Alcoholism may be one of the more difficult or less obvious addictions to spot. Alcohol is so deeply embedded in our society that consuming alcohol every night of the week and weekend is considered normal. The relatively inexpensive availability of alcohol in supermarkets, including super-size cans of popular beer, makes alcohol universally accessible for anybody over 21. Commercials flout the joys and benefits of alcohol at summer barbecues and alcohol at holiday parties. They make a glass or two of wine and whiskey seem almost a necessary social accessary if we blend in and mingle with friends, coworkers, and neighbors alike.
The last ten months of lockdowns due to COVID-19 have seen a rise in alcohol consumption in most states. Where previously we needed to wait until returning home from work to reach for our favorite alcoholic beverage, now, thanks to working from home, alcohol is more easily accessible. After all, where are we driving to?
Most people consuming alcohol while still attending to daily tasks would not consider themselves alcoholics. As family members, we may also find it difficult or turn a blind eye to this consumption because, after all, things could be worse; at least they’re not doing hard drugs. However, any kind of self-medicating is unhealthy. We might joke about having a drink at the end of a long day, we might even buy T-shirts with jokes about wine and other forms of alcohol to relax, but each of these things enables our excuses for just one more. This benign dependency can become a problem before realizing we have a serious issue to deal with.
Recognizing the Signs
It can be challenging to spot the signs of alcoholism. You may be concerned your drinking has turned excessive or are worried about a loved one’s drinking habits. While looking out for the symptoms of a drinking problem can be helpful, they should not be used as a diagnosis. If you think you or a loved one needs help with alcohol, reaching out to a professional is the best option.
“I Can’t Help Myself”
Binge drinking and heavy drinking are significant factors in alcoholism and the development of alcoholism in young people. If, whenever you go out, you drink more than you planned or buy several bottles, you may have an issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women on a single occasion and five or more on a single occasion for men. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming eight or more drinks for women per week and fifteen or more drinks per week for men. You may want to ask yourself why you are consuming excessive amounts of alcohol to help develop an awareness of how you become triggered into consuming vast quantities.
Money talks, especially when we no longer have it! If you notice an overwhelming amount of money is spent each month on alcohol, there could be something wrong. Alcohol is not cheap, especially when bought in large quantities. If, when you look around, you see unpaid bills, there’s more alcohol in the refrigerator than there is food, and your children especially, are going without having their needs met, there may be a problem.
At this point, you might need to think about what is motivating you to consume in this way. What is prompting you to reach for alcohol at the expense of other necessities? How do you feel when you do this? If you self-medicate because of stress or similar issues, speaking to a medical professional is an important starting point.
Priorities: school, work, family, and bills, everybody has plenty to do. We all need downtime to take a break; however, drinking should never prioritize over anything else in our life. Besides maintaining a healthy infrastructure in our home, others’ well-being includes having money to pay bills. If this is not the case, then alcohol abuse may be an issue.
At this point, we might need to think about why alcohol is more important than family and maintaining a functioning home. Again, we need to ask if we are self-medicating and if there is an underlying issue that we might need to address.
The Next One
Alcohol cravings mean the need is as real as the need for food, shelter, and warm clothing. The trouble with alcohol is that it grabs our brain and makes us think of alcohol as a life or death necessity. That all-consuming desire for a drink may be a sign of alcoholism.
Shaking into Relapse
If you are always planning the next drink, it may signal a mental rewiring of the brain due to alcohol and continued dependency. However, eventually, alcohol is needed to fight tremors, mood swings, and illness to function. If you or somebody you love is at this point, they are most likely struggling with alcohol use disorder. This situation will not resolve and will only become worse in time. Eventually, the side effects of not drinking will consume all desires to prioritize other things in their life to drink and feel better. In this way, it is no different than any other substance abuse.
Realizing there may be a problem and attempting to stop, only to return to previous drinking habits, is a sign alcoholism may be an issue. It is not advisable to simply stop without medical supervision and knowledge about what is happening during the detoxification process.
The problem with alcohol is that it is such a familiar substance, very much in our living rooms and our personal space. This is unlike the hard drugs we see on television after drug raids and arrests. This issue makes the impact of alcoholism seem soft by comparison, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Alcoholism is a serious problem and one that will not go away on its own.
Alcoholism may be one of the more difficult or less obvious addictions to spot. The problem with alcohol is that it is such a familiar substance, one very much in our living rooms and personal space, that it makes the impact of alcoholism appear soft by comparison to drugs featured in movies and on TV. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Alcoholism is a serious problem and will not go away on its own. A leader in the field of transitional recovery services, Hired Power’s discretion and confidentiality assures anonymity through all stages of returning to wellness. Whether moving to your detox program safely and with discretion, to recovery and sober living partners that can help you through the holidays, Hired Power is there for you or your loved one, standing as that bridge between you and traditional recovery plans. You don’t have to struggle alone; our personal recovery assistants are here to help you walk through this process, believing in you, empowering you to change—step by step. Call Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299. We look forward to hearing from you.