Dear Carolyn,

Why did people drink so much alcohol on Dec. 31? My husband used the New Year as an opportunity to binge. I have become increasingly concerned about his drinking, which is becoming rather intolerable. He has personality changes, and it seems he depends on alcohol for a good time. What are the signs of alcoholism?


Carolyn Answers,

If your husband has Alcohol Abuse Disorder, that disorder has been brewing much longer than a New Year’s Eve party. According to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, on New Year’s Eve, 37.4 percent of men and 24 percent of women drank more than four drinks. Alcohol Abuse Disorder is the name given to alcoholism by psychologists and psychiatrists in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (edition 5), which is used for diagnosis and treatment by mental health professionals.

Alcohol Abuse Disorder (alcoholism) is a serious addiction and health problem. The disorder can present many symptoms, but I will address a few prominent issues. 1) Continued alcohol use that affects health, such as blood pressure, is a factor.  2) Drinking is a priority over other activities. 3) Drinking and engaging in risky or dangerous behavior is a red flag. 4) Increasing tolerance of alcohol is a dangerous symptom. 5) Blackouts or withdrawal if the person is not drinking is a sign of the disorder.

Watch your husband’s problem and help him get help if he will do so. Alcoholism is a justifiable factor for leaving a spouse under North Carolina family law.


Send your family law and divorce questions to “Ask Carolyn…” at, or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro, NC  27427. Please do not put identifying information in your questions. Note that the answers in “Ask Carolyn” are intended to provide general legal information, and the answers are not specific legal advice for your situation. The column also uses hypothetical questions. A subtle fact in your unique case may determine the legal advice you need in your individual case. Also, please note that you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with Carolyn J. Woodruff by writing or having your question answered by “Ask Carolyn…”