Have you woke up in a strange bed, next to a strange person one too many times (this week)? Do your friends keep insisting you get an app to lock your phone after one too many drinks? Do you save the hard stuff for after work (or after noon), opting only for beer and wine during the “dry” hours? Have you lost your last three or more cars due to alcohol related accidents? Do you need more than one appendage to talley your DUIs? Are you shocked when reminded that not everybody’s monthly alcohol budget is higher than their mortgage/rent? Do you hang your Jimmy Buffet’s “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” poster in your work pod for an excuse to start nipping on your hip flask once you clock in? Have you been diagnosed with Alcohol Induced Hepatitis C? If so, you most likely have a Drinking Problem!
If you only answered yes to some of these questions, you might want to start a drinking diary. This will help you get a grasp on exactly how much booze you are consuming. But you have to be strictly honest in your record keeping. There is no use keeping a log with inaccurate information unless your goal is to decieve yourself or others. Use the weight calculations provided on the example log when doing your talley for the day. At the end of the week take a look at your drink diary and decide whether the results are exceptable to you, or not. If you see a therapist or psychiatrist, discuss your results with them. This might help you get a better feel for whether your drinking is in the “normal” range or if your consumption resembles problem drinking. Whether your goal after assessment is complete abstinence, moderation or time-off, it’s impotant to know where you started from so you know what steps are needed to improve. You also want to accurarely track your progress so that you can reward yourself at milestones accordingly. (No, not with more booze! Just read “This Time Will Be Different” to see how that story goes.)
Before you start your drink diary, take a self assessment test (like the one found on the SMART Recovery website HERE) to see how problematic your drinking has become. These two tools will give you a good picture of how severe your drinking really is. Then it’s up to you to decide what you want to do about it. From at home self-help programs, to detox retreats, 12-Step programs and in-patient rehabs, an arrey of options are available to help you put alcohol and/or drugs in their place, and live a life free from the chains of chemical dependency – at your pace!
But as the literature states- easy does it! You didn’t become addicted in one day and it will take time, patience and planning to impliment your new life. Take it – yep, you guessed it – one day at a time! Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking you need to change your life around 180 degrees just because you’ve decided to keep a drinking diary or acknowledged you might have a problem. No one can do it all at I’m once. But with sincere motivate and a proper support structure, you can begin to implement the changes you see fit to live a happier, more productive, less hang-overy life (now without the shakes!)
It all can begin with just a little self-assessment….