How do you know if you’re addicted to alcohol? Are you an alcoholic? Do you need alcohol addiction therapy to replace harmful habits with helpful habits?
Are you addicted to alcohol?
Addiction to alcohol can be defined in several ways, so the important thing is to look at your drinking habits and the effects that they cause. Here are some clues that you can look at.
- When you drink, do you tend to keep going longer than you intended?
- Do you feel that you can’t enjoy yourself unless you drink?
- Do you drink when you’re alone?
- Do you drink most days (four or more days a week)?
- Are there negative consequences to your drinking, e.g. missed or low-quality work, embarrassment, hurting others, risky or illegal behaviour, neglecting your duties, spending too much on a night out, antisocial or violent behaviour?
- Do you do things when drunk that you wouldn’t do when sober?
- Do you drink until you throw up?
- Do you have memory gaps when you drink?
- Do you need a drink to get you going again?
- When you feel bad or struggle to cope, do you drink to feel better?
- Do you drink to make other people more interesting? Or to make yourself more interesting?
- If you stop drinking, do you have withdrawal symptoms — anxiety, shaking hands, and more?
- Do you hide alcohol, or do you worry that you’ll run out?
- Are friends, family or your partner concerned about your drinking habits?
Saying “yes” to any of these items could be a sign of alcohol addiction. However, this list is neither comprehensive nor categorical; for a proper diagnosis, you should speak to your doctor.
Alcoholism is one type of addiction. People with alcoholism often have other co-addictions — smoking, other recreational drugs, or addictive behaviours.
When dealing with alcohol addiction, it’s not enough to just stop drinking alcohol. Many alcoholics say that they’ve gone clean several times, sometimes for months on end, but they always seem to be drawn back into it.
That’s because drinking too much alcohol never happens by itself. There’s always a reason, or a combination of reasons, behind it.
That’s why I don’t work with “overcoming” alcoholism. Instead, we change the way that you see, feel and think about life, to make alcohol an old problem that no longer has any power over you.
Solving the problem
To deal with alcohol addiction, it’s important not just to stop drinking (although, of course, that is vital).
We also deal with co-addictions (because one has a tendency to lead to the other) and, more important, with the issues that make you feel that need for a drink in the first place.
Although stopping drinking can happen quickly, staying stopped is a longer process that requires some deep work, finding ways to enjoy life, have fun, feel fulfilled and effective, without the need to drown your sorrows (as the cliché has it).
If you have been drinking too much for a while, please consult your doctor before quitting, because sudden cessation can be harmful due to withdrawal symptoms.
Part of the process looks at some of the consequences of alcohol that come to light when you go clean, such as depression and anxiety, or dealing with people who try to pressure you to drink.
If you think that you might need help with alcohol addiction and want to know what you can do, or you just want to ask about it, contact me. I’ll be happy to hear from you.