The line between safe enjoyment of alcohol and the destructive use of the substance is thin. While alcohol is not illegal, it can lead to a number of unhealthy practices and unnecessary, avoidable dangers.
However, because alcohol can be purchased legally and is widely used, it can be difficult to determine if an individual has begun using the substance in a dangerous way. Employing self-checks on one’s alcohol consumption can be used to monitor one’s relationship with drinking. It can also help identify when one’s use may need the attention of recovery professionals and supportive family members to return to a safe and healthy lifestyle.
There Are Multiple Kinds of Addiction
Alcohol abuse and addiction will look different for each person and there are a number of ways an individual can engage with alcohol in a dangerous and unhealthy manner. While images of addiction often manifest as pictures of people drunkenly tripping down the stairs, this is just one way in which an individual can have a problematic relationship with alcohol.
Some individuals may not have to get drunk in order to have a problematic relationship with alcohol. For example, an individual who takes sips of a drink throughout the day, subtly drinking at the early hours of the morning, at lunch, and into the evening is problematic. Even without getting visibly intoxicated, the persistent use of alcohol still greatly impacts one’s health and perception of alcohol as a whole This can create a dangerously positive connotation between oneself and its use.
Others may not use alcohol frequently at all, leading them to believe that their use of the substance is well within a safe level. However, they may also struggle to moderate their use when they do begin drinking, leading to binge drinking or being otherwise unable to stop once they start. Even if such an event is infrequent, it can still lead to a myriad of dangers and health risks.
Because of the many different ways that an individual can develop a dangerous relationship with alcohol, it is best to not measure oneself by how much an individual drinks. Rather, one should instead measure the situations where one may turn to alcohol and their mentality surrounding drinking as a whole.
Inhibiting Daily Responsibilities
An individual does not have to get drunk to compromise their daily responsibilities. Rather than measuring how many drinks an individual has, measuring the adherence to aspects of one’s life can be more reliable when measuring one’s use. Noticing that an individual is not tending to responsibilities is a major warning sign. Others may find that they have difficulty getting up and going throughout their day if they do not have an early morning drink. Putting off responsibilities or chores until they have a drink demands an individual reevaluate their relationship or seek treatment for their use.
Reactive and Proactive Drinking
Having a drink with friends after work is a common practice, but that does not mean it is inherently safe. Noticing that an individual’s first response to unexpected stresses involves an expectation to unwind with alcohol can indicate that the substance has integrated itself as an individual’s primary coping strategy. Whether this occurs in one’s personal or professional life, it can lead to a number of dangerous outcomes.
Also noticing a change in one’s thinking from being reactive, such as thinking “I’m going to need a break” after a stressful workday to thinking “I’m going to need a drink to get through the day” can indicate that an individual is no longer reacting to stressors with alcohol. Instead, they actually are expecting stress and preemptively engaging with alcohol. This can create an even more complex and dangerous relationship.
Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Asking oneself if they should seek treatment for alcohol use is an important line of thinking and showcases the self-awareness of one’s actions. However, it can also be an indicator that one may benefit from treatment as a result. An individual asking themselves this question is often either already aware that they have been negatively impacted by their own drinking, or are looking for a concrete metric to justify their continued use. Both of these methods of thinking can indicate a benefit from treatment. However, that does not mean that all treatment needs to be the same.
Meeting with professionals and discussing one’s use can help an individual start properly addressing the issue. Some individuals will benefit most from a detox and residential treatment facility to directly tackle their detrimental alcohol use. Others may showcase the beginning of dangerous behaviors that can be addressed in an individual therapy session or outpatient program. In this circumstance, they can benefit from a bit of education and support to address their relationship with alcohol.
While drinking is a common cultural practice, the truth is that there is no such thing as a “safe drink.” It is important to constantly evaluate how each individual uses these substances. If you or a loved one are concerned about your use of alcohol and are ready to learn skills to better manage stress in a healthy way, Everlast Recovery Centers can help. We offer an array of programs designed to help you better understand your unique path through recovery while providing a safe and supportive atmosphere throughout your recovery. Your time with us can be personalized to your needs and goals, with therapies including individual and group therapy sessions, art, music, writing, psychoeducation, and parenting classes. We offer regular evaluations of how we can further assist your journey. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring staff member about your unique concerns and questions, call us today at (866) 388-6925.