Using Alcohol to Cope With Your Problems
There are entirely too many people in the world who are using alcohol as a means of coping or dealing with problems. Unfortunately this can lead to a lot of damage to yourself and everyone around you. In order for you to understand when it is ok and when it is not okay for you to drink, you first must have an understanding of what alcoholism is and what the diagnosis means.
There are a lot of different names used to refer to alcoholism, such as alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence syndrome or just plain alcohol dependence. There are different characteristics or elements that people go through when they are dealing with this disease.
- They experience a craving, which is a strong need or a compulsion for them to have a drink.
- They experience a loss of control, which means that once they begin drinking they find it very hard to stop.
- They experience a physical dependence, which means that when they stop drinking after heavy or excessive drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms that do not fade until they have another drink. Some examples of withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism include sweating, shaking, anxiety and nausea but there are numerous others that they may experience as well.
- They build up a tolerance, which means that their body becomes accustomed to the alcohol and they need more and more of it in order to achieve the same high that they experienced in the past.
If you are experiencing these four elements then the odds are good that you are struggling with alcoholism. What led you to alcoholism in the first place? Are you using drinking as a coping mechanism? It’s time to learn what you can do about this problem so that you can stop using alcohol as a crutch to get you through your day.
People begin drinking for a wide variety of different reasons. For many people, the first time that you drink is in a social situation. Everyone else is drinking, and so you should drink too. Social drinking tends to be acceptable as long as you are not drinking excessively and are being safe about what you are doing.
Unfortunately, what begins as a social drinking habit can become something significantly worse over time. Many people eventually realize that they can utilize alcohol as a coping mechanism or as a crutch, allowing them to brush off their problems and their stressors in favor of a drunken stupor.
People become aware of the fact that drinking makes them feel good. People can drink for a wide variety of reasons, such as to lower stress or to boost self-esteem. They may consume a drink or two and immediately feel an improvement in their mood. Drinking like this is not inherently bad, unless the drinking progresses to an unsafe state.
Without really noticing it, many people begin to drink in increasing amounts over time. Part of this comes from the fact that the body builds up a natural tolerance to the alcohol. While we think this is a good thing, really it means that the body is struggling to get used to the toxicity of the alcohol. Growing accustomed to the damage from the alcohol should not be an excuse to drink more, and yet it means that people have to drink in increasing amounts in order to achieve the same level of inebriation as before. As this tolerance grows, the need for more and more alcohol is also going to grow.
The alcoholism sets in without you really noticing it. One day you come home from work stressed, or from school stressed, or you get in a fight with your spouse or significant other. You feel overwhelmed and you are looking for a way to calm down. Maybe you take friends out and drink excessively in a public setting, or you buy a bottle of alcohol and bring it home to drink alone. This is called self-medication, where you use alcohol as a coping mechanism in order to deal with whatever stressors or obstacles you are facing in your life. While it is a completely normal thing to want to drink when you are stressed and want to unwind, it is the first step that leads to alcoholism.
As the alcoholism progresses, the drinker is going to continue to use alcohol as a means of coping with problems, dealing with stressors and pushing away bad thoughts. Unfortunately, all that the alcohol is doing is getting you drunk, numbing you temporarily and putting all of your problems on hold. Your alcoholism is not solving your problems, and may actually be making them significantly worse. Your drinking problem may replace all of your other problems in terms of priority, but where is this leaving you exactly?
Indulgence in drugs or alcohol is a normal coping mechanism, one that many people engage in when they are stressed and need help numbing themselves to what ails them. Unfortunately, just because so many people do it naturally, that does not mean that using alcohol as a crutch is the right course of action.
If you want to know where to draw the line, the answer is simple: You need to draw the line before the problem ever even gets to this point. You need to stop drinking as a coping mechanism long before you become an alcoholic. The first time that you realize you are drinking to “deal with” something, then that should be the last time that you do it. Going forward, you must make sure that you are drinking for the right reasons. Drinking socially, with friends, and in moderation is a completely acceptable way to imbibe alcohol. If you are drinking for other reasons, especially as a coping mechanism or self-medication, then you need to seek help.
Alcoholism is so wide spread in this day and age that getting help is no longer difficult. There are a wide variety of different options and opportunities available to you for getting help for your alcoholism, heavy drinking, binge drinking or drinking to cope.
If you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and you are ready to overcome it and move on with your life, then rest assured that the right support and care is out there. There are counseling programs, therapy programs, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, rehab centers and a wide variety of other help and support options that are available to you (800-303-2482).
Although having the occasional drink to unwind or make yourself feel better is generally socially acceptable, using alcohol as a crutch is never okay. When you drink without thinking about the consequences, the odds are good that you are going to cause irreparable damage to your body and your mind.
Alcoholism is a serious affliction, and drinking to cope is the leading cause of alcoholism. Today is the day for you to draw the line and overcome this affliction before it becomes something increasingly serious. The help that you need is out there, you simply need to reach out and ask for the assistance that you require.