Should you quit drinking? The short answer is: if drinking negatively affects your life, then yes, it’s best that you quit drinking. The longer answer is that there are varying circumstances that help determine if a person has a drinking problem or not. For example, the majority of people can drink socially without relying on alcohol to get through their day or turning to it as a permanent fix to their problems. However, the transition from drinking a few drinks per week in a social setting can quickly turn into drinking a few drinks per day. It can change from wanting to wind down with a drink to needing to end the day with a drink. Each person’s experience with alcohol is personal and must be looked at on an individual basis.
Not sure where you fall on the drinking spectrum? How can you answer the question, am I an alcoholic? There are several areas you can assess to gauge if drinking alcohol is causing increasingly bigger problems in your life. It comes down to your drinking habits and your relationship with alcohol. Have you had problems with the law, work, or in your relationships because of alcohol? Have your friends or family members shared their concerns or frustrations with you about your drinking habits? If you’re thinking that you might need to stop drinking or have tried unsuccessfully to quit drinking before, then it might be time to seek help.
No single checklist applies to everyone’s situation. It’s up to the individual to determine if abstaining from alcohol is the right answer. However, if you are wondering if you should cut back or quit drinking altogether, it’s likely the answer is yes. Think about the following situations and if they apply to you and your drinking habits.
The Last One Drinking
Many people who have problems with alcohol or usually the ones that are they last ones drinking. Socializing with friends when alcohol is involved doesn’t immediately raise any red flags, especially if it’s reserved for occasional weekend outings. Consider, though, if you are the one who is always drinking faster or more than others. Do you often want to continue the party when everyone else is winding down? Do you finish other people’s drinks or binge drink frequently? These types of scenarios could be indicative of alcohol dependent behavior.
How often you drink and how much you consume are where you can measure your level of drinking. Does it fall in the category of socializing only or does it lean more toward excessive use? The higher the numbers, the higher the risk of reaching advanced stages of problem drinking, which could ultimately, result in addiction. Honestly consider if you are drinking to have a good time or if you’re drinking because you can’t stop. It may be tough to tell the difference.
Problems at Work, School, or Home
Do you often hide how much you drink from those around you? People may not always immediately notice how much you drink, but they will notice if you change the way you act. If you constantly smell of alcohol, call in sick, or are fail to show up for important events, it will grab the attention of those who are close to you.
Excessive drinking is often directly tied to problems with interpersonal relationships or communication at work or school. Missed deadlines, constantly being late, argumentative outbursts, and other negative behavior caused by alcohol are all be reasons you should quit drinking. It can put many important areas of your life in jeopardy. It may not be immediately apparent that alcohol is responsible if separate incidents occur over several different occasions. However, the more you drink, the more frequently they are likely to occur.
In personal relationships, are there people you are no longer close to or avoid because of your alcohol use? Tension among family members, friends, or romantic partners is common for people who suffer from alcoholism. You may not be able to see or forget the way your behavior affects them when you’re drinking. It can create a “me vs. them” mentality, which is harmful to any relationship.
Think about instances of conflict in your current life. Is excessive drinking involved in these different situations. Alcohol addiction can make it difficult to acknowledge that’s where the problem lies. It can be easy to assume it’s a coincidence or someone else’s fault. In many cases, alcohol the common thread.
Legal Action and Long-Term Consequences
Drinking and driving can result in legal and other serious consequences. This doesn’t only apply to being drunk and getting behind the wheel of a car. It involves “drinking while buzzed” or participating in other illegal activities when under the influence of alcohol. Many times, an alcohol addiction class or program is enforced for someone who has been convicted of an alcohol-related crime, since it is deemed part of the problem.
Alcohol addiction changes your ability to make decisions. It affects the way you think, act, and behave. While you may not normally choose certain behaviors or actions, alcohol might make you feel like taking bigger risks. As a result, it can have a permanent negative effect on the rest of your life. Legal consequences often have a snowball effect.
For example, if you receive a DUI, your driving license will be suspended. This may pose a problem for you getting to work, which can put you on notice with your boss, and on and on. When alcohol is involved, one negative action can result in several reactions. This additional stress may then, cause you to drink even more, which creates a dangerous cycle. Problems with alcohol don’t begin and end with one negative reaction. Too often there are several before a person decides it’s enough to quit drinking.
Have you been part of an intervention? People who know you well want to see you in the best possible physical and mental health. If they’ve previously shared their concerns about your drinking, it’s not likely it’s to make you feel ashamed. Take it as a message of caring and support. It’s not uncommon to feel defensive or taken aback when confronted by this type of discussion, but an intervention is sometimes the turning point necessary to get the help you need.
