3 signs you have a problem with alcohol

alcohol-hangover-event-death-52507Your drinking has hurt you or someone you loved physically or emotionally

The stereotypical drunk person can barely stand, has trouble speaking and should NOT be driving a car. Alcohol impairs motor function causing drinkers to lose their balance, and have issues performing simple tasks. If you’re the type of person that has fallen, been in a car accident, or struck someone while under the influence of alcohol, it may be a clear sign that you have a problem.

Additionally, lashing out or getting in to a mentally or emotionally stressful situations with loved ones can be a sign that you no longer have control of your drinking. Impaired judgement is another symptom of alcohol intoxication. Making bad decisions, saying hurtful words and increased stress and anxiety while drunk are all signs that problematic drinking.

Drinking has costs you more than you can afford

We all know drinking can be expensive but putting your enjoyment before rent/mortgage payments is a major red flag. Again, impaired judgement is a sign of intoxication so if you’ve ever spent come home from a night out with an empty wallet it’s a very bad sign.

Additionally, a hangover is a given when celebrating with alcohol but losing jobs, friends, missing special events, or losing possessions like wedding rings is a very clear sign that your drinking is out of control. Sacrificing money, possessions and relationships with friends and family is not a good tradeoff for alcohol

You wish you could quit drinking

Drinking can be fun, and we’ve all likely wished we were having a drink instead of at work. However, if you’ve ever been drunk and simply thought “I wish I could stop” it’s a very clear indication that you should take steps to curb your drinking or stop all together.

Not everyone will come to this point in their life, but if you’re like me and one day wished you could stop, then you should try! Why would you continue to do something if there is even a small part of your brain that is wishing you would stop?

The lucky part is that you don’t need to wish! You don’t need a genie in a bottle or a shooting star to use magic to stop you from drinking. There are number of stop drinking programs you can use, books to read, support groups to attend and more. No wishes or magic needed!

If you would like to learn more about my journey to sobriety, you can read more blog posts at stopdrinking.solutions

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What is Alcohol Doing to Your Body?

Alcohol is a potent central nervous system depressant with a wide range of effects. The amount you consume effects how drunk you will get.

The effects of alcohol change over time. When you first start drinking. You may feel relaxed. But the more you drink, the more side effects you begin to feel, like blurred vision and slurred speech.

Euphoria is an effect that alcohol has on people. Essentially, getting the euphoric effect means you will feel an overall mood improvement. You may be more self-confident when drinking. Your attention span shortens and you may feel more flushed. Whether your believe it or now, your judgment won’t be as good as you think it is and you may well say the first thing that comes to mind or do things that you would not normally do. You will also start to have trouble with fine movements such as signing their name. With more alcohol, lethargy may start to set in. Lethargy is the side effect where you may become sleepy. You have trouble remembering things that happened, even recent things you have done. Body movements are uncoordinated and you may react to situations more slowly. Your vision becomes blurry and they have trouble seeing.

Confusion is also caused by drinking. You may get confused and very emotional, less likely to respond to pain. If you get in a fight while you are drunk, you will not feel the pain until the alcohol wears off.

Stupor is another short term effect of alcohol. In this condition movement is seriously impaired and you may lapse in and out of consciousness. You can slip into a coma and become completely unaware of your surroundings. At this point, the risk to the body is very high due to alcohol poisoning. Loss of body functions can begin like losing control of the bladder, breathing and heart rate.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to coma and even death. If you want to avoid these risks, the best way to do it is to avoid alcohol. You can start being effected by alcohol from the very first sip, whether you realize it or not.

Excessive doses of alcohol can cause long term as well as short-term side effects. Some of the long term effects are: slowing, blurred vision, vertigo, amnesia, ataxia, and hangovers.

The liver is part of the body’s filtration system. This means when it is damaged it allows certain toxins to build up, leading to symptoms of Jaundice. This is what you are seeing when a person’s skin begins to turn yellow.

