This post was originally published on December 17, 2014.
Whether you’re in recovery or you think you have a problem, you probably already know the classic signs of alcoholism—stuff like you can’t control your drinking, you drink alone, your friends and family members are worried about you, et al. Allow me to add to this list examples pulled from my own drunken experiences (except for the one about having a broken dick; I got that idea from a drunk boy I know).
Here we go:
1) You smell like shit and everyone knows it but you.
Nice try with the mints and mouthwash, but booze is seeping out of your pores. Unless you find a way to change the smell of your sweat, you’re going to stink. Showers are helpful, but they don’t clean you from the inside out. Once booze enters your system, the body desperately tries to get it out. Whether it’s by puking, pooping or sweating, it has to find an exit. You might be so used to the way you smell that you no longer detect it. But the people around are probably like, “Did you just go swimming in a brewery?” (I feel like people who are commenting on the way someone smells always have a joke about it.)
2) The excuses you come up with sound like they’re coming from a disturbed child.
Alcoholics are very intelligent people. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to come up with a variety of lies and excuses to either cover up or justify our behavior. We spend a lot of time coming up with different ways to make it seem like we are good, happy, normal people but after a while we start to run out of things to say. We start to get ridiculous: “Why did I cheat on you? Um. I don’t know, it was crazy I was just lying in bed and this crazy guy came into my bedroom and asked me to put his penis in my mouth. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I did.” Or maybe you don’t even care anymore and turn into a jerk: “Sorry I didn’t go to your mom’s funeral. I just think funerals are a waste of time because all you do is stare at a dead person and cry.”
3) Your denial should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The denial in alcoholics is fascinating. I think we don’t admit we’re alcoholics for two reasons: We don’t know what alcoholism is or how it works and the last thing we want to be is alcoholic, because it means it’s a problem and we might have to stop. And then, since we’re so good at coming up with lies, we start to believe our own bullshit. I used to tell people I only drank three days out of the week, because that’s what I believed. I drank at least five days, mostly six days, and sometimes seven days. Maybe I didn’t think I was lying because I did drink three days out of the week. You can’t drink seven days out of the week without drinking three days!
4) The reason your penis isn’t working is that you’re drunk.
Men, I may not need to tell you that the reason your penis won’t work is that you have poison running through your bloodstream and your body is in shock. It shuts down all of the organs that aren’t vital, preserving itself for survival. Sure, you can say, “I don’t know what wrong. Sorry.” But if you’re with a girl who’s been around the block, she might respond, “I know what’s wrong! Booze broke your dick!”
5) You don’t remember cooking yourself a three-course meal.
Blackouts are like an episode of CSI: they become a case of “Whodunnit?” Well, here’s the answer: You did it! You got home, opened up the freezer, threw the steak on the grill, warmed up some leftover Mac and Cheese and gorged till you passed out. You woke up with an awful taste in your mouth and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. If you live with someone, you might be pissed at them for making such a mess, but then you see that you have Mac and Cheese all over your shirt and realize the real guilty party. Yep, it was you who turned into Gordon Ramsay at 3 am and made that mess! Blackouts are a sign of alcoholism whether you cook a meal, drive to Vegas or call the ex you can’t stand to tell him you love him and want him to put a baby in your belly. Until you somehow learn to do positive, inspiring things when you’re blacked out, like change a tire that won’t fall off or encourage kids to be nice people, maybe sobriety is the right choice for you?