When should you quit alcohol? Before you are an almost alcoholic or before you hit rock bottom? There are many degrees of drinking. There are many humans who can hold their drink. There are also many humans who are not interested in drinking. But they are in the minority.
Drinking has become the latest global hobby to replace real pleasures. There are far too many people who see drinking as their right.
Have a drink – instead of walking to the ocean or around the block. Have a drink – instead of going to the gym class. Have a drink – instead of talking to someone. Have a drink – instead of a wholesome meal.
If you have a drink to relax, to destress, to have courage in social situations, to enjoy the sunset, to celebrate any occasion or to cry over any sadness, then maybe you are having too many drinks?
I remember my mother, an alcoholic, finding any and every excuse to have a drink. Read a book – have a drink. Make supper – have a drink. Phone a friend – have a drink. Someone’s birthday – have a drink. Someone’s death – have a drink. I remember lots of slurring in those days. Lots of lopsided walking and messes made. Lots of drunk driving with the kids in the back. Eish.
Drinking is Bad for You
So, when do you know that it’s time to quit? This blog will provide you with 5 signs to look out for that may classify you as an almost alcoholic. Before we get there, though, check out the many health risks of drinking:
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
- Digestive issues
- Hearing loss
- High blood pressure
- Sexually transmitted disease
Research shows that some of the damage caused to your brain, liver, cardiovascular system, and gut will begin to slowly heal as you stop drinking and enter recovery from an alcohol use disorder.
Many people who drink and do not know when to quit do not realise that their bodies are being impacted forever. There are no real signs of dis-ease except a bit of fatigue, puffy skin, headaches, weight gain, lethargy and irritation with life. It’s a case of “I will just have a drink tonight and feel better!”
But are these not very good reasons to quit alcohol? They all point to a few puzzle pieces short of the health puzzle! There are often some obvious signs that you need to stop drinking before life crumbles around you.
Check out these 5 signs that it’s time to quit alcohol:
- You need more and more: every time you pour a drink, it just seems to go nowhere. You love that first sip, that first glass – it is so relaxing and removes you from your troubles. But when you have done the bottle, you look around and you feel – sober! So, you reach for another bottle…In a while, you are reaching for a drink before the time of day when you usually poured one. Then you have a drink before you go out to drink, and afterward. You actually hide the drinks from your family/spouse/mother/friends. Then one day, you stop for a drink in the morning. Then you know, you are building up too much tolerance to alcohol. A huge warning sign.
- Friends and family make comments: maybe these comments are direct such as “Gee you sure put away that wine last night!” or maybe they are subtle such as “Do you remember when you tripped over the pot plant last night?” or “How are you feeling today?” Some family members may throw the book at you and tell you to stop drinking. Others may duck and dive until you embarrass them, and they have to tell you that they are feeling ashamed of your behaviour. Friends may tell you to cut back a bit on your quantity of alcohol being consumed or that they are worried about your drinking and driving. When you feel their anger and concern, then you know… something has changed, and something HAS to change.
- Health issues: you start feeling under the weather for longer and you find that it is harder to conquer a hangover, even more, these days. You battle to sleep at night which means your daytime functioning is not optimal. You have an upset stomach most days and you feel foggy and irritable most days. Your memory seems to be going and your eyes look yellow. Alcohol is a poison that affects your organs: liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart, you name it. Time for a check-up and a check-out, maybe?
- Rebelliousness increases: when you drink you become increasingly rebellious and reckless. You don’t seem to care who you hurt, physically or emotionally. You want to teach the world a thing or two. And why does everyone think you drink too much? You think you are fine! When you get aggressive at a bar or restaurant, it gets increasingly embarrassing for your friends or family who are with you. These establishments may ban you from coming again. The police may get you for drunk driving. How far do you push your own safety and the safety of those around you?
- Work and relationships suffer: you are late for work. You forget to dress properly for work. Sometimes you don’t even shower before leaving for work. Work colleagues are avoiding you. Your friends don’t ask you to join them for drinks after work. They have a few and go home, you never want to leave. You find it awkward in social situations because you don’t remember what happened during the weekend. You fall behind in your work deadlines. These signs are serious and show that something is wrong.
Facing the Facts is Hard
Heeding these warning signs takes courage. It means facing up to the shame and guilt of the drinking and its effects on you – and all those who know and love you. It means facing up to the WHYS of the drinking, the causes. Often, these causes are so deeply embedded in your childhood traumas that they need to be dug up and examined in a safe coaching space.
Many people who stop drinking choose recovery coaching. Others try hypnotism, meditation, yoga, fitness regimes, reiki and a myriad other health therapies available these days. Do what suits you. Take ownership of your drinking and get a new lease on life as a sober citizen.
The Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
- Better relationships and social interaction
- Stronger physical and mental immune health
- More money in the bank
- Goodbye to hangovers forever
- No more anger and aggression and risky actions
When should you quit alcohol? Who wants to be called an almost alcoholic? Who wants to hear that they have alcohol misuse disorder? Alcohol is so damaging. The brain can heal when you stop drinking so let it get better.
Sorting out the emotions is harder but can be done with dedication and purpose. Physically, quitting alcohol opens doors to better workouts, more yoga, more walking and more energy. Make your next addiction something healthy! But don’t go overboard…
Drinking causes heart issues, cancer and loss of opportunity.
It’s so important to check your dependency on alcohol by taking regular breaks from the booze. For 66 days of online, audio and community support, sign up for Tribe Sober’s annual Sober Spring Challenge.