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Signs Mom Is Drinking in the Afternoon

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one in five women has more than three drinks every time she consumes alcohol. Although women are less likely to drink than men, their lower weight and reduced water content means that they’ll start experiencing problems related to their drinking much sooner. If you suspect that your mom or partner is developing a problem with alcohol, drinking in the afternoon is a particularly worrying symptom. For homemakers or women who work at home, the temptation and freedom to drink throughout the day can lead them down the path to addiction.

Understanding Addiction

It’s important to gain an insight into the mind of the addict to be attuned to the symptoms of an alcohol addiction. Addicts don’t treat alcohol in the same way everybody else does. While most people drink to loosen up in a social situation or celebrate significant life events, alcoholics often have many reasons to drink. One of the most common is stress, and the association between the end of a challenging day and opening the bottle of wine can become very strongly established. Soon, the addict’s day begins to revolve entirely around getting that “relaxing” first drink, and everything else becomes less and less important. She might have trouble leaving a bottle half-finished, or continue to drink even when it causes problems in her day-to-day life because she thinks alcohol helps her to relax.

Signs Mom Is Drinking During the Day

The more generic signs of alcohol addiction all apply if you think your mom or partner is developing a problem. If she drinks every day, does so to relieve stress, or continues to drink despite it causing her problems, there may be an issue. She might be struggling at work, frequently calling in sick or doing things like drinking and driving. Drinking in the day is one of these signs, but unfortunately it’s one of the most difficult to spot.

If your mom or partner spends most of the day in the house, drinking in the day can easily become routine. Without the pressure of meeting employers face to face, she might feel as though there is no harm in opening a bottle a little earlier than 6 o’clock one day. This can go unnoticed because you probably won’t arrive home until relatively late. One of the biggest warning signs you can spot is that she always already has a bottle open when you return. If you see that she has opened a bottle, check to see how much is gone. Although it’s difficult to estimate, you should be able to tell whether it’s her first glass. Greet her with a hug and you might catch a whiff on her breath, even if you can’t see the evidence.

Think about the amount of alcohol you have in the house. This is useful for two reasons: first, a large store of alcohol is obviously a sign that there may be a problem, but, more importantly, it can provide evidence of the amount she’s consuming. The best way to spot day-time drinking is to check how much alcohol is in the house before you leave in the morning. Get a general sense of the levels of any spirits and count the bottles of wine. If this is a challenge to remember, that probably means there is an inordinate amount of alcohol in your home. When you return, you can look over the cupboard and see if any has mysteriously disappeared.

High-Functioning Alcoholics

The problem is even more difficult to spot in the case of a high-functioning alcoholic. This basically means that she may not appear obviously drunk or impaired as a result of her problem. In fact, she might excel at work, be successful in her studies, and have happy relationships. Studies have revealed that about 20 percent of alcoholics can be classed as high-functioning.

Many high-functioning alcoholics will use stress as a reason to drink, so be on the lookout for that. For example, she may drink heavily only after particularly challenging days. The possibility of high-functioning alcoholism means that you have to drop your prejudices about what an alcoholic is like. Only about one in 10 alcoholics fits the more stereotypical description (failing at work, tumultuous relationships, etc.), so don’t use that as your yardstick.

Getting Help

If you do think that your mom or partner is drinking too much, you should approach the topic gently. It isn’t a failing on her part; it’s something she is struggling with. Offer your help and support, and remind her that there are plenty of options for treatment. Depending on the severity of the problem, she may be able to regain control with support from her family, but in serious cases, professional treatment should be a consideration.

Posted on April 26, 2013 and modified on May 19, 2019

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