Everyone has a different story of how they started drinking. Mine didn't begin until I was about 20-21. I never had alcohol in the house. I've never seen anyone in my family drink. So, I wasn't introduced to alcohol until college.
I attended a small, Christian college, so interestingly enough, my friends and I didn't drink much. But, when we did, I was usually the one blacking out, or throwing up in the bathroom or bushes. My problematic drinking didn't start until I was about 25. I remember the summer it happened. My brother was a Marine stationed in San Diego, and I went to visit him for a Fourth of July weekend. It ironically happened to be the weekend, I met my now husband, Clayton. We spent the whole weekend on the beach, and in clubs intoxicated.
Clayton and I started dating pretty quickly, (he's pretty cool and good looking what can I say?!) I soon moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he was stationed as a rescue swimmer in the Navy.
It was Florida, it was warm and we were in our mid 20's we drank heavily about 4 to 5 days a week. Clayton and I got into many drunken fights, but it didn't seem abnormal because everyone else around me was doing it. I continued to drink like this into my late 20's into my 30's.
I honestly didn't start to realize I had a problem, until I found myself staying out until 2 am, and driving while intoxicated. I was throwing up more, blacking out, getting cut off at bars, and having Clayton pick me up. Despite all of this it took me a few years to get sober.
Now that I share my story of recovery so openly, I often get asked the question, "how do I know if I have a problem?" There's really no easy answer to that question. I remember googling that question over and over.
I think the better question to ask yourself, is: "Is alcohol getting in the way of me living my best life?" "Is alcohol impacting my ability to authentically show up for the people in my life" I know that when I was drinking it was impossible for me to do this. In fact, I remember completely missing Clayton's 30th birthday, because I was at the bar drinking the night away.
When I quieted my mind and was completely honest with myself I knew I needed help. The final straw was me showing up to work drunk, and going on a two day binge.
I hope this helps you do the deep work of understanding your relationship to alcohol better, and just know that if you want to stop, it's always possible.