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I’m a Regular Binge Drinker – How Do I Know if I’m Developing a Problem?

I’m a binge drinker, i.e. get wasted just about every weekend, which is pretty normal I think for someone my age. I’m still pretty young – I’m only 29. What worries me though, is that for the last few months I’ve started blacking out regularly, and end up embarrassing myself and feeling terrible afterwards when my friends tell me what I did. I’ve noticed more recently as well that it takes me a few days to get over my binge and I tend to feel really depressed and withdrawn during that period.

I don’t usually drink much during the week (unless there is something social happening), but this blacking out thing has started worrying me. Once I start drinking, I also find it hard to stop. Sometimes I feel like I should give it a break, but because my social life revolves around going out and drinking, I can never bring myself to say no, even though I know how I end up.

I’ve always figured alcoholics as being people who drink every day and who are pretty much down and out so never thought I may have a problem. But I’m starting to get worried, especially with the depression and withdrawal symptoms I also seem to be getting. Should I be?



Dear Concerned

There is a misconception that you have to drink huge amounts every day and literally be living out of the gutter to be regarded as an alcoholic. Many alcoholics appear to lead very normal lives, are ‘successful’ and would be the last person you’d expect to suffer from alcoholism.

So first thing to do is rid yourself of any existing misconceptions. Many people also get hung up on labels and things like the differences between alcoholic and alcohol abuser – when none of that really matters. If alcohol is causing a problem in your life (blackouts, embarrassment, depression etc.) and you can’t simply stop drinking or drink moderately to avoid those, you know you have a problem. Because having an alcohol problem isn’t about how much you drink, but about the affects it has on you and your life.

You need to also understand that alcoholism is progressive (familiarity with the alcoholism stages may help). In the early stages, it may not be obvious that there is a problem because your behaviour compared to others doesn’t seem that unusual, except you’re experiencing major undesirable affects because of your drinking (which are all major warning signs by the way that a more serious problem is developing). What you don’t want to do is ignore those and wait till things have gotten progressively worse and you end up with an advanced case of alcoholism, where you will literally be down and out.

The test for you now is to see if you can control your drinking, without it being a struggle to do so. If you can, maybe you’re just going through a phase, and all you need to do is learn to be a bit more assertive with your friends so that you don’t get roped into binge drinking so regularly.

The fact that you’re here means you sense alcohol affects you differently to how it affects everyone else, which is something to be careful of, because that tends to be the case with most alcoholics. If you find you can’t control things, let us know and we can try and look at your options for dealing with this.

Take Care.

Comments for I’m a Regular Binge Drinker – How Do I Know if I’m Developing a Problem?

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similar problem
by: Jesse D.

I'm 20 and I started drinking when I was 14 and ever since Ive been binge drinking regularly on weekends. I've experienced a couple of blackouts in my early years of drinking but it required a lot of alcohol and liquor in order for me to blackout, but until last year (2012) I started blacking out with less and less alcohol and now I black out with only a few beers. The morning after when I wake up I wonder how I got home and then I get this terrible anxiety feeling hoping that I didn't do anything stupid or embarrassing because I almost always do something highly regrettable when I blackout. I'm glad I found this article and can read about other other people going through the same problem as I am. It helps me catch my breath. I want to stop drinking but its too hard when all your best friends are drinking and most of the social events I go to have a lot of alcohol.

oh lordy I know I am
by: Anonymous

I really thought I was being a responsible adult by getting drunk then "detoxing" turns out its pretty bad for me. I've recently quit about 6 weeks now and have a lot of time to reflect and detox from the memories and lack of memories over the the years.

support system
by: Anonymous

I went trough the same thing. I was drinking only on friday and saturdays, i would be blacking out more often than not (never told anyone), i would get real aggresive and start fights with random people. I lost my relationship and got in trouble with the law. I am 25 and i have been able to stop completely cold turkey. I don't involve my self with activities that are surrounded by alcohol. If your friends are really your friends they will understand and support you. its really hard but you have to have a support system. Maybe you don't have to stop completely but if you think you have a problem find some help. My family and friends are really helping me with my problem. They don't want me to end up like my uncles.

I understand
by: Anonymous

I know how this feels. I can rarely go out without drinking so much that I cant remember the next day what happened. I went out tonight with a friend and bought some beer home with me before I got home but surprisingly I haven't finished them all. This doesn't happen much where I bring drinks home and not finish them. I hate not being able to stop drinking and know my limit like most everyone else I know. Making a fool of myself seems to go hand in hand when I go out. Sorry if I am just babbling, just trying to get this off my chest. Good luck to you!

by: Concerned

I think to control my drinking is going to be hard, especially because of the kind of friends I've got and the hard time they're likely to give me if I tell them I'm not going full out. But I think I have to try because coping with the after-effects is just becoming too hard. They don't realise how bad it is for me. I'll give it a couple of months and then see how it goes. Thanks

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