Am I an alcoholic?
Ultimately, for an alcohol-consuming individual, the question of “does my behavior exemplify that of an alcoholic” remains. Not every person will experience alcohol consumption in the same way. For each of us, we have different tolerances that some of us have come to know better than others.
We can all admit that certain behaviors become problematic when they start to negatively affect our lives. Seeking out a program that uses established guidelines that have a proven track record along with reinforcing behavioral therapy is incredibly important. Landmark Recovery, a treatment center option with both inpatient and outpatient treatment options, is an ideal choice for alcoholics. Our goal is to save as many lives as we can in the next century, starting with you and your family.
What is alcoholism?
You’re probably wondering, “Am I an alcoholic?” The abusive use of alcohol in some manner is called an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Almost 15 million Americans have some form of an AUD. Excessive alcohol use is anything beyond moderate alcohol intake, which is generally defined by the CDC as 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking and heavy drinking. Binge drinking is classified as 5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women, usually within the course of 2 hours or less; heavy drinking is classified as 15+ drinks per week for men and 8+ drinks per week for women, not necessarily within a short time frame, making it much more dangerous for the drinker’s health in the long term.
Even though trendlines for young adult drinking are slipping downward, binge drinking is still a dangerous habit that many younger drinkers participate in. Alcoholism consistently kills around 3 million people every year. Don’t let yourself become a statistic.
Alcohol in and of itself is a completely acceptable substance to partake in—in other words, it’s not necessarily harmful in moderation. We use alcohol to lubricate social situations, augment celebrations, and try new tastes. A beer or two every once-in-a-while can be an enjoyable experience among friends. If moderation is our guide, a healthy relationship with alcohol can be maintained.
Oftentimes we think we know what an alcoholic looks like; unfortunately, this is wrong in many cases, as high-functioning alcoholics walk among us. We think that drinking is a way for us to achieve a high, despite alcohol being a downer. Sometimes we use it to forget about underlying issues or we perceive it to be a substance that lubricates social situations in an advantageous or positive manner. This creates a dangerous mindset that fools us into thinking that “alcohol won’t hurt me” or “this isn’t changing anything about my situation in life”. It’s deeply important to always reasonably question yourself at different checkpoints in life to make sure you’re on the right track for personal and emotional prosperity.
If you find yourself amidst a battle between moderation and abuse, there are several treatment styles that work for different types of individuals. Individuals may respond to medication-supported better than, say, going “cold turkey” (not recommended due to the risk of severe withdrawal complications like seizures, which kill up to 10% of those suffering from an AUD per year) or tapering off a drinking habit unsupervised.
Naltrexone is a successfully used medication that, when used to stave off cravings or prevent binge drinking habits, shows immense promise in most patients. Naltrexone is used in multiple different ways, such as the Sinclair Method of treating alcoholic behavior which is fondly recommended as a very effective, high-success treatment method by former alcoholics who used the methodology. One of the biggest upsides to using the Sinclair Method is that it eliminates withdrawal through gradual self-administration of a naltrexone pill one hour or so before being in a situation where the alcoholic would be tempted to imbibe heavily.
Naltrexone works by eliminating the neurological pleasure alcohol gives the drinker and therefore removes the desire to binge drink. It requires willpower, but when combined with an effective intensive outpatient program and behavioral therapy, like Landmark offers at our facilities, success can be within grasp for the individual.
What can I do?
Drinking isn’t inherently a bad thing. We drink for many positive reasons, like being among friends. In G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics, he says, “Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum.” Chesterton’s conclusion that the abuse of drinking leads to negative consequences in both health and society has more than enough evidence backing it up, as pointed out here. However, he goes on to say that moderation and managing your intake is deeply important for the drinker: “Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” We would be wise individuals to heed his advice in the long run, provided we never go past the tipping point.
It’s never too late to admit you have a problem with alcohol consumption. Alcoholism doesn’t always purely present itself as a simple dependence on alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a highly individual problem that we should learn how to personally recognize in ourselves and each other and get ahead before alcohol takes over our lives. Before you take a drink from the next bottle, always periodically ask yourself—“Is this a problem and is there a risk of it becoming one in the future?”
Don’t ever feel afraid to reach out for help. One of the bravest things someone can do is admit they have a problem. Landmark Recovery wants to help individuals live their best lives with the understanding that we’re valued, have value, and contribute value when we’re healthy and fully present. Give us a call at 888-448-0302 if you have any questions or would like to seek treatment.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.” Our lives are a bridge forward, and we all have ups and downs. Let Landmark help you overcome the seemingly impossible and chart out a path towards ever-higher, lasting recovery.
Jul 19, 2021
Posted in: Alcohol