When Alcohol Is NOT Stress Reliever
I woke up with a headache again this morning. Red wine. And not very much of it either.
I feel angry and frustrated. I tell myself, I’m never drinking again. I feel silly that I can’t just have an evening drinking a moderate amount of alcohol. Well, truthfully, I can and I do. But then I don’t sleep well. I feel awful in the morning and I swear off alcohol forever.
Until dinner time and I want wine with dinner. And on Friday, I want wine for Happy hour with my sister or my partner or my friends.
There are so many reason to drink wine.
For you it may be Vodka. Or beer. Or the ubiquitous Margarita. Name your poison, they say. Isn’t that interesting?
Eighty-Seven percent of adults drink alcohol at some point in their lives. When you look through your own filter, it may look like everyone else is handling it just fine. They don’t seem to worry about it. Everybody over does it sometimes. We have a dozen names for a hangover.
So I asked myself, why am I so unhappy in the morning? Why can’t I change this pattern if I want to. I must want to, because I keep wishing I would. Every morning.
I’m not alone in this. So many of my clients, mostly women, especially now in the covid pandemic, are suffering and worrying in this same way.
Some are even reporting scary numbers in their liver tests. Weight gain is the complaint for others. We work so hard to be healthy by exercising, eating well, avoiding unnecessary drugs. Alcohol is getting past our defenses like nothing else.
So what’s going on here? These smart, healthy, high functioning human beings share this common struggle.
Are we addicted to alcohol? Most of the women I’ve sat with do not think they’re addicted. But they admit they’re not quite in control either.
This keeps coming up in my counseling practice. And in my life. So I decided to do some research. It’s time to buy some books.
Reading books has been my go-to research habit for years. Now, of course, I search the internet. You too?
Strangely, you may not talk about your alcohol concerns with your friends and family. Do you worry they’ll judge you? If you say, I’m not drinking this week, they may hold you to it? Or try to talk you out of it? Then, if you fail, the shame will be uncomfortable.
Do you wonder if you’re one of the people who really does need to cut back on alcohol? Do you have health concerns? Do you wonder what you said or did last time you drank too much? Are you driving when you shouldn’t be? Is your partner asking you to cut back or telling you he/she is concerned about your drinking?
While I can’t offer a treatment program for alcohol addiction recovery, I do offer the support you need to walk your way toward a healthier relationship with alcohol. And if I think you need more help, I’ll steer you in that direction. What I won’t do is take away any of your power to make choices. You choose your path. I’ll give you the tools.
I did find a book, actually, and it helped me get a whole new perspective. Then I discovered that many of the skills I was already teaching my clients to help them overcome anxiety and depression were also useful in changing their response to alcohol. I’m making it my job to know more about alcohol and how it works.
Alcohol is an addictive substance for human beings. For all of us. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s body and brain respond in exactly the same way. Maybe it time to figure out how it works for you.