Is my drinking a problem?

When clients seek help through therapy, it often emerges that whilst it appears to me as a therapist they may have a drink problem, they often don’t recognise it as such. They see it as a reward, something which is helping them to relax. They have yet to work out that drink has unhelpful effects on their lives: their relationships, their work and their own overall health. It can be a while before they feel they are able to start looking at the downside of drinking. It can become an all-consuming problem.

In the short-term it feels like the drink helps people to wind down; but then they find they get shaky without a drink. They then find that their sleep is disturbed; they have to get out of bed to go to the toilet. Then they struggle to get up in the morning. They drink the next night to get off to sleep – and then they are in a vicious cycle.

From a social point of view, their nearest and dearest often find themselves on the receiving end of challenging behaviour and they start arguing – thus putting relationships under pressure.

The trouble is, in the long-term, heavy drinking backfires. It worsens how the individual feels; and how the people around them feel. It is also possible to be a high functioning alcoholic – this person appears to be getting on with their lives, but they are, effectively, living a double life.

The good news is that changes can be made.

It is important to reflect on how our drinking or drug use affects us. How does it affect others around us on a physical, psychologically and social level?

Then we need to reflect about what has been going on in our lives. This is important to do if we are to learn our lessons and increase our chances of recovery. It often turns out, that a pattern emerges of what triggers an individual to seek solace in drink – loneliness, rejection, loss, low self-esteem, anger. Identifying difficult emotions is an important part of changing our behaviour. If we fail to understand our problem, we block our recovery. Then we need to work on how we are going deal with such emotions – without feeling the need to drink.

On a practical level, we may need to reduce our intake over each week. We may plan to have at least two dry days per week. This needs to be written down so that progress can be tracked. It is also important that the tracking record is shared with someone else. Denial and self-deception is a common issue with those who have a problem with alcohol.

Self-disclosure to others has been shown to be a powerful tool in facing up to the root of our anxiety and stress and discovering another, more healthy way, to deal with our own issues.

Some people just stop drinking. And that can work for some. For others, it needs to be more gradual. Whether cessation is total or partial, there needs to be something which fills the void the drink has created. Healthy distraction which is sustainable and enjoyable is often key to recovery.

It is worth mentioning there is a relationship between age and alcohol. Most of us drink less as we get older. But some of us maintain heavy drinking patterns throughout life, and some develop problems with drink for the first time during their later years. Several factors combine to make drinking an increasingly risky behaviour as we age. Our ability to metabolise alcohol declines, which means the beer or two we could drink without consequences in our 30s and 40s has more impact in our 60s and 70s.

Some people have more challenging issues with alcohol than others. Levels of stress and anxiety vary from one individual to another and alcohol is often used as a form of self-medication as an escape from difficult emotions.

Whilst alcohol addiction is a common problem, our own addiction journey is ours alone. But we don’t have to do the journey of recovery on our own. Reaching out and seeking support is an important step if we are to make the changes we want to make.

#Alcohol #CBT #Counselling #MentalHealth

"Thank you for believing in me, when I couldn't"
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- Wantage & Faringdon       

   in Oxfordshire

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- Leighton Buzzard

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Hope Therapy and Mindfulness Services can offer counsellors and therapists who can work with you to support a number of different conditions such as Depression, Anxiety (including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Stress, Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Panic Disorder), Anger, Self Esteem, Bereavement, Loss, Shame and Relationship Counselling, Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Marriage Counselling, 

Our Counsellors and Therapists can offer Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Life and Executive Coaching, Psychodynamic Counselling, Block Clearance Therapy, Psychodynamic Counselling, Gestalt Counselling, Reflexology, Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Gestalt, Relational Therapy, Family Therapy, Couples Therapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Hot Stone Massage, Swedish Massage, Pregnancy Massage.

We have counsellors and therapists who can either work Face to Face out of our practices in Wantage, Lambourn and Faringdon in Oxfordshire, Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, Little Chalfont in Hertfordshire, Gloucester in Gloucestershire, Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, or Northampton in Northamptonshire. Alternatively, we cover the entire UK using skype, zoom or phone from what we call the Hope Network.

Some areas covered face to face by our counsellors and therapists include Wantage, East Challow, East Hendred, West Challow, Childrey, Sparsholt, Kingston Lyle, Letcombe Bassett, Letcombe Regis, Grove, Denchworth, Childrey, East Lockinge, Ardington, Abingdon, Witney, Faringdon, Ardington Wick, Denchworth, Grove, East Lockinge, Goosey, Baulking, Uffington, Longcot, Fernham, Little Coxwell, Faringdon, Shellingford, Hatford, Stanford in the Vale, Littleworth, East Challow, Buckland, Lambourne, Pusey, Charney Bassett, Kingston Bagpuise, Fyfield, Frilford, Marcham, Garford, Shippon, Abingdon, Appleton, Culham, Drayton, Steventon, East Hanney, Milton, Fawley, Swindon, Oxford, Witney, Rickmansworth, Moneyhill, Batchworth, Croxley Heath, Croxley Green, Woodshots Meadow, Holywell, Batchworth Heath, Chandlers Cross, Mill End, Watford, Maple Cross, West Hyde, Maple Cross, Heronsgate, Northwood, Moor Park, Chorleywood, Leighton Buzzard, Clipstone, Eggington, Stanbridge, Tilsworth, Battlesden, Great Brickhill, Stoke Hammond, Ledbury, Slapton, Northall, Totterhoe, Sewell Aylesbury, Swanbourne, Bletchley, Dunstable, Toddington, Luton, Stoke Hammond, Soulburym Aston Abbotts, Crafton, Ledburn, Grove, Tebworth, Gloucester, Hempsted, Saint Pauls, The Docks, Linden, Tredworth, Podsmead, White City, Kingsholm, Wotton, Over, Coney Hill, Cheltenham, Little Chalfont, Amersham, Chesham, Latimer, Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont Common, Gerrards Cross, Maple Cross.

Hope Therapy and Mindfulness Services is a Trading Style of Hope Therapy and Mindfulness Services Ltd, registered Company Number 12110579

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