For many people with drinking problems, there will always be a time in their life that they will be struck by a realization which will make them say, “Help, I need to stop drinking!” Alcoholism is not an illness; instead, it is a habit – and it is a habit needing to be changed.
The Realization You Need to Stop Drinking
We do understand that by the time you realize you need to stop drinking, some events might have happened which caused you to wake up from your deep slumber. Perhaps it is a fight with your family or loved ones, some bad things that you have done under the influence of alcohol, or even upon realizing that you are already too addicted and dependent to alcohol and it is now a vice. Of course, feelings of being so down plus the stigma and embarrassment of being labeled as a “drunkard” would stick to you, and that’s definitely not a compliment.
A drinking problem is not unusual and you are not alone. You need first to understand the reasons why many become addicted or dependent with alcohol to effectively battle this habit, and you can later identify which reason(s) applies to you.
According to a UK Department of Health study, there are several reasons as to why people drink to excess on a regular basis. They have identified nine main groups or reasons why people drink heavily. Heavy drinking is defined as 35 units per week for women and 50 units per week for men. This is twice the recommended limit.
Although this is obviously just a general guide, where do you think you fit into this? It may be you fit across categories or even have other reasons outside of the nine presented below. However, it is a useful guide to start looking at the causes for your heavy drinking.
Types of Problem Drinkers:
- Depressed drinker: Your life is in a state of crisis, e.g. recently bereaved,
divorced or in a financial crisis. Alcohol is a comforter and a form of self-medication to help you cope
- De-stress drinker: You may have a pressurized job or a stressful home-life leading to feelings of being out of control and burdened with responsibility. You use alcohol to relax, unwind and calm down and to help with switching between your work and your personal life. Partners often support or reinforce this behavior by preparing drinks for you.
- Re-bonding drinker: You use alcohol as the “shared connector” that unifies
your friends and your social circle. You often forget the time and the amount of alcohol you are consuming.
- Conformist drinker: You use going to the pub or bar as what “men do” and
it is your second home. You have a sense of belonging and acceptance within this environment.
- Community drinker: You drink in large social friendship groups. You
have a sense of community forged through the pub group. Drinking for you provides a sense of safety and security and gives your life meaning and acts as a social network with your friends.
- Boredom drinker: This is especially true if you are a single mother or
recent divorcee with a restricted social life. Drinking is company, making up for an absence of people in your life. Drinking marks the end of the day perhaps following the completion of chores.
- Macho drinker: You often feel undervalued, disempowered and frustrated in
important areas of your life. You have actively cultivated a strong alpha male identity that revolves around your drinking prowess. Your drinking is driven by a constant need to assert your masculinity and status to yourself and others.
- Hedonistic drinker: You are single, divorced and/or with grown-up children. Drinking excessively is a way for you visibly to express your independence, freedom and “youthfulness” to yourself. You use alcohol to release your inhibitions.
Causes of alcohol problems:
- Social environment: Today, drinking is accepted in our society. From TV and print ads, billboards, on the internet – you can see alcohol products being advertised everywhere. Aside from the media conveying that drinking is good, there’s also the pressure of drinking due to the occasion or peer pressure.
- Emotional causes: Frustrations, anger, sadness, jealousy, and many other types of negative moods producing emotional pain cause a person to turn to alcohol. Often, when a person experiences any of these feelings, he is very prone to drink alcohol especially if he thinks that liquor is a good friend to turn to when all others fail.
- Brain chemical changes: Long-term drinking of alcohol may affect the brain’s neurotransmitters. Drinking could make the brain experience rewarding feelings or euphoria through the release of dopamine, serotonin and opioid peptides. Later on, alcohol will slowly deplete the dopamine and serotonin eventually failing to provide a euphoric and pleasurable feeling for the person.
- Genetics: According to some research, alcoholism can be inherited. This suggests that genetic variations are related to alcohol and other substance abuse.
Can you identify yourself with any one of the reasons given? If so, then you can now plan what you need to do to effectively stop alcoholism.
First, you must believe in yourself! Believe that you can empower yourself and that you can get past your current condition. A drinking problem is a bad habit which needs to be stopped, and you have to be empowered to be able to control yourself and be able to break away from the habit.
Next, strengthen your safety net. Your safety net would include your family, friends and acquaintances. Most people discount the help of what the family and friends can do. These significant people in your life can provide you with the support and motivation you need to control your drinking problems. Their continuous encouragement and belief in you would certainly help you more than you know.
In the recovery process, you would also surely need all the help you can get. Don’t be hesitant to ask for professional help like counseling, therapies and support groups – these would ensure that you’re under good supervision in your recovery. They would also provide you with information on successfully battling alcohol abuse through proven methods that have worked with others. Remember you are not alone in the fight; there are many people out there who suffer the same problem and they did win against it, so why can’t you?
If you think you need help, we can give it to you. We offer HELP to everyone with drinking problems. Check out our Give Up Alcohol Course for your recovery from drinking problems exclusively in the privacy of your home!