Everyone responds to alcohol slightly differently. Some people can “hold their liquor,” that is they can continue drinking large amounts with reduced apparent results, while others are completely drunk on one or two servings. Some people get outgoing and tipsy while others become quiet and depressive when drunk. These differences from person to person apply to alcohol addiction tendencies as well.
While it’s true that some people can have a glass of wine or two every night and not get addicted or suffer any negative effects from skipping a night, others find even limited weekend drinking to be habit-forming and the beginning of a slippery slope into alcoholism. Avoiding addiction and addictive behaviors isn’t just a matter of following a one-size-fits-all assessment of your intake. It involves understanding yourself including your triggers, tolerances, and your own behavior patterns.
What Is Alcohol Addiction
Addiction to alcohol can come in two form, physical addiction, and behavioral habituation. For most people, behavioral habituation almost always comes first. Don’t let the large word fool you. What habituation means is simply that you get used to doing something and don’t want to stop. Humans can become habituated to anything which is sometimes why you hear people talking about being addicted to non-addictive things like eating a type of candy or watching a favorite television show.
A strong habituation that’s hard to break is often related to psychological needs that are being at least partially fulfilled by the activity. You can become habituated to drinking when it’s linked to things like the very real need to relax after work or the fun of socializing with your friends on the weekends.
Physical addiction, on the other hand, often comes directly after habituation has made drinking more common and perhaps even an every-day event. Physical addiction occurs when your body gets used to having alcohol in your system. It adapts to being provided alcohol on a regular basis and you may begin to suffer negative physical symptoms like restlessness, shakiness, sweating, appetite variations, and so on from not getting the alcohol, you’re used to. When you become physically addicted, this is known as alcoholism.
Am I Drinking Too Much?
It is absolutely possible to become addicted to alcohol or to start developing an addiction long before you become physically addicted to drinking all the time. You may become hooked on the relaxing properties and increasingly unable to consider the negative consequences of drinking often or starting earlier and earlier in the day. Disregarding possible consequences is another hallmark of addiction even before you hit the point where ‘detox’ would be a problem. Knowing whether or not you are addicted to drinking is most easily determined by how you feel about stopping.
Don’t just give the thought ‘lip service’ and then keep drinking. Seriously consider not drinking tonight or staying in with some hot cocoa this weekend instead of going out with your friends. Do you start to feel upset, like crying or getting angry even though there’s no one to be upset with? Does your mind immediately start making an avalanche of excuses why you have to drink on-schedule or why it’s pointless to stop? Do you start to feel anxious if you purposefully delay your first drink of the night and find it hard to think about anything else? If so, you are addicted or already far down the path to addiction.
Catching the Problem of Drinking
Of course, due to the nature of both addiction and alcohol itself, many people don’t realize they’re addicted to alcohol until it’s already gotten to the ‘intervention’ phase where your drinking has begun to hurt friends, work, and loved ones. However, it’s not actually necessary to ‘hit rock bottom’ before you can recover. Thousands of people every year realize that their self-control is starting to slip and seek treatment before their new growing addiction becomes a full-blown problem.
The key to catching and treating your addiction early is to know yourself well. As an adult, you have been self-directed for a number of years and so you know how well you obey orders you give yourself. Things like “Stop watching TV and go to bed” or “Get up off the couch and do laundry or you won’t have clean pants tomorrow” are perfectly normal orders we all give and follow for ourselves.
But what happens when you stop listening to yourself? When you tell yourself to stop drinking or to not pour another glass, but then you keep going anyway? These are the earliest signs that addictive thinking and behavior have begun even if your activities haven’t started causing any external problems yet. Only you know when a habit of alcohol has started to become an addiction but when you do notice, this is the perfect opportunity to seek treatment before any real problems have a chance to occur.
Seeking Treatment for Early Alcohol Addiction
You don’t have to be fall-down drunk every night, violent, belligerent, or a candidate for reality television to qualify for alcohol addiction treatment. You don’t need a sad ‘rock bottom’ story to feel at home with others who are seeking treatment for the same addiction you’re struggling with. You don’t even need to follow the strict recovery path of a 12 step program. All you need is the knowledge that you have a problem and the determination to fix it. First Steps Recovery was founded to help people who suffer addiction return to living a normal life.
First Steps Recovery, Rehab in Fresno CA, Is Here to Help
Whether you started drinking as an aspect of socializing or to deal with the stress of life and work, catching the signs of addiction early is the best way to get your life back on track before it ever fully derailed. With support, you can get started on your path to recovery before it takes over your life. You can ensure that alcohol never becomes a major threat to you, your job, or your loved ones again. If you are tired of the ups and downs of alcoholism and want help quitting for good, call us for help today.