One in Ten have a Drinking Problem
  By Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
 Today, in the class of "Living 201," students learned that problem drinkers are of three different types.  Type # 1 says, "Who, me? I don't have a problem."  Type # 2 says, "Problem or not, I don't really care."  Type # 3 says, "I care, but don't know how to quit."  

Those who are ready to quit may start with identifying high-risk situations and drinking "triggers."  Most of the high risk situations and triggers may be divided into "personal states" such as, unpleasant emotions, happy events, physical discomforts, urges, and temptations and "social states," involving other people such as, conflict with others, peer pressure, having a good time with buddies, party time, etc.

 Set rules for drinking for situations in which you are likely to drink heavy, e.g., "Only one drink in one hour and no drink on an empty stomach."
 Destroy your credit cards.  Problem drinkers tend to spend their cash on alcohol and charge the necessity items on their credit cards.
 "Think before you drink."  Always wait for 15 to 20 minutes, after you decide to take a drink.  This would counteract against any impulsive drinking and strengthen self-control.

 Identify your emotions before, during and after drinking, e.g. Are you anxious, angry, depressed, or agitated?  Find a non-drinking way to dispense that emotion.  For example, when you want to celebrate something, treat yourself by going to the movies rather than drinking.  
 Eliminate all excuses and justifications for drinking, e.g. "After a day's hard work, I deserve a few drinks."  Instead, tell yourself myself, "I desire something better, such as a hot shower, rest, relaxation, and recreation."

 If "slips" occur, take them as a temporary setback or mid-course self-correction.  There are no  "defeats" or "failures," only detours and by-roads.  Don't fall in the trap of "I failed, so I might as well blow it."  Get back on track as fast as you can and deal with a slip in a matter-of-fact way.  For example, if you are in a party, and you slip, arrange someone to bring you home.  If you're at home and you drink more than you intended, pour bottle in the sink.  Start again on your goal for reduced or no drinking.  Make sure you learn what you can from the incident.
 File: drinking 4/ 30/98 index: alcohol and drugs 


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