Alcohol is a dominant ingredient in the Australian cultural recipe, spicing up awkward events or lubricating strained family dinners with aplomb and a variety of flavours. Of course, alcohol pops up almost everywhere, from Friday drinks to weekend BBQ’s, so avoiding its presence can feel like a futile game of cat and mouse…and you’re never the feline. Many of us grow up with alcohol, watching our parents share a bottle of wine or a fine glass of scotch after a long day at work – it’s something to look forward to, a compelling feature of the adult world that we can’t wait to experience, at least once.
What happens when a couple becomes a couple dozen and weekends melt together, a fog of automation until the next drop? What if you need it to feel good, to feel anything at all beyond irritation, even if it’s sharp, hard anger? How far is too far and how do you know you’ve reached the point of alcoholism?
How Are You Feeling?
How long has it been since your last drink? Take stock of how you’re feeling, about yourself and other people before reflecting how on you felt after the first taste of your last session. Relieved? Free? Relaxed? Did all of the real life crap just drip away? Are you waiting for the next taste, on edge a little but holding on, hiding your compulsion from your friends, colleagues and family? Alcoholics often have to battle through dry periods, often spanning only a small period of a few days, like they were marathons of self-preservation.
When asked about your weekend or drinking habits, you might tense up, deliberately lie or omit damaging details, because some part of you feels ashamed for submitting to this need. Guilt, shame, dishonesty, memory loss or binging are all signs of an alcohol dependence.
What’s Your Life Like?
How’s work and home panning out since you’ve started drinking more? Have your responsibilities fallen by the wayside, whether they be University tutorials, work performance, spending time with your partner and children, or cancelling plans at the last minute because they may impinge on your time at the bar? Have you started splurging hard won savings on bottles of spirits or running up huge tabs you’re barely able to cover?
When alcohol takes hold of your life, it will affect everything and everyone, threatening your chances of retaining a good job, passing University, maintaining the respect of your friends or even taking the lives of those around you by driving drunk. Most of the time, you won’t even feel yourself slipping into these behaviours until it’s too late and you face a litany of problems that won’t go away, leading you to drink more to escape the burden. It’s a destructive cycle.
How Do You Treat Those Around You?
Drinking to excess, even occasionally, will affect how people see you. Not because you look like a complete tool, but because our personalities change dramatically on any drug, including alcohol. Imagine how you’d feel if your partner, adult child or friend acted out, swearing, abusing or picking arguments, shadowed by the sweet smell of alcohol. Imagine if this became a regular thing.
Neglecting your relationships with true friends and partners in favour of enabling drinking If you feel like you’ve lost control, or know somebody who exhibits some of these symptoms, there is a wealth of information available to you. Click here for information on booking into the Non 12 Step Rehab program or detox boot camp as a last resort – there are no genies at the bottom of the bottle, just demons we all carry within us.