Think about why they want you to go to rehab for alcohol addiction. Think about reasons why you don’t want to go. Is it because you think you have your drinking under control? Is it because you’re unsure about the options you have for care? Is it because you don’t want to go through alcohol treatment? The more you are able to talk with your close friends and family members to find a solution, the closer you can get to identifying what might be holding you back from receiving the care you need to get sober. Remember, they are coming to you for a reason, and the reason is that they want you to quit drinking.
If you are the family member or friend trying to convince someone you care about to seek help, ask an interventionist specialist for guidance. This person’s role is to guide you through the dos and don’ts of an intervention. He or she will help make the communication as successful as possible, while preparing you for possible outcomes. The more you can be prepared with information and an understanding of what to expect, the better it will be.
Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
One of the main reasons to quit drinking is to preserve your health. The more you drink, the harder it is on your body. Alcohol consumed in excess has damaging effects on your liver, heart, and brain. It can eventually lead to alcohol dependency and addiction. At this stage, trying to limit your alcohol intake will result in side effects like nausea, migraines, shaking, and other symptoms that will make you feel ill. That is why it’s best to seek professional treatment.
Rely on people who have the resources and experience to help you get through the ups and downs of rehab. Their goal is to help you recover in the safest and most comfortable way possible. This may include administering medications to help alleviate the intensity of cravings or side effects. It involves providing total support for your health throughout the entire treatment process. You don’t have to be alone.
Going through detox on your own is challenging. It takes several days for your body to fully rid alcohol from the system. It can last a few days up to a couple of weeks, depending on how long you’ve been battling with addiction. Throughout this time, you’ll experience side effects that may cause relapse. Seeking treatment through a rehab facility means you’ll get the support you need to keep pushing forward. Your body must have time to transition from alcohol use slowly rather than ending alcohol use abruptly.
Once you complete the detox period, the next step is inpatient care. Inpatient care requires a fully focused effort on achieving sobriety. You’ll become a temporary rehab facility resident. This living situation helps to separate yourself from possibly a current, chaotic environment. It gives you quiet time to address your drinking problem head on.
In a rehab facility, everything you’re involved in will be part of the plan that will help with your sobriety. Inpatient care includes a routine that involves one-to-one counseling, group therapy, and time spent alone or in groups for exercise or extracurricular activities. The goal of rehab is to remove you from immediate situations involving alcohol, but also to teach you how to live despite it. Even if you’ve experienced rehab before, you’ll get something new from it each time. Admitting that you have a problem and taking an active part in seeking help means you want to get better.
When alcohol is no longer part of your life, what will you do with your time instead? How will you begin to rebuild your life and relationships as a newly sober person? These are the kind of questions that will be addressed and worked through as part of rehab. The root of your addiction will also be identified, so you know how to avoid triggers and learn to cope with them as they arise.
Life After Rehab
By making the decision to quit drinking and completing rehab, you’ve accepted sobriety as part of your permanent lifestyle. It can be an intense transition from alcohol addiction to sobriety and then, return to the real world. We have options of care to help you with this transition. This includes outpatient programs, AA meetings, and continuing counseling sessions to help with this post-rehab stage.
There are also temporary homes that can help you as you start your newly sober life. This will help you find a place to live, job interviews, and other real-world needs that you’ll want in place after treatment is over. There will always be an opportunity to receive additional care and support. Sobriety is something that requires ongoing effort. Each day you go without drinking is a day you can feel like you’re building a stronger and healthier future.
Finding Peace Through Sobriety
Weigh your options, ask questions, and decide if you are in place where drinking is causing you harm. You may not completely feel like rehab is the right solution for you, but it doesn’t hurt to get information for when the time comes. By learning more about how a treatment program has helped others, it may allow you to see a different perspective.
If you are a friend or family member who is researching places and options for your loved one struggling with alcohol addiction, it has to be their choice to seek help. There are many decisions that go into choosing a rehab facility. The more you can “build a case” for the benefits of rehab, the better equipped you’ll be to provide answers.
No one can fully convince you if you “should” quit drinking or seek treatment. They can bring you the information, support you, and encourage you to go. However, the decision is ultimately up to you and how you want to lead your life. Think about how not drinking will have a positive effect your future. It will improve your health, relationships, and outlook on life. See the difference sobriety can make with our help. The journey can start today.