Why Do I Drink More Than I Want To?

There are millions of people across the nation who drink more than they want to, and it’s not like they do this just once or twice. They do it over and over – month after month and year after year.

There have been so many times where they went out with their friends with the intent to only have one or two drinks, and before they knew it, they were highly intoxicated. They went to bed with the bed spinning and woke up in the morning with a hangover. They woke up feeling horrible and vowed that they will not do it again.

Yet they will do it again. It’s the cycle of over-drinking insanity that just keeps on going until many of them hit their rock bottom.

Why the compulsion to drink more than you want?

There are many theories as to why some people cannot stop drinking once they start. It used to be that the majority of substance abuse experts believed that heredity played the major role. They asserted that those who have that compulsion to drink more than they want have acquired that compulsion due to genetics.

While that may partly be true, there are other substance abuse experts who assert that other factors play a role as well. Take the environment, for example. Those who grew up in a dysfunctional home, and especially those who experienced neglect or abuse of some sort, are far more apt to drink more than they want as an adult.

There are also substance abuse experts that assert that over drinking is the result of certain changes in the brain or the way the brain is wired. They assert that alcoholism is a disease of the brain, and they’re not really sure why some people are more prone to the disease over others.

What to do if you drink more than you want?

But regardless of why someone drinks more than they want, what can be done for those who suffer from this? That’s a question that millions are asking themselves across the world.

Various treatments for over-drinking

Good news is that there are various treatments available for those who drink more than they want. Treatments for those that would love to be a social drinker, but time has proven that they cannot be. The majority of substance abuse experts will tell you that those who over-drink need to completely abstain from alcohol. They say this because once the brain gets a taste of that alcohol, it wants more. And even though rationally the person may not want to drink more, that rational part of the brain gets overpowered by the compulsion to have drink more.

So, it’s sort of like a losing battle. You don’t want to over-drink, but when you have that first drink, your brain overpowers that part of you, and before you know it you’ve downed a six pack and you think you need more.

This is one reason why abstinence is highly promoted in Alcoholics Anonymous. There are plenty of ex-drinkers who will tell you that if they have one sip of alcohol, it’s all over for them. So, the best-case scenario for them is to never touch the stuff again.

But what about withdrawal from alcohol?

It’s true that many people who drink more than they want continue to drink because they don’t want to contend with the daunting withdrawal symptoms. Maybe they’ve tried to quit before, but they couldn’t do it because their body was going through horrendous withdrawal symptoms.

If you drink more than you want, and you’re afraid to go through the withdrawal symptoms from quitting drinking, you may benefit from reaching out for help.  There are various ways you can deal with withdrawal symptoms, including attending a detox center, asking your doctor for help, going to a treatment center, or trying to get through them on your own.

What is an alcohol detox center?

An alcohol detox center is a facility where you can go and receive help when you want to stop drinking. There are substance abuse professionals there who can help you get through the withdrawal symptoms and help you create a long-term plan for sobriety.  You may not realize it, but withdrawal from alcohol only lasts usually between 3 to 5 days. If you’re a super heavy drinker, it can take longer, but usually within a week, the physical withdrawal symptoms subside.  When you attend a detox center, you may be able to be given medication to help reduce withdrawal symptoms too. This should calm your fears a lot!

Do you need alcohol treatment after detox?

For those struggling with substance abuse issues, this is an important question to answer because once someone goes through detox, aftercare treatment is extremely important.  In fact, addiction specialists assert that quality treatment and a firm commitment to such after detox are necessary for continued recovery success.

Detox is a great place to start when it comes to getting off alcohol, but it is what you do after detox that will help you or hurt you when it comes to creating a quality life.  During detox, you will be weaned from your drug of choice in a safe and supportive atmosphere that provides around the clock care.  During detox, you will receive some counseling and get educated on addiction and recovery.  It is there that you will most likely learn about aftercare treatment options to help you with your recovery.

After Care Treatment Options

Rehab. Rehab centers are oftentimes the next step for recovering alcoholics once they’ve been through detox.  A rehab center is a facility that you live in usually for about 28 days to continue with your recovery efforts in a safe and supportive atmosphere. If your life situation allows you to do so, rehab centers are a helpful place to begin your recovery efforts, as you continue to learn about addiction, attend counseling, get introduced to 12 step meetings, and learn valuable life skills.  You will also most likely create a relapse prevention plan that will help you once you get out of rehab.

Outpatient treatment. If you cannot commit to a rehab for one reason or another, you can opt for outpatient treatment that is available at many mental health community agencies.  Through outpatient treatment, you can participate in individual and group counseling sessions to continue learning about addiction and receive support and encouragement. It is here that you can learn how to face life issues free from the use of drugs and alcohol and get to the root of why you started using in the first place.

12 Step programs. Most substance abuse professionals recommend attending a 12-step recovery program for accountability and support.  It is there that you will meet other recovering addicts trying to live a life free from drugs and alcohol, connect with a sponsor/mentor that will come alongside you for guidance, and be able to learn and grow by working through the 12 steps to freedom.  Millions of men and women have found continued freedom in such a support network.

Therapy.  If you’ve never had a series of counseling sessions after detox is a great time to do commit to a season of therapy.  Underneath most addictions, there are root issues that need to be worked through. For many who struggle with drinking more than they want, depression and anxiety seem to be quite common. You’d be surprised at how helpful going to counseling for several months can be.  Those that make this commitment and stick to it report fewer feelings of depression and bouts of anxiety. They feel as if they work through childhood issues that may have made them feel shame, fear, anger, and so on.  Think about heading to see a therapist for a few months or longer if you choose.  There are some wonderful therapists out there who are passionate about helping others struggle less and feel happy more often.

Detox is wonderful, but it is important to have an after-care treatment plan in place before leaving detox.  Detox is a great place for getting addictive chemicals out of your body, but if you do not learn how to cope with life issues without the drugs, chances are you’ll pick up again.  Recovery is so much more than just not picking up a drink or a drug. If you want to live a happy and peaceful life free from such, discuss your treatment options with a professional and commit to a life of active recovery.

If you’ve been contemplating stopping drinking because you drink more than you want, it’s time to make a commitment to doing something different.  Chances are if you don’t make some big changes, nothing will change.  You don’t want to be in the same situation next month or next year, so take some time today to really think about this.  If you’re afraid to take that first step, feel the fear and do it anyway. There’s nothing to be ashamed of at all, and others who have been in your shoes will tell you that reaching out for help was the best thing they ever did for themselves.

If you need help, give us a call and we can direct you to the best recovery path for you.  Begin a new life today with sobriety in the forefront of your mind. You can do it!