Are you or is someone you care about, becoming an emotionally dependent drinker?
Many Aussies use ALCOHOL to help them relax as a social lubricant. However, relying on a drink to help us overcome anxiety can lead to an emotionally unhealthy co-dependent relationship with booze.
It is a myth that ALCOHOL helps relax and build quality relationship potentially by loosening us up. It actually harms relationships and slows down our nervous system, numbing our hearts truth.
Any sense of improved relaxation is anesthetised anxiety that is hidden.
Most of you are now aware that in my 53rd year of life, I am a recovering alcoholic who has been clean and sober since 1995. That means nothing to drink, no alcohol at all, not one drop for the past 20 years.
Let's remember with the week before us that anxiety is our hearts friend, however ALCOHOL is not.
I'm often told I look healthy for my age. I am. My heart is emotionally robust. I consider myself a spiritual athlete. I train myself to reduce fatty fears and work on managing my anxiety and self-doubt with love every day. However, the hardest part of my sobriety journey has not been, no booze, it's been learning to not be anxious about feelings of anxiety. Riding over the social speed bump as a proud introvert without the aid of ALCOHOL, in social occasions still stakes deliberate effort for me.
Approximately 10% of the human population on this earth are biological alcoholics like me. Many of my Emotional Fitness clients however, are not alcoholics, but emotionally dependent drinkers that hit the booze hard because it's an efficient emotional anesthetic and social lubricant.
So here are a few key questions for you to share or to answer for yourself, if ALCHOL is compromising emotional health and wellbeing in your life.
1. Do you tell yourself and others who are concerned about you that you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk and having memory blackouts when you don't mean to? Yes/No
2. Do you consistently lie about your unavailability and miss days of work, study, school or social responsibilities because of your drinking? Yes/No
3. Have you ever switched from the “witch to the bitch” in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk? What I mean here is replacing one kind of drink for another, or using drugs as a form of distraction to slow down or inhibit your drinking habits? Yes/No
4. Is your drinking causing trouble at home and becoming emotionally expensive? Are your drinking habits costing you the respect and trust from those who you love the most? Yes/No
5. Do you ever drink before and after an event because you can’t seem to get enough? Do you notice others drink slowly compared to you? Yes/No
Those who answered “yes” to five out of these five questions are not healthy social drinkers at this stage in their lives and are in danger of becoming problem drinkers long term if they don’t make some changes. Asking your GP for help is a great place to start if reducing or abstaining from booze is just too hard on your own.
The key for many when it comes to reducing ALCOHOL intake and building emotional and physical health is in learning how to deliberately rest and relax. This skill helps diminish anxiety and the domino effect is less ALCOHOL as an emotional anesthetic we then require.
Let's remember this week that when anxiety presents itself ... deliberate relaxation skills and caution are our solution, not ALCOHOL.