Do you find yourself hiding your alcohol consumption from others? Have you ever lied about how much alcohol you have been drinking?
If so, then you may be secretly drinking, and this could be a very dangerous contributor to alcohol dependency.
Only 20% of alcoholics seek professional help. The key to recovery is honesty with yourself and others.
Our helpline is completely confidential, and our support team are on-call 24 hours a day for impartial advice.
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What is secret drinking?
Secret, or hidden drinking, is common among alcoholics because they have an increased tolerance to alcohol. People who drink secretly will consume alcohol intentionally before an event.
By hiding their extra alcohol consumption from loved ones, friends and work colleagues, it looks like they are drinking the same amount as everyone else at the event itself.
You will be able to tell if someone is secretly drinking if they are dishonest about how much they are using, or if they are hiding bottles in the bin.
Hidden alcohol use Vs alcoholism: warning signs
Though lying about your alcohol consumption does not make you an alcoholic, it can be a contributing factor to more severe drinking habits.
In order to spot the difference between hidden alcohol use and alcoholism, it is important to familiarise yourself with the telltale signs of alcoholism:
- Compulsion: You have an inability to stop or reduce alcohol consumption, or you experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink
- Obsession: You cannot stop thinking about alcohol, you crave a drink or feel irritable if you haven’t had a drink
- Personal and social problems: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause your personal and social life to break down, as well as cause relationship and financial problems
- Dishonesty: You are lying to yourself or others about how you are feeling, or how much you drink
10 telltale signs of hidden addiction:
There are numerous ways to spot secret drinking or hidden alcoholism. Here are 10 telltale signs:
1. Hiding places
Addicts will try and hide their bottles in unsuspecting places – under furniture, at the back of a bathroom cupboard, at the bottom of the bin – so that others don’t find their secret supply.
2. Need for money
Fuelling a habit is expensive. Are you, or someone you know selling household items, or stealing more precious objects like jewellery or technical devices?
‘Pregaming’ is a common word used to describe intentional drinking before an event to hide increased tolerance and need for alcohol. If you find yourself drinking in this way, then this is a big telltale sign.
4. Clear liquids
Most alcoholics or hidden drinkers opt for vodka, because it doesn’t have any colour, and doesn’t smell as much as other substances. Secret drinkers will pour vodka into other receptacles like water bottles, flasks, even perfume bottles, to avoid being detected.
If you or someone else pours clear liquid into other beverages, then this could be a sign of secret drinking.
Becoming unreliable and secretive is a possible sign of addiction. They begin to forget commitments, appointments, events or they are late to school or work. This sign alone is not always a sign of hidden drinking.
Losing interest and enthusiasm for hobbies, seeing friends, sports and social events that used to be a source of happiness is also a sign that something is not right.
7. Rapid weight loss
Often seen as a positive life change, weight loss can be overlooked as a sign of addiction.
8. Financial problems
Becoming unreliable can also have a snowball effect. You may begin to start missing bill payments and lose track of just how much you are spending. Financial desperation, such as stealing or selling items, is also an indicator of hidden drinking.
9. Admitting to lesser substances
If your irresponsible behaviour is spotted, you may admit to using lesser drug substances or make excuses about your drunken state – that you have been drinking on an empty stomach, or lying that you are a lightweight.
10. Increased tolerance
On the other hand, secret drinkers can increase their tolerance without showing signs of being out of control. They can physically hide it too.
Don’t accept excuses
The Executive Rehab Guide is your complete and comprehensive guide to anything drug- or alcohol-related. We are dedicated to providing the right support and advice to those seeking support or treatment.
Addiction is an illness, let us help you get through it.