5 Subtle Signs You Might be Dating an Alcoholic

You just started dating someone and you’re really hitting it off. Except something is just not quite right. Could they have a drinking problem?

Contrary to popular belief, not all alcoholics exhibit the more obvious signs of having a drinking problem such as frequent blackouts, extreme mood swings and embarrassing behavior. For many high functioning alcoholics, the signs are much more subtle.

Lindsay Killam, Clinical Program Director for Alavida Health, a science-based company that combines medication, behavioral therapy and technology to help people decrease or stop consumption of alcohol, offers 5 subtle warning signs that you might be dating someone with a drinking problem—and what to do about it:

1. They consistently drink before and after social events. They always feel the need to “warm up” before going out or need to continue drinking after getting home.

2. They feel guilty about drinking. This is an indicator that a person is not proud of their behavior, that they have disappointed others, or themselves. They continue to drink despite social or emotional consequences.

3. They have a high tolerance for alcohol. They can have several drinks and not exhibit any signs of being intoxicated.

4. They use it to cope. The person needs alcohol to relax or to deal with stress. They use alcohol instead of healthier options.

5. They hide it. If they try hiding their drinking from you or others.

According to Lindsay Killam, “Addiction is a learned behavior. Everyone has the ability to unlearn dysfunctional behaviour and reinforce healthier coping. When talking to a loved one it is important to come from a place of empathy. A nonjudgmental approach invites conversation and understanding. Be clear about what you observe as the consequences of their behaviour and at the same time let them know that you believe in their potential. Finally, let them know that they can decide how change looks whether that be controlled drinking or abstinence.”

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