KGoodrich_Therapy71 karma2022-04-22 14:18:13 UTC
Great questions! Differentiating between alcohol use, abuse and dependency can be tricky!
For me, when I'm working with clients, I define the differences as this:
Alcohol use (what you would deem "normal", "moderated" or non-problematic use) would be having an occasional drink and not drinking to excess. In this case, you're not drinking to mask emotions but rather to enjoy a drink here and there. This doesn't pose much of an issue with most people.
Alcohol abuse more refers to a somewhat regular pattern of drinking which could be things like weekend binge drinking, drinking more than 1-2 drinks per night and/or on more of a regular basis. This type of drinking is often seen as overuse to the point that one experiences negative side effects (hangovers, black outs, heightened anxiety/mood issues, sleep disturbance, etc). At this point, one might also start experiencing other issues such as concerns of friends/family, issues with work (lateness or calling out if hungover), etc.
Alcohol dependence is more of what we consider the serious stage which is when your body builds increasing tolerance to alcohol and you find yourself needing to drink more and more to feel "ok". At this stage it often is not about getting drunk, but more about not going into withdrawals. Serious physical issues are often an issue at this stage as well.
As far as steps to take to cut back - as long as you are not in the alcohol dependence category above - you can try cutting down your drinks by spacing them out and having water in between, you can eat a heavier meal before drinking so you are full and less likely to want to drink more and you can build in a support system of friends/ family who encourages you cutting back or stopping without sabotaging your efforts. Also avoid places or situations where you think you might want to drink more.
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KGoodrich_Therapy50 karma2022-04-22 14:38:48 UTC
Thanks for this question! I absolutely support harm reduction methods such as naltrexone and the Sinclair Method. A big issue in this field, I believe, is that we expect that with a snap of a finger, people should just be able to stop and addiction doesn't work that way. I feel like it's very important - especially for that first year - to get any and all support to get solidified in recovery. Medication-assisted approaches and options make it much more likely that people can obtain abstinence and get the physiological support they need to maintain it longterm.
KGoodrich_Therapy38 karma2022-04-22 15:42:56 UTC
Thank you for your question. This is a big problem for many people these days! Behavioral addictions are very similar to drug or alcohol addictions in so many ways. Could you consider taking a "phone vacation" - even if it's only for a short time, like an hour or two - and then just ask yourself how it felt. If you can do that, maybe then increase the time each day you're off of your phone a little but more. It would basically work like a behavioral extinction. And in the process, monitor how you feel. Possibly even consider doing this with your kids together so it's not just you and it might make it a little easier. Our brain gets wired from the stimulation of our phones and it takes some time to break. Maybe replace the time you're off of the phone with some exercise or other hobby or fun activity to keep you stimulated, but in a healthier way.
KGoodrich_Therapy32 karma2022-04-22 14:04:28 UTC
Great question - My suggestion would be to find a time to speak privately with the person and share your concerns. It's SO important to come from a place of care and concern in these situations because what you can sometimes encounter is someone getting angry and defensive. I think the key is in your approach. Coming from a caring place, stating what you've observed and why you're concerned - but without being too accusatory or blaming. People really need to accept their problem before they are willing to get help for it. It is also super important to remember that whether the person accepts what you say or not, that you are doing the right thing by voicing concern and it is not a "failure" on your part - or that the person doesn't care enough about you - if they don't seek the help they need.
KGoodrich_Therapy28 karma2022-04-22 15:18:23 UTC
Absolutely! I not only think emotional caretaking responsibilities often fall on women, but also the cultural expectations of having to "do it all", be perfect at all of their roles, look a certain way, etc. All of these roles, responsibilities and expectations don't often allow women space to maintain their autonomy and independence - therefore, creating huge amounts of stress and self-neglect that can lead to wanting to "escape" with a drink (or 10).
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