How to Tell You Drink Too Much

To say drinking is a popular activity is probably an understatement. The World Health Organization estimates that more than two billion people in the world drink alcohol. For most of those people, it’s a harmless thing—a way to relieve stress, to socialize, or to simply enjoy themselves. However, when drinking is done to excess, it causes serious problems.

The line between “too much” drinking and acceptable drinking is sometimes a little blurry. The line also exists for both short-term drinking, as in how much you drink in a single night, and long-term drinking, as in how much you drink in an average week. It’s a good idea to remember that, though our bodies are primarily liquid, that liquid is water, not alcohol.

You’ve Had Too Much to Drink at a Party

It’s important to know when you’ve had too much to drink at a party so that you can leave before you embarrass yourself too badly, and also so you know when you need to call a cab instead of attempting to drive or walk home. Here are a few simple signs that you’ve had too much to drink at a party:

  • More than one person offers to call a cab for you.
  • You are finishing drinks that aren’t even yours.
  • That girl or guy who you thought looked hideous when you arrived is now the most gorgeous creature you’ve ever seen.
  • Everyone seems to walk away from you while you’re making the most brilliant point you’ve ever made.
  • You are having trouble standing upright or walking in a straight line.
  • The host asks you to leave.

Some of those tips may seem funny, but they actually all do work. You could also just keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. A good average to keep your wits about you is one drink every 90 minutes, but you can handle a bit more if you’re bigger than average. Another good trick is to try to remember the last address you lived at before your current one—if you can’t remember, you might have had too much to drink.

You’ve Had Too Much to Drink When You’re Alone

Despite the strong endorsement for the act given by George Thorogood in his song “I Drink Alone,” drinking to excess when you’re alone is often a sign of bigger problems, maybe even alcoholism. The big problem with drinking alone is that there is no objective opinion to tell you that you’ve had enough. That means it’s going to fall to you, even in your inebriated state, to know when to say when. Here are some tricks that could help:

  • Check a mirror. If your eyes are bloodshot, you might be getting drunk.
  • Try to walk in a straight line. If you stumble, bump into things, or fall over, you’ve probably had enough.
  • Try writing your name and phone number on a piece of paper. If you can barely read it, you may be getting tipsy, or you’ve simply left your glasses somewhere. If you can’t remember them at all, you’re blasted.
  • Close your eyes and open them again. If your vision is blurry, you are probably getting drunk. Or, again, you need to find your glasses. Check on the top of your head first.

You’re Drinking Too Much on a Regular Basis

When you find yourself drinking too much on a regular basis, know that you are getting into the realm of a serious problem and should probably seek help.  But how much is too much?

Experts say that it’s a problem for women to have more than seven drinks a week, while for men it’s 14. We can only hope that this is based on body size, not some sort of gender bias. They go on to say that a woman who has 21 drinks a week or a man who has 35 drinks a week is drinking heavily.

What is more important than the raw number of drinks is the effect that drinking has on your life. Some of the signs that alcohol is becoming too big a part of your life include:

  • Worrying frequently about whether or not you have enough alcohol in your home.
  • Sneaking drinks so other people won’t see you.
  • Hiding alcohol at home, at work, or in your vehicle.
  • Not being able to stop drinking once you start.
  • Missing important events or not finishing important tasks due to drinking.
  • Drinking before or during work.
  • Drinking and driving.

When you are showing signs that you are drinking too much on a regular basis, you should seek help, through a counseling program, an alcohol rehab program, or just a support group. Usually your doctor or even the HR department at your workplace can help you to get the help you need.

There is nothing wrong with drinking socially or recreationally, but you need to learn to recognize when it becomes a problem. As long as you’re aware of the warning signs that you’ve had too much to drink on a particular occasion, or that you’re drinking too much in general, you should know when it’s time to slow down or seek help.