Many people don’t think of alcohol as a drug but the fact is that it is a drug. It is just as lethal as any other drug can be. When you overuse any drug you can expect consequences. This is also true with alcohol. Many people think that it is okay to have a beer once in a while or that if you drink at home you won’t be hurting anyone.

Think again. You are hurting yourself and by hurting yourself you are hurting the ones that care about you. Whether you drink some at home or at a bar, alcohol can have the same effect on you. One sip and the process begins.

Find Out More:

In order to start making changes with your relationship with alcohol please visit the Alcohol Free Social Life website where you will learn specific techniques and examples of how to make changes now:

https://www.alcoholfreesociallife.com

Stop Drinking with Alcoholics Anonymous | Stop Drinking Solutions

Ive said before; Im not a Doctor or Mental Health Professional. I am unqualified to give expert advice, but I hope my ramblings and navel gazing can offer you some help and inspiration to take a step in the right direction. I hope that step will be towards taking control of your vices, and making your life better, but thats up to you. 

One thing that still baffles me is the complexity of recovery. The different treatment centres, 12-step programs, and books and the sort can be overwhelming. To make things worse, most outlets for recovery are for those who are at rock bottom, or who can afford to pay to be in a private recovery centre.  Continue reading “Stop Drinking with Alcoholics Anonymous | Stop Drinking Solutions”

Stop Drinking with Support | Stop Drinking Solutions

I stopped by the StopDrinking Subreddit this morning and I noticed more than a few posts about relapsing. So far there have been 2 weekends this year, and for a lot of people the weekend is just a relapse waiting to happen. For most of my adult life, the weekend is when I got drunk. I allowed myself to indulge because I didnt have a lot to do on the weekends.

Even in situations where I DID have a lot to do during the weekend, it was hard to resist weekend drinking binges. Everyone else is out partying, all your friends are at the bar, house parties a-plenty, and even beers during Sunday afternoon football all made booze the drink of choice for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

While the support of your friends and family is not a golden ticket to sobriety, it can be the difference between recovery and a quick stint of white-knuckle sobriety. Here are some tips for getting support, and some situations to avoid: 

Tell someone you can trust & rely on: Even if youre only quitting for a month, its probably a good idea to tell someone you trust. This will help you be accountable, because now that the cat is out of the bag, they are going to ask you about it later. You dont want to disappoint that person do you?

Bonus points if you tell someone you regularly spend time with. If youre about to head to a pub with a group of friends, having even ONE person who has your back is going to be extremely helpful.  Then again, if that person gets wasted its going to be hard to stay on the straight and narrow.

Go to a meeting: even if youre not ready to join AA or try the SMART program, consider attending an open meeting. Open meeting are for anyone who has a desire to quit drinking, and are a good place to talk about your problems. Even if you dont say anything, listening can be extremely helpful.

Hearing about how others have struggled and succeeded is extremely therapeutic. Knowing that youre not the only one who suffers eases the pain, and can take the weight off of your shoulders. You may also learn a thing or two about how to control your cravings and deal with the pressures of life WITHOUT alcohol.

Situations to avoid: Personally I like to avoid any situation where drinking alcohol is the main event. If youre having a beer pong tournament, Im going to pass. Heading to a wine tasting? Yeah, Im not sure why you think Id enjoy that. Your Facebook event mentions getting Good and Shittered? Maybe youre not such a good influence on me.

I think you get the idea. Stopping is hard enough, so when youre trying to avoid the urge to drink its not smart to put yourself in the line of fire. Even if your willpower is rock solid, the endless questions about why you arent drinking can be infuriating. (Youll begin to realize that a lot of drinkers are uncomfortable having sober people around because it makes them self conscious about their own choices).

To stay on theme, find some friends who drink less, and spend a weekend with them. Stay within your comfort zone (your first go at salsa dancing might not be a good place to start) and you might find that you have a great evening and not even think about alcohol once.

Being left to your own devices. Playing the hermit card and hiding away from the temptations of booze will definitely help you get through the weekend, but hiding from your problems isnt the same as recovery. Eventually youll need to emerge back into normal life, or you might get cabin fever. It might work the first couple of weekends, but being left alone with nothing to do might make drinking that much more appealing.

