We’ve all been there. Those weeks where there’s just too much drinking going on simply because circumstances lend themselves to it. Maybe you have family and friends who are visiting or you’ve had a tough week at work, prompting you to drink more than usual. Whatever the reason, one study shows a 30% increase in high-risk drinking in Americans between 2002 and 2013.
While there are new health trends that are positively affecting a large percentage of people, alcohol still is one of the main providers of fun and stress relief in the world.
If you’re growing concerned by your drinking patterns, it’s important to ask yourself two questions: Is there a history of alcoholism in your family and how important is alcohol to your everyday life?
Alcohol and drug use are influenced by genetics, increasing your odds of suffering from the same conditions as your parents and grandparents. Another red flag is asking yourself if alcohol has affected your personal relationships and professional opportunities.
Here’s what you can do to confront this problem:
Hold yourself accountable
If you think that you’re drinking too much, reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming on a weekly basis. Save drinking for social activities and special occasions, avoiding a beer or a glass of wine after work, at least for a period of time. Put a cap on your social drinking, limiting your amount of drinks per outing. Try ordering smaller portions and have smaller sips. Drink water in between alcoholic drinks in order to manage and delay alcohol’s effect on your bloodstream.
Go on a break
If you find it easier to simply go on a break, then do that. Set a time limit and commit to it, trying out other options if you find yourself in social situations and confiding in friends so that no one pressures you into breaking your promise.
While substituting one addictive behavior for another is not the best thing you can do, marijuana has proven itself as a viable option for people who want to take a break from alcohol and its negative side effects. Marijuana produces no hangover and no harmful physical damage. It’s important to remember that all drugs should be consumed in moderation, no matter their side effects.
Talk to someone
Having an honest discussion with someone who’s close to you can help a lot, keeping you accountable and keeping an eye out for your behavior. This person can also help you when you’re out, reminding you of your break or keeping track of the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed.
Do some research and figure out the different options that you have at your disposal. Your health insurance provider should provide you with options regarding different kinds of treatment. If you prefer something more private, try out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 800-662-HELP.