Hidden Alcoholism and Secret Drinking - Rehab Guide Clinics

Hidden Alcoholism and Secret Drinking

Hidden Alcoholism and Secret Drinking

man hidden alcohol in pocket

It may seem hard to believe, but many people are unaware that their partners secretly drink. Perhaps you are secretly drinking, or you suspect that someone close to you is hiding their alcohol intake, then this is a sign that alcohol is becoming an issue.

If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, is developing a damaging relationship with alcohol through secret drinking, help is available.

It can be tough to tell if someone is secretly drinking, even if they are living in the same house as you, but even though those who want to keep their alcohol consumption a secret, there is only so much they can hide.

If you or someone close has an alcohol addiction, then the apparent effects of alcoholism will begin to show, and there is no hiding that. But that is not exactly what we want. Ideally, we would like to intervene before the consequences of alcoholism raise their head.

So, let us look at the signs that could help designate hidden drinking.

The Signs of Secret Drinking

It is important to remember that alcoholism isn’t a choice, but that doesn’t mean that trying to help won’t be frustrating. Sometimes, you feel like you do not want to bother anymore, and the urge to walk away is sometimes strong.

Approaching someone you suspect is secretly drinking will require patience and little expectation. It is unlikely that their response will be positive, as you will threaten what they think they need the most.

Spotting the signs isn’t easy; the main aim of someone secretly drinking is to deceive. So much of the person’s energy will go into thinking about how to hide their alcohol intake, but we can’t permanently hide everything.

Let us look at the common signs of secret drinking.

  • Preferring to drink over any other form of regular activity and showing a general lack of interest unless alcohol is involved.
  • Being drunk more often than usual and developing a higher tolerance for alcohol. Look out for an increase in alcohol consumption. For example, if the person needs to increase their alcohol intake to generate the same effect.
  • Seeming tired all the time, unwell, irritable or lacking motivation.
  • Not being able to say no to alcohol or not being able to have just one or two.
  • Feeling anxious, depressed or having trouble sleeping.
  • Behaving in a secretive or dishonest way about how much alcohol they’re drinking
  • Showing signs of a lack of hygiene and self-care. The sign of a lack of self-care coincides with a lack of sleep and motivation.

Not all of the signs are included in this list. So it is vital to think outside the box when looking for patterns and correlations when flagging the signs of secret alcoholism.

How do Alcoholics Hide How Much They Drink?

Those who want to hide how much alcohol they consume will find various ways to hide it. Below are some of the most common methods of concealing our drinking habits.

Masking the smell of alcohol

Someone who regularly hides how much they drink will carry strong mints or chewing gum around with them, as well as mouthwash, which can be a helpful way of masking while also providing a source of alcohol.

Hiding how much they drink

Hiding the amount of alcohol might sound obvious, but how we can conceal alcohol is not so obvious. Let’s take vodka, for example, it is clear and is easily replaced with water, or you may start buying boxes of wine instead of bottles. It is not uncommon for secret drinkers to hide alcohol in a shampoo bottle or a water bottle, or the classic flask. Whatever doesn’t raise suspicion.

Stashing bottles around the house

Stashing bottles around the house may sound similar to hiding alcohol in shampoo bottles or a flask, but it is different. An alcohol stash increases the chances of taking a secret drink in passing by hiding bottles at the back of cupboards, behind the couch or even in the car. If you happen to find alcohol in an unusual place, then you could be living with someone who has an alcohol addiction.


Another sign, which may be subtle depending on who it is, is not wanting to get close. For example, if someone is suddenly acting distant, it could be that they don’t want you to smell the alcohol on their breath.

man hiding alcohol bottle

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism

Spotting the signs and symptoms of alcoholism in yourself or another can be vital to gaining access to life-saving treatment. Still, it isn’t always straightforward, especially to the untrained eye. The difference between drinking too much from full-blown alcoholism is significant. So it is essential to be able to differentiate between the two.

The Physiological Signs of Alcoholism

  • Frequent intoxication and lack of control around the consumption of alcohol
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • They are taking more risks whilst intoxicated. As the need for alcohol increases, they may start drinking and driving at work or while caretaking a minor or drinking under the influence in general.
  • Progressively drinking more alcohol or more potent alcohol as tolerance to alcohol develops.
  • They suffer from adverse health effects due to their alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious physiological health problems.
  • They develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they are not consuming alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal occurs when the body and brain are starved of alcohol as an alcohol dependence has occurred. In some cases, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening and can vary from anxiety and insomnia to more severe symptoms like delirium tremens, hallucinations and seizures.

What Kind of Support is out There?

If you or the person in question agrees that they have an issue with alcohol and want help, then it may be beneficial for you or you’re loved one to speak with our team about what kind of services are available. Call or chat with us today.

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