Signs and symptoms Before treatment or recovery, most people with alcoholism deny that they have a drinking problem. Other indications of alcoholism and alcohol abuse include: Drinking alone or in secret Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink Not remembering conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as "blacking out" Making a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure Feeling a need or compulsion to drink Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn't available Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car Gulping drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good or drinking to feel "normal" Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances Building a tolerance to alcohol so that you need an increasing number of drinks to feel alcohol's effects Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — if you don't drink People who abuse alcohol may experience many of the same signs and symptoms as people who are dependent on alcohol. However, alcohol abusers don't feel the same compulsion to drink and usually don't experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they don't drink. A dependence on alcohol also creates a tolerance to alcohol and the inability to control your drinking. If you've ever wondered if your own alcohol consumption crosses the line of abuse or dependence, ask yourself these questions: Do you need a drink as soon as you get up? Do you feel guilty about your drinking? Do you think you need to cut back on your alcohol consumption? Are you annoyed when other people comment on or criticize your drinking habits? If you answered yes to two or more questions, it's likely that you have a problem with alcohol. Even one yes answer may indicate a problem.