Let’s be real, our drinking cultural has a way of placing alcohol at the center of almost everything from family functions to sporting events to major life milestone like weddings, birthdays and new year celebrations. It’s not easy to walk away from alcohol without feeling some form of external pressure, not to mention, the internal pressure of craving an addictive substance.
So what do many of us do when we encounter issues with our drinking? We try to cut back and moderate, of course.
The trouble is, moderation is not always an easy or feasible option. This is why many people, myself included, come to the conclusion that abstaining completely from alcohol is the best option. This choice is not only limited to those with alcohol-use disorder, it’s also those who have come to the conclusion that the harmful effects of alcohol far outweigh any perceived benefits.
Here are five signs that moderation wasn’t going to work for me:
- It never worked
Plain and simple. I spent years resisting the idea of giving up alcohol completely. I tried eliminating hard alcohol, only drinking on the weekends, limiting my number of drinks, and inevitably I would find myself drinking in excess, yet again.
- Repeated failed attempts chipped away at my self-confidence
It didn’t make sense how I could be high-achieving in other areas of my life but couldn’t seem to control my drinking. The constant let down made me question my own self-worth and wonder why I coudn’t just drink like a “normal person”.
- I was living in denial
There was no denying that deep down, I knew alcohol was a problem for me. I was in a constant inner conflict, and the more I ignored my own voice of reason, the less connected I felt to myself. Ingesting a substance that I knew was causing me harm was a painful form of self-betrayal.
- I experienced the harmful effects of alcohol, even in small doses
Even on occasions when I was able to moderate, the subtle buzz of anxiety in the morning, reduced sleep quality, lack of energy and motivation, and other harmful effects were still present.
- I was never satisfied
Truth be told, even when I “won” the internal battle and managed to limit myself to one or two drinks, I never felt satisfied. It was a massive energy output with no reward. I was always left craving more.
If you find yourself questioning, “do I have a drinking problem?” chances are, you probably do. And that’s ok. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance that hijacks the reward system in our brain. Struggling to control your drinking doesn’t saying anything about how motivated, intelligent, driven or capable you are. If anything, it makes you more human.