Many people enjoy an alcoholic beverage, and for the most part, it won’t be a problem or any cause for concern. So how do you know if things aren’t going in a great direction with your drinking?
Alcohol Intake & Identifying Problems
Just because something is legal and socially accepted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you. Take alcohol, for example. You have to imagine that if it was just discovered today, then governments would probably ban it. But as it happens, it has a long history (thousands of years), and thus banning it would be impossible. Still, the availability of alcohol doesn’t mean that you have to indulge. There are a lot of benefits to giving up, after all. In most cases, it’s only when people realise they’re drinking too much that they make an effort to quit.
There’s a difference between imbibing on a balanced basis that you enjoy, and becoming more dependent on drinking and it being problematic in your life. You may not necessarily realise if intake is gradually increasing, so it’s worth checking and considering if it’s doing harm. There are also differences in the types and stages of alcohol problems.
This post looks more at early stages, so it should be noted that more dangerous alcoholism is something that requires more care to treat. Going cold turkey can be risky and it’s usually advised people get support to reduce and stop intake while looking after both their mental and physical health.
So how do you know when it’s time to look at your relationship with alcohol, cut down or stop drinking? Let’s take a look.
How Do You Know If Your Alcohol Drinking Is Becoming An Issue?
Your Intake Is Increasing
Things tend to happen incrementally. Nobody starts drinking more alcohol than they can tolerate. They build up to it. Most people don’t even like the taste of alcohol when they first taste it! It’s always important to be aware of how much you’re consuming and see if it’s increasing. For instance, if you find that you’re drinking on multiple nights a week rather than just the one or two that you used to drink, then maybe take a look at changing your approach. If it feels like it’s increasing and your control over it may not be what it used to be, you might feel better for reining it in and ensuring your drinking is enjoyable, rather than habitual or damaging.
It’s Getting You In Trouble
One of the issues with alcohol is that people tend to act in uncharacteristic ways. And the more that you drink, the more likely it is that you’ll run into issues. The trouble that can come your way is varied. You could get into an argument or a fight. Or it could be law-breaking, where you may buckle up and decide to drive home while intoxicated. Whether or not it leads to an accident if you’re caught you’ll need criminal defense attorneys who handle cases like yours, but you don’t want to get to that point or need such a stark wake-up call. If you do find drinking has got you into some kind of trouble, it’ll be time to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Is it taking you down a positive path in life, or is it causing you nothing but trouble?
Alcohol consumption can also cause problems in relationships, too. It might be friends and family, or a partner and work colleagues. It may be that they feel you’ve changed in a negative way or that you’re becoming unreliable, and over time this can lead to others get fed up or frustrated. If the people who are important to you seem to be getting a little fed up with your drinking, then it’ll be time to consider making a change. Those around you may spot the potential for problems before you do, so it’s worth listening to them, realising that they care about you, and seeing whether they’ve got a point.
You’re Using It To Resolve A Problem
Alcohol issues, both big or small, can happen to anyone. Sometimes they might start as a way of helping or alleviating another problem, for instance to distract yourself from something in your life, to quiet down the agony of chronic physical pain, and so on. Alcohol is unlikely to be a good bandaid nor will it resolve the crux of the issues. Instead, it’s likely to cause more issues of its own.
Drinking Is On Your Mind
In between occasions to drink, are you thinking about when you’ll next have a drink? Do you find yourself getting sweaty, nauseous or agitated? If your body is starting to get addicted, you’ll spot physical signs of withdrawal. This is often later to develop, so if you’re at this point please do consider reaching out for support from your doctor.
You’re Associating Good Times With Alcohol
They say you don’t need alcohol to have a good time, but what if you’re starting to feel like you do? If you’re associating drinking with increasing occasions, both the good times and perhaps not so good times, then it might indicate an issue. It’s great to have events and occasions to look forward to, but they don’t have to all be about or even involve alcohol.
Energy & Happiness Issues
Humans are an adaptable bunch. Your alcohol consumption may be negatively impacting your energy and happiness levels, but since you’re drinking more frequently, you don’t fully realise that this is the case. If you’ve been feeling worse than you used to, perhaps with lower energy levels or more mood swings, consider taking a break from alcohol. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll hopefully realise that you have energy to burn compared to when you were drinking and that you’re in a better mood, too. It may just take time and dedication to get to feeling better, mentally and physically, without a reliance on alcohol.
You’re Making Excuses & Reasoning It Away
If you’re finding yourself making excuses for indulging in alcohol, then you’ll find a reason to do it at any point. For instance, by thinking that you deserve it after a bad day, that you should have it because you’re celebrating, that you might as well because everyone else is drinking, that you’ve either got other more pressing health issues or no health issues at all and so drinking shouldn’t matter, or that you can drink because you don’t spend money elsewhere. The potential excuses and reasonings are limitless.
It’s Becoming Your Go-To Activity
Finally, if all you’re doing is building your days or evenings around alcohol, it may time to take a step back. There are lots of things you could do other than drinking, so try to see why you’re turning to alcohol instead of something that could be useful, enjoyable, productive or fun in a healthy, balanced way?
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If you think you might have a problem with alcohol or you’re worried about one developing, now is the time to reassess your relationship with it. Please reach out for help that’s available, whether it’s through a friend, your doctor, local healthcare services or a peer support charity like Alcoholics Anonymous. You can find more information on alcohol problems and tips to help yourself or a loved one with a Google search, as well locate different contacts for drinking help and support.
[ This is a collaborative post ]