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How to Stop Binge Drinking

Get Strategies to Curb Drinking and Treatment Options at Icarus

Alcohol consumption affects people in different ways. Some can enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation, while others need gallons of them at once. In my case, it was the latter. My binge drinking began at a young age and led to a lot of negative consequences that still affect me today. Through Icarus Behavioral Health in Nevada, I was able to curb my excessive drinking and eventually quit drinking altogether.

Alcohol abuse is all too common in our society. It is an acceptable form of addiction. We see television ads that glorify it and make it look appealing. In the real world, many binge drinkers and alcoholics suffer personal and professional downfalls as a result of their alcohol intake. But if you are a drinker like I was, it is hard to know how to stop binge drinking.

A lot of people suffer from unhealthy drinking habits, and they don’t realize anything is wrong until a catastrophic event such as a car accident or health problems. Keep reading to learn more about my own experiences with binge drinking and the path that led me to get help at Icarus Nevada!

Have You Got A Binge Drinking Problem?

Drinking Problem

There is a distinct difference between binge drinking and alcoholism, although they are closely linked. The literal definition of binge drinking refers to drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time, whereas alcoholism is a physical addiction where you need to drink in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, for many drinkers, the lines tend to blur.

For each person, how much alcohol you consume when binge drinking can be different, and even your blood alcohol concentration (or blood alcohol level, whichever you want to call it) can vary, but the consequences are what really define a binge drinker to me.

Binge drinking has a ton of negative consequences on your physical and mental health. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, heart problems and liver disease. There are personal issues that arise when you drink excessively as well. My drinking negatively affected my personal relationships and my career. I lost jobs because I couldn’t function normally after a binge.

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The Effects Of Alcohol Abuse in My Life

My mindset was always negatively affected during my drinking days. Alcohol is a depressant, so excessive alcohol use can lead to mood disorders and risky behavior. When I would binge drink, I would make terrible decisions that would have lasting ramifications. I’ve been arrested for drunk driving multiple times. I also racked up drunk in public charges. I was never a violent person, but I would be more likely to get into confrontations if I was drinking.

The mental health challenges associated with binge drinking and alcohol abuse cannot be understated. All forms of substance abuse can negatively affect your mental and physical health, but because drinking alcohol is so widely accepted, even casual drinkers can suffer the consequences. The effects of binge drinking will get you whether you are a novice or a long-term alcoholic.

Learning the Dangers of Excess Alcohol Consumption

Despite its legal status, alcohol can be just as deadly as any illicit narcotic. A lot of bartenders are instructed to cut people off if they are too intoxicated, but often-times this doesn’t happen. Bar hopping is a popular thing that many drinkers engage in, going from bar to bar and getting increasingly intoxicated. A lot of drinkers have different tolerance levels too.

I would be extremely intoxicated and still be able to enunciate and appear like I was okay. I faked out a lot of bartenders during my drinking days. On top of that, no one can stop you from drinking a bottle of liquor to yourself. It’s completely legal to go buy a bottle of vodka and drink the entire thing, even though it can give you alcohol poisoning and kill you.

The Rollercoaster Life Of Binge Drinkers

Alcohol Dependence

When I look back at my days of alcohol dependence, it’s amazing that I didn’t end up dead or in prison. The effects of binge drinking affected every area of my life, and my family suffered tremendously. I would go from one binge drinking episode to the other, always telling my loved ones that I wouldn’t do it again. This was a constant cycle that continued for years.

Being a binge drinker means living a lifestyle of high highs and low lows. When I was in the middle of binge drinking, life seemed awesome. Everyone at the bar knew me, and it gave me a sense of community. I always viewed sobriety as so boring. I was living it up. One mixed drink after another. Long nights of laughs and fun conversation. When the binge would end however, life was hell.

The Crash and the Two-Day Hangovers

The comedown was never fun. It was always painful, both psychologically and physically. The first day after a binge was usually spent in bed. Sometimes I would wake up and need a beer just to feel normal. My diet wasn’t exactly the best either.

Eating at fast food restaurants and convenience stores destroyed my stomach and made me gain an excessive amount of weight. It would take me at least two days to feel normal again. Once I felt normal, I’d kick off the next binge almost immediately.

My alcohol abuse was the center of my existence. I bought all those dumb novelty drinking items too. I had the “designated drinker” t-shirt. I had a huge collection of beer coozies. I was the perfect target audience for all of the alcohol companies.

I viewed drinking as a part of my identity. If I had to list my hobbies or interests on a job application, “having a good time” was always on there. For me, having a good time always involved binge drinking.

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The Drive To Binge Drink… Usually Has a Source of Some Kind

When I finally sought recovery through Icarus Behavioral Health, I had to confront a lot of things that I didn’t expect. I had to answer the age-old question… “Why do I drink?” I had no answer for that at first. It wasn’t until I was in recovery for a while before I was able to answer it. Simply put, I was trying to fill a void. A lot of binge drinkers are in the same situation.

Sure, some people just want to have fun, and their outlet is drinking. But for a lot of binge drinkers, there is something missing inside that causes you to drink.

Before, when people would ask me why I drank, I would come up with some kind of tongue-in-cheek answer. “Well, the most people I ever met were in bars.” That was usually my rapid fire response.

Eventually, it became “So I don’t get thirsty” or “I’m here for a good time, not for a long time,” or something silly like that. I was always trying to diffuse the question with a silly answer.

Binge Drinking Began With Peer Pressure and Wanting to Belong

Alcohol Abuse

A lot of drinkers engage in binge drinking because of peer pressure. If you have a circle around you where there is a lot of drinking going on, you will most likely join in. I grew up in a family of drinkers, so I feel like I was destined to deal with alcohol abuse at some point.

