As someone who coaches others in relationships I realize that navigating the dating scene can be difficult enough. Getting to know someone in the early stages of a relationship takes time, observation, and trial and error. When you couple this with trying to determine if the person you are dating has a drinking problem, it can make things even more difficult.
Binge drinking – having five or more drinks (for men; four or more for women) – increases the risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious conditions.
Drinking has become a central part of the social scene, so someone who is a drinker can often hide their drinking habit. And, if the person is a highly functioning alcoholic, they will throw in other distractions, making their drinking habit one which is harder to detect. Oftentimes, however, there are red flags along the way. Blackouts, extreme mood swings and belligerent behavior are more obvious signs. Yet, there are also some signs which are more subtle.
The next time you are trying to figure it out, here are some signs that might indicate that you are dating an alcoholic:
1. Each and every event involves drinking. No matter what you are celebrating or the event you are participating in, alcohol is always a part of the equation. This can be hard to decipher in the early stages of getting to know someone because you may be meeting at bars, concerts and festival-type activities where alcohol and drinking can be part of the norm. But, if every activity you are participating in with your significant other involves partaking in alcohol, keep your eyes wide open as this is a sure sign that something might be awry.
2. You meet with your date and he/she is already drinking. If you make plans to meet up with the person you are dating and he/she is already drinking and has had several drinks, this could be part of their regular routine. While it may be understandable for a person to order a drink if they are waiting for you, if they have already gotten the party started with several drinks, this could be a sign of a deeper problem.
3. They change from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde randomly. Alcoholics, like anyone else, can still be fun, witty and intelligent. These are all character traits which can disarm you from thinking they have a problem.
It can be more complicated to detect if they are a highly functioning alcoholic. People who are highly functioning alcoholics can appear like they are functioning well at work, with friends and family which can make it harder to decipher how their drinking is impacting other parts of their life. However, if they are constantly swinging from one mood to another, up one day and then down the next day, something bigger is going on. Pay close attention to their mood swings and triggers. If there are inconsistencies in this area, something bigger is at play.