It was 3 a.m. and I heard my front door slam shut. My sister came home from a long night of partying and I knew something didn’t feel right. Everyone in my shoes has experienced that feeling. It’s the feeling in your gut when your intuition is telling you something isn’t right.
I knew my sister Jessica was having her fun with her college friends because after all, that’s what twenty-somethings do, right? But when she started sleeping in longer than usual, missing classes, and drinking every night, that was when my parents and I had to intervene. I noticed Jessica didn’t enjoy family gatherings if there wasn’t alcohol present and at dinner, she would drink 3-4 glasses after saying she would only have one. It got progressively worse and her health became a major concern. I saw all the signs along the way.
If you are experiencing the same stress in worrying about a loved one, they may have an alcohol problem. These are some of the signs you should recognize:
- No matter how much a person tries, they cannot quit drinking or control how much they drink. After committing to just 1-2 glasses of wine at a party, they drink 3-6 times the amount.
- Their tolerance becomes higher. They need to drink more to get the same effect.
- Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, redness of the cheeks, weight loss, depression, feeling sick to their stomach, sweating and shakiness, etc. creep in.
- Continued health problems like upset stomach, liver damage, memory loss, etc. begin to affect the person.
- The person has given up other activities so they can drink. This can also include reporting late to work or not getting involved in activities with friends or families that were once a usual occurrence.
If a friend or family member is exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse, discuss whether they need alcoholism treatment, and be ready to support them in a path to a happier, healthier life.