planning outings – or evenings home – with the aim to ensure that alcohol will be available and/or won’t run out, drinking may be overtaking the actual evening plans as the main objective.
If your loved one can’t unwind without alcohol, there is cause for concern. There is nothing wrong with having a drink after a long day at work, but it should not be necessary to relax.
3. They can hold their alcohol
As with every substance abuse disorder, the tolerance of a habitual user goes up as their habit progresses. If your loved one can consume large quantities of alcohol without appearing intoxicated, it is worthwhile to start paying attention to their drinking behaviour.
4. ‘Accidental’ drinking
If your loved one is in the habit of announcing plans to have an alcohol-free evening out and ends up drinking regardless, this can be a sign of diminished control. Drinking, even when you technically don’t want to, is an early indicator of a budding addiction.
5. They don’t mind what they drink
Persons with alcohol use disorder are rarely picky when it comes to beverages. If it has the desired effect, taste and brand are minor considerations.
6. The Jekyll and Hyde effect
If your loved one’s personality changes after a few drinks, you have cause to be concerned. This is not limited to them being uncharacteristically abusive or angry; changes of personality can also include melancholy, manic highs, or extreme neediness.
7. They’re irritable without alcohol
Being tetchy, easily offended and just straight-up irritable can be a sign of alcohol withdrawal. If your loved one reacts negatively to a lack of alcohol, this may mean they are becoming dependent.
8. Alcohol is a priority purchase
To persons with alcohol use disorder, their substance of choice is an essential item and takes priority over all other financial commitments. If your loved one appears to be struggling to pay rent and bills yet always finds money for alcohol, you should not ignore it.
9. Problem drinking
Is your loved one’s alcohol consumption causing issues in their everyday life? Does it impact their performance at work? Does it cause conflict in your relationship or their relationships with others? It can be hard to answer these questions honestly and without making excuses for your loved one’s behaviour, but it is also important.
10. A family history of alcohol addiction
If your loved one has a family history of alcohol use disorder, they are more likely to fall into the same destructive pattern. Pay attention to your loved one’s family members’ relationship with alcohol if given the chance.
It is important to remember that loving a person with alcohol use disorder can be incredibly hard. Not only can their behaviours cause a great deal of family issues, but you may also fear judgement from your friends and family for staying with your ‘imperfect’ partner. Alcohol addiction is not a life sentence if the sufferer is willing to seek professional help and actively engage in the recovery process; so there is no need to feel stupid for staying by their side as they come to terms with their addiction. However, if you feel at risk of being harmed by your loved one, it is vital that you ensure your own safety (and that of your children if children are involved) above everything else.
If you would like to have a confidential conversation about recovery options for your loved one, the staff at Hader Clinic Queensland are happy to answer all your questions and discuss any concerns you might have.
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We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.