When you think alcoholism, the image that more often than not pops into the brain is secrecy, shame, loss of consciousness, staggering, irresponsibility. So many will say, ‘That’s not me, so I can’t possibly be an alcoholic.’ Wrong. While those are the extreme signs, and your hands haven’t begun shaking yet and neither do you steal to satisfy your craving, there is a high probability that you have a problem.
Kenyans are party lovers. Monday to Monday, most popular bars will be packed with revelers unwinding, catching up or even transacting business. So, when does a quick one or two drinks with a friend turn into a bad habit? Alcoholism is complex. Just because you don’t exhibit the classic sign doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Secret alcoholics hide their habits very well. They have successful careers. They appear fit and healthy. They appear to be good spouses, parents and well adjusted members of society. But fact it, they’re still addicts. No one will ever suggest rehab to a secret alcoholic because not evn the closest people to you will ever realize you have a problem. Time to be honest with yourself and check whether these symptoms fit you.
1. You crave alcohol often. One for the road after work is rarely that, and you’ll be at a bar more than thrice a week. You drink enough to satisfy the urge in public, and are a much heavier drinker in private. When you drink alone or in secret, that’s a sign you are more than a social drinker.
2. You have a high tolerance for alcohol. .If you have been drinking so long and so much that you have built up a crazy tolerance for alcohol, that’s a sign you are an alcoholic. When you can drink much more than anyone else you know and you stay sober or functional, that’s a classic sign you’re an alcoholic. Alcohol addicts are naturally going to have a high tolerance for alcohol.
3. Your morning coffee has a splash of alcohol in it, and you have stashes of your favorite drink in your office and at home. Sometimes, alcohol constitutes your entire breakfast. And once that happens, you are an addict.
4. You can’t stop drinking. If you can’t sop after one or two drinks and have to keep going once you start, there is a problem.
5. You hide the evidence. When you start hiding signs that you have been drinking, such as throwing away the bottles in a separate trash bag, it is a sign you have a problem. If you drink so much that you aren’t comfortable with your friends and family knowing how much you drink, then you already know that you are an alcohol addict.
6. You’re always chasing the buzz. If your main reason for drinking is to get high, there is a problem. Drinkers who need to increase their alcohol consumption to experience the effects of alcohol have built up immunity to alcohol. This means you have drank alcohol so steadily that your body is used to many of its immediate effects. You might think that’s a good thing, but it masks many long term effects that alcohol has on your body. Whatever the case, if you need more than you used to need to achieve a buzz, that’s a sign you are becoming an alcoholic.
Now that you know that you have a problem, what next?