“I’m single and go out three or four times a week, which inevitably leads to long drinking sessions and a hangover the next day. Now I find myself drinking a bottle of wine or more when I am home by myself and I spend a lot of time thinking about my next drink. I don’t want to get professional help but would like some guidance on how I can make myself cut down.”
Cutting down isn’t the answer. Your drinking has progressed too far for that. You can’t cut down! If you could, you would have already done it.
You are addicted to alcohol. And like most addicts you want an easy answer to your problem. Sorry, but there is no easy answer to addiction.
You are not stupid. There are very good reasons why you drink. Drinking makes you feel good—really, really good. Much better than most non-drinkers can imagine. And it is so easy to feel good – you just have to pick up that glass of grog. That is why it is so hard to beat. You would have to give up this good feeling and let the uncomfortable feelings arise, the feelings you avoided by drinking in the first place, as well as the inevitable drying out.
There are two main feelings that are avoided by drinking. One is pain and the other is no feeling at all, numbness. Both are emotional and both manifest physically in the body. Neither is easy to tolerate for very long so alcohol is used to medicate these uncomfortable conditions.
People who drink excessively have often experienced some sort of traumatic experience either as victim or perpetrator. Or they may be exceeding shy or self-conscious; feel like a failure or out of place, or believe life has no meaning. They often feel guilt, shame, hurt, fear or anger. Not every alcoholic is aware of these underlying feelings. Quite often they have gradually drifted into drinking without any clear awareness of the problems alcohol alleviates. But the “medicine” is poison and the relief doesn’t last. Overtime alcohol takes control. Alcohol becomes the demon and their focus of your attention.
You are in a bind. You don’t want any professional help so you don’t realise how serious your situation is. And the first step to solving this problem is to realise just how serious it is to drink as much as you do and not be able to give it up.
Yes, that is the test. If you want to prove that you are not an alcoholic, give it up. Give it up now—not after Christmas or in the New Year—now! People who are not addicted to alcohol can easily stop drinking. And they don’t spend any time thinking about it. For them, alcohol is no big deal. They can take it or leave it.
You have had the guts to admit you think about your next drink so now find the courage to face the fact that you are addicted.
You know that addiction demands to be taken seriously. You have issues that need to be addressed. Now find the help you need.
Struggling with your mental health? North Brisbane Psychologists can help. Book an appointment today!