Do I have to stop drinking?

Tessa Burns MartinAddiction, Tessa Burns

This time of year can be very challenging for many people. There are so many holiday parties to attend and many of them will be serving alcohol. One of the most common question I get from clients who are starting to realize that their drinking may be becoming problematic is whether they have to stop drinking forever. They can’t imagine themselves at a party without partaking in at least one glass of wine. Or going to the hockey game and only having one beer. Many of the programs out there encourage complete abstinence in order to achieve recovery. My answer to that question is “It depends.” Though I have yet to meet an individual who struggles with alcohol that ever has a successful re-introduction to the drinking world, I always say “it depends” because I truly believe that if you are able to eliminate the reason that you need to drink too much, you may be able to have a drink without any repercussions. After all, there are millions of people who are able to have one or two drinks and stop. It is not the alcohol, by itself, that is the enemy. It is the reason you feel you need to drink that keeps the pattern coming back. It is the meaning that you have put to the drink that makes the allure seem irresistible. So, stop the fight against alcohol and lean into the reasons why you may need to drink. Every behaviour is purposeful so if you want to fully understand the behaviour so you can move past it, you will need to understand what purpose it serves. Perhaps that purpose is no longer needed. For example, an individual might start drinking to deal with a terrible home situation. Then after he leaves the situation, he continues to drink. If he were to reflect on the purpose of the behaviour, he may recognize that he has created a better home environment so he no longer needs to escape those feelings. Perhaps there is a better way to serve that purpose. I see countless clients that use alcohol as self-care. If you recognize that may be your strategy for self-care, you may be able to find other alternatives like going to the gym or spending time with friends (without alcohol). In summary, only time will tell whether you have to stop drinking forever. In the meantime, develop curiosity about the reason you are drinking and explore whether the drinking is really serving you right now.

If you need some help understanding the reasons you may be drinking, feel free to set up a free consult by clicking here.