A lot of conflicting emotions surface when you think you notice alcoholic behavior in someone you love. In fact, it is emotional when you realize that you may have a problem with alcohol yourself. It takes a big person to look in the mirror and honestly assess whether alcohol is becoming a problem in your own life, but it is equally as difficult to look at someone you love and think that they may have a problem.

The first step to getting through this is to educate yourself on the most common signs of alcoholic behavior. Once you know what these signs are, you can think about them one at a time to see if you honestly think they are being exhibited in your own behavior or the behavior of someone you care about.

Note that most alcoholics will not exhibit all of these alcoholic behavior patterns. This is especially true for someone just starting to get over their heads with drinking. Some behaviors may surface at first, but it is often much later in the process that others start to really take notice of obvious alcoholic behaviors. Ideally, you don't want to wait until that point. The earlier you admit that you have a problem or realize that someone you love has a problem, the easier it will be to get a diagnosis and overcome the addiction.

  1. Unusual disappearances or absences. The person may stop showing up for family events or social functions that they have always enjoyed. They may stop visiting loved ones without telling anyone where they are or what they are doing instead.
  2. Erratic or compulsive behaviors that are unlike the person. Someone who is typically very level headed and reasonable may start going out at all hours of the night, missing work because they are hung over, or associating with people they would normally stay away from. They seem to behave compulsively and without reason.
  3. Anger or intense blow ups. The person may suddenly start lashing out at others, especially when there is interference in a potential chance to drink.
  4. Unusual excessive drinking. Someone who normally doesn't drink socially, or who normally drinks very little, suddenly starts drinking in excess and acting out in an unusual manner. This can happen suddenly or gradually over time.
  5. Shaking or jittery hands in the morning. Once alcoholism has set in, the mornings may bring a very shaky or unsteady body. This is the start of alcohol withdrawal and is a sign that their body is becoming dependent on the drinks.
  6. Hiding alcohol. Social drinkers openly drink when it is appropriate. Alcoholics hide drinks because they know their behavior is not appropriate.
  7. Negative life complications due to drinking. Someone over their heads with alcohol may get arrested for a DUI or may lose a job for routinely not showing up or for showing up intoxicated. They may get divorced because of their erratic or angry behavior. They may break the bonds with children by choosing to drink rather than visiting with them.

Once this last alcoholic behavior pattern sets in, alcoholism has usually set in for the long haul. You or this person you love may not be able to stop drinking on your own at this point. Keep in mind that there are many forms of help for alcoholism today. Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only option.

Author's Bio: 

Charles Somerville has more on the signs of alcoholic behavior and information about how to get help and treatment on his site at The-Alcoholism-Guide.org.