Making the Decision to Quit Drinking
Slipping from social drinker to serious alcoholic can happen quickly, and whether you fall into the former or latter there comes a point when many people face the fact that it might be time to quit drinking. While many people can handle their alcohol, there are just as many that can’t. If you’re one of them or know someone who is, you know exactly how devastating the regular consumption of alcohol can be.
When you consider that almost 17 million people in the US alone are dependent on alcohol in some way, shape or form it puts things into perspective. Not only is it legal, but is socially acceptable (to a point), readily available, and promoted as a great way to relax. As anyone who knows an alcoholic or is dependent on alcohol knows though, when alcohol becomes a problem, it really becomes a problem.
Worldwide, alcohol contributes to 3.3 million deaths a year. Whether from alcohol related diseases like liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, or some cancers chronic use of alcohol can prove to be fatal. The use of alcohol is actually related to some 200 different health and injury conditions. Mental instability, behavioral issues, alcohol-related car crashes, accidents, and many other incidents can all be included in what happens when alcohol becomes a problem.
When You Know it’s Time To Quit Drinking
Drinking daily? Finding it hard to limit your alcohol consumption? Drinking in the mornings? Ruining relationships? Drinking alone? Blacking out?
For a lot of people that have a problem with alcohol there’s really no “one” decision that suddenly makes them finally decide to put down the bottle. A lot of the time it’s an accumulation of many different things that leads one to decide to finally quit drinking for good.
Until that point comes someone might play games with themselves by trying to limit alcohol consumption, only drinking at certain times of the day, or even going a day or two without drinking. As too many people who’ve been there know though, these games only last so long until drinking has spiraled out of control once again and the vicious cycle continues on.
If any of the following sound just a bit too familiar, you know it’s probably time to quit drinking. Recognizing you have a drinking problem is obviously the first step. It’s the following factors that might make you finally realize that your drinking has spiraled out of control.
• Drinking Every Day
• Behavioral Changes When Intoxicated
• Inability to Limit Alcohol Consumption
• Developing a High Tolerance for Alcohol
• The Need to Drink More to Experience the Same Effects
• Drinking in the Mornings
• Continuing to Drink Even After You’ve Ruined Relationships Because of Alcohol
• Missing Work or School Because of Alcohol Consumption
• Blacking Out
• Using Alcohol in Unsafe Situations (Swimming, Skiing, Driving, Etc.)
• Drinking to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms
• The Need to Drink In Social Situations
• Craving or Constantly Thinking About Alcohol
The list of risk factors could go on and on, but chances are if your drinking has gotten to a point where you need to quit you probably know it.
Admitting You Have a Problem and Taking Action
For people who have fallen into the overwhelmingly destructive pattern of drinking on a regular basis, admitting they have a problem isn’t often easy. And even if they can admit it to themselves, actually doing something about it is an entirely different story. The thought of quitting drinking and living without alcohol is literally unimaginable to some people.
If your life’s come to a place where it revolves around drinking the thought of actually quitting can seem impossible. As much as you hate it and recognize that it’s causing serious damage to your life, the thought of living without it is terrifying. Face what’s hidden under the layers of many, many drinks? No thanks.
Unfortunately, this is the place where many people get stuck and can end up living for years. This is where the games they play with themselves come in. They’ll limit themselves to “only” beer or wine, make sure to have a drink after noon, only drink in the evenings, buy smaller bottles of their liquor of choice, only buy shots when they’re out and try to limit these to a certain number per day….the list goes on and on.
So even while someone might admit they have a problem and try to do things to counteract their alcoholic tendencies, it’s not long before they slip back into the very habits that have ruined their life in the first place. It’s a cycle that continues on until there is definite action taken against it. And taking action is one of the hardest decisions an alcoholic can decide to make.
If you know that you’re in a place where alcohol is ruining your life however, you’re only going to see your life turn around when you actually take action to quit drinking. What does this mean? It means that you not only decide to quit in your mind, but begin to take the steps to actually do it.
Just as no single addiction is the same, taking action to quit drinking is going to be different for everyone. Every addict has different reasons for drinking and different triggers that keep them stuck in alcohol’s ugly cycle. Some people can quit on their own just fine (or so they say) while others might need to check themselves into rehab and be gently guided through the entire recovery process.
However it’s done, the really important thing is that it actually is done. No one wants to be an alcoholic, but they also don’t want to face what comes up when they make the decision to quit. Until they do however, life will continue to be made up of this false sense of illusory bliss that is colored with guilt, shame, and regret. Making the decision to quit drinking and acting on that decision can be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. It can also change your life and propel you towards a more promising future.