Is Alcohol Taking More From Your Life Than You Want?
Posted Sep 28 2008 7:17pm
Is your drinking behavior scaring you? Do you fear the harmful effects that your excessive drinking may be causing you? Maybe you’re afraid you are missing out on things in life that you shouldn’t be because of your apparent problem with alcohol. If you would rather stay home and drink than go out to socialize, or you spend weekends with a glass of wine stuck in your hand because there is no work the next day, these are warning signs you want to take seriously.
There are reasons to drink socially, when it doesn’t interfere with your life such as a drink with dinner, evening quiet time maybe while reading a book or relaxing with your spouse. This is normal drinking behavior and millions are able to continue this pattern their entire lives. Many cannot. For numerous reasons such as stressful lifestyles, haunted pasts, introverted personalities temporarily reversed and even pain relief; certain people have a tendency to drink in an out of control manner that threatens their well being.
You may think it’s safe to drink only on weekends and so you plan for it. You spend your weekend doing normal activities like taking time with your kids attending their sports events, maybe planning shopping excursions, etc. Your weekend days are booked solid with family time and maybe household maintenance, cleaning, grocery shopping. You’re a pretty busy person and you are counted on by your loved ones for your contribution to their well being. Up until now you always managed to keep up the pace.
Now throw alcohol into the mix. You find you really quite enjoy your few drinks on a Friday night when you finally have time to relax. The alcohol feels good and acts as a stress valve letting off steam. You feel invigorated and yet relaxed all at once. Something that works this well for you must be okay and anything that feels this good can easily become habit forming.
You go months like this but find that you are drinking more in the evenings and can’t wait to get to that first drink of the weekend. So it now starts with a glass or two with dinner and several more while tending to your children and their homework, finally several more with your spouse later in the evening while watching a movie. Comfortably numb, you go to bed so you can take your kids skiing in the morning like you promised. It’s been planned for weeks now; your children are “stoked” about this outing.
Early the next morning you have a hangover unlike any you’ve had yet and maybe even throw up in the bathroom. Your spouse has to tell the kids you have the “flu” and skiing will have to wait for another day. You’ll never get that trip back again and you feel guilty - sick, tired and guilty. Later in the day you start coming around from your hangover, the trembling has stopped, the nausea has subsided and you decide to order in dinner to make up for the kids earlier letdown. Of course you force your first drink of the day down because that hair of the dog thing works, at least until tomorrow morning when you again will make excuses not to do your planned activities because of that dreaded 26 oz. flu that you just can’t shake.
You aren’t the only one suffering because of your weekend drinking. By now the kids are aware that you aren’t there for them like you once were. Your spouse suspects your drinking is getting out of hand, and you especially are aware that something isn’t right with your drinking and it scares you. While you stress about your booze intake you continue to drink because well…you’re stressed out!
You begin asking yourself if you are an alcoholic and you don’t like the answers you give yourself. You continue drinking and your spouse no longer matches you drink for drink. They stop at two and turn the kettle on for tea. They begin to look at you sideways when you pour yourself another glass. You plan your schedule for the next week and you ask your spouse to cover after school events for you that you used to enjoy so you can get right home from work. These things cut into you drinking time and besides you’d rather not drive after drinking with your friends after work if possible.
So now you are missing most of your children’s activities, your spouse is getting ticked off that these responsibilities are all falling on them and you feel guilt like you never have before - yet you can’t stop. You have started to drink on weeknights since your friends from work got you to join into their happy hour, and evenings at home are tense to say the least. Guilt and fright control your emotions because you are intelligent enough to recognize you have a problem.
This is how it can happen to a normal person living a normal life. The cunning allure of alcohol takes hold of them and transforms a once happy and vibrant parent and spouse into a secretive, lying disappointment. To all who know and love you, count on you, the person they trust the most, they are now painfully disillusioned by your behavior.
If you think you have a problem with alcohol you should investigate the theory further. There are online alcohol screening tests to help evaluate your condition. You can look into your treatment options, programs that will suit your lifestyle and give you the best chance for recovery from problem drinking. The time to act is NOW. Alcohol is destructive for people who display the kind of behavior outlined above. You should feel frightened by this behavior because it is not only harmful to you but to those around you as well.
So is alcohol taking more from your life than you want? If you can identify with the story above you can bet that it is.
To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D., Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,