I over endulge when I drink alcohol and feel extremely guilty about it the next day

I'm a female in my mid 20s. Lately I tend to over drink and I've become a very angry drunk.

In the past, I have even cheated on my boyfriend while I was under the influence of alcohol.

But now, even if I don't do anything wrong and don't embarrass myself, I still feel really guilty after a night of drinking. I don't understand why I'm feeling this way. Does this mean I have a problem?

Karen Keys, LMHC, CASAC, NCC
Karen Keys, LMHC, CASAC, NCC
Recovery and Wellness Expertise

Hello, I commend you for your courage in taking a look at the role alcohol has in your life. It sounds like you're concerned about what happens when you drink too much and I suspect you already know the answer to your question about whether you have a problem or not. I imagine you would like to stop feeling guilty and would like to avoid cheating on your boyfriend or other negative consequences and maybe have a fear of being or becoming an "addict" or "alcoholic." You might have a "problem" but that does not necessarily mean that you are an addict. 

I don't have information to know if "addiction" or "dependence" or other words would best describe where you are with drinking, but it sounds like it's begun to have some negatives, so forgive me using words like addict, dependence and so on. I mean it more as a road map than a diagnosis. The feedback I'm writing here is very general and doesn't address physical dependence and many other factors that might apply to your situation.  

One of the ways to think about substance (mis)use is to think of addiction as a disease of avoidance. Let me repeat that: it is a disease of avoidance. Your ultimate task in living a balanced life is to figure out what you're avoiding and develop other ways to manage those feelings, experiences, and so on. And of course, along the way, you may want to look at triggers, situations, biological vulnerability, social pressures, coping skills, relapse prevention planning and so on. Depending on where you are in your drinking, you might very well benefit from expertise and support. 

Remember also that alcohol depresses our central nervous system and disinhibits us. That means that alcohol is often a substance of choice to relax, destress, calm down, etc. Also, it allows feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that we usually inhibit to be expressed. If you were unfaithful and often angry, that's your first signpost. For angry drinkers, it is often true that you don't drink and then get angry, you drink in order to express anger. 

I recommend you find someone you can speak frankly with, who is knowledgeable about addiction. Wishing you the best health and wellness. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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