What can you do if you think you are drinking too much?
Over the 20 years I have been helping people, I have learned that alcohol is a numbing agent. It numbs a certain emotion, and that may be one reason someone finds themselves drinking too much.
Journaling or Voice Memos
If you’re numbing an emotion, it’s because on some level you feel that you can’t face the emotion head-on. I would like to ask you to give this some serious consideration and use a journal or voice memos to keep track of when you drink and see if you can figure out what the emotion is.
- What is the emotion you are feeling 30 minutes before you decide to reach for a drink?
The most common emotions are neediness, sadness, or anger.
These are the three emotions people get really scared about. Typically, it’s from how they grew up and the patterns of how their family dealt with these emotions.
A way to figure out if you have a problem with one of these emotions is to ask yourself this one question.
- How do you deal with your neediness, anger, or sadness?
If you cringe at the thought of those emotions, that might be the emotion you’re trying to cover up with alcohol.
The key for you is going to be to cut back on alcohol for a while to prove to yourself that you can deal with these emotions. Or add another soothing agent that is not hurting you, and can help you with those emotions.
Another key piece when you’re trying to cut back on alcohol is feeling deprived. No one likes to feel deprived. It’s going to be crucial for you to take care of all of the other deprivations in your life first.
I’ve had patients realize in therapy that there are a lot of areas in their life where they feel deprived. They suffered through these areas thinking it was a badge of honor, but it’s not.
Two areas where one may feel deprived is in their sex life and job; they’re not fulfilling for them. Once those areas are taken care of, it will be easier to cut back on alcohol use.
Alcohol is used as a security blanket, if you get rid of the constant threats to your wellbeing, you won’t have the urge as much to drink, and it’ll be much easier to cut back.
Get Familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous
Remember, if you go to AA, it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic. AA does exactly what we’ve discussed. It focuses on what will help and avoids what won’t help. It has a system in place that is successful, so why not copy it? Even if you don’t go, try to copy it. There’s support, no shame, people go at their own pace and in their own way.
In fact, when one of the founders, Bill W., encouraged someone to participate in AA, he brought their favorite drink with him. That is symbolically a sign of; I am not judging you; I accept who you are and where you are, and when you’re ready to get help. That is the kind of support you need to be to yourself or train those around you to be for you.
I wish you the best in this endeavor! I am always here to help if you think you have been drinking too much and would like help, reach out anytime at 757-340-8800.
For more topics, go to www.drldabney.com.