This might seem like a no brainer but it really isn’t. There are plenty of functional alcoholics walking around looking like they’re social drinkers.

Why should you care you ask? You should care because you don’t want him to be your baby’s father or mother, don’t want him to be the man/woman you fall in love with, don’t want to waste days, months, years to discover you’ve invested in a relationship where the next drink is more important than you are, don’t want to get used or abused, don’t want to go broke trying to fix someone. Enough? O.K. Here’s how you can tell the difference between an alcoholic and a social drinker:

As opposed to a social drinker an alcoholic

1. Wouldn’t consider leaving half a glass of wine on the table, they’d drink up and order another or plan to go somewhere else that drinks are being served.

2. Thinks every party, birthday (even for the three year old), picnic, walk, event, lunch, dinner (and breakfast but you won’t know), movie, sporting event live or on TV and just about every other activity is a time alcohol should be served and not a little but a lot.

3. Thinks every day there’s a reason to party even if they don’t party because they have to go to work the next day (then they’re drinking at home) and the party should always involve lots of booze. You won’t catch one mowing the lawn without a beer or a drink or folding clothes without the same but the clothes folding usually requires waiting until three in the afternoon so one doesn’t look like an alcoholic.

4. Drinks so much they either act like they’re having the most fun they’ve ever had in their life while being perfectly obnoxious dancing and shouting and kissing and hugging anyone who can’t run away fast enough or drinks so much they get angry and pick a fight with someone just because they’re drunk and don’t know what they’re talking about or gets so drunk they fall on you even though you don’t know them well enough to be a landing pad and they cry and complain about how hard life is.

5. Want to get naked with you thirty minutes after you meet them while they’re holding a drink in one hand and saying what they perceive to be really sexy things that will undoubtedly make you want to head for the hills.

6. Spend way too much money to keep the party going so they can drink even more while social drinkers take their leave and go home after the party should be over.

7. Always have a problem or an issue that requires drinking because well, problems and issues require drinking. The poor drinker deserves a drink or twenty. This is another occasion to start blubbering or pass out or begin talking in tongues. Social drinkers don’t drink to get drunk over problems and issues.

8. Seem to be the life of the party and the next day they have to be told what happened at the party because they can’t remember the last half.

9. Social drinkers drink socially, socially being the key word here. Even a glass of wine with dinner every night is social drinking. Alcoholics drink for any and every reason they can think of or make up. They don’t stop until they’re drunk and exhibit one or more of the behaviors listed above. Alcoholics drink when they get home from work every day and have drinks or a bottle wine with every meal except breakfast unless they can call it brunch and then champagne and margaritas are the order of the day.

10. Social drinkers have a drink or two to relax and enjoy and they don’t want more than that unless it’s a really special occasion like a wedding and then they might have three or four drinks over the course of the event but that’s not a daily or even weekly thing.

11. Alcoholics will never choose to do anything unless drinking is involved. Social drinkers do what they want to do whether alcohol is involved or not.

12. Some alcoholics get sick they drink so much yet they continue to drink and get sick. Some alcoholics can “hold their liquor” and never get sick they just get sickening.

I know some things here are repeats because I wrote about seven reasons why sober is sexy in my last blog. However, if you recognize yourself or someone else you care about in this list you might want to consider getting some help before you destroy your life and you will if you don’t get hlep or, in the case of someone you care about, tell them at a time they haven’t been drinking that you’re worried about them and you wonder if they realize that they seem to be in trouble with alcohol. Ask if can you help in any way. If they say you can’t then you have to leave it alone. You can take yourself to Al Anon so you can learn what it takes to not be a good enabler. If they say you can help, offer to go to an AA meeting with them, congratulate them for having the courage to face the problem, tell them you’ll go with them to their doctor to see if they should be on medication instead of drinking life away. If the alcoholic will do any of those things, even if they don’t succeed the first time, it’s a beginning and a good beginning. It doesn’t always take the first time but with patience and not giving up it will. Sober life to an alcoholic, after the initial shock of living without alcohol, is the only life they can live without guilt, holding their head up, feeling like they belong and have nothing to be ashamed of.

There’s nothing wrong with drinking for pleasure and enjoying yourself. Alcoholics can’t stop drinking at appropriate times and they start drinking at inappropriate times. They can’t handle it and they know it but depending on where they are in the downhill slide they might or might not admit it to you.