5 Reasons Why You Drink Too Much Alcohol
The majority of people that we work with would not be classed as alcoholics. Instead they are people who have allowed alcohol to creep into their lives and slowly it has started to become a daily habit. They are functioning in their jobs and in relationships (but not at their best) but the alcohol will be impacting their health and well-being. The reasons why they drink too much alcohol may not seem immediately obvious to them but when we help them see bigger picture it will be blindingly obvious why they have a problem.
Here are the five issues that we see time and time gain in our practice that cause people to drink too much alcohol.
Stress and Alcohol
The number one reason why we see clients for issues with alcohol is because they are using drink to relax and switch off. Their drinking will mostly be consigned to the evening after work or at weekends and they are likely to be drinking at least four or five evenings a week if not more. During the evening it isn’t unusual for us to see people who are drinking one to two bottles of wine each a night or six to eight cans of beer.
They will not have always drunk like this but over time their drinking habit will have increased. Perhaps they would have started to pour a glass of wine to help them get over a horrible day at the office or to unwind after putting the kids to bed but slowly their habit increased and started to get out of hand. A recent study has in fact shown that over 60% of drinkers are using alcohol to cope with stress.
We always start by helping our clients to manage their stress and anxiety by examining their lifestyle and helping them to find better alternatives to help them really switch off. Another powerful method we use is self-hypnosis for drinking less. Our guided meditation for alcohol reduction helps to switch off the brain so that our clients can relax and unwind. It also is great at helping them sleep. This is perfect for those people who use alcohol to beat insomnia at night.
Habits are incredibly powerful but most of us don’t notice just how much they can have an impact. Put simply if you do the same thing at the same time every evening for 365 days of the year you try doing something different on the 366th day!
If you have been drinking too much alcohol night after night the brain immediately expects you to follow the same pattern on the next evening. If you don’t it starts to create a fuss and give you psychological cravings because that it desperately wants the pattern to be completed. This is why people find it so hard to stop their evening drinking because their mind is continually doing what is thinks is expected.
Breaking patterns of drinking is something that we teach all our clients to do during their sessions as it can make the difference between success and failure.
Want to know more about your habits and triggers for drinking? We have a set of Alcohol Tracker and Cravings Control Worksheets that you can use to see what is driving you to drink. They are a fantastic tool not only to increase awareness of your bad habits but also to help you to create a plan of action for change.
Negative emotions cause people to drink too much alcohol, eat too much, take drugs and generally indulge in addictive behaviours as a method of switching off from the feelings. Typical negative emotions can be low self-esteem, guilt, sadness, worry and so on.
The mind knows that when those feeling are present they make us feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. They can stop us sleeping, drain us of energy and make us feel ill in some cases. So the subconscious comes up with solutions to switch them off (albeit temporarily). When you drink you dissociate and for a short whilst you mind gets some peace. The key to helping drinking and negative emotions is to do deal with whatever is in your mind rather than trying to suppress it.
Confidence and Drinking
If you are not drinking at night but find that you drink too much alcohol when you go out with friends or family then confidence issues may be behind your problem. So many of our clients turned to alcohol in their late teens as a way of fitting in with the crowd. They might have had a belief that they were not interesting or cool enough and drink became their way of building up their courage to go out.
Low self-esteem is also linked with confidence issues and is another negative emotion to add to the ones I have already spoken about. It creates a negative voice in your head telling you that you are incapable, unloved and stupid and the drink becomes a way of shutting it up.
In both these cases, we work with our clients to help them build confidence and self-esteem so they feel better about themselves. This helps them to be able to socialise without feeling the need to get drunk.
Finally, the environment that you grow up in can influence your drinking habits. If you saw your parents come home every night and open a bottle of wine it would only seem natural for you to follow in their footsteps. Drinking is, therefore, a learned behaviour which seems appropriate for you to follow when you become an adult.
Yet learned behaviours and patterns can be broken just like we discussed earlier with habits. The trick is to put something helpful in place that gives you the same relaxed enjoyable feelings without the unhealthy side effects.
Alcohol and Health
Drinking regularly in excess of government guidelines is going to have an impact on your health. For some people that impact is immediate with problems sleeping, sweating, fast heartbeat and worry. For others, the impact is only going to be felt years down the line with cancer, heart disease and liver problems. If you need help to quit your habit then why not talk to us about our four-session drink less program which tackles the reasons why you drink too much alcohol. Simply fill in the contact form and we can arrange your sessions.
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