As every holiday approaches the roads fill with happiness seekers. Too many drink as part of their quest. Problem drinkers turn into problem drivers. Think that is not you? Check that out with these seven safe drinking rules.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS THOUGHTS
THE THINKING BEHIND THE RULES
The first rule recognizes that teens are at greater risk to the lure of drinking than older and supposedly wiser humans. A generalization as some teens are smart enough to drink safely, and some adults are not. The main problem with teens remain peer pressure and the tendency to go against parental teachings.
The next two rules keep your level of alcohol consumption at a level that does not reduce your functioning to dangerous levels. Examples:
Single and getting a little too happy on a date? At best you might have unsafe sex and at worse you are more vulnerable to predators.
Some people only drink on weekends, but then do so at dangerous levels. These may function well during the week, but get out of control on weekend.
There are also drinkers who can abstain for long periods of time, but one drink and all safe drinking is put aside. The old movie “Lost Weekend” demonstrates this type of drinking problems.
Finally, a number of teenager and adults drinking like teens, die each year from over-dosing in chug-a-lug contests. When someone passes out from drinking, 911 needs to be called immediately.
A sad fact related to the above rules is that the media encourages violating these rules. Bars are in the of selling drinks, not getting you to stop at one drink or to buy only one an hour.
The fourth and fifth rules serve to decrease the build up of tolerance so you have to drink more and more to feel the desired for reactions.
One sure sign of major problem drinking is no longer drinking to get happy, but to feel somewhat normal. The happy drunk is not a happy drunk but a desperate one.
The sixth rule keeps your body from over dosing on alcohol as well as helping you observe the first five rules. A too little known fact: Smoking pot reduces nausea and keeps you from vomiting. Vomiting is nature’s way of ridding your body of things that could kill. Too much alcohol kills.
Wondering if the rules apply to drugging. Yes and no.Yes: As Harm reduction programs seek to help those using drugs to do so safely. So there are safe drugging rules. No: as the rules vary in many respects. So if you are worried about drugs go to the above link to learn more.
The seventh rule should be self-evident, but sadly many violate it under the delusion they are sober when they are not.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS Training tIPS
Emotional fitness tip one: If you party hard, try abiding by these rules throughout the next week-end. No sweat doing so, no problem. Deviating even from just one? A problem.
Emotional fitness tip two: If this small self-administered test reveals even the lowest level problem, face facts. You do not have to be a full-blown alcoholic to indulge in harmful drinking.
You do need to get straight in one way or another if you cannot drink safely. AA is one alternative, but not for all. A group of therapists have developed what is called Motivational Interviewing that takes a softer approach as do EFTI’s Safe Drinking rules.
Finally, just finding a partner or two that share concern about how much they are drinking and joining together to support a SMART goal of abiding by the safe drinking rules might be all you need. The person to help might be a drinking buddy or a loved one that worrying about your drinking habits.
Emotional fitness tip three: Worried about someone else’s drinking habits? First take the test yourself. If you are violating any rules, state that you are going to work on becoming a safe drinking.
Then take the test as if you were the other person. Share both results and ask the other person what he or she thinks about what the test says about you and about them.
Don’t get into an argument. Problem drinkers are Gotcha Warriors and want to divert attention from you by making you argue to the point where you get out of control. Go here to read about how to deal with a Gotcha Warrior.
Listen do not judge. Also know that denial is part of problem drinking. So do not expect an instant “Aha.” Some studies show that it takes five or more serious encounters to get an alcoholic into recovery. You are a link in a chain. Stay strong and caring, don’t support bad habits and that means not supporting denial.
Already a safe drinker and the other person is not, when faced with denial, and seeing a violation of one of the rules, state gently, “I am worried, I need you to stay safe and I think when it comes to drinking, you are at risk.”
A thought for parents: if it is a teen that is not drinking safely, imposes sanctions. Definitely stop from driving. More advice is found in my book eBook When Good Kids Drink and Drug.
Much of the same advice is available in my book When Good Kids Do Bad Things. You can get that as an eBook or in print on Amazon. Either will cost a bit more than a movie, but might help you save the life of a child you love.
Pressed for cash, the old versions can often be found on Amazon for under a dollar. Even then that helps me for while I need to earn a bit of money, my main mission is sharing knowledge that I know is helpful .
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
Mostly related to the coming holiday, but has a bit of relatedness to this Daily WordPress prompt: Linger: Tell us about times in which you linger — when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?
Obviously, when we feel good, we want those feelings to linger. And that is precisely why we need to be aware of the ways in which drinking and drugs are a slippery slope and lingering too long in their presence puts you at risk. .
A personal note, the tendency to drink and drug to excess has three primary causes. First a genetic pre-dispostion linked to depression, but also anxiety, particularly social anxiety. My family tree is filled with those who are so predisposed to fall into the lure of chemical solutions to such problems.
The other known causes: the culture surrounding drinking. Today’s media culture is deadly in terms of its promotion of chemical solutions as a path to feeling better. Not helpful.
The third cause is the slow build up of tolerance by daily drinking.
I hope you will share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you again for all you do.
LINKS OF INTEREST
Most of the links cited in this blog post relate specifically to other resources about the main topic of this particular blog post. From now on these links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com)
- Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises.