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Is There Really A Problem?

  • Asks ...

    I made a new year’s resolution to stop drinking for 3 months because I have been drinking too much for the last little while. I have drank every night since I made that commitment to stop drinking and so I think I am going to need some help to be able to do what I need to do. I don’t think I am an alcoholic or anything like that since I still hold down a very good job and go to work every day and take care of my bills and my responsibilities. But I do recognize that the alcohol is affecting my health and even more than that I am worried about the example I am setting for my two preteen children.

    I think I need some sort of assistance to help me get over the initial hurdle of managing to quit but I don’t think I fit in at AA or anything like that. I have been drinking moderately heavily for a few years now but I have never really made a serious effort at quitting before.

    What kind of assistance could a person who is not an alcoholic and who doesn’t need to go to rehab or anything that serious get to stop drinking?

  • Dr. James Strawbridge Says ...
    Dr. James Strawbridge

    In the context of alcohol use, resolutions become common practice.The essential point is that once substance abuse begins, control is only temporary, and it is only a matter of time before new problems develop. The only way to guarantee no problems in the future for people with substance-related difficulties in the past is to stop using alcohol altogether.

    It might make you feel safe to view alcoholics as having brought their concerns about themselves because because of low ethical standards and a lack of moral fortitude. However, many highly productive and ethical people have found themselves unable to control alcohol or other substance intake. These include responsible and admirable individuals such as Betty Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill and countless others.\

    Everyone begins drinking alcohol thinking that use will be casual and problems will NEVER develop. However, because of the nature of the “beast,” problems soon start to occur. You said, “I do recognize that the alcohol is affecting my health and even more that that I am worried about the example I'm setting for my two preteen children.” However, continuing or returning to alcohol use despite these concerns makes for more frequent and more serious crises. One event develops one month and another might not until until a few months later. However, if you look objectively, the pattern is there.

    When trying to decide whether you have a problem with alcohol, it is very important to make a distinction between occasional use and regular use that results in problems. If you have repeatedly returned to alcohol use even though serious concerns have developed or disruptions may have occurred in your life continue, you do have a problem.

    Couldn't I Just Cut Down?

    Not only can you cut down, you have probably tried many times in the past. This indicate that, despite, your best intentions, there is something interfering with your ability to control you use on a long-term basis. Whatever this thing is that makes control of your alcohol use difficult, it has nothing to do with an overall lack of self-control. Notwithstanding, the problems in the past certainly show that substance poses a real problem for your future.

    Get information from the National Council on Alcoholism. All major cities in the United States have an NCA office. This non-profit organization will give you advice about self-help groups and treatment programs available in your community. You can even ask the volunteer to steer you toward groups where you will feel most comfortable with other group members. Some meetings are are predominantly for white-collar workers, and others mainly for blue-collar workers. Furthermore, just as membership of different self-hep groups can vary, some groups emphasize religion more than others, some tend to use readings and study groups, whereas others rely on verbal explanations of individuals' experiences with substances and subsequent fight for recovery.


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