Drinking alcohol in moderation is an enjoyable and sociable pastime for millions of men and women worldwide, but if the amount of alcohol you consume increases, or you start to drink on a more regular basis is your drinking getting out of hand?
Here are 8 alert signs that need to be taken seriously if you are to avoid becoming dependent upon alcohol.
Drinking and thinking about alcohol:
If you find you are drinking on a more regular basis, or are often thinking about where your next drink will be, this is a strong sign that you may be heading towards alcohol dependence.
Lying to those around you about how much you drink:
Denial is a very easy way to convince those around you that you are not drinking as much as you actually are.
The trouble with such denial is that in many cases those around you know fine well you are not being truthful, and just as importantly you are also denying to yourself how serious your alcohol intake actually is.
Until a person who is consuming too much alcohol on a regular basis takes the brave step of admitting to themselves there is a problem, their dependence upon alcohol will deepen.
Drinking to cope:
Is your drinking getting out of hand if you find that you need a drink simply to cope with stressful situations? Are you regularly heading straight to a favourite watering hole after work, or reaching for the bottle as soon as you get home?
The answer to these actions is a very definite YES. It shows that alcohol is in control of you and not the other way around.
Loss of memory or blackouts:
Those who drink heavily and cannot remember parts of the night before, or those who suffer blackouts after a long bout of drinking really do need to seek professional help through alcohol rehab programs.
Taking regular time off work:
It is common for heavy drinkers to wake up in a state of confusion and to feel absolutely lousy. Their immediate thought is that they are simply unable to face a day’s work.
Many find themselves phoning their employer and calling in sick. This does little for your self-esteem and even less for your employment prospects.
Is your drinking getting out of hand and causing problems with relationships?
Those who realise that their drinking habits are causing relationship problems but cannot stop drinking, and in many cases increase the regularity of alcohol consumption as the relationship worsens have a two-pronged problem to deal with:
- They are heading towards a complete breakdown in their relationship.
- The strong possibility of becoming addicted to alcohol will become an unwanted reality.
They know the damage it is doing to themselves and their partner, but the need for alcohol is simply too overpowering to do anything about it.
Unable to stop drinking:
After a particularly heavy session many of those who are reliant upon alcohol will tell themselves that it is time to stop drinking.
The problem here is that heavy or regular drinkers will already have built up a tolerance for alcohol. This means that their brain and body demand more of the same on an increasingly regular basis. By attempting to abstain from alcohol under such circumstances means two things:
- Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will start to kick-in.
- The bottle will quickly be out again, or they will be heading to the nearest bar for their ‘medicine’ to ease such unwanted withdrawal symptoms.
Convincing yourself that you DO NOT have a drink problem:
We touched on this point earlier in the piece, but it is vitally important to hammer this fact home.
Is your drinking getting out of hand to the point where you have convinced yourself that you are in control of your alcohol consumption and not the other way around?
The reality is that deep down you are fully aware of the amount and regularity at which alcohol is taken on board, you know that you are drinking far too much and understand the health and social problems this is creating, but you try and fool yourself that everything is under control and you can manage your alcohol intake.
It is extremely important to understand that until you admit to yourself there is a problem with the regularity and amount of drink consumed you will NOT seek much needed alcohol rehab treatment.
There is NO shame in seeking help:
Excessive drinking and a dependence upon alcohol affects millions of people the world over. It is extremely important for those who are drinking to excess to admit and accept that alcohol has now become a major issue.
Once this difficult admission has been made there are several routes to consider when seeking help:
Many men and women turn to groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous in their quest to quit drinking. The meetings you will attend encourage you to talk openly about the problems alcohol is causing and the strong grip it has over your life.
You will meet men and women in a similar situation to yourself and have the benefit of listening to those who were in that ‘place’, but who have managed to quit drinking and have stayed ‘dry’ ever since. This communal help is most definitely a step in the right direction.
Outpatient rehab treatment:
Once you have answered a definitive and determined “YES” to the question “Is your drinking getting out of hand?” another alternative to consider is to register as an outpatient at an alcohol rehab clinic.
This treatment will include sessions with a trained counsellor who will be very much aware of the issues you face and how challenging it is for you to quit drinking.
They will give sensible, structured and sound advice in terms of how to cope with your current situation and how to improve things over the long term.
While some may see this as an extreme step in their efforts to come to terms with alcohol problems, it must be recognized as an extremely effective option.
You will undergo treatment and counselling in a completely new environment, the professional staff are fully experienced in understanding the issues you face, the challenges that will present themselves, and how such issues should be addressed in a sensible and positive way.
The care on offer will be available 24/7 and as well as challenging individual counselling sessions there will be group sessions and activities which are based around the understanding that there is a thoroughly fulfilling life ahead without the need for alcohol.
During this stay you will receive support, advice and encouragement through physical, psychological and spiritual teaching. This approach has proven successful for many with alcohol dependence problems.
This is a vital strand of any inpatient treatment you receive. Once your initial stay is over you will be offered a range of aftercare options. These will be explained by your counsellor and after discussion you will opt for the solution that best suits you and your home environment.
Such attention to aftercare is vital if you are to overcome the burdens that excessive alcohol consumption has placed on yourself and those closest to you.
The ultimate aim is to answer the question: “Is your drinking getting out of hand?” with a most positive and definite “NO”. This will be because you are now leading a life that is free from alcohol.