September 5, 2023

Is Drinking Alone a Sign of Alcoholism?

image representing trazodone addiction.

Is it bad to drink alone” and “Is drinking alone a sign of alcoholism” are among the questions most commonly asked by those calling alcohol addiction hotlines.

Help for you or a loved one is only one call away.

While drinking alone at home is not necessarily problematic, it may contribute to the development of alcoholism (clinically described as alcohol use disorder). Alcoholism is a chronic brain condition that has many potential causes.

In this brief guide, we address the following issues regarding solitary drinking and show you how to connect with evidence-based alcohol addiction treatment:

  • Is drinking alone bad?
  • Is it ok to drink alone occasionally?
  • I drink alone: does this mean that I have alcoholism?

Why Do People Drink Alone?

While social drinking in the presence of companions is widely accepted, solitary drinking often raises concerns. What motivates people to drink alone, then?

Common reasons for solo alcohol consumption include:

  • Exerting control over drink choices, timing, and pace.
  • Avoiding social pressures.
  • Enjoying solitary moments.
  • Fighting boredom.
  • Appreciating the taste of a specific beverage.
  • Seeking relief from negative emotions.
  • Coping with stress and anxiety.
  • Concealing addiction or withdrawal symptoms.

If occasional solitary drinking doesn’t escalate into dependence or contribute to depression, it may not be problematic. Nevertheless, solitary alcohol consumption can lead to notable physical, emotional, and societal consequences, often accompanied by social stigma.

Man looks out window to represent getting drunk alone

When is Drinking by Yourself a Problem?

Is drinking by yourself bad in all cases, then? Drinking by yourself can raise concerns when it evolves into abusive patterns of consumption or exhibits signs of potential alcohol misuse or dependence. Certain factors indicate when drinking alone could become problematic:

  • Frequency: Consistently turning to alcohol as a solitary activity.
  • Escalation: Gradually increasing the amount consumed when drinking alone.
  • Inability to stop: Difficulty cutting back or abstaining from solo drinking.
  • Negative consequences: Experiencing negative physical, emotional, or social outcomes due to solitary drinking. In addition to getting drunk alone in your room, perhaps you sometimes drink alone in public settings, for instance. If so, this may expose you to an increased risk of crime victimization.
  • Emotional crutch: Relying on alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotional challenges.
  • Interference with life: Negatively impacting daily responsibilities, relationships, or overall well-being.
  • Dependence signs: Developing tolerance – needing more alcohol to achieve the same effect – or experiencing withdrawal symptoms in its absence.
  • Hiding behavior: Concealing solo drinking from others or feeling compelled to drink in secret.
  • Neglected interests: Neglecting hobbies or activities previously enjoyed in favor of solitary drinking.
  • Isolation: Preferring to drink alone rather than engage in social interactions.

If you or someone you know exhibits these signs, it might indicate that solitary drinking has transitioned into a problematic behavior that could warrant further evaluation and intervention. Seeking support from healthcare professionals or mental health experts can provide guidance in addressing potential alcohol-related concerns.

How to Stop Drinking Alone

Recognizing the need to curb solitary drinking is a crucial step toward establishing a healthier relationship with alcohol. If you are concerned about your solo drinking habits, here are some actionable strategies to consider:


Reflect on your reasons for drinking alone. Identifying triggers and motivations can help you make more conscious choices.

Set limits

Establish clear limits on the amount and frequency of solo drinking. Stick to these boundaries to prevent escalation.

Seek alternatives

Replace solo drinking with healthier activities you enjoy – exercising, reading, or pursuing hobbies, for instance.

Reach out

Talk to friends, family, or a support network about your desire to cut back on solo drinking. Sharing your goals can provide accountability.

Professional help

If you find it challenging to control your drinking, consider seeking guidance from a therapist, counselor, or support group.

Mindful consumption

If you do choose to drink, practice mindful drinking. Pay attention to the taste, the experience, and your body’s response to alcohol.

Address underlying issues

If you are using alcohol to cope with emotions or stress, explore healthier coping mechanisms or seek professional assistance.


Engage in social activities that don’t revolve around alcohol. Spend time with friends and family who support your efforts.

Stay informed

Educate yourself about the potential risks of excessive alcohol consumption, especially if you are regularly drinking alone.

Seek professional help

If solo drinking has escalated to dependence or you are struggling to quit, consider enlisting help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

Remember that making changes takes time, and setbacks are normal. Celebrate your progress and be patient with yourself as you work towards healthier habits and a balanced relationship with alcohol.

Do I Need Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Determining whether you require alcohol addiction treatment depends on the severity of your drinking habits, their impact on your life, and your ability to control them. If you find that your solo drinking has escalated and is negatively affecting your well-being, relationships, work, or health, seeking professional help might be beneficial. Consider the following factors:

  • Loss of control: If you struggle to limit the amount you drink, especially when alone, it could indicate a loss of control over your alcohol consumption.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical or emotional withdrawal symptoms when not drinking can be a sign of physiological dependence on alcohol.
  • Interference with life: If alcohol consumption interferes with your daily responsibilities, relationships, or personal interests, it may be time to consider treatment.
  • Failed attempts: If you have tried unsuccessfully to quit drinking alone, seeking support and treatment could increase your chances of success.
  • Emotional impact: If you rely on alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotions, addressing these underlying issues through treatment is much more effective than self-medication.
  • Health concerns: If your health is compromised due to excessive alcohol consumption, seek medical guidance to restore balance.
  • Relationship strain: If your relationships are strained due to your drinking behavior, therapy and counseling can help address these issues.
  • Self-assessment: Reflect honestly on your drinking patterns and their consequences. If you are unsure, seek professional evaluation to provide clarity.

Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you are uncertain whether or not you need treatment, consult with a healthcare provider, therapist, or addiction specialist to establish the most appropriate course of action.

an image of Gratitude Lodge's drinking alone treatment center

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you have been drinking alone at home or getting drunk alone frequently, engaging with evidence-based treatment could help you recalibrate your life. At Gratitude Lodge, we have pet-friendly treatment centers located in Newport Beach and Long Beach, California to help you achieve this.

Begin your recovery from alcohol addiction with our supervised medial detoxification program. Here, you can take advantage of medications to streamline the alcohol withdrawal process. You will also benefit from continuous emotional and clinical care throughout detox. After a week or so, having addressed the issue of alcohol dependence, you can move into ongoing inpatient treatment.

All Gratitude Lodge addiction treatment programs blend science-based and holistic interventions, such as:

When you are ready to reclaim your life from alcohol addiction and drinking alone, reach out to Gratitude Lodge admissions by calling 888-861-1658.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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