Alcoholism affects more people than the world would like to admit. Many alcoholics find that the drinking problem creeps up on them, which often makes it harder to stop. It is not because they want to harm themselves and their relationships but because they find the drink intoxicating. The alcohol helps to temporarily forget problems but creates more in the long run.

Living with an alcoholic can be devastating. It creates tension in the home, can lead to arguments and financial problems. Some spouses or children don’t really see think that the person they are living with is an alcoholic. Here are five signs that you could be living with an alcoholic.

Signs you're living with an alcoholic
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Know the signs that you are living with an alcoholic

The Person Drinks More Than Before

As a person drinks more alcohol, the body builds up an intolerance for it. This means that the person must drink more to benefit from the same effects in the past. If you go out for drinks or a meal, you may find your partner or parent is buying more drinks than usual and drinking them quickly. This is a clear sign that the tolerance levels are increasing.

Consider whether this has happened. Does your husband order more drinks when out for a meal? Does your mum buy more alcohol on a weekly basis and seem to get through it all during the week? Try talking to your loved one about the increased consumption. It could be that he or she doesn’t realise more is being drank. However, tread carefully and bring up the conversation in a sensitive manner.

Financial Problems Start Happening

Alcohol costs money and there is no way of getting around that. Alcoholics tend to spend more money than they should on alcohol just to be able to fuel their addiction, which can lead to financial problems within the household. You may hear that there isn’t enough money for special treats or food or you may find that luxury items start to go missing

Unfortunately, many addicts don’t have the money to keep fuelling their addiction. They need to get it from somewhere and they start turning to crime. They may try to flog valuable items in the home at first but then turn to stealing money when there isn’t anything else left.

The Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Drinking Before the Festivities

When there is something special happening, it is normal for alcoholics to start drinking early. They often claim that they are just getting ready for the party and having a couple of pre-party drinks but it is much earlier than anyone else. There are many reasons for those with an alcohol addiction to do this, including feeling uncomfortable without having a few drinks or just the fact that it is calling to them.

Another reason is so that they look like they are drinking the same as everyone else at the party. They know that their drinking is becoming a problem but do not want to raise suspicion while still enjoying their night. You will need to talk to your loved one carefully about this and find out their reason for drinking way before the festivities start.

Don't Stick to Their Plans

Alcoholics start to miss their deadlines or avoid sticking to their plans they made with you. Their drinking consumes them and they want to do that over anything else. Others won’t be drinking at the time but suffering from the side effects of the alcohol or passed out somewhere. This has often led to alcoholics losing their jobs, their friends and their loved ones as the alcohol is placed as a higher priority.

This will start small at first and you may be tempted to put it down to absent-mindlessness. However, keep track of the amount of times your loved one has missed a date, an appointment or something more important because of their drinking. It is also important to watch out for secretiveness. This is a sign that your loved one is hiding the drinking problem and usually occurs when they don’t want to share their whereabouts when they have missed something.

Hiding Alcohol in Regular Bottles

Some alcoholics will have their drink hidden around the home and office and they can take a bottle with them. One of the easiest drinks to hide is vodka since it has no taste, smell or colouring. Alcoholics will use it to add to their own drinks when there is no way of adding it, such as in a place of work or to hide it while at home.

Watch out for this trick. It is one of the oldest in the book but a major sign that you are living with an alcoholic. If you believe that they are doing this, talk to your loved ones about it and help them.

Living with an alcoholic is difficult. It can create stress that nobody wants, along with financial problems and arguments. The best thing to do is talk to your loved one about the drinking but avoid attacking him or her about it. An intervention is one of the most effective ways to encourage someone to get help.

How to Live with an Alcoholic and Survive
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Carol Mills offers tips on living with an alcoholic from a personal point of view.