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Red Flags - 7 Signs Your Drinking is out of Control

Now all I down is orange squash!

I'm a classic case. A binge drinker that ignored every red flag. No matter how much they flapped, whipping me across the face, I somehow managed to push past, so I never had to address my over drinking.

I was arrested, I blew a finger off with a firework on the millennium night, I got in dangerous situations with men, I put myself at risk, I was bloated, had anxiety, people worried about me, I was always the drunkest person in the room….. shall I go on?

No matter what crazy shit happened in my 25 years of being a binge drinker, I never once stopped and questioned what the root of all my problem was. Drinking was so ingrained in me, so deep, that I never once self-reflected. I mean if I questioned alcohol what would be left?

But (luckily) The disco dirt started to stain. My wily ways got too out of control to ignore.

Anxiety and my kids forced me to look inwards. I got therapy and I quit alcohol. Sounds easy. It wasn't. But I did do it. 4 years under my belt already.

But I do wonder, what would have helped me, snapped me into shape when I was knee deep in 2 for 1's? What would have nudged me into questioning my consumption when I was in the midst of it?

Was there anything that could have broken the messy, vomit ridden cycle?

Well, the answer is yes, if someone had mentioned these following 7 points to me when I was still a drinker, I think I might have listened.

These ’boozing highlights ‘ are what I thought made me a champion drinker. But I see now that everything I did on a night out, the falling over, the puking , the hangovers, were all classic signs I was a very toxic over drinker. ( one might say even an alcoholic!! heaven forbid!) Damn you normalisation of alcohol in society!! This is all your fault!

It's so hard to see a problem when you’re in it. You can't leave the party because the party is all you know. So it's eternal, you keep drinking and don't leave any space in your head to consider if drinking is working.

There is no time for clarity when you drink.

You barge passes the red flags before they attract your attention. You get too pissed and too entrenched to listen to what your heart is screaming out for. A break, some healing.... and copious amounts of tea.

So, here are 7 fog horns that blasted at me. 7 major signs that I should have known were red flags. Points that I ignored for way too long.

I hope they help you understand that your drinking habit is not as ‘Normal’ as you thought and that perhaps it’s time to get help.

1. Your mates look worried about you.

I recently met up with an old friend and I asked her ‘What did you think about my drinking when we went out?’ I thought she would say I was a. laugh, a never-ending conga line of festivity. But her response was this – ‘Everyone was always worried about you when we were out.’ I was shocked. It turns out I wasn’t as fun as I thought. In fact, my mates were concerned about me, worried where I might end up, or who I would go home with. I was creating anxiety amongst my friends. Ruining their night out because they had to hold my ponytail as I regurgitated tequila shots, or had to talk a bouncer out of throwing me out of the fire exit. I realise now that not everyone was laughing along with me. They were staying to make sure I got in a cab and got home safe. They were staying because I needed them. If on nights out people are having to look after you this is a sure sign your drinking is getting out of control. It might be a funny story the next day but if we look deeper into this behavior, and you’re the one that keeps being the butt of the joke, then its time to look inwards and question if being that person is who you want to be.

2. You drink faster than anyone else.

I was the one up at the bar more than the rest of my friends, I was the one shouting

‘C’mon! whose round is it?’ I was the one holding two glasses of wine, the one challenging others to downing drinks and the one that always had an empty glass. The glugger, the gulper, the swigger and the downer. Once one was down the hatch it was just a matter of how much more I could fit in before the establishment booted me out. I never considered this no be abnormal until I quit drinking. I just pushed the blame outwards. Everyone is boring apart from me!’ ‘What’s wrong with these people?’ Fact is - They were behaving and I was out of control. They were all ok and I was a dribbling mess. But of course, I was too wasted to notice myself, too pishhhed to care.

So, try to check in, ask yourself - am I drinking more than others, is it because your just a quick drinker? Or is it because you have a drinking issue?

3. You keep injuring yourself.

I often woke up with a cut on my chin from a misplaced swan dive, a graze on my knee from crawling under a fence to break into a festival, once a broken collar bone from sliding down an escalator. So many nights out ended with hospitals visits and ice packs. These misdemeanors seemed to be part of my chaotic identity. I thought people would be disappointed in me if I didn’t give them a good ‘injury’ story down the pub over a Sunday Roast. But since ditching the grog I have realised that I was putting myself in danger, often. The alcohol whizzing through my blood stream made me feel invincible which in turn made me do silly things.

So, if you are waking up with weird injuries, black eyes, bruises, back pain or a bloody nose, there is a high chance it is because you are over drinking. People that don’t over drink don’t fall over. It‘s so important to understand how dangerous it is to injure yourself when drinking. Its time try and love your body and respect it enough not to hurt it.

4. Your hangovers are causing anxiety