During family gatherings, there was always alcohol being consumed. Even at a young age, I thought it looked so fun. I couldn’t wait to get to an age where I was allowed to drink.

A Family Background of Alcohol Abuse

My parents let me drink alcohol at a young age, usually at alcohol-fueled family parties. I always looked forward to the holidays when I was younger, not just because of the presents, but because of the drinking. Slowly but surely, my drinking was becoming an issue. My family members knew it, but no one ever said anything because they got just as drunk.

I always had a tendency to become argumentative or confrontational. I would start out light and agreeable, but as I got drunker, I would get out of control. It should have been obvious to everyone that this was not okay. I was a teenager getting drunk with adults and making a fool of myself, but I was never faced with consequences. This carried on into my adult life.

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Negative Emotions From Binge Drinking

As I got older and consumed alcohol on a regular basis, the negative emotions were always there. Alcohol has a much more profound effect on our mental health than we’d like to admit. I always blamed my mood changes and anger on other factors. I was mad at the world. I was wronged by other people and other situations. I was never the problem.

The more alcohol I drank, the more I convinced myself every one of my issues was someone else’s fault.

Alcohol consumption lowers your inhibitions, making you feel more relaxed and confident at first. You want those feelings to continue, so you keep drinking. As you drink more and more, these feelings get maxed out. Once you come down, the chemical changes in your brain lead to enhanced negative feelings and emotions. This was the cycle I was in for years. Fun, crash, fun, crash, rinse and repeat.

The Mounting Loss of Control

With any addiction, there is a lack of self-control that comes with it. There were a lot of points where I knew I should have cut it off. There were a lot of nights when I felt like I should go home early and not have that extra drink. The difference is, I didn’t seem to have the ability to say no.

I wasn’t the kind of guy who could have one or two beers and go home. It was all or nothing. Once I had that first drink, I was going to keep going until I was ten or twelve drinks in.

I didn’t want to talk about it or be criticized for it. My wife would try to bring up my drinking, and I would get defensive. It was a topic that was off-limits. My drinking was negatively affecting my home life and all the people around me, and I didn’t even want to entertain the discussion of how it was harming my family. I love my family more than anything, yet I still continued to let them suffer. This is the power of alcohol abuse.

Can You Have A Healthy Relationship With Alcohol?

Healthy Relationship With Alcohol

Many people have healthy relationships with alcohol and don’t ever engage in excessive drinking. Simply put, there are some people who can handle alcohol and a lot who can’t. It took me a long time to realize it, but I am one of those people who cannot drink.

I don’t have the ability to control myself with alcohol or any other substances. As I pointed out above, it’s all or nothing for me. There’s no happy medium. If I drink, it’s going to lead to personal problems that just aren’t worth it. How to stop binge drinking, at least for me, was to stop drinking altogether!

There’s a lot of people who can have one or two drinks and that’s it. They can even let loose once in a while and have more than that, but they are able to maintain a balance. I’ve met a lot of people in recovery who started out slow, and then eventually fell into addiction. It can happen to anyone, regardless of how tame your drinking may seem.

Does Heavy Drinking Mean You Have A Problem?

If there’s any question at all that your drinking may be an issue, then it most likely is. People who drink occasionally don’t have to ask themselves that question. Sure, once in a while, people drink more than they normally do, and then they cut back. If you’re one of those people who sees signs that there might be a problem, it’s important to take that seriously.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference for yourself. In my case, it was because I didn’t want to admit I had no power over my drinking. I thought of myself as any other drinker. Sure, I could go a little overboard sometimes, but I never looked at myself as a problem drinker or alcoholic. After I started my recovery at Icarus, it was obvious to me that I had a problem with alcohol.

How to Stop Binge Drinking: Starting Your Recovery the Right Way

When it came time for me to start recovery, I was finally willing to avoid drinking. I began having numerous health problems as a result of my binge drinking. As you get up there in age, your substance abuse will catch up with you. Even though I thought about quitting, it was still very difficult for me to finally do it. I would go several days without drinking but then would slip back into it.

I finally began to care about what was going to happen to me and my family. It’s hard for me to put it into words, I just knew the time had come. My abuse of alcohol had gone on for long enough. The first week in detox was difficult, but I forged ahead and never looked back.

Once I had been clean for a few weeks, I started to accept sobriety. It didn’t seem so boring at that point. All the people I have interacted with in recovery are full of life. They enjoy adventure and having a good time without alcohol or drugs.

Achieving Sobriety and Living an Alcohol-Free Life

Living an Alcohol-Free Life

As more time passed, the less I wanted to drink. It was an interesting thing that occurred. The longer I went without drinking, the more I remembered the bad times than the good ones. When I was right in the middle of my disease, everything seemed great. I had blinders on. It was shocking for me to take a step back and realize how dark everything got.

Would I still enjoy drinking if had the ability? Perhaps I would, but I don’t have that power over it. Alcohol holds all the power. I’m in control of how I react, and the decisions that I make. Once in a great while, I think about drinking or have dreams/nightmares that involve alcohol. I try to work it all out in my mind so that I can just have that one drink.

Luckily enough for me, Icarus gave me the tools to combat those thoughts.

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Get Help to Achieve Lasting Sobriety at Icarus Nevada

What I know to be one hundred percent true is that I can’t have one drink. One drink will lead me right back to my old ways, which were destructive. I don’t panic when I have those moments, because I know it is part of the process. To be sober is to regain control of your mind and your body. There is an increased risk with someone like me because alcohol is so readily available.

I’ve made a lot of strides in knowing what to do when I am around alcohol, and how I can avoid temptation. If you or someone you know is struggling with binge drinking or alcohol abuse in general, Icarus in Nevada is the place to help you regain control. It worked for me. With a little bit of commitment to change and a whole lot of their support, it can work for you as well.

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