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Secret Drinking – The Express Route To Alcohol Dependence

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Drinking alone and hiding the fact from others is fast-tracking a person to a very worrying and damaging dependence upon alcohol.

What causes people to drink in secret?

Everyone has their own reason for choosing to drink in secret, but whatever that reason is it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Here are 4 of the most commonly cited problems that lead a person to drink secretly:

Relationship difficulties:

If one partner is deeply unhappy with their lot, but feels incapable of changing their situation for a variety of reasons they begin drinking. The reasoning behind this decision is in the belief it will help them forget their unhappiness, or at the very least it will improve things.

Pressure or stress at work:

In many industries and job roles pressure to get ‘the job done’ has never been greater. Fewer employees are being tasked with greater responsibilities. Two examples are; those in production are being asked for increased output and higher quality while those in sales are constantly having targets raised.

In all job roles, there is a growing ‘more for less’ meaning tightening budgets and staff reductions. These trends can leave employees feeling vulnerable. Such worries and demands combine to create unwarranted personal pressure and unwanted increases in stress levels.

Many in this situation feel the answer lies in a stiff drink. While an occasional glass or two of a favourite tipple can be a good way to wind down there are others that bottle things up and seek solace in drinking heavily and in secret.

Loneliness: This can be a crushing feeling for many. They may be on the sensitive or shy side. This makes meeting people and making new friends a daunting task in itself, others may have relocated and are struggling to adjust.

A quick way to escape these challenges is to search more and more regularly for the bottom of their glass. After all, alcohol doesn’t answer back in the conventional sense, it needs no small talk and for many seems to mask their loneliness.

Deep Sadness:

The grief of losing someone very close to you can devastate, gnawing thoughts of ‘why’, an inability to cope with such a loss, and an all-encompassing sense of despair can have a person reaching for the bottle when they are alone. While this may be understandable to many, it is not a route to closure. Of all the groups who are secretly drinking those who cannot stop grieving must get professional help for their problem.

Why is it such a worrying problem?

We will leave aside the psychological effects that vary in severity dependent upon the secret drinker’s mental well-being, but suffice to say, anyone struggling with deteriorating mental health problems needs urgent professional help and care.

It is important to understand that drinking in isolation has very few limitations.  A person can start drinking whenever they feel the coast is clear and if it is not clear they will often have secret stashes. These caches will be scattered around the house or it’s grounds. This is to ensure a secret shot is available when required.

Here are just 2 reasons that secret drinking is your fast track to alcohol dependence:

  • ‘Healthy’ measures: The most generous bartenders you will find are those who pour their own drinks. No measures, no doubles at extortionate costs; simply pour, judge by eye and then put another quick ‘splash’ in for good measure. Over time this regular, unmeasured habit will increase a person’s tolerance for alcohol. This means they need to drink more to achieve the effects previously experienced.
  • Secret stash: We have just touched on this, but it is such a common trait of secret drinkers it deserves more detail. Guilt about the amount being consumed is a major issue. Secret drinkers have no intention of advertising the fact by leaving a trail of empties about the house. Hence a simple solution awaits! They will think long and hard about where and how to stash drink. Bottles in medicine cabinets, a cluttered garage or garden shed, a loft or cellar and who would consider checking old, rusting household appliances? While these hiding places may seem ‘clever’ it masks the fact that a secret drinker can very easily lose count of exactly how much they are actually drinking.

Do not let secret drinking become part of your fabric:

There are far too many men and women who reach for the bottle in desperation, frustration or anger. If this becomes a regular occurrence while on your own it is a mistaken choice. The reality is that existing problems will deepen and additional issues are likely to come as part of a very unwanted package.

No shame:

A majority of secret drinkers feel shame in their unspoken activity. This may be understandable, but it should not be a barrier for seeking professional help. Indeed, there is no shame whatsoever in admitting that alcohol currently has the better of you.

Alcohol councillors are there for a reason. They understand the issues involved and can be of great assistance. Harness this with your determination and a strong desire to quit drinking and very positive steps to sobriety can be made.

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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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