(Originally published on Suite101

What to notice when drinking gets out of hand and out of control.

Sometimes partying can lead to destructive behavior. Drinking casually for example, especially among the college crowd, can go from “just for fun” to a full grown dependency. Although alcoholism is a problem in itself, binge drinkers should also be aware of the dangers they put themselves and their bodies into when drunk. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and it puts you at risks for predators. Below are some tips to help you notice if you’re drinking too much.

You’re drinking too much when:

Your friends say something – Good friends are hard to find, and they are the first ones to tell you when they see something wrong. If a good friend brings your drinking to your attention, take his comments into consideration. Remember, the last thing a friend wants is to see you hurt.

You make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise make – Take a moment to think about something you’ve done after a couple of drinks, and ask yourself, would I have done this sober? Or, would I have done this six months ago? A year ago? You may realize that drinking alcohol is taking a negative toll on your personality.

You can’t remember what you did last night – Blackouts are bad. Drunk blackouts are even worse. They leave you vulnerable for predators and it’s a clear sign that your body cannot handle that much alcohol. All it takes is for one person to notice your inebriated state and take advantage of that.

Your life is falling apart – Ever shown up at work hung over? Or still drunk? Called out of work because you partied too hard last night? Or missed one too many classes? Or, is the majority of your money going to alcohol? These and other things are signs that alcohol is disrupting your life, and it’s not okay. Your life and future are more important, and nothing should ever interfere with that.

What to do if you’re drinking too much:

First and foremost, put the drink down and change your partying behavior. Pick up a hobby, join a club. Do something that you love and spend all your free time falling in love with it again. Catch up on a show you’ve been meaning to watch, just do anything it takes to redirect your energy into something positive. Because exercise raises endorphins, why not start a workout regime? You’ll feel good and look good.

If you still can’t seem to wean yourself from the bottle, then consider professional help. There is nothing shameful in admitting that you need help. And if anyone mocks your new, clean lifestyle, lose their phone numbers.