I’ve started to seriously consider the possibility that I have a drink problem. But what does that mean exactly? And what kind of treatment should I look for?
The few people I’ve had the courage to talk to all have very different opinions on the nature of my problem and what I should do about it. One person said it’s just a matter of willpower – everyone else manages their drinking habits, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to if I knuckle down and stick at it.
Someone else said I’m drinking because of some repressed trauma, or perhaps just to escape my problems, and that I should see a therapist.
And another person said I’m probably an alcoholic and need to get to an AA meeting before I totally destroy my life.
I’ve done some research online and there’s support for all of these different ideas… but then there’s also lots of horror stories from people who tried and failed at these different approaches.
I think part of the problem is that there’s no one definition of what constitutes a drink problem. We throw around terms like binge drinker, heavy drinker and alcoholic, without really understanding the difference.
Broadly speaking, however, there seems to be three main types of drinking problem.
Stress: I work 60-hours a week at a difficult job and at the end of the day I find it hard to relax unless I have at least one or two drinks. Usually more. I’m worried my drinking habits are starting to get out of control.
Tragedy: Last year I lost a close family member in death and I started drinking as a way to forget. Now I’m overcome with anxiety if I don’t start the day with a drink, and I’m starting to consume more and more as time goes by.
The Mystery: I have everything anyone could possibly want out of life. A great job, a loving partner, beautiful kids… so why do I feel the need to get drunk so frequently, and often at the worst possible times. Lately I’ve started drinking before work, just to get rid of the tremors. I’ve tried moderating my drinking, and even stopping completely, but I can’t seem to manage more than a couple of weeks before I slip up again.
I think maybe I fit into the first category. But maybe I’m kidding myself and I’m really in the third.
I don’t know. I guess I’m not going to be able to figure out the right treatment for me until I get a proper diagnosis. I need to know if my problem is simply a result of some bad choices, or if I’m suffering from some kind of pathological dependency.
I found this company online called Addictions UK. They help people with drug, alcohol and other dependency problems. All of their counselors are recovering addicts who have achieved sobriety, so I’m thinking they can probably relate to my situation and help me figure out what the best solution is.
Where’s their phone number. Ah, there it is… 0845 4567 030