“You are drinking too much” Has this been said to you?
This is a question that I hear all the time from my clients, but what is too much?
There are official guidelines set out by the various powers that be. However, one thing that I have come to learn and understand is that we are all very different, and I am sure that the majority of people are not sure what those guidelines are, while others may be aware of them but ignore them.
Maybe it's a loved one or friend that has said those words to you, you have probably said them to yourself also. When others say it to us, we can feel criticised or maybe that people are having a go at us. We hear the words, but instead of them making us put the glass or bottle down, we tend to use it as an excuse to rebel against those very words.
Yes, there are guidelines, there are guidelines for everything. In our world at this precise moment, there are even more guidelines. At the moment we’re not seeing many guidelines about what and how much we should be putting into our bodies, but how we live and go about our lives. Putting the guidelines to one side for a moment, I am not discounting them, they are important, however, they do not often make their way into our homes.
What is too much? When I am working with clients about their drinking or other habits, I sit and talk with them about the impact that the drinking is having on their lives.
One person can drink a bottle of wine every night, they get up for work, take care of the family responsibilities, pay their bills but more importantly, they are present in life, they are involved, taking part. For another person, that one bottle of wine is having a huge negative impact on their life.
Yes, they may be functioning like the first person I mentioned above, but the second person is struggling. They are not sleeping well, getting up and going to work is becoming harder and harder. They are managing the family responsibilities, but they feel like a huge chore. The bills are getting paid, but that eye on the money is getting ever so much more watchful. They are dragging themselves through life. They sleep on the sofa or sleep in the spare room too often because they have either passed out or have had an argument.
The very thing that is causing the person all the stress, is the very thing that they go to escape from it all. Maybe they started with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer once the kids went to bed, and over time has gradually increased, buying two bottles just in case they fancy that “one more glass”.
Looking at the quantity a person drinks is important; however, I start work looking at the impact that the dependency is having on the person's life. Looking at what is the purpose of the drinking, what is its job, the why. When we look at the why, we can understand the parts of a person’s life that are causing stress, then we can look at resolving them or finding new ways to manage it. As we work together, we can explore the options that are available and how they can be implemented into your life.
When the why's have been explored and understood, the options (there are always options, sometimes we just cannot see them) have been put into action, I find with many clients it is about helping them to be in control - having that drink is a choice. When people are on diets they do not stop eating, they simply make different choices.
That phrase, “You are drinking too much” when said too many times can start to conjure up beliefs, beliefs for the person saying them, but also the person they are said to. There is a lot of stereotyping that goes with that phrase, “Do I have a drink problem?”, “Am I an alcoholic?” Even though we may ask those questions, the fear of answering them ‘honestly’ is a whole different thing. There are many people that do have drinking problems. Do they tick the usual boxes of a stereotypical alcoholic? No. Some of those people will continue through life ‘functioning’ but for others, they will over time start to tick those boxes.
I work with many people who are starting to see that their drinking is having a detrimental effect on their lives, before that effect becomes serious and their addiction spirals out of control. Hypnotherapy can help to help re-educate you, help you learn coping mechanisms, and reframe your thoughts so that your drinking stops being a negative impact.