Drinking alone, always wanting to take part in activities that involve alcohol or hanging out with people who drink... Some signs don’t lie and they can indicate that you’re at risk of developing a problem:
- There’s alcohol around at most of your activities and you seek out activities where it will be available.
- You choose friends who drink too.
- Your interests are changing: you’re neglecting the sports and other activities you used to like.
- You sometimes drink alone.
- Any occasion is the right time for celebrating with a drink.
- Your parents, friends, or teachers are worried about you.
When does drinking too much become a problem?
Some people abuse alcohol occasionally because they want the associated effect (getting drunk). However, other people develop a problem related to alcohol because of how frequently they drink. If you used to drink alcohol occasionally, but now it’s every weekend (or even during the week), there are risks associated with the increase in your drinking.
Some ideas to help you
A picture of your drinking habits
How often do you drink? Who do you drink with? On what occasions? How many drinks do you have? How much money do you spend on alcohol each week? It might be interesting to take the time to paint a picture of your drinking habits so you can better understand your relationship with alcohol. Do you drink responsibly or are you at risk of getting hooked?
The reasons why you drink
What leads you to drink? What does alcohol give you? What feelings are you looking for when you drink? Is it hard for you to manage your emotions or have fun without alcohol? If you realize that you need to have a drink to be able to express your emotions, you should consider talking to a health care professional or a counsellor from Tