Is Your Drinking Out Of Control?
Alcohol is part of life for people around the world but if your alcohol consumption is increasing, at what point does it become out of control? Many people find it difficult to distinguish between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic – and there is a difference.
If the amount you are drinking, or the frequency with which you are drinking, is increasing you are right to be concerned. Here are 8 alert signs that you should take seriously if you are to avoid becoming dependent upon alcohol.
Drinking and Thinking About Alcohol:
If you find you are drinking on a more regular basis, or are often thinking about where your next drink will be, this is a strong sign that you may be heading toward alcohol dependence. How do you feel about not drinking? If this causes you any level of anxiety you have cause to be concerned.
Lying About How Much You drink:
When alcoholism becomes a problem it is usually accompanied by denial. This means that you not only start to deny to others the amount you are drinking but you also talk yourself into believing that it’s ‘not that much’. Start being more aware of how much you drink.
The biggest problem with denial is that it prevents people from getting help early on. If you convince yourself and others that there is not a problem, why would you seek help? Until you face up to yourself your problem will likely only worsen. Take into consideration that it is much easier to recover from alcoholism in the early stages before you become dependent than it is later. It’s not easy to admit to having a problem but it is the first step to solving it.
Needing to Drink:
Do you find yourself ‘needing a drink’ when you have a stressful situation to handle? Is it difficult to wind down at the end of the day without a drink? These may be signs of a dependence developing. Start being more aware of how you feel and dealing with your emotions in a more constructive way like going to the gym, taking a walk or phoning a friend. If you are unable to do these instead of drinking, it’s time to get some help.
Loss of Memory or Blackouts:
Those who drink heavily and cannot remember parts of the night before, or those who suffer blackouts after a long bout of drinking really do need to seek professional help straight away
Taking regular time off work:
It is common for heavy drinkers to wake up in a state of confusion and to feel absolutely lousy. Their immediate thought is that they are simply unable to face a day’s work.
Many find themselves phoning their employer and calling in sick. This does little for your self-esteem and even less for your employment prospects.
It’s important to note on this one that if you are managing to go to work every day but are answering yes to other points in this list, it may be that you are a high functioning alcoholic. A high functioning alcoholic will often be able to hold down their job and they are incredibly good at hiding what is going on to the outside world. This does not mean that you are ‘doing okay’, high functioning alcoholics will often wait until years into their alcoholism before seeking help – making their recovery much more difficult than had they sought help early on.
Is your drinking getting out of hand and causing problems in your relationships between you, family, friends or your partner?
Those who realise that their drinking habits are causing relationship problems but cannot stop, most likely have a problem with alcohol dependence. The strong possibility of becoming addicted to alcohol will become an unwanted reality as they become trapped in a cycle of a relationship going sour which leads to them drinking more, which makes the relationship worse and so on.
They know the damage it is doing to themselves and their partner, but the need for alcohol is simply too overpowering to do anything about it. If this sounds all too familiar and you want to save your relationship, and your sanity, be honest with your loved ones and seek help.
Unable to Stop Drinking:
Many of those who have developed an alcohol dependence will swear off drinking ‘ever again’ after a heavy session. The problem here is that they will already have built up a tolerance for alcohol. This means that their brain and body demand more of the same on an increasingly regular basis. By attempting to abstain from alcohol under such circumstances means two things:
- Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will start to kick-in.
- They will usually drink again in a very short space of time as they seek alcohol to ease the withdrawal symptoms – and in doing so, continue to increase their tolerance and dependence.
Once an individual begins drinking in this manner the cycle quickly progresses. If this is already happening to you, seek help now. The problem will only progress if left untreated, it will not go away on its own.
Convincing Yourself That You Are in Control of Your Drinking:
This is closely related to denial which we mentioned above but it’s a key point and cannot be stressed enough. Alcoholism has a powerful voice which tells you that you are choosing to drink. Next time you ‘choose to drink’, try changing your mind and see what the result is. Do you give in? Stop for a week? Maybe a month? It actually doesn’t matter, if you are setting yourself these challenges you are probably already aware that you have a problem. Someone who has no issue with drinking does not try to prove to themselves that they don’t have a problem.
It is extremely important to understand that until you admit to yourself there is a problem with the regularity and amount of drink consumed you will NOT seek much needed alcohol rehab treatment.
There is NO shame in seeking help:
Excessive drinking and a dependence upon alcohol affects millions of people the world over. It is extremely important for those who are drinking to excess to admit and accept that alcohol has now become a major issue.
Once this difficult admission has been made there are several routes to consider when seeking help:
Alcoholism is usually a symptom of another problem. There is a reason why people seek solace and comfort in drinking. You might not know exactly what the problem is now but have experienced feelings of not being good enough or feeling uncomfortable in your own skin in the past. A counsellor will help you to make sense of what’s going on and why. If you’d like to give counselling a try we have professional counsellors who conduct their sessions online so you can stay at home and talk about your problems in private. You can find out more here, or contact us to discuss your circumstances and schedule an appointment.
Once you have answered a definitive and determined “YES” to the question “Is your drinking getting out of control?” another option to consider is to register for an Online Recovery Program. Our online programs last for 2 to 4 weeks (or longer) depending on your needs. The program addresses your drinking through counselling and a variety of both holistic and traditional therapies. You’ll learn the tools you need to get sober and stay sober. Our online program is based on a weekly schedule which is tailored around your commitments. It’s a great way of regaining structure and balance into your life while remaining at home and working with professionals to overcome your drinking. You can read more about online recovery here, or contact us for more information and to check your suitability to enrol.
While some may see this as an extreme step to come to terms with alcohol problems, it is not only the most effective option, but rehabs such as The Lighthouse Bali that can offer a medically assisted detox, offer the most comfortable way of sobering up. For most daily drinkers the major blockage to stopping drinking is not being able to get through the withdrawal symptoms – which can not only be dangerous, but even life threatening. If you are drinking 24/7 then inpatient rehab with a medical detox is the safest and best option for getting off alcohol.
The Lighthouse Bali is not a ‘rehab facility’ as such and we do not have a center with several clients. You will be accommodated in your own private villa which is staffed with your support team. The villa becomes your home and your medical detox will be taken care of within the villa. Our programs last for 14 days for those just wanting to ‘dry out’, but we strongly recommend up to 3 months. During your program you’ll take part in regular activities including fitness classes, walking to the store, exploring Bali – with a member of support staff. You’ll also receive counselling and education sessions to help you grow into your sobriety in a manner which you can replicate when you return home.
You can find out more about our residential programs here, or contact us for more information. If you are currently located outside of Indonesia, we can start your journey online prior to you being able to travel.