When Alcohol Used As A Crutch – Problem Drinking Can Worsen
Posted Nov 13 2009 10:02pm
Why do people in general consume alcohol? Is it because they like the taste of an exotic cocktail, or they want to appear sociable when in the company of others who are drinking? Or maybe they like the way one drink helps them relax just the tiniest bit or they enjoy a fine glass of wine with certain foods. These are totally acceptable reasons for imbibing, and millions of people who drink this way are doing so without ulterior motive.
What about when someone begins to use alcohol for more than its intended purpose as a secondary thought at a suitable moment in time? These people are not considered alcoholics by any means and perhaps don’t qualify as a problem drinker initially either. But a social drinker who abuses alcohol for a specific reason, like say when confronted by a particularly stressful event, is playing with fire. How many bridegrooms out there gratefully accepted a strong “belt” when it was offered before leaving for the church? Or doubling up on the dinner drinks before making your big speech?
People drink for many reasons and not all of them are socially acceptable. A stressful situation can always appear more tolerable after cutting the anxiety with some alcohol until it becomes a habit and you begin to depend on it for this and other stressful situations. You slowly begin to develop that dependency and alcohol becomes problematic for you. You may only drink abusively like this for these precise reasons and only socially or perhaps not even at all normally. This doesn’t make it okay to drink because of your need.
Being satisfied with who you are, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it regardless of the outcome is far better for you than believing you need a drink to be at the top of your game.
Why do humans feel the need to improve themselves at the risk of their health because they think they are better at something when falsely enhanced? There are far better, safer and self-satisfying methods to beat the anxiety one feels than through the abuse of alcohol.
Learning to control stress in your life is a good place to start if you have the common sense to recognize you only get loaded when your in-laws visit, you have to fly to another hemisphere in coach or your unfinished tax return is due at midnight. Not being used to drinking this way means your behavior will be altered noticeably for better or worse, likely the latter, concentration becomes difficult and your next wake up will be horrendous.
This is not binge drinking we’re talking about, which is described as a pattern of heavy drinking that occurs through an extended period of time set aside for drinking. It has also been explained as 5/4 binge drinking meaning five or more drinks in a row on a single occasion for a man or four or more drinks for a woman. Binging with alcohol is certainly a worrisome form of alcohol abuse but equally troublesome is actually requiring alcohol to perform, function or appear as normal under uncomfortable circumstances or in an awkward environment.
We all find ourselves in these situations on occasion, so why is it more difficult for some people to manage them than others? Why do some feel the need to artificially stimulate their courage in order to deal with these conditions? As a method of coping, alcohol and its intrinsic ability to calm us down is something we find early on through our experiences with it.
Remember having a couple extra drinks in order to ask a pretty girl to dance or going to a party as a teenager or young adult and heading straight for the nearest cooler or keg? We knew it would ease our anxiety, and at an early age we failed to learn the necessary coping skills in order to have the confidence to meet these situations with self assurance and aplomb.
The risk, and surely the unwanted results of this kind of drinking behavior is the longer it goes on, the easier it becomes to depend on the effects of alcohol for other situations that arise in life that make your stomach churn with trepidation. Whenever you become apprehensive about something, you begin to feel that a drink or two will quell the feeling for a while and you are comfortable until you need another drink.
This form of drinking then becomes only the end of the beginning and you graduate to a whole new level of alcohol abuse that has the ability to turn your life upside down. You won’t be able to hide the fact for long that you need alcohol to deal with the “big stuff” and others will notice the pattern. The more you become engaged in your life, the more frequent will be your need for the liquid courage cure. You may start pinching drinks on the sly or even hiding a bottle for “medicinal use only” and so the slide into alcohol dependency begins.
If you see yourself in these words above you should look seriously at what is causing your subtle abuse of alcohol. Recognizing you may have a problem or are susceptible to developing one can save you from so much future personal turmoil. The question then becomes what do you do about it? Depending on what you decide based on your personal factors you may want to take an alcohol screening test.
If you’ve decided you need a more aggressive answer to your problem, Dr. Michael Pearlman’s FreedomFromAlcohol™Program offers a drinking modification solution for people who want to regain control of their drinking before it gets out of hand. Identifying that a problem may exist gives you the capacity to have power over it – before it overpowers you.
To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D., Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,