If youre anything like me, alcohol was a great way to make anything boring into something fun. Bad movies, bad dates, bad food, bad mood, add alcohol and its instantly better (until its not). Being bored and without any outlet is going to make alcohol a very tempting outlet for your frustration.

I suggest planning the evening so youre not alone, or at least youve got something to distract you. You cant sleep the entire weekend away, but physical activities that can really help you forget about alcohol AND make you so tuckered out that youll be in bed before your boozey friends are done predrinking. These include working out at the gym, going for a really long walk (bring your camera for extra fun), pick-up sports (at your local gym or rec/community centre), and physical labour (build/fix that thing that you keep talking about).

Striking the balance between avoiding alcohol, and teaching yourself to have fun without alcohol is going to give you the best results. Having fun while surrounded by temptation and secluding yourself for temptation to the point of extreme boredom are two surefire ways to flirt with relapse.

Take it one step at a time, get some support from someone you trust and focus on the betterment of tomorrow instead of the crappiness of today. Good luck & stay strong friends!

Thanks for reading this post. Check out the first post, and the About Page for more info on what this is all about. My advice and anecdotes are to be taken as entertainment and for inspirational purposes (definition: I am NOT a doctor or addictions professional). If you think you have a serious drinking problem please visit a doctor. If you’re worried about telling a family doctor, you can always try a walk-in clinic or try this resource for help with substance abuse in Canada.

You should also check out the great Stop Drinking Subreddit (I’m not affiliated with it, I just find it to be a great resource).

Stop Drinking with Parallel Goals | Stop Drinking Solutions

Hows your resolution to quit drinking going for you so far? Regardless of what your goals are, I hope youre working towards meeting and/or exceeding them.

For those of you who have sworn off alcohol, heres to another weekend free of temptation! If that doesnt work, heres to resisting temptation and avoiding the pain of a hangover, and the guilt of another weekend washed away by booze. 

For me, one of the ways I was able to distract myself from drinking was to replace my normal after work beer with an after work jog. These didnt last very long, maybe two weeks tops, but I feel like it was an important step I needed to take. It was a great distraction, and the runners high I got after a jog made me feel better than any beer ever could.

Around that time, I decided that I would make getting in shape a priority. My dabblings with Sober October made me realize I would be shedding some poundage anyway, so I thought Why Not Go Whole Hog? I started a bit late in the year to jog outdoors for very much longer, but a few laps around my neighbourhood turned into a near obsession with working out.

While I wasnt thinking about it much at the time, by setting two related goals, I was able to strengthen my resolve for both!

Think about it this way: how many times have you thought about hitting the gym on the weekend only to find yourself too hungover to even leave your house? Even making breakfast can be difficult, and that trip to McDonalds to grab an egg McMuffin (if youre even up that early) causes you to lose your breath. Doesnt really sound like a situation thats conducive to personal betterment.

It doesnt even have to be fitness, maybe youre already working out and fit as a fiddle. Your goals could be to learn to speak French, become a better cook*, or to save money for a trip or other big ticket item. Take some time to set a goal and think of ways you can accomplish your goal.

Give yourself a definite end, or something to strive for.  Recently my goal has been to work out once per week and Ive been successful in this recently, so for 2014 Ive decided to up that to 3 times a week in hopes of making 2014 even more active than 2013.

Having a goal with a specific achievement in mind will help you accomplish the goal easier, because you will be able to track your progress and work to pick up the slack if you find yourself failing.

Not Drinking Alcohol is easier to define than Drink Less. How much is Less? Is getting wasted 1 less time per week really a achievement youd be proud of?

Spend less is much harder to stick to than Save $1000 for a trip to Mexico in the winter because you will have a definite moment where you will know if you failed or succeeded.

