How To Make Sense Of Excessive Drinking

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Why Do You Drink Too Much?

In How To Win Your Battle With Alcohol, I gave specific steps to stop drinking. Today I want to talk to you about something a bit more reflective. I want to help you make sense of your drinking by getting at the why.

On the surface, it’s easy to explain. Drinking is fun. Drinking is relaxing. It makes you feel sexy, lowers your inhibitions, brings you out of your shell.

If you’ve lost control of your drinking to the point where you need to consciously moderate or stop, however, you need to dig a bit deeper. You need to understand what’s really going on underneath the surface.

Sometimes it’s genetic or hereditary. Some of us are susceptible to alcohol issues by default and there isn’t much we can do to mitigate that. Others are a little luckier. Regardless, anyone can benefit from a little self-analysis from time to time. This article aims to get you to do just that.

We’ll start with three possible reasons why you may be drinking. Next, I’ll pose a few scenarios and ask some questions to help you make sense of it all.

For best results, you should take some time to write or type your answers to these questions. This will come in handy later in your journey.

Let’s get started.

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You Drink To Have Fun

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Many people say they drink to have fun. That makes perfect sense. Things that are pretty “meh” normally have the volume turned up way loud while under the influence.

I argue that if you must drink to enjoy something, you should probably be doing something else. Especially if drinking causes you pain and regret later.

No matter how much you drink, everyone can list a few things that they enjoy while sober.

For me, I can’t fathom going to a nightclub and dancing all night with a bunch of strangers if I’m not drinking. On the other hand, I’ve fallen completely in love with dancing with a bunch of strangers completely sober in Zumba class.

In my case, it’s the environment, not the activity.

Can you think of similar things in your own life?

 

Questions to help you make sense of this:

What are your huge drinking triggers?

What events or activities must you do while drinking, or you just can’t fathom doing them at all?

Is there something similar that you fully enjoy doing while sober?

What if you eliminated that drinking activity and replaced it with the sober one?

Would your life be better, or worse? Why?

 

You Drink To Relax or De-stress

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Drinking to relieve stress or relax is just as common as drinking to have fun. And with ever-growing responsibilities mounting up in this fast-paced world, I get it. Totally makes sense.

For this, I think learning to relax without drinking is an important self-development tool, even for people who don’t drink to excess. But more importantly, doing the work required to change what’s stressing you will help so much more in the long-run.

In my case, my job, while lucrative, was a huge source of stress for me. The commute was draining. Telepressure via constant e-mails and phone calls at all hours of the day and night gave me anxiety.

I absolutely had to drink to get away from it all.

Starting a side hustle was the beginning of changing that for me. Though my side hustle eventually became my only hustle, I had no way of knowing it would work out that way. But attempting to eliminate a major source of stress in my life was huge. I still drank too much until I was able to quit but being proactive about a pain point in my life helped me cope and drink a lot less than before. It gave me hope.

 

Questions to help you make sense of this:

What are two or three things that typically trigger a stress response from you?

Can you think of any steps to work on improving them, no matter how small?

Could you set up some time when you’d usually be drinking to begin working on this change?

An example of this would be you absolutely hate your job. You come home completely frustrated and just want to have a drink to unwind. Before you start drinking, you go to your laptop and find a few jobs that you qualify for. You update your resume and plan to apply.

While this isn’t an instant cure, it delays drinking, gets you to do something constructive, and you’ll feel so much better about working toward a goal of eliminating the problem rather than unsuccessfully trying to snuff it out with alcohol. Which you know, doesn’t really work all that well anyway.

 

You Drink Due To Peer Pressure

Sometimes even when we don’t intend to drink, those around us influence us to. Makes sense.

I’ve fallen victim to this quite a few times, myself.

Setting up sober activities with friends or telling those around you that you aren’t drinking are two really good ideas to combat this.

One thing I went through in the past was fear of losing bonds with friends or even my husband at one time because drinking was such a huge part of those relationships.

Hiding from them my plans to stop drinking made it worse. Hubby would come home with our standard bottle of Bacardi on the one day I told myself (but not him) that I wasn’t drinking. Or I’d go visit with friends, not reveal I wasn’t drinking, then get sucked into drinking anyway.

Letting your significant other know your plans and your reasoning is crucial to gaining their support – even if they still drink. However, for friends, co-workers and others who aren’t as close, it’s okay to embellish a little. Coming up with creative ways to explain why you aren’t drinking is okay. It sucks that you need a reason, and hopefully that will change. But until that day, you have an out, without outing yourself before you’re ready.

 

Questions to help you make sense of this:

Who in your life might pressure you into drinking?

Would you feel comfortable sharing with them a) that you have concerns about your alcohol intake and/or b) that you want to spend time with them without alcohol involved? Why not?

Should you never drink again, would these relationships still have legs to stand on? If not, are you okay with this?

If the answer to the above is “no”, do you think these relationships are healthy for you in the long run?

 

Figure Out Why You Drink Too Much Alcohol

sober journal

People drink for many reasons. Among the most common are to have fun, relieve stress and peer pressure. Making any significant change requires a willingness to do the work.

Honestly answering these questions is a step in the right direction. While it won’t be a cure-all, making sense of why you do what you do can be a huge catalyst for change.

I believe we all have freedom of choice and the power to change.

Even if you’ve had crippling issues in the past, you absolutely have what it takes to succeed in the future.

Nothing in life is free, but working to break the vicious cycle of alcohol abuse will lead you to freedom.

Do the work. Stay the course. Reap the reward.

 

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