If you are reading this,
then you are likely one of two people:
Either way, you are in the right place.
We Are Absolute Advocacy
We work with people who struggle with substance use and abuse everyday.
Our team of counselors provides a safe and confidential environment for our
clients to get the help they need.
Alcohol awareness is the first and greatest step to both avoiding and
recovering from an alcohol problem.
Alcohol is the every person drug. We live in a culture where it is seen as a means of recreation and escape, even as a rite of passage. While there is nothing immediately wrong with consuming alcohol, it is important to be aware of alcohol use issues.
Did you know...
It is the most readily available addictive substance in the United States — perhaps in the world. In the United States, alcohol is legal to purchase, a staple of most social establishments and found in many homes.
Nearly one-third or 29% of traffic-related deaths in the United States involve alcohol-impaired driving.
Common Alcohol Issues
What comes to your mind when you hear phrases like…
Alcohol Use Disorder
It’s common to picture the Hollywood depiction of the raging alcoholic — the person so far gone that their every waking moment hinges on when and how they will get their next drink. But this is not the truth of alcohol issues.
There is no exact blueprint for an alcohol issue.
In general, it is accepted that a “problem with alcohol” can range from mild (occasionally drinking at harmful levels) to severe (alcoholism, alcohol dependence). Since everyone is unique, there is no exact blueprint for an alcohol issue that fits everyone.
If you question your use of alcohol, you may or may not have a use issue.
The symptoms of an alcohol use problem are usually self-diagnosable, but you should always consult a qualified medical professional.
What is an alcohol use disorder?
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of ‘alcohol use disorder’ or ‘AUD’.”
People who suffer from an alcohol use disorder are compulsive alcohol users. They often lose control of their alcohol consumption. When not drinking, they enter a negative emotional state.
An alcohol use disorder is diagnosed by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. Under the current DSM (DSM-5), an individual who meets 2 of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period will receive a diagnosis of AUD.
"Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine."
The severity of an alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe. While an evaluation by a qualified professional is needed to pinpoint where a person places on the severity scale, you can begin to understand your struggle with alcohol by learning about the three types of alcohol use issues:
Binge drinking is one of the most common alcohol use issues, and it is not surprising given the culture surrounding alcohol. Do you associate alcohol with recreation, having a good time or relaxing? Most do because alcohol is almost always present during such times.
There is, however, a problem when drinking becomes binging. Although especially popular and common with the college crowd, many older adults engage in binge drinking, sometimes without realizing it.
The official definition of binge drinking is “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dl.” Typically, this occurs after 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past month.
"I do like to have fun. I don’t need alcohol to have fun."
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 US adults binge drink about 4 times a month, consuming roughly 8 drinks per binge. Binging on alcohol is a leading cause of unintentional injuries, including:
- Car crashes
- Alcohol poisoning
Unaddressed Binge Drinking & DWIs
In the United States, 28 people die daily in car crashes involving an alcoholimpaired driver. Many alcohol-related accidents involve binge drinking. Drunk driving crashes can be prevented, and it starts with addressing alcohol use issues.
Increasing awareness and promoting moderate drinking are the first steps we as individuals and a community can take to reduce the rates of binge drinking.
If you meet the criteria for binge drinking or are concerned you might make the wrong choice when consuming alcohol, talk to a qualified professional. By addressing binge drinking now, you can avoid a DWI charge and potentially save your life and the lives of others.
It is no secret that stress is on the rise. It does not matter who you are or what your particular circumstances include, you no doubt struggle to cope with the stressors in your life. For some, alcohol provides an escape.
Bouts of binge drinking can begin to create real problems, but should you continue to drink even after
experiencing negative consequences, your problem becomes one of alcohol abuse. The main indicators of an abuse problem include continuing to drink despite:
- Poor performance at work or school
- Lapse in or neglect of your responsibilities
- Drinking while driving
- Trouble with the law
Alcohol is the anesthesia
by which we endure the
operation of life.
George Bernard Shaw
It often starts with binge drinking and escalates to abuse. There is no set amount of alcohol consumption that defines abuse. Instead, it revolves around the act of continually drinking despite the fact that it is causing reoccurring personal, social and legal problems.
Alcoholism progresses along a recognizable and predictable path. It starts with binging or drinking too much too often, escalates to abuse, and if help (sometimes referred to as intervention) is not received, it then turns into alcohol dependence.
Dependence begins when, regardless of the problems alcohol is causing in your life, you continue to drink, and it starts to affect you physically.
When a person becomes dependent on alcohol, they:
- Crave alcohol when they are not drinking it
- Keep drinking despite the physical and/or psychological problems it
- Develop a tolerance to the amount of alcohol consumed and it’s side
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
Alcohol is a very patient drug. It will wait for the alcoholic to pick it up one more time.
People who have an alcohol dependence are called alcoholics.
Getting and staying sober is much harder for alcoholics versus for people who place in the less severe stages of an AUD. The physical and psychological dependence on alcohol is what makes the difference.
Unfortunately, many people do not get help before they reach this stage – a simple act that can save them from overwhelmingly negative consequences.
There Is Good News
You can get help before alcohol use becomes a major problem, and help is possible regardless of severity level. You can even conduct your own regular checkup to determine whether consulting a medical professional is a good idea.
The Next Step
Do I have an alcohol problem?
The answer to this question is not black and white.
After reading about the three main types of alcohol issues – binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence – you can begin to see whether your relationship with alcohol is (or could be) a potential problem.
At-Home Alcohol Use Checkups
The average American monitors their health. From tracking vitals through fitness apps to self-exams and annual check-ups with health care providers, we all take steps to keep our bodies and minds healthy.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
Can Counseling Help?
Substance abuse counseling or therapy is the most successful treatment method for many alcoholics and people with an AUD. It is often referred to as evidence-based treatment, which means it has been proven to be the most effective treatment for people with a specific issue through a great deal of trackable evidence.
Counseling can help you in ways medications and detox cannot; although, it is not a replacement for either should your situation be best addressed with a period of detox and medications.
Therapy helps people in three vital areas:
Therapy sessions can be one-on-one, group-based or a combination of both. A substance abuse counselor will work with you to develop a unique treatment plan that focuses on your needs and what works best for you. Perhaps the greatest asset anyone struggling with alcohol can have is a safe, judgment-free environment in which to address their struggle and find active solutions – this is what counseling provides.
What To Do Next
Landing in trouble with the law or receiving a legal charge like a DWI are not prerequisites to seeking help.
You can talk to a counselor now. You can even complete an alcohol assessment to determine if you have a minor to moderate alcohol use problem or any problem at all. Then, should there be an alcohol use issue, you can address it before it escalates, which is a smarter and healthier option for you.
As always, remember to consult your doctor for medical advice.
If you would like to discuss your alcohol use in greater detail with a qualified substance abuse professional, contact us. We are available via e-mail an telephone, and all interactions will remain private.