We’re all familiar with the stereotypical drunk: disheveled, falling down, and incoherent. Habits of the stereotypical drunk have obviously gotten way out of control. Few of us imagine that we could look like that to others. However, this can easily become the case for some people without them even realizing it.

How do you know if your drinking has gone too far? Have your family and friends ever staged an alcohol intervention with the intent of encouraging you to seek treatment? Have you ever thought of quitting alcohol, only to start drinking again almost immediately? Aside from the obvious indicators of alcoholism such as needing a drink to start the day, waking up every day with a hangover, experiencing blackouts, and ignoring responsibilities, there are many other signs that you may be drinking more than you should. Ask yourself the following questions to see how much alcohol plays or may play a part in your life.

Would you live in a dry county?

Although it’s hard to believe, there are still dry counties in the U.S. That means that nowhere in the county is it legal to sell or buy alcohol. If the prospect of living in a dry county seems to be a fate worse than death, then you may be alcohol dependent.

Do you plan your activities around alcohol?

If you plan your activities around the presence of alcohol, and refuse to go if it won’t be available, then you may be alcohol dependent. It is possible to have fun without the buzz of alcohol and its negative influence on your behavior. If you have to carry a bottle or pocket flask with you to ensure that you do not run out of booze, then you probably have an alcohol problem.

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Do all of your major events involve alcohol?

If you receive a promotion, lose weight, land a new job, or similar, do you always celebrate with alcohol? Do you accept responsibility for your life and actions or are you more inclined to make excuses, such as:

“It’s been a hard day, I’m going to have a drink.”

“Since it’s my birthday (or other holiday), I’m going to drink or get drunk.”

“My girlfriend/boyfriend dumped me, I’m going to have a drink/get drunk.”

“It’s such a great day outside, I’m going to sit outside and have a drink.”

If you cannot accept the rewards and hardships of life with the realization that life is that way and you’ll survive it, but you make excuses for why you’re coping with life by using alcohol, then your drinking may have gone too far. Alcohol has a deleterious effect on your physical body, your mental outlook, your emotional health, and your relationships. Are these things deteriorating?

Do you have an addictive or dependent personality?

When you have a cookie, do you have to eat the entire bag or can you stop at one or two? Can you have a serving of chips or do you finish the bag? Can you have dishes of candy sitting around the house or do you have to clean out the dish each time it’s filled? If you cannot exercise self-control in other areas of your life, then you may be more inclined to develop an alcohol problem.

If you think your drinking may have gone too far, it probably has. There are countless programs available for help and most health insurance plans will cover all or part of a rehabilitation program, so seek help right away.

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