Binge drinking is a widespread practice, and one that many binge drinkers may not even know that they participate in. The fact of the matter is, any time you consume more than three to five drinks in a relatively short period of time for the sole purpose of getting intoxicated, you are in the middle of a binge drinking episode. Because binge drinkers often take breaks (whether long or short) between their binge drinking sessions, it is not unusual for them to deny that they may have a problem at all. However, binge drinking can be a serious problem that leads to serious consequences, and if you think you are a binge drinker, it may be time to get some help. Here are some suggestions for how to quit binge drinking:
Familiarize yourself with the risks associated with binge drinking. If you are aware of both the short term and long term consequences associated with binge drinking, then it should be easier to level with yourself when it comes to giving up this dangerous habit. Short term risks include nausea, memory loss, vomiting, poor judgment, tremors, alcohol poisoning, excessive weight gain and more, while long term risks can even more serious, including liver disease, brain damage, nerve damage, heart problems, increased risk of cancer, and depression.
Learn about why you binge drink. Everyone has different triggers, and yours will be personal to you. For example, you might binge drink when you go out because you feel shy in social situations, while your friend might binge drink in isolation to ease depression. Identifying the reasons behind your binge drinking is the first step in addressing the root of the problem.
Get help. Don’t feel that you have to go it alone in your quest to rid yourself of the binge drinking burden. You can get the support you need from a broad range of sources, including your medical doctor, therapist, clergy leader, friends, family, and support groups. Open up about what you are going through and accept help when you need it.
Take up a hobby. If you are accustomed to using binge drinking to cope with boredom or loneliness, or to fill an unknown void in your life, then you need to find new activities to spend your time and energies on. Join a book club, start working out, take some music lessons, or enroll in some adult education courses. This will not only help distract you from the difficult process of breaking a bad habit, but it will also present you with opportunities to make new friends with similar interests.
Binge drinking is a practice that deserves to be taken seriously. If you feel that you have a problem with binge drinking, you can follow these tips to reclaim your life and kick this dangerous habit to the curb.
About the Author: Emely Ainscough is a substance abuse counselor who regularly talks to her clients about how to stop drinking. Even if you “just” binge drink, you’re on a tricky and scary road and should stop before things progress.