Do You Hide How Much You Drink From Others?

It Could Be the Sign of a Problem

Woman with bottle of wine
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One of the signs that you may have a drinking problem is if you hide your drinking from others or lie about how much you really drink. If you have progressed to the point where you are beginning to sneak around with your drinking, you may already have a drinking problem.

Hiding Your Drinking

Denial that you have a problem and hiding how much you drink is not one of the 11 criteria used to diagnose alcohol use disorder or to rate its severity.

But it is a concerning behavior that is often tied to those criteria. You may not want others to know you have a problem and you want to maintain access to alcohol whenever you get the craving.

  • You drink more than you should, so you hide from others how much you drink.
  • You are trying to cut down on how much you are drinking but you find you can't, so you hide your failure.
  • You spend too much time drinking, so you cover it up by claiming you were doing something else. You begin to cut back on activities you used to enjoy so you can sneak away and drink.
  • You experience cravings, so you keep a stash of alcohol hidden so you can drink when the craving strikes. This may be in inappropriate places, such as your vehicle, at work, or in hidden spots in your home.
  • Your drinking has interfered with work, school, or home life and you now hide it from those who are affected.
  • You drink when it's not safe to do so and you don't want others to know, such as when operating machinery or driving.

    From Social Drinking to Shame

    You may have started drinking as part of social activities. You went out for beer or went bar-hopping with friends. You enjoyed wine with meals with your friends and family. You relaxed with your loved one with a drink before dinner and after. There was no hiding.

    As your drinking became more frequent or you drank more each time, it may have started to produce problems with your behavior or your abilities.

    Your friends and loved ones may have begun to make comments, or you feared that they would.

    You began to feel shame over how much drinking was affecting you, and this led to hiding how much and when you were drinking. Or, you may have decided your drinking was not contributing to other problems and you lie about it simply to avoid anyone casting aspersions.

    Do You Hide Your Drinking?

    If you are one of those drinkers who hides your drinking from those close to you or covers up or hides how much you drink to others around you, ask yourself this question: If your drinking is not a problem, why hide it? Somewhere deep down inside, you know that your drinking has reached an unhealthy level. You know that your relationship with alcohol has crossed the line, or you wouldn't cover it up.

    Take the Alcohol Screening Quiz

    At some point, you progressed from a safe drinking level to an at-risk level of alcohol consumption. If you thought your drinking level was healthy, you would not hesitate to tell anyone exactly how much you drink.

    How does your drinking compare to healthy levels? Take an alcohol screening quiz to get an idea of how your drinking has progressed.


    Alcohol Use Disorder. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

    What are symptoms of an alcohol use disorder?. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.