In my case, Ive been using my Fitbit to determine how active Ive been. It tracks my steps and general activity and I can use the website to see how Im progressing. In 2013 my goal was to get at least 10,000 steps per day, but I didnt quite live up to that goal but now I know, and I can work harder to increase this number in 2014**.

To recap: take the time youd otherwise be getting drunk and put it towards a new goal. Working towards one, will help you achieve the other and help distract you from those darn cravings. This will be especially beneficial if its a goal you thought was impossible before, making your success that much sweeter.

*The Tim Ferriss book 4 Hour Chef has some great recipes in it as well as a game-plan to becoming a better chef, one dish at a time! Plus it has a lot of other great stuff in it on how to change your life for the better. One word of wrning though, the author is a bit of a wine-connoisseur so you might want to skip those parts.

Stop Drinking for One Month | Stop Drinking Solutions

(Note: this post was originally written at the end of January)

Congratulations! If youre one of the people who wanted to stop drinking as a New Year Resolution, youre meer hours away from being off the sauce for an entire month. Even better news, there are only 28 days in February!

Im sure it was hard, painful, annoying, and trying. However if you did it, youre probably pretty proud of yourself. and you DESERVE TO BE!!!

Quitting booze is as much about method, as it is about mindset. There are times when your methods fail, and you get through on mindset and vice versa.

Stay strong and I wish you luck and strength in many more months. If you are deciding to have a few drinks tomorrow, then I have a few words of wisdom for you:

Not drinking for 1 month proves you can abstain, it doesnt prove you can quit. If you thought you needed to quit, and decided 1 month would be the deciding factor, dont rush so quickly back to binge drinking. You clearly had a solid reason for going sober for a month, and youre only reinforcing your original concerns if youre first priority in February is getting fucked up.

Just some food for thought. Even if you do drink tomorrow, you can always put the bottle down on Feb. 2 after that horrendous hangover kicks your ass and youre once again reevaluating your life. :P

Complacency is the Enemy of Sobriety | Stop Drinking Solutions

Complacency is a funny thing. In the early days of sobriety you want to feel normal again. You want your life to be like it was when you were drinking, but without all the booze. You want to stop thinking about how badly you want a drink.

Tragically, complacency can be the first step towards relapse. Thinking youre cured of your illness, thinking youve conquered your demons, thinking youre out of the woods. Whatever cliché you want to slap on it, it can be tempting to feel good about what youve accomplished.

Well you should feel good about your accomplishment. If youve been off the sauce since January 1st, then youre only a few days away from 3 weeks! Good for you, pat yourself on the back, kick back and enjoy a nice cold see what I did there? 

I dont normally like to talk like alcohol is an actual demon thats taken liquid form to drag you from the glory of the garden of Eden, but in some cases the shoe really fits. AA calls alcohol cunning and they arent wrong. Well, its really your brain thats cunning, but well get to that.

Around this time you might be reconsidering if you really need to quit. Youre just a few days away from being dry for 21 days, 3 weeks, 3/4 of a month! Thats pretty good. If you were a REAL alcoholic youd be a shivering lump of skin on the bathroom floor, right?

Like Ive said before, Im no expert. Im just someone whos been there before and I have to say NO. If youre anything like me, and if youve read this far I think you might be, the idea that you arent an alcoholic is just denial.

If you didnt have a problem, would you really be willing to jump ship on your commitment to make your life better? If you REALLY didnt have a problem would your brain be thinking up ways where youd be able to drink again? If you REALLY TRULY didnt have a problem, would your upcoming holiday/gathering/get-together be ruined if you didnt have anything to drink? Me thinks not!

So dont get too smug there Mister or Misses 3 weeks! Be aware you are at war, even when youre not fighting a battle. That sounds like something some long dead person would have said right? Ok, heres an actual quote from Sun Tzu that fits somewhat:

If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

To break it down from my perspective: You know your enemy, and right now thats alcohol. If you really want to survive 100 battles, you must know yourself as well. You must know that your dumb ass if going to try and trick yourself in to thinking you can have 1.

Now you dont need to read the Art Of War, youre welcome!