One in three Americans can expect to have a problem with alcohol at some point in their lives, according to research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Upon interviewing more than 43,000 U.S. adults, the survey found nearly 18 percent had abused alcohol at one point or another, while 12.5 percent reported alcohol dependence. In all, over 30 percent of the U.S.population has had an alcohol disorder, according to the study’s author.
How do You Know if You Have a Drinking Problem?
Alcoholic beverages are legal and socially acceptable, so it can be hard to determine when a line has been crossed. Generally speaking, however, drinking problems can be described as alcohol abuse, which involves binge drinking or periods of heavy drinking, or alcoholism.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:
- Craving: A strong need, or urge, to drink
- Loss of control: Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
- Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking
- Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high"
“The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems,” notes the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
While alcoholics are physically addicted to alcohol, alcohol abusers are not yet dependent. However, either condition can lead to:
- Problems meeting work, social and family responsibilities
- Alcohol-related medical problems
- Arrests and car accidents from drunk driving
So whether you are looking to stop drinking wine, beer, or any other type of alcohol because you think you have an alcohol addiction, or simply because you want to drink less, there are steps you can take to help.
How to Stop Drinking Wine, Beer and Other Alcohol
1. Recognize and deal with the emotional component.
“When you are addicted to any substance, including alcohol, there is almost always an emotional component,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. “Most addictions are coping mechanisms for unresolved emotions. When you allow yourself to face your emotions and let them go, you'll find that you can break any addiction.”
Letting go is a skill you already have, but which you can “relearn” and master using The Sedona Method. The Sedona Method has been helping people recover successfully from many forms of addiction since 1973. It is a complete system in itself and is highly complementary to all other forms of addiction help including 12-Step Programs, counseling, therapy and detox.
When you perceive you are about to lose control again, simply ask yourself the easy-to-learn and easy-to-remember questions that make up The Sedona Method. You will feel the urgency and tightness leaving your stomach, shoulders and chest. In its place you will feel ease, relaxation and confidence. You will no longer be the out-of-control victim of your alcohol addiction.
2. Believe in your ability to stop drinking wine, beer, etc.
“Some of the emotional hurdles that you need to overcome are the lack of belief in yourself and giving your power away to the addiction,” Dwoskin says. “Remember, no matter how long you have been addicted, right now you can make a new decision and letting go will support you all the way.”
3. Get involved with support groups and seek help.
The Archives of General Psychiatry survey found that very few people actually seek help for alcohol problems. In fact, only 24 percent of those suffering from alcohol dependency, and just 7 percent of those who abuse alcohol, get treatment. Yet,this is an important step to help you stick with your decision.
“In addition to letting go, it is extremely helpful to use whatever other supports you can in order to make it easier to follow through on your decision and your releasing,”Dwoskin says.
There are a wide variety of treatment options available, including:
- 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Visiting a doctor
- Crisis centers
- Employee-assistance programs
- Medications to reduce cravings for alcohol, reduce symptoms of withdrawal and abstinence, and even discourage drinking by making you feel sick when you drink alcohol, including alcohol, there is almost always an emotional component,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. “Most addictions are coping mechanisms for unresolved emotions. When you allow yourself to face your emotions and let them go, you'll find that you can break any addiction.”
The best treatment for you is a personal choice, however it often requires a mix of options, particularly if you are addicted. But no matter which method you choose, make sure you are releasing the unresolved emotions that are motivating you to drink when you’d rather quit.
“As you let the feelings go, the addictive voice will quiet and you will more easily take back control of your actions and attitudes,” Dwoskin says.