Julie Miller's Mental Health Blog

Chemical Dependence #2

Posted on: March 1, 2010

So you drink a little too much sometimes.  “Who doesn’t?” you might say.  So you drink when you don’t really intend to.  “Who doesn’t?”  jSo you can’t always predict your behavior after you drink.  “Who can?”  So you’re wife/husband/kids nag you about your drinking.  “They need to mind their own business; I’m not hurting anyone.”

Ever tried to cut down?  Ever felt annoyed that someone complained about your drinking?  Ever felt guilty about your drinking?  Ever had an “eye-opener” just to get going after a night of heavy drinking?

Maybe there’s something to look at here.  Most people who drink on occasion without having a problem with alcohol do not try repeatedly to cut down without success.  They just cut down.

People who drink on occasion without having a problem do not feel annoyed that someone is complaining about their drinking.  Pretty much, no one complains because they don’t have a problem.

People who drink on occasion without having a problem with alcohol don’t feel guilty about their drinking, or what they did as a result of drinking, because they have nothing to feel guilty about.  They don’t do things to feel guilty about when drinking.

If you hear yourself saying, “well, everybody feels that way,” or “that happens to everyone,” you may want to pause and reflect.  Do “normal” people really do that, or say that, or feel that way?  Maybe you could to ask one of those “normal” people if they think you have a problem.

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs available to us and it is legal.  People die from alcohol use/abuse daily.  Responsible use of such a dangerous drug is imperative, and yet most Americans don’t know how to do it.  DUIs and automobile accident fatalities.  Alcohol poisoning and deaths.  Domestic violence.  Child abuse.  The list goes on and on.

Responsible drinking means knowing how many drinks in what amount of time you can have before you reach the legal blood alcohol content, and then sticking to it.  Responsible drinking means stopping or cutting down if you begin to experience negative consequences, like family or friends complaining about your drinking, or if you need an eye-opener the morning after.  It means noticing if you can’t predict your behavior after drinking, and then just stopping.

These signs are important red flags – if you see them, pay attention. If you can’t control your own drinking, get help – it’s out there.  E-mail me and I’ll help you find help.  If you see someone else demonstrating these signs, let them know what you see.  You can’t control their drinking, but you can be a mirror to reflect back to them what you see.

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