Secret Drinkers – Not Such A Secret Society

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Secret drinkers may think their secret is safe, but safe with who? Even if silence is initially maintained by your loved ones please do not think they are oblivious to your behaviour.

It is vital to understand that this is one secret you must not keep to yourself. Constant denial will lead to deeper dependence.

Is there a stereotype for those who secretly drink?

Most certainly, definitely and positively NOT! Some will live alone and drink alone, others exist in a family environment where strategically stashed bottles await to be drank and replenished on a very regular basis.

People with secret drinking habits come from all walks of life and a wide range of backgrounds.

There is no membership criteria for those who join this ‘not so secret club’. Indeed, it is, and has been well oversubscribed for many years now but continues to welcome new members into the fold without prejudice.

What leads to drinking in secret?

There are a whole variety of reasons people choose to drink alone. Some major factors include relationship difficulties, stress or pressure of work and those who are suffering from depression.

Others are affected by a deep sadness while those who are lonely see it as a way of escaping such a feeling.

Women who are secret drinkers may well have reached this stage for a fairly straightforward reason.

It is very true that many are as socially comfortable as men when it comes to regular visits and nights out at popular watering holes, but it is also a fact that many others find the comfort of home a far more appealing place to drink than visiting bars on their own.

Regular visits to a selection of nearby bottle shops is a far less daunting prospect than spending regular time in a bar.

Shame and Guilt – It can hit you twice:

A significant number of secret drinkers become best friends with a bottle out of shame or guilt.

This can be a double-edged downer. A particularly harrowing incident in their past can leave them feeling ashamed or guilty. This is regardless of whether any blame was attached to them or not.

A common response to such trauma is to drown their sorrows on an all too regular and lonely basis.

Such behaviour leads to a different type of shame and guilt. One that is based around deceit. They will constantly deny to others that there is anything to be concerned about and can maintain such false statements because they regularly reinforce and re-convince themselves that their solo drinking habits can be ceased whenever they wish.

If only! Once the demon drink gets a hold of you it presses home its advantage through constant and heavier alcohol consumption.

Drinking alone – Is it a cry for help?

The answer is a very positive ‘yes’, but that is not the answer secret drinkers want to hear. This is because they are in personal denial about the extent of their problem, they are scared and often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their situation.

While such denial is maintained their cry for help will remain a silent one.

The devastating effects of secret drinking cannot be explained too strongly. It will damage your physical and psychological health, and in many cases close relationships will suffer damage that is often beyond repair.

The longer you continue a habit of secret drinking the more depressed you will become. Depression lends itself to despair and desperate measures. Don’t let it get to you because of continued self-denial.

You are not fooling your loved ones and deep down you know very well that you are not fooling yourself.

Do not continue to stifle that cry:

Whatever your reasons are for drinking alone they must be confronted.

Be brave, stand up and admit you have an alcohol problem. Don’t be scared to seek professional rehab help. It is available, ready and waiting.

Once this initial contact is made you will feel a great weight lifted from your shoulders as well as your conscience.

Yes, it will be a tough time of your life during recovery, but the end results of coming off and staying off alcohol will become patently clear.

One thing is for sure; it will far outweigh a snatched, secret sip here, a guilty gulp there and those endless trips to the bathroom to polish off and then replenish that stashed bottle.

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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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