Everyone knows at least one person in their life who’s responsible all week and then lets loose on weekends. Often, letting loose means drinking excessively until they black out every Friday and Saturday night. You might have thought to yourself occasionally that this is worrying behavior but then dismissed those thoughts. After all, it’s not like they drink during their week, and they still get their responsibilities done — how can this be alcoholism?
So, what is a “weekend alcoholic,” and is it really the same as being an alcoholic? Can’t someone just enjoy drinking on the weekend? We’ll look into this and help you identify the five warning signs of a weekend alcoholic.
Is It a Problem to Drink Every Weekend?
Drinking every weekend is quite a common habit for many people. And if you’re sticking to weekend-only drinking, then it can’t really be a sign of a drinking problem, right? After all, everyone knows that an alcoholic has to drink all the time, so they wouldn’t be able to limit themselves to just the weekend.
In reality, weekend drinking could just be a sign that you’re a high-functioning alcoholic. What makes you an alcoholic isn’t necessarily how many days you drink, but the amount you drink.
The CDC defines “binge drinking” as having more than four (for women) or five (for men) drinks on a single occasion. Additionally, “heavy drinking” is defined as having more than eight (for women) or 15 (for men) drinks per week. Someone staying sober all week and then having two or three intense nights of drinking on the weekend easily falls into either of these categories. You can still be an alcoholic if you combine all your drinking into just a few nights, which is where the term “weekend alcoholic” comes from. Being either a binge drinker or a heavy drinker brings a person into the category of an alcoholic.
Unfortunately, it’s much harder to pick up on the warning signs of a weekend alcoholic. To the outside world, this person seems to have it all together. They’re often a high-functioning alcoholic, meaning they’re performing well at work and keeping up appearances socially. And since drinking all weekend is quite common today, no one notices anything wrong. Often, only close family members, partners and friends begin to suspect an individual might be a weekend alcoholic.
What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?
1. They Lie About Their Drinking
Have you ever caught a person lying about how much alcohol they consumed? For example, you’re with them at a party and you’re shocked to realize they finished off the 12-pack of beer they brought all by themselves. When you point this out to them, they try to tell you they shared the beers with other people, even though you’re confident they didn’t.
Deep down, high-functioning alcoholics know they have a problem. This means they often go out of their way to lie about their drinking so as to not alarm the people in their lives.
2. They Can’t Stop After Just One Drink
One common warning sign you’ll notice in a weekend alcoholic is that they can never stop after just one drink. Even if they made plans to be the designated driver or have an early morning and promise to have just one, they always end up drinking more. The person’s body has come to crave alcohol, so they can’t stop at just one.
3. They Have Frequent Blackouts
Blacking out from drinking should not be a regular occurrence. Drinking excessively impacts how your brain performs and retains memories. If the person frequently tells stories of having blacked out or can’t seem to remember details of the night the next day, it could be a strong sign they have a drinking problem.
4. They Aren’t Prioritizing the Right Things
A weekend alcoholic may be a high-functioning alcoholic, but this typically lasts only so long. As the body and mind develop an addiction, drinking will naturally start to become the priority above all else. You may notice that the individual is beginning to prioritize all the wrong things. For example, they drink until late on a Sunday night even though they have an important work meeting the next day. Or, they get excessively drunk at a nephew’s first birthday party, making everyone feel uncomfortable.
If the person’s priorities seem to be shifting, they could be on a downward spiral into addiction.
5. They Act Different When They’re Drunk
If drinking causes the person to act differently, it could be a sign of a problem. If the person is typically shy and becomes an extrovert when drinking, they could be using alcohol to cope with social anxiety. Or, you might notice the person is more likely to become violent after they’ve been drinking. This could imply that the person is drinking to self-medicate and conceal other issues, such as high stress, anxiety or depression. Using alcohol for self-medication is highly problematic as it doesn’t address the underlying issues and can often lead to addiction.
How to Stop Weekend Drinking
There are plenty of steps a person can take to reduce and stop their weekend drinking. After admitting they have a problem, they can try:
- Keeping their weekend schedules busy with non-drinking activities
- Working over the weekends for a while to try to cut down the routine of weekend drinking
- Picking up a weekend hobby or joining a sports team
- Avoiding places that have alcohol on the weekends
- Considering professional help
Unfortunately, alcohol disorder can be particularly challenging to overcome because drinking is so ingrained into society. As a result, many weekend alcoholics can benefit from seeking professional help. The temptation for drinking will always be around, but a rehabilitation program can help individuals learn coping mechanisms.
If you or your loved one is dealing with a form of weekend alcoholism, help is available. FHE Health is an addiction treatment center that takes an evidence-backed approach to substance abuse addiction. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today to find out how we can help by calling (844) 299-0618.