Most Brits would admit that alcoholism is a problem. The NHS estimates that almost 1 in 10 men in the UK (8.7%), and 1 in 20 of women in the UK (3.3%), show signs of alcoholism (also known as “alcohol dependence”). But a surprising few would admit that they might have a ‘problem’ with alcohol. For some, drinking is part of their daily or weekly routine. Maybe open a bottle after a long day of work, or have a few more pints at the pub.
Drinking alcohol is a big part of socialising with friends, doing business, and even networking to find your next job. Drinking alcohol is seen as about being sociable. A great deal of us enjoy getting together in pubs, bars, and restaurants. We don’t think about the problems that too much drinking causes. After all, we are getting on with our daily responsibilities just fine. We’re able to get up, feed and clothe the children, pay the mortgage, and go to work the next morning.
At what point do we admit that we could have a problem with our drinking? At what point do we acknowledge that much more of us can run into problems with our drinking than we realise?
A Clinical Psychologist can help take positive steps to get alcohol use under control. Some people manage their recovery from problematic alcohol use by going abstinent; others chose to work towards controlled drinking. Psychological coaching, mindful meditation, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help someone realise the real reasons behind their alcohol use and learn new ways to cope with stress, negative emotions, and unhelpful habits.
Perhaps the first step is to realise that each of us is much more susceptible than we realise to developing a ‘problem’ with our drinking. When we neglect to talk about our own mental and emotional health, we find unhealthier, even self-destructive ways of coping with it, such as abusing alcohol.
Most people don’t even realise they are using alcohol to avoid dealing with their emotions. The key word here is “avoid”. Alcohol helps us run further away from our underlying problems; it doesn’t help us deal with them. When this happens, we need to put our hand up and admit when we have a problem with alcohol. Only by talking about the underlying issues we’re going through can we regain control over our drinking, rather than being controlled by it.