Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘I only drink at the weekend’ or ‘I only have a quick one on my way home after a hard day’s work’? It’s too easy to believe that simply because you’re not a registered alcoholic then you don’t have a problem with drink…Yes?
No, think again. In the UK today there are many problems that are drink related, from our health and finances to social and work life. These can impact in one way or another with our family and friends and worse still we may not even realise it until it’s too late. Family may give up on us or our bodies may give up due to the health problems that come with alcohol abuse.
There are many people who drink every weekend and do not consider it to be a problem believing that if they only drink at the weekend then they are absolutely in control. Could they get through a weekend without a drink? If the answer is no then they could be a ‘weekend alcoholic’. An Alcoholic probably knows when they are an alcoholic; whether they want to admit to it yet is another thing. Do they know the difference between simply wanting an alcoholic drink or ‘needing’ an alcoholic drink… big difference.
Alcohol dependency can creep up on you without you ever realising it. Say for example you start going for a drink on Friday after work. Then it moves on to lunch time with your work mates or perhaps a little drink to help with the nerves before a presentation. Worse still, I know of a woman who had a half bottle of Gin to calm her nerves before her driving test and didn’t see anything wrong with it! Guess what, she never got to even sit in the driver’s seat. Then the old favourite one, a night cap to help you sleep. Suddenly you cannot get through a day without a drink. Most social situations where children are not involved are often centred around where alcohol is readily available, for instance going for a meal, a show, a quick lunch in the pub or just meeting in the bar after work. You won’t look silly or a wimp by having a soft drink, in fact you may be looked upon as someone with self-respect and dignity who knows when it is the right time to drink and what the possible pitfalls of drinking alcohol could be.
Our family life is usually the first area to be affected by alcohol abuse. This is because our loved ones and those close to us are the first to notice that we are changing. However the drinker believes that they are being ‘nagged’ and that they have a good reason for drinking, and indeed spending money that could be going elsewhere. They may start forgetting appointments, missing out on family events, being rude, ignoring the children and always sleeping off the effects from drinking the day or night before! This can become a vicious circle as in the mind of the alcoholic he or she now ‘needs’ to turn to the bottle to escape the social inadequacies they now suffer, paradoxically giving the drinker ammunition and an excuse to drink more! Sound unpleasantly familiar perhaps? Our families love us, and yet we continue to believe that it’s ok to be self-destructive and that they will always be there.
Arguably an alcoholic could be wrong, everyone has their limits, and the family may not always be there. You see, it’s not only the person with the social drinking problem whose life is being destroyed slowly day by day but their friends and family too are also being destroyed. Children can be cruel and anything that makes a child stand out from the crowd could be picked on, and yes a parent or family member always being drunk or smelling of alcohol WILL stand out; so when a child goes to school, their peers may abuse them due to something they have absolutely no control over; i.e. their parents drinking! I have seen children hanging around outside local bars where their parents are drinking inside and trying to catch their attention just to get some money for food! Not nice and never forgotten.
The health implications are often easily recognisable, however alcoholics can sometimes adopt ‘James Bond Tactic’s’ to hide their disease, so look for symptoms such as lack of sleep, loss of appetite, shaking, sleeping disorders, drinking first thing in the morning to avoid a hangover, lack of interest in things including their appearance, mood swings, loss of memory and the list goes on and on.
Do you recognise any of the symptoms in someone you know? Do you recognise any of the symptoms in yourself? Have you thought about seeking help but don’t really know where to turn?
If you think that any of this relates to you or someone you know, you do not have to be alone. Yes you have to make the decision to address the problem, but there is so much help out there. The first thing to realise is that you can get help, and you can also help yourself. Wherever you are in the world just Google the word alcoholism then your area and you may be pleasantly surprised at the amount of help that is available, and there is a lot of help available, thankfully.
Perhaps the first step is to take stock and recognise that there is a problem and this acceptance will almost instantly help someone who is in an alcoholic situation feel better. The most important thing to understand is, it doesn’t matter how an alcoholic finds themselves in that situation, how they got there is of little relevance at that stage, but recognise there is always help; they only need to reach out and ask for it. This is often a stumbling block though, so beware!
In summary, the abuse of alcohol can creep up on the very best people, but being able to recognise some tell-tale signs as we’ve discussed above can be lifesaving. Importantly, seek help ASAP for the alcoholic, as many lives can be turned around and away from the abyss simply by intervention from the many professional sources of help available.
©Sarah B Wallace www.FeedMyMind.co.uk