Problems With Alcohol
No one sets out with a plan to become an alcohol abuser or alcohol addict. Addiction comes about as a result of repeated patterns of abusive behaviour over time, which in turn create changes in our brain chemistry and emotional responses. Compulsion takes over and subdues our normal, healthy thinking and emotional processing. Out of all this alcohol addiction arises. If you are seeking help, then you have probably reached the stage where it is clear that alcohol has begun to cause problems in your life. This is a fundamental starting point. The next step is to reach out for help. Perhaps, working together, we can find a solution that changes your life for the better.
Alcohol abuse and
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) are serious and widespread health issues. Alcohol is a major contributor to early death, in both men and women, around the world and across the socio-economic spectrum. Aside from the clear and far-reaching health issues associated with alcohol abuse, additional damage inevitably occurs in many areas including family relations, work, friendships, emotional well-being, sense of purpose, and basic ability to function normally and happily. You don’t have to be a homeless person to have alcohol problems. It is estimated that more than 10% of the adult population suffers from either alcohol abuse or AUD. If you’re looking at this page then you, or someone you care about, is experiencing problems with alcohol. Perhaps I can help.
Alcohol abuse and AUD inevitably provoke certain symptoms which vary for each individual. The more symptoms one has, the more likely it is that someone is either abusing alcohol or is already suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder, see a basic list of symptoms below.
Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Do any of these look familiar?
- Difficulty controlling the amount you drink
- Wanting to reduce or cut down but being unable to
- Regularly feeling a strong craving for alcohol
- Having problems at home or work related to alcohol consumption
- Needing more and more alcohol to get the desired effect
- Regular binge drinking
- Drinking in the morning
- Experiencing black outs
- Becoming defensive when someone tries to discuss alcohol use
- Feeling shaky, nauseous and anxious the day after drinking
- Drinking to relieve the above feelings
- Anxiously waiting for the time when it is “OK” to drink
- Hiding alcohol
- Drinking secretly
- Drinking alone
- Spending significant amounts of time related to drinking
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone you care about, then it may be time to seek help.
Alcohol abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Causes
Alcohol abuse and AUD come about through a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological and social factors that vary with each individual. It seems clear that certain people are naturally more predisposed to alcohol abuse and AUD than others. Having a parent, grandparent or sibling that has suffered with alcohol abuse is one very clear risk factor. Exposure to alcohol at an early age also appears to increase the likelihood that someone will experience problems with alcohol later in life.
Dealing with Alcohol Abuse and AUD
Alcohol problems range from mild to severe. For those with mild alcohol problems, it may be quite simple to adjust alcohol consumption to reasonable levels. This is a worthy and healthy goal to pursue in the counselling process.
For others, alcohol abuse may have become chronic and the idea of a life without alcohol may seem impossible. There are also many people that are somewhere in between mild alcohol abuse and more severe Alcohol Use Disorder. In any case, the idea of facing and dealing with alcohol abuse issues can be a frightening and daunting task. Often, someone abusing alcohol will have built their social life and free time around alcohol. The idea of not drinking in those circumstances can seem utterly impossible. Many people abusing alcohol will try to keep things secret for as long as possible. A vicious cycle begins in which the alcohol abuse creates greater and greater problems, and greater and greater stress on the person. The stress of maintaining the addiction grows, and this, itself, results in increased alcohol usage. This can go on for many years. Even after years of alcohol-related problems including injuries, failing finances, disruption of the family, declining health, loss of employment, arrest, etc. many people remain confused, afraid and embarrassed to face this complicated and overwhelming crisis. It is important to remember, however, that the sooner someone seeks help for alcohol related problems the better. It is also critical to realize it is never too late to seek help.
Do Not be Afraid
Let me be clear here: Having problems with alcohol is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of in any way! Alcohol abuse and AUD are illnesses. For most people, when they think they may have an illness, they seek help. They talk to their doctor or visit a specialist. This should be no different. If you have problems controlling the amount of alcohol you drink, or if alcohol is creating problems in your life, then please contact me. I have been there. I had my own issues with alcohol and was scared to death when I realized I needed to tell my shameful secret to someone. I felt weak and useless and embarrassed and morally corrupt at the time. This worked against me. But when I finally sought help for my addiction, things turned around very quickly. The same can be true for you. Call me and let’s meet. I promise I will offer you empathy, support, encouragement and direction. You will not be judged. Let’s see if we can find a way to a new and better life for you. It is never too late.
