If you find that every day ends with a drink for you or a loved one, you may be concerned about the volume of alcohol being consumed. You may also be worried about the physical damage done by alcohol and the emotional damage done by behaviors that crop up when under the influence. Finally, you may be worried about long-term damage to the overall quality of life. What does alcoholism look like?
Essentially, alcoholism is a disease that is characterized by a lack of healthy respect for the product. Alcohol brewing developed over time as a way to preserve food and to provide a healthier liquid to drink than tainted water. Over time, it’s become our recreational go-to beverage. Need to unwind? Have a drink. Having a nice meal? Have a drink. If the first thought that goes through your mind when you’re under pressure is that a drink would help, you may have a problem with alcohol.
When Drinking Becomes a Hazard
Long-term alcohol consumption can damage your body and ruin relationships. In the short term, high levels of alcohol consumption can lead to blackouts, brain or liver damage, and even death. Alcohol is a depressant that may shut down the “good sense” part of your brain. You may think you’d love to talk to your boss when you’ve had a drink or two, but it’s not good for your career. You may want to tell an ex exactly what you think of them, but again, it’s not the best choice for long-term peace as you co-parent.
Damage to Self
Alcohol can ruin your health in the slow lane and the fast lane. Slowly, alcohol will
- damage your liver
- alter the chemistry of your gut
- kill brain cells
This drug can also lead to risky choices. For example, under the influence of alcohol, you may
- drive dangerously
- engage in unsafe sex
- get into fights
- eat poorly
Because too much alcohol the night before can lead to a rough morning, you may stop working out. You may sleep in and be late for work so often that you get fired. You may even drink until you black out and have no idea what you did the night before, with whom, or what the outcome was.
Damage to Others
Alcohol use can damage those around the drinker as well. Women who drink risk damaging their unborn child. Those who drink are often more likely to abuse a child or a partner, and those who use alcohol and other drugs run an even greater risk of serious injury during a marital spat or argument with a partner. You can even lose parental rights if alcohol abuse is extensive and severe enough.
Multiple stops for DUI can lead to jail time, which could lead to loss of your job, loss of contact with your children, and even the destruction of your marriage. It can be hard to notice when a relaxing drink turns into a magnetic pole around which you base your life. Once your relaxing drink becomes a requirement, your future can become quite limited. You may lose friends, struggle to keep a romantic partnership together and worry about losing your job.
Of course, all these stressors can push you to desire more alcohol, creating a situation that rapidly spins out of control. You may want to start your personal journey of awareness by simply tracking your intake. How long does a bottle of wine last? How many bottles of beer or shots of whiskey do you drink each day? When was the last day you didn’t have a drink? Current CDC regulations recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks for men. A serving of wine is 5 ounces; a serving of beer is 12 ounces. If you try to track your ounces and notice that your stress level climbs, your alcohol use may be getting out of control.
Addiction is not a shameful condition, but not addressing it when you notice things starting to spin out of control can create a lot of havoc. Help is available to help you regain control of your situation and build a treatment plan moving forward. Ready to get started? Call us today at 772-266-5320.