Plenty of advertisements promote alcohol as a way to celebrate and have fun. However, not everyone is able to adhere to responsible, social drinking. Television commercials won’t show you those that have become addicted to alcohol or those that are drinking alone at home because they are dealing with a lot of stress and inner pain.
The reality is that drinking alone may be a sign that you’re on a slippery road to dependence and/or addiction. Sure, every now and then, enjoying a drink at home alone may be quite enjoyable and no cause for alarm.
For example, let’s say John works in his yard all day in the hot summer heat. He mowed, worked in the garden, and tended to his flower beds. He heads to his fridge to get himself a cold beer, as this is what he enjoys doing after a long day working outside. He drinks his beer and that’s that. He doesn’t keep drinking and he doesn’t do this often. This kind of drinking at home is responsible and no cause for alarm.
Now, let’s look at Jimmy. He works hard at his day job and comes home almost every evening to unwind with a few drinks. He enjoys beer, but he prefers whiskey. He pours himself a few glasses of whiskey on most nights, stating that it helps him calm down and fall asleep better.
The problem with this type of drinking at home alone is that Jimmy puts himself in danger of becoming dependent on alcohol. This is the kind of behavior that’s called “self-medicating”, as Jimmy is using alcohol to calm his nerves and as a sleep aid. This kind of behavior long-term could cause Jimmy to become addicted to alcohol.
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Is Drinking Alone Bad?
Lots of people wonder if drinking alone is bad. The answer depends, as not everyone who drinks alone at home will become dependent on alcohol. However, it can be a red flag depending on various factors, such as:
- How often you’re drinking at home alone
- How many drinks you’re having
- The motive behind drinking. (As a sleep aid? To numb inner pain? To cope with stress?)
- The amount of alcohol you’re drinking. Is it increasing over time?
- Have you tried to stop, but find it difficult?
Having an occasional drink at home alone shouldn’t pose a problem. Plenty of people have a drink while cooking, watching a sporting event on television, or after accomplishing a task such as yard work. If you’re drinking at home alone, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I drinking alone at home?
- Am I self-medicating? If so, what else could I do rather than use alcohol?
- Has my drinking increased over the past few months? Year?
- Am I getting drunk at home alone?
- Have I regretted drinking alone?
- Have I tried to stop, but couldn’t?
- Am I isolating? Have I let friendships go?
Do an honest evaluation of your drinking habits at home. If it’s become habitual or you’re using alcohol to try to deal with stress, insomnia, or inner pain, then you may want to consider cutting back or stopping all together.
Getting Drunk Alone
Getting drunk alone tends to indicate a drinking problem or alcoholism. Granted, there are those that may suffer something traumatic, such as a relationship break up, and have a night of drinking to try to numb their pain. However, this behavior isn’t regular, so that doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem.
If you’re getting drunk alone more often, this is a red flag and could be alcoholism. In addition, there may be a mental health disorder at play, such as depression or anxiety. Using alcohol to try to cope with either can start a painful cycle, causing you even more pain. Alcohol has been linked to those who experience suicidal thoughts, so it’s best to truly evaluate your alcohol intake and admit if you’re abusing it.
Bar Drinking Alone
Some people enjoy going out to a bar, club, or restaurant and drinking alone. This is sort of the same thing as drinking alone at home, but may even be riskier. Drinking alone when out and about can cause you to engage in riskier behaviors, drive while intoxicated, and make poor choices. There are plenty of people who will tell you they over-drank while out and regretted their decisions the next day.
Women tend to be at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted or raped if they are out drinking alone. A man may coerce an intoxicated woman to go home with him, doing whatever he wants. A woman out drinking alone could also have her drink spiked with something like rohypnal (date rape drug). If she doesn’t have friends there to look out for her, she could end up going home with someone who is not trustworthy. It happens quite a bit.
Help For Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you know is drinking alone, please contact one of our addiction specialists at (866) 578-7471.