Alcoholism wears more masks than almost any other addiction. It’s a widely accepted way to celebrate, cope and socialize with people from all walks of life – and this is part of what makes it so dangerous.
Louisiana has been dealing with the widespread addiction that came with the opioid epidemic, but the state has been struggling with alcoholism for much longer. This legal addiction makes it very hard for people struggling with a dependence on alcohol to stop using and to stay sober.
Even finding an alcohol rehab in LA may not be enough to help a person who isn’t aware of just how bad their problem is. Drinking doesn’t always look like we think it should. Not every person who abuses alcohol is passed out in the street in a pool of their own vomit. There are plenty of alcoholics who manage to function and carry on as usual.
Closet drinkers often know that their habit will be frowned on, and instead of trying to justify it, they hide it. This allows them to continue drinking without tipping their hand and letting friends and family know that they aren’t in control.
The Evolution from Social Drinker to Alcoholic
The foundation for many alcoholics is the illusion of control. They constantly tell themselves that they can stop any time that they want. Maybe they know that they have a problem, and they’re too embarrassed to get help. At the center of every closet alcoholic’s motivation is a need to protect their relationship with alcohol.
They know that if they get caught drinking or completely intoxicated, they could lose their ability to continue using alcohol. They might be asked to make hard decisions, and this is not something that they’re ready to do. Unfortunately, help someone if they aren’t willing to take it.
Many people start their relationship with alcohol in their teenage years – the age of 21 isn’t some magical number that prevents you from drinking before you get to it.
Plenty of people have their first experience with alcohol in their own homes. There are so many parents that have the “I want them drinking here because it’s safer” attitude that allows teenagers to take a more relaxed view of alcohol.
For someone who’s predisposed to addiction, this can be disastrous. A person’s brain isn’t done developing in their teenage years, and even occasional drinking can have an impact on future cognitive abilities.
Social drinking is almost a rite of passage for people as they grow older. We all know about the 21st birthday parties that are legendary for barhopping and risky behavior. For some people, this is harmless, but for those who already have an affinity for alcohol, it’s just the beginning.
At first, social drinking can be totally acceptable. You go out with your friends, share some drinks, and do things that you laugh about the next day. It’s when this behavior starts to become an everyday occurrence that there is a problem. Waking up every day and looking forward to your first drink is a sign that alcohol is playing too large of a part of your life.
Eventually, the urge to drink will start to carry over into other areas of your life. You may start drinking earlier, binge drinking more, or blacking out during the day. It’s easy to go from being a “good time” social drinker to someone who can’t get through a few hours without alcohol.
How Alcoholics Hide Their Addiction
Believe it or not, there are plenty of alcoholics that drink out in the open. They might live alone or have no real responsibilities, and they don’t see any problem with their habits. Or, their family members have become so accustomed to it that they would rather enable the alcoholic than deal with their behavior when they’re not intoxicated. This is sad, but it happens more often than we think.
Then, there are alcoholics who hide their addiction because it’s gotten completely out of control. These people are often referred to as “closet drinkers” because they’ll sneak off to remote locations and swig from a bottle before returning to whatever it was that they were doing.
This is like a secret double life, and it can be hard to know if a person is drinking if they’ve become good at hiding it.
They’ve had a lot of practice, and they know how to behave in ways that can convince you that nothing’s wrong. It’s not until there’s a car accident, a legal problem, trouble at work, or a total loss of control that it really becomes apparent.
Hiding an addiction is both literal and figurative. A person who doesn’t want people to know that they’re drinking may disguise their alcohol abuse by filling water bottles with vodka or mixing drinks.
Many also hide liquor bottles throughout the house so that they can always have access to alcohol. When they don’t have any, they may even turn to things like mouthwash with alcohol in it or perfume. This can throw another layer of dangerous chemicals into the mix.
The hiding places can get extremely creative, and there are times in the alcoholic doesn’t even remember where they’ve put their booze. Alcohol wreaks havoc on your body and it doesn’t take long for the signs to manifest.
The money for alcohol can be another issue. Alcoholics may have secret bank accounts or charge cards that they use to purchase their booze. This habit can get really expensive and end up costing a lot when a person is completely out of control.
Addiction goes hand-in-hand with lies and deceptive behavior. It’s not until an alcoholic is able to be honest with themselves that they can finally be honest with the people around them.