Are You Using Alcohol as a Crutch?

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When people struggle with stress, they often turn to alcohol to help them feel better, but it's not going to solve their problems. The problems are still going to be there when they get sober. That’s why it’s so easy for people to start using alcohol as a crutch for their emotions instead of dealing with them in a healthy manner. Here are some signs that you might be using alcohol as a crutch.

Using Alcohol to Cope with Stress

If you’re using alcohol to cope with feelings of anxiety or stress, then you might be using it as a crutch. Speaking to someone at Chapter House Recovery can help you figure out the source of this stress or anxiety so that you know how to deal with it more appropriately. Other factors come into play, of course; if there is a history of alcoholism in your family or if you’ve experienced childhood abuse or neglect, then you are more likely to have difficulties dealing with stress and turn to alcohol.

Using Alcohol to Gain Liquid Confidence

Although alcohol has been known to make people feel “more confident” in social situations, it can quickly become a problem. Doing so on a consistent basis will train the brain to form a pattern, where you can’t be social unless you’re drinking.

The reason alcohol works this way is because it reduces a person’s inhibitions so that they’re more likely to take chances that they normally wouldn’t if they were sober.

Using Alcohol to Reduce Emotional Pain

It may feel like alcohol dulls emotional pain, but the truth is that alcohol increases the risk of depression. Alcohol helps the body release endorphins that help the body feel good, but this is only in the short term. However, this good feeling quickly goes away, and the person is likely to drink more to bring the good feeling back again.

Tolerance Builds Up Over Time

Alcohol might feel like a temporary band-aid on a person’s problems, but they can develop a tolerance to the effects of alcohol over time, especially if they drink on a regular basis. They become more tolerant of alcohol, and the individual has to consume larger quantities to get the same effect.

Ways to Stop Using Alcohol as a Crutch

Relying on alcohol as a crutch for too long makes it more difficult for you to be sober during your regular hours. Here are a few tips to stop using alcohol to lean on all the time. 

  • Learning proper coping skills: you need to learn to be comfortable without a glass in your hand. Whatever your reasons for drinking, you can learn other coping skills to deal with these problems, such as stress management techniques.
  • Taking anti-craving medication: there are medications for alcoholism that reduce your alcohol cravings over time so that you don’t always feel the need to drink. This works well for those who can’t quit alcohol cold turkey.

If you feel that you have a drinking problem, speak with your primary healthcare provider to see what treatments might work best for you.

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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds. 

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