There was that one morning when you had to go home at lunch to pick up something you forgot. Surprisingly, she was there. She said she wasn’t feeling well, but there was that distinct smell of alcohol on her breath. Hey, there’s no harm in playing hooky every now and again, right?
One thing, one time doesn’t signal a problem. But if you start noticing patterns, there may be cause for concern.
Alcoholism can be obvious or virtually invisible, depending on the person. But when the person suffering is your partner, you suffer, too.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that hits the LGBT community harder than others. In fact, one study found that LGBT teens are twice as likely to use alcohol than their peers.
There are theories about why this may be true, but the fact remains that it’s a problem. And it’s something you should keep a keen eye on within your relationships. As with any substance abuse, it’s better to address the problem at its onset than later.
Signs of substance abuse
If you suspect your partner may have a problem with alcohol, pay close attention to her habits. If she exhibits more than one behavior associated with alcoholism, you may want to start talking about treatment options.
Below are some common signs that your partner may be abusing alcohol:
Hiding alcohol – Did you find a bottle of Schnapps in an odd place, like under the bed or in the garage? This may be a sign that your partner is hiding alcohol to consume when you’re not around.
Driving while under the influence – If your partner has one or more driving while under the influence charges, she may have a problem. And if there are charges for multiple incidents, this is a major red flag.
Isolation – If your partner is trying to hide her alcoholism, she may attempt to spend a lot of time alone. It’s often difficult for alcoholics to be around people who may notice how many drinks they are having.
Inability to stop drinking – We’ve all heard the line about how someone can stop any time they want. Your partner may even tell you this. But if she can’t do it, there may be a problem.
High alcohol tolerance – Everyone’s natural alcohol tolerance may be different, but if you notice that your partner can put down five shots like it’s nothing, it may be a sign of alcoholism.
Family history of alcoholism – If your partner’s parent or grandparent has a problem with alcohol, it’s more likely that your partner will too. Family history alone isn’t enough to signal a problem, but it can be telling with other signs present.
Drinking during the day – If there’s an early social event and everyone’s doing it, day drinking may not be a problem. But if your partner is sitting by herself, throwing back beers until she passes out at 1:30 p.m., there’s a problem.
What to do if your partner is abusing alcohol
The first step is to have a conversation. If this is the first time discussing the problem, it’s early for an intervention. Your partner may agree that she has a problem. She may even want help. If not, it may take a few more conversations and enlisting the help of family and friends. From here, you can discuss the possibility of rehab or a supervised alcohol detox. The important part is to help your loved one regain control of her life again.