The Term Alcoholic
In my opinion, the term alcoholic is unhelpful and, in many cases, actually works against someone trying to recover. Society has long associated the term alcoholic with someone weak, pitiful and hopeless. No one wants to be labelled an alcoholic. Alcohol abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder are recognized illnesses that require specialized treatment – just like any other illness. Having problems with alcohol is in no way a reflection of a person’s character. There are good and bad people with alcohol problems. Alcohol abuse and AUD affect millions of people, around the world and across the board – men and women, young and old, rich and poor. Each person has an individual relationship with alcohol. Each individual has a unique path that took them into a troubled state in relation to alcohol. Each person also walks their own unique path out of the personal crisis that is alcohol abuse and AUD. Having alcohol issues does not mean a person is weak or corrupt or worthless. Anything that stands in the way of a person seeking help should be removed. Words matter. Terminology matters. Having issues with alcohol means you may have an illness that requires treatment. Perhaps I can help get you going down your path to recovery. Their are no alcoholics among my clients, but many of them suffer from alcohol abuse and AUD.
Wanting to moderate your drinking
Many people have a desire to reduce or control their alcohol intake without quitting all together. I have worked with many people for whom this has been possible. Moderating alcohol consumption is a healthy and worthwhile goal, and there are ways and means of attempting to control your intake. I am happy to assist individuals who are looking to reduce and control their drinking. Together we can review your relationship to alcohol and work towards a pattern of alcohol use that is moderate, sustainable and acceptable. Alcohol use is deeply entrenched in society. About 80% of the population consumes alcohol to some degree. For most people, alcohol is no problem at all. They drink socially, their bodies tell them when to stop and they have no obsession with the act of drinking or the idea of alcohol. If your goal is to moderate drinking, rather than quitting altogether, then let’s see what we can do. I offer you my full support.
The Good News
There is good cause to be hopeful. Research clearly shows that recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction is very common. The earlier one seeks treatment the better, but there is never a time when it is too late to seek help. Everyone’s path out of alcohol abuse is individual, although most people share a common starting point – a desire to be free from this abusive and compulsive behaviour. Recovery from alcohol abuse is not an overnight process, nor is it necessarily easy. However, when a person reaches that point when they feel a strong desire to change, then the most important roadblock has been removed. Come and see me and let’s discuss your particular case. I promise you will not be judged. Having a supportive, informed and empathetic alcohol counsellor can make a huge difference when someone is seeking to escape the clutches of alcohol. There is no one for whom recovery is not a real possibility. Seeking help is a fundamental starting point.
My Addiction and Recovery
I drank alcohol and used drugs recreationally from the time I was a teenager. As I got older, I lost interest in experimenting with other substances. I committed myself fully to alcohol use. I was a daily drinker and to excess. Somehow, I managed to keep my life going in this way for a long time. I wasn’t very happy. I felt scared a lot of the time. My addiction to alcohol was an enormous burden, and it was difficult to bear. When I reached the crisis point in my addiction, everything important in my life was on the edge; my marriage, my health, my business. I finally sought help, after years of alcohol abuse.
Amazingly, my life began to change very quickly. The fear I felt on a daily basis began to dissipate. My family life improved. My health returned. The weight of the addiction was lifted from me and I experienced a sort of natural euphoria that went on for more than a year. The structure of my life changed from one built around alcohol, to one built around family and personal interests and healthy relationships with others. I had a very skilled counsellor that guided me through early sobriety. I also was helped immensely by my doctor. And I got a great deal of help from others recovering from the same problem I had – Alcohol Use Disorder.
In 2010, after a year of being sober, I began working with others experiencing problems with alcohol. Since that time, I have worked closely with hundreds of individuals at various stages of recovery from alcohol abuse. Many have achieved a happy and sustained sobriety. Still others learned to control their alcohol intake. For some, the struggle continues. Relapses are common, and often come with a heavy price. But for those individuals that maintain a desire to deal with their problem, there is always hope. And I am happy to work with someone through relapse after relapse, knowing that each relapse is, possibly, their last.