Updated: September 2021
Reading Time: Estimated 6 Minutes
What actually makes someone an alcoholic? The Merriam Webster Dictionary states: “addiction to the consumption of alcoholic drink; alcohol dependency” (1).
The keyword is dependency. Do you or your loved one depend on alcohol to get through the day? Is there an overwhelming urge to binge drink once a week or fortnight to deal with life and its stresses? If alcohol wasn’t a potentially destructive substance, drinking this often probably wouldn’t be an issue. After all, we all need ways to wind down and relax at the end of a tough day or week. But unfortunately when alcohol is consumed in large quantities it can have very harmful effects, both mentally and physically.
Here are some of the signs, actions and behaviours that may suggest you or your loved one may be suffering from an alcohol dependency. If some of these sound familiar, you may like to put in steps to seek help. With respect to changing alcoholic lifestyle patterns, it’s always best to speak to a GP or other medical specialist first. If you would like to explore private alcohol rehab as an option to stop drinking alcohol and reset you or your loved one’s life, you’re more than welcome to contact Barbara and the team here at Refocus.
Ask yourself, or your loved one, these 7 questions:
When was the last day you didn’t have a drink? If you can’t remember your last day off from alcohol, it’s probably a sign that something is wrong. If you’re having one or two a day, and you’re able to remain in control, it’s probably not a problem. However, if you can’t moderate or be in control, this is a sign of something more serious.
Many drinkers will aim to have only one or two drinks for the evening, but will end up drinking 5, 6, 7 or more. How often have you tried to moderate and be in control but been unsuccessful in sticking to your self-imposed limit? If this is a regular occurrence, and you wish to change, it may be a sign to get some help.
The very nature of alcohol, and its effects on the brain, make moderating and controlling intake quite difficult. So someone who has alcohol dependency issues is already starting off on the back foot. If you struggle to self-moderate, it might be a sign that life would improve if you re-learned this mechanism. It’s one of the reasons why so many people seek treatment for alcohol dependence at Refocus.
Many alcoholics say that they often experience feelings of guilt. Guilt because they’re spending money on alcohol they can’t really afford. Guilt because they’re neglecting their family responsibilities. Guilt because they’ve caused others hardship. Guilt because they’ve done many things they’re ashamed of whilst under the influence. And guilt because they aren’t looking after their own precious bodies.
One of the worst feelings is waking up from a big binge drinking session and not remembering the night before. The worry that you may have acted in an embarrassing or even illegal manner can be extremely debilitating. The problem is, this guilt promotes the cycle of drinking. The more guilt you feel and or create, the more likely you are to attempt to numb it temporarily through alcohol consumption.
If this is a cycle you often experience, it may suggest that you need treatment for alcoholism.
Do you have a partner that is constantly asking you to stop? Do they threaten to end the relationship if you don’t get your drinking under control? Having a partner constantly tell you to stop drinking won’t necessarily help you to moderate or stop. In some cases, it can make the situation worse. The increased pressure and guilt can even encourage more excessive drinking. Of course this isn’t your partner’s fault, they are probably feeling a level of desperation in the situation. The potential ending of the relationship due to alcohol may be a reason to encourage you to seek treatment.
Many of the people we see at Refocus remark that they used to create reasons to drink alcohol. Creating social events in order to drink, or simply putting yourself in situations where drinking is socially acceptable are common behaviours for someone dependent on alcohol.
Has your Doctor or other medical professional asked you to moderate or stop drinking due? Are they worried about alcohol related illnesses like liver function or weight issues? If this is the case, it may suggest you’re dependent on alcohol. If after your doctor has advised you to stop and you haven’t been able to, it might be time to seek treatment for alcohol addiction.
Do you make drinking the number one activity of the day? Is it one thing that makes everything else melt away? Do you rely on alcohol to make the day float by? If everything else revolves around your pursuit to drink, it’s a strong sign something is wrong.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions then you may need help. But the good news is that many people struggling with alcohol dependence and addiction have turned their life around. And Refocus can help!
When you stop drinking you can expect to experience:
There are so many reasons to be excited about quitting alcohol. It’s natural to be concerned that you may have a dependency, but it’s an opportunity to take your life back and change it for the better.
If you’re serious about stopping, please get in touch with your Medical Practitioner. If you’re exploring alcohol rehab, get in touch with the friendly team here at Refocus on (03) 9537 0880 to talk about our rehab program and organise a tour of our facility in Melbourne.