Sometimes, a person who has an alcohol abuse issue can try to hide the fact that they have a problem, or even the fact that they drink at all. This is not healthy for that individual or for the people who care about them. Hiding drinking from loved ones can be a symptom of a serious alcohol dependence or addiction as well as a sign that the individual needs help.
A Common Symptom
Denying the issue is a common symptom of an alcohol use disorder. Often, honesty is the first thing that the individual loses when they try to hide their drinking habit. This can seriously affect their health and well-being and their relationships with loved ones. The person with the addiction will lie about drinking, to the ones they are closest to as well as to themselves. Lies can take many forms, including:
- Concealing their drinking and making excuses when others notice the signs. They will say that the smell on their breath is a mint or gum or something else they just ate. They may also admit that they stopped at a bar but will say that it was only to talk to someone they knew there.
- Putting blame on others for the drinking problem. For example, they might say that someone else upset them so they have to drink or their job is frustrating so they need to drink to unwind after work.
- Being defensive about their choice to drink. They will rationalize that it’s nobody else’s business whether they consume alcohol or not. This is another tactic for hiding their drinking and justifying it.
- Dismissing their drinking as being a problem. They will convince themselves that it is not an issue, even while they are hiding their drinking from loved ones.
Why Do People Hide Drinking?
Even though the individual who is drinking may try to rationalize it, deep down they probably realize that they shouldn’t be drinking to the extent that they are and shouldn’t be trying to hide it from loved ones. The person addicted to alcohol knows that drinking means more to them than they are willing to admit. To make things worse, the alcohol itself will damage the brain, which can result in worsening denial and a loss of insight into their own illness.
Hiding drinking is different than drinking alone. Many people drink when they are by themselves but are not trying to conceal it from others. Hiding drinking involves an intent to deceive. They may not want others to know how much they drink or that they drink at all. An individual might sneak in a few drinks before going out to dinner, for example, where they might join friends or family members for another drink or two.
Signs That Someone is Hiding Drinking
An individual who is hiding drinking from loved ones will conceal the containers, quickly dispose of the empty bottles or cans, and use other methods to keep others from knowing what they are doing. They may also show outward signs such as being annoyed when the topic of drinking comes up, acting in a defensive manner or trying to avoid the subject of alcohol consumption. They will make excuses if someone close to them expresses suspicion of an issue and concern, denying that they have a problem.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
When someone is addicted to alcohol, it is often difficult to hide the symptoms even if they hide their drinking. These symptoms can include sneaking off to drink at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning or at work. The individual who has developed a high tolerance for alcohol will need to increase the amount or the frequency and will probably not show any signs of a hangover the next day.
Hiding their drinking will cause them to avoid contact with their loved ones, particularly while they are drinking and when they are trying to cover up the noticeable signs, such as alcohol on the breath. In fact, hiding while drinking is another major symptom of an alcohol addiction.
California Addiction Treatment Center
If you find that you are hiding your drinking and are ready to get and stay sober, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for help. We are uniquely equipped to help you recover from an addiction to alcohol or drugs. At HVRC, we offer a full continuum of care, from acute medical detoxification to sober living programs. We are licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH), enabling us to provide more services than most addiction treatment centers. During COVID-19, we remain open and continue to follow all of the CDC guidelines to keep you safe and healthy.