Alcohol – How do you know there is a problem?

What are your drinking habits?

Like other people, you probably also enjoy a drink or two every now and then. Mostly during weekends, sometimes at a special event, or sometimes even on your own.

It may happen that you sometimes drink too much: you do or say things that might upset others and which you regret later. But, like most drinkers you probably do not consider your drinking to be a problem, because you think:

  • I don’t drink every day – I can get along without a drink.
  • I’ve never had tremors or fits as a result of drinking.
  • I don’t drink hard liquor such as brandy and whisky, only wine and beer.
  • I don’t drink first thing in the morning.

You may be surprised to know that you may still have a drinking problem even if none of the above has ever happened to you.

What is meant by a “drinking problem”?

Someone can be said to have a drinking problem if their drinking interferes with their normal duties, financial affairs, health or social relationships. Moreover, such a person will sometimes try to cut down or even stop for a brief period, but will invariably slip back in the old pattern.

For somebody with a drinking problem (and sometimes those around them) it is often impossible to see what is actually going on and how serious the problem is.

What will happen if I do have a drinking problem but decide not to do anything about it?

Nobody can force you to stop drinking.

People around you will have to decide if they are satisfied to live with you and your drinking problem or whether they would like to make a change with the help of a social worker or other relevant professional person.

You will however find that as you continue with your drinking, you:

will have more arguments with those around you; will have more health problems such as stomach problems, high blood-pressure, damage to your liver etc; will lose your self respect and will mingle and drink with people you previously would not associate with; will experience increasing financial problems; will find more people will turn away from you.

What can I do if I know?

For most people it is very difficult to acknowledge the fact that they have a drinking problem.

They may think:

What will the people say if I go for help?
Those who really care for you, will be happy! Only your drinking buddies will be shocked.

I am going to be sent to some kind of facility.
Not all people need care in a facility. Often a person can also be helped in an out-patient programme, like a SANCA office. A social worker will help determine what kind of treatment is the best.

It costs a lot of money!
To get help is cheaper than you may think. Most employers are willing to help motivated workers to get treatment.

Remember if you do NOT really want to do something about your drinking problem, it is very easy to find an excuse, there are millions!

So, where do I find help?

  • Department of Social Development
    0800 220 250
  • South African Police Services
    0860 010 111
  • City of Cape Town
    0800 435 748
  • SANCA(WC) Bellville
    021 945 4080
    021 957 7130
  • CAD
    021 930 4472
    Speak to your pastor.

Do I have to do something about my drinking?

Ask yourself this easy question:
I can stop but I don’t want to
I want to stop but I can’t?

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18). For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

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