You’re trying to stop drinking, and maybe you’ve been successful for a while. You’ve managed to control your alcohol intake to reasonable levels, or you’ve managed to stay completely sober for some time.
So then what do you do if you have a lapse? You drink again, far more than you intended to, waking the next morning feeling terrible, that you’ve let yourself down maybe?
How you view this lapse will determine how you react to it. If you see it as a sign of failure, then your self esteem will suffer, you’ll lose hope and end up believing that the changes you’re trying to make are not possible, that you’re simply an alcoholic, you just can’t help it. This sort of belief can then lead you to drink even more – so a single mistake turns into a full relapse.
Or you could look at your mistake as just another occasion where you slipped back into old routines for a while. But that needn’t be a reason for you to give up hope, just a flag to remind you that, for the moment at least, you need to be very vigilant about your behaviour.
Observe your own feelings and thoughts, be aware of when you’re in the sort of mood where you usually want a drink – and do something about it, something different. (See – Dealing with Cravings). Acknowledge that you’re feeling weak or emotional – talk to someone about how you’re feeling generally. Don’t try to struggle through it alone.
Don’t forget, the best way to handle your feelings is to express them – talk about it. That way a lapse can remain just that, something you can learn from rather than an excuse to relapse completely.
Many people looking for help on this site do not consider themselves to be alcoholics. They are not drinking all day, every day. But they are regularly binge drinking alcohol to excess, such that they are damaging their health, their relationships and their self esteem.
It is easier to convince yourself that you haven’t got an alcohol problem if you can regularly have days where you don’t drink at all. You think you’ve got control of your drinking for a while, so you’re not as concerned any more.
Then it happens again – you binge, and wake up feeling awful. Maybe you carry on drinking heavily for a couple of days to deal with how guilty you feel about it all (and the hangover of course). But this type of binge drinking can have serious negative consequences which you need to do something about.
Are you an alcoholic or a binge drinker?
Take our test of alcoholism signs and symptoms.
Many people with an alcohol problem are drinking as a way of dealing with boredom. They’ve got nothing exciting or interesting to do, so they drink instead, and that keeps them entertained.
Watching TV for hours is boring and uninspiring, but if you have a drink then it becomes more tolerable.
So, is your life too dull? If you weren’t drinking so much, what would you be doing with your spare time instead?
If you have difficulty answering that question, then here’s the first problem you need to solve before you can move forward.
The alcoholic head taster for a brewery in Brazil has been awarded financial damages by his employer after the courts agreed he had not been prevented from developing alcoholism.
How were they supposed to have done that?
He drank anywhere from 16 to 25 glasses of beer in an eight hour shift. The company argued that he was already an alcoholic before they employed him. The judge decided that in that case they were negligent in employing him in the first place.
Maybe he wasn’t spitting out enough of his tasting samples. But I’m sure there’s a few people out there who wouldn’t mind his job. If you’re looking for help with an alcohol problem, try our free consultation with no obligation, we’ll get back to you asap with some ideas about how our online treatment programme could help you.