How to know when you’re addicted to alcohol

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Understanding Addiction

Alcohol can be a very pleasurable pursuit, but are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often? If so, then sensible measures need to be put in place before dependence becomes an issue.

Why is alcohol so popular?

Alcohol activates pleasure sensations in the brain and affects every part of your body. Once it is consumed it enters the stomach. Unlike food it is not digested. This means it quickly passes into your bloodstream and onwards to all parts of your body.

When most people have a drink or two if makes them feel happy, decreases their inhibitions and helps to relax.

Two other reasons for its popularity are how long it has been around and its legality.

Alcohol has been with us since the year dot and is used by many civilisations as an accepted part of daily life. This is particularly true during festivals or significant events in their calendars.

When a person reaches a certain age alcohol is also LEGAL to buy and consume in most countries. This must NOT detract from the fact that it can also be highly addictive.

There is a common misconception that because alcohol is legal it is ‘safe’. It needs to be remembered that excessive alcohol consumption is potentially far more dangerous than any illegal recreational drug available.

Are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often – Why alcohol is potentially addictive?

Your body and mind quickly build up a tolerance to alcohol. What this means is that it readily accepts alcohol, hence the enjoyment received.

The problem is that as your tolerance builds, so do the demands of your brain and body. They like what has been introduced, but as drinking continues, more is required to achieve the same effects as previously experienced.

The more you drink, the more you need to satisfy, the more dependent you become. Regular drinking, increasing the amount you drink each day, or ‘binge’ sessions, where excess alcohol is consumed over one session are a direct route to seeking alcohol rehab assistance.

Slipping into reliance on alcohol:

It is relatively easy to slip into a routine that leads to increased drinking. You suddenly find that those twice weekly visits to your local watering hole are doubling, and before long it becomes a regular, everyday occurrence.

In this case the answer to the question: Are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often? Is a definite YES.

We all have daily stresses and these are increasing with the modern lifestyle many attempt to keep pace with.

If you have pressure situations at work, or are carrying out a daily juggling act to keep partners, children, household chores and social obligations on an even keel, there can be a natural tendency to reach for the bottle after a long day.

Such a trigger can easily turn into a scattergun approach where you find a ‘quick’ drink is taken earlier than normal, or the one or two drinks taken as you relax at the end of a long day turn into three or four.

As your tolerance and need grows it is not long before the bottle is emptied or that full 6-pack has quickly vanished from the fridge.

Take a very brave step:

Are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often for comfort? It is a common fact that where alcohol consumption is involved the majority of people underplay the amount they drink.

They will try and convince their partners and loved ones that they are drinking far less than is actually true, and just as worryingly, they will convince themselves that their ever increasing consumption is less than it actually is.

If you are nearing, or already in this situation, the first vital step is to own up to yourself that your drinking is becoming out of hand. Continued denial means ever increasing amounts drank, which in turn means the next stage will be dependence and addiction to alcohol.

Sensible measures:

There are many ways to reduce the amount of alcohol you are drinking. Make a conscious decision to cut back on the amount of visits made to favourite bars or watering holes. If it is drinking at home that is increasing then limit the days of week you have a drink.

Try and limit this to two or three times a week, at the same time try and put a sensible limit on the amount you drink.

If you are out drinking it is also important that when you get home you do not continue the ’session’ via that tempting drinks cabinet or inviting fridge!

When you know the answer is a positive to: Are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often? The above approach may be too hard to achieve. Temptation is a very powerful force!

Sensible measures – Part 2:

If such temptation is too hard to handle then consider taking up a hobby that involves time and concentration.

Examples are joining your local fitness centre, or making things that require time and patience to complete. If the latter is your chosen avenue, choose easy to make things in the first instance and gradually build up from there.

Reading is another very rewarding way to pass your time and once immersed in a good ‘tale’ you are likely to forget about wanting a drink.

Consider joining group or club activities where drink is not involved, or look at getting involved with a local charity. As well as giving something back to society your self-esteem will rise immeasurably.

Enjoy don’t Destroy!

Just because alcohol is legal in many countries does not mean it is danger free. Excessive alcohol consumption is your 1st class, one way ticket to creating health, relationship and employment problems. This non-stop express service terminates at alcohol rehab.

Ensure the answer is a very positive NO to the question: Are you seeing the bottom of your glass too often?

By all means enjoy a drink or two, partake in toasting friends and family on special occasions, but limit the amount you consume and the regularity.

When taken sensibly alcohol can be a vital ingredient to having a good time. Sensible drinking can have a positive effect on your life and enjoyment of social occasions, just remember to keep it that way. Sensible!

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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