Not Ready To Quit Drinking

Maybe it’s happened to you: a co-worker or family member has suggested you cut down on drinking, but you don’t think you have a problem. Maybe you think, “I can control it…it’s not like I drink every day…I’m still able to go to work…besides, most of my friends drink more than I do.”

Well, all of these things you say to yourself may have some truth to them. Still, if someone has been concerned about your drinking, it’s probably worth looking at both sides of the story. The question isn’t just whether you have a drinking problem, but whether your drinking has caused any problems. For example:

  • Have you ever missed work after a night of heavy drinking, or had trouble concentrating at work because of a hangover?
  • Have you been annoyed by others criticizing your drinking habits?
  • Have you sometimes felt guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to cut down on your drinking?
  • Have you ever had an “eye-opener” drink to get going the first thing in the morning?

If you answered “yes” to some of these questions, then your drinking has had some negative effects. Still, you may feel that your enjoyment of drinking outweighs the occasional inconvenience of an argument at home or an “off day” at work.

Even if you have no intention of quitting, it’s a good idea to look at how you can reduce any negative effects. For example, if you’ve been “fuzzy” at work from drinking the day before, perhaps you could avoid drinking within 24 hours of work. Then, if you set this goal and have trouble sticking to it, you might discover that you don’t have as much control over your drinking as you thought. And that should be cause for concern.

If you disagree with someone else’s view that you have a drinking problem, you might also ask yourself: who is in a better position to be objective about this? You might feel that the other person is overreacting, but since we don’t like to see ourselves as having problems, it may be difficult for you to view the situation honestly and objectively.