Do I have a drinking problem? If you’re a woman who has ever had this thought, you’re in the right place. If you’ve ever thought it, Googled it, or uttered it to someone else, you likely at least have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

The good news is — this is normal and you’re getting curious about it. Awesome! I don’t want to scare you off, so stick around and lean into your questions about alcohol in your life!

Psst: Grab the resource list that helped me get and stay sober for 4 years now below:

In today’s world, the pressures and challenges women face can sometimes lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, including problematic drinking. Understanding the signs of a drinking problem and knowing when to seek help is crucial for maintaining well-being, health, and a strong connection with God.

As someone who spent years with a drinking problem — wishing, hoping and praying it away — I know exactly how you feel and want to dive into that today. I’m a Christian woman, mom, church member and author! I’ve had a lot of happiness and success in my life, but alcohol was still ruining me in mentally and spiritually. Four years ago, I finally found freedom and I’m just here to share that story with you.

Recognizing the Signs of a Drinking Problem

Identifying a drinking problem can be challenging, especially when drinking is socially acceptable and often encouraged. However, several signs indicate that drinking might be becoming a problem:

  1. Increased Tolerance: If you find that you need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effect, this is a sign of increased tolerance, a hallmark of problematic drinking.
  2. Drinking to Cope: Using alcohol to manage stress, anxiety, or depression is a red flag. While a glass of wine after a long day may seem harmless, relying on alcohol to cope with emotional challenges can lead to dependency.
  3. Neglecting Responsibilities: When drinking starts to interfere with your daily responsibilities, such as work, school, or family obligations, it’s a sign that alcohol is taking a central role in your life.
  4. Memory Lapses: Experiencing blackouts or memory lapses after drinking is a serious indication of overconsumption and potential alcohol abuse.
  5. Inability to Limit Drinking: If you often find yourself drinking more than you intended or struggling to cut down, this lack of control is a key indicator of a drinking problem.
  6. Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, shakiness, or irritability when not drinking, suggests physical dependence on alcohol.
  7. Drinking in Dangerous Situations: Consuming alcohol in situations where it is risky or inappropriate, such as before driving or at work, signals problematic behavior.
  8. Isolation and Secretive Drinking: If you find yourself drinking alone or hiding your drinking from others, this secrecy can be a sign of an underlying problem.

You may recognize yourself in one or several of these “signs.” And there is a spectrum. What’s harmful for one person may not be for another. If you are a Christian and you feel even what’s considered a “small” amount of alcohol is harming you in some way, you’re still welcome here.

It’s not about the amount or even the behaviours, but about how it’s affecting our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits. No one “shouldn’t” be here if they found this page.

Why Women May Be More Vulnerable

Women can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol for several reasons:

  • Biological Factors: Women typically have a higher body fat percentage and lower water content than men, causing alcohol to be absorbed more quickly and stay in the body longer.
  • Mental Health: Women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, which can lead to self-medication with alcohol.
  • Social Pressures: Balancing work, family, and social obligations can create significant stress, leading some women to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Maybe you’ve heard of “mommy wine culture”? All women, I think, are vulnerable to this mentality where wine solves everything. There are shirts, cups, kitchen signs, commercials, etc. Culture makes us think that wine or cocktails make everything better. In reality, they are a temporary bump on the road to feeling worse.

Alcohol is an addictive substance that doesn’t discriminate based on religion, location, marital status, job, or anything else. If you feel like you’re struggling with it, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and there are many people just like you out there.

When I was first asking myself these questions, I felt so alone. I had no idea how many other women were struggling or had already overcome. When you find the community, everything feels a little better.

When to Seek Help

Acknowledging that you might have a drinking problem is the first and often hardest step. Here are some signs that it’s time to seek help:

  1. Concern from Loved Ones: If friends or family have expressed concern about your drinking, it’s worth considering their perspective and evaluating your habits.
  2. Negative Impact on Life: When drinking starts to negatively affect your personal relationships, work performance, or overall health, it’s a clear sign that help is needed.
  3. Failed Attempts to Quit: If you’ve tried to cut back or quit drinking and failed, it’s a strong indicator that you need professional assistance.
  4. Experiencing Health Issues: Alcohol-related health problems, such as liver disease, high blood pressure, or mental health issues, are serious and warrant immediate help.

As for me, number one never happend. No one ever acted “concerned” about my problem, because I kept it well under wraps. That doesn’t mean there’s not an issue, however. The reality is, if you feel it’s a problem, it IS. Once again, that doesn’t make you weak or wrong or sinful. It’s just what it is and you’re here trying to figure it out. Good for you!

Seeking Help and Resources

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s important to know that help is available. Here are steps you can take:

  • Talk to a Healthcare Professional: A doctor can provide medical advice, support, and referrals to specialists.
  • Counseling and Therapy: Therapists can help address the underlying issues contributing to your drinking.
  • Support Groups: Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide community support and resources for those struggling with alcohol.

These are pretty generic ideas, but they are a good start. Please know that AA is not the only group around these days! You can find support in the following ways:

You can also check out my recent, feature article in Christianity Today on Christian women and alcohol:

Final Thoughts

Understanding the signs of a drinking problem and knowing when to seek help is vital for women who may be struggling with alcohol. It’s important to remember that admitting you need help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it- it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.”

Brene Brown

By taking the necessary steps towards recovery, you can reclaim your health and well-being, leading to a more fulfilling and balanced life. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, don’t hesitate to reach out for help today.

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