Alcohol intake is woven into American traditions during the summertime. Baseball games, picnics, campouts, outdoor festivals and concerts – almost all of these are characterized by heavy alcohol use by patrons. It is considered normal to overindulge in alcohol on the weekends and at events. The entire season has the feeling of one long celebration, and many take it to an extreme.
At what point does alcohol intake stop being a social behavior and start being a threat? It’s not always easy to tell when everyone around you seems to be able to drink heavily without any severe repercussions. Here’s what you need to know.
Everyone else may not be okay either. Just because it seems like the people you are drinking with are imbibing as much as you are and doing okay, it does not make it true. You do not know the personal details of people’s lives, and it may be that they are struggling even more than you are.
Alcohol takes a physical, emotional, and mental toll. When you drink heavily or regularly, alcohol impacts every system in your body. It is more difficult for your immune system to function and ward off illness. When you are not feeling well, your stress levels will be higher, which in turn may make it more difficult to maintain functional relationships and handle issues that come up at work. All of this works together to wear you down emotionally, making it seem like your only recourse is to drink.
If you are questioning your alcohol intake, there is likely a problem. People who have a healthy relationship with alcohol do not ask themselves if they have a problem. They know they do not. If you are questioning whether or not you drink too much or too often, then it is a likely a good idea to consider what options for change are available to you.
Binge drinking is just as dangerous as heavy chronic drinking. Though it may be normal to drink heavily on the weekends only or during a game and go to work the rest of the week, the fact is that binge drinking is exceptionally hard on the body. Lifelong health problems, acute health issues, accidents, and more have been attributed to binge drinking, making it just as dangerous as other levels of alcohol intake.
Alcohol use disorders occur on a spectrum. There are those who have been living with full-blown alcoholism for decades at one end of the spectrum and those who drink more than the recommended one or two drinks a night at the other. For this reason, there is a spectrum of choices in treatment as well. Many begin the process of recovery by attending therapy with a substance abuse treatment therapist on an outpatient basis while others begin with alcohol detox followed by long-term and intensive residential treatment. It is important to consider all contributing factors when deciding what type of treatment is best, and this is most easily accomplished under the care and supervision of a treatment team.
Alcohol contributes to life-changing and/or deadly accidents. Even low levels of regular alcohol intake or occasional binge drinking can lead to devastating events. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated may seem like no big deal until it ends in a fatal car crash. Grilling out while drinking may sound like a normal weekend, but if there is too much alcohol and care is not taken, burns and fires can and do happen. It is not just the risk of addiction that should be considered when weighing the risks of heavy drinking but the potential for other life-altering outcomes as well.
If you cannot stop on your own, you need help. If you have tried to limit your drinking in any way or tried to quit drinking entirely and been unsuccessful, it is time to seek help. If you have a genuine desire to stop drinking and find that the cravings are too powerful, the safest way to stop drinking and start a new life in sobriety is to ask for help.
Are you ready to learn more about the options available to you in alcohol addiction treatment?