There’s nothing wrong with having a drink every now and then. It can be a great way to loosen up and relax with friends. But in some instances, occasional drinking can devolve into a serious problem. How do you know when it’s become problematic?

Look For These 4 Signs

A drinking problem can reveal itself in many different ways. And even though the circumstances vary from one person to the next, there are several issues that are likely to emerge. If you notice some or all of the following, your drinking habit might be teetering on the edge of being problematic.

1. Strained Relationships

Alcohol can ruin relationships, friendships, and negatively impact your connections with coworkers, neighbors, family, and loved ones. It’s especially detrimental in romantic relationships (dating, marriage, or otherwise).

Alcoholism damages trust, affection, stability, expectations, commitment, respect, and shared values. And if you aren’t careful, it can actually be the wedge that splits your relationship apart and leaves you alone. If you’re already feeling some of the ill-effects of strained relationships – romantic or platonic – it could be a sign that you have a drinking problem.

2. Drinking to the Point of Sickness

Most people are able to drink in moderation. They can have one or two drinks and are very aware of their “limit.” They’re able to proactively stop before they lose all control and inhibition. If you struggle to do this, it could be another sign that you have a drinking problem.

Anyone can make a mistake on any given night and drink too much. But if you’re constantly drinking to the point of sickness, something is wrong. It shows you’re incapable of limiting yourself and are drinking more than your body can physically handle. 

3. Getting Charged With a DUI

Accidents happen. You can have one too many drinks and make a poor decision to get behind the wheel of a car without having a drinking problem. But in many cases, getting pulled over and charged with a DUI is a wake-up call that something is wrong. If you’ve struggled with poor choices with alcohol for several months or years, getting charged with a DUI means you can no longer hide the fact that something in your life needs to change.

And while this is a wake-up call, a DUI charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to get these charges reduced or dismissed.

“A drunk driving conviction is serious. But most people don’t realize that a charge doesn’t have to lead to a conviction,” attorney Rowdy G. Williams explains. “There are dozens of ways to get charges reduced or dismissed and they have nothing to do with ‘knowing the right people.’ It’s all about working with experienced counsel who have done it in the past.”

Whether you get your DUI charges dropped or not, let this situation serve as a stern warning that something needs to change. By acknowledging the possibility of a drinking problem, you can begin getting help.

4. Drinking a Lot When Alone

Do you find yourself withdrawing more as you drink more? Drinking alone is a dangerous habit that’s often associated with drinking problems and depression. If this is you, it’s important to consider why you feel the need to drink alone. 

What to Do if You Have a Drinking Problem

If you suspect that you have a drinking problem – whether minor or severe – there are some very simple and proactive steps you can take. Specifically, we recommend you:

Admit it. You can’t tackle a drinking problem if you don’t admit to having one in the first place. Be honest with yourself and others.

Eliminate and avoid triggers. Does your drinking problem get worse when you have alcohol in your home? Or is it something that flares up when you’re around certain friends? Is it caused by a stressful job situation or a toxic relationship? Identify, eliminate, and avoid these triggers.

Get professional help. If it’s really a drinking problem, you need the humility to admit that you might not be able to overcome it on your own. Getting professional help will equip you with the tools you need to defeat it once and for all.

The good news is that you can overcome your drinking problem. It won’t be easy or effortless, but it’s certainly something you can do. By admitting to the problem, eliminating and avoiding the triggers, and getting professional help, you can put your life back on the right track. The key is to act swiftly rather than letting the problem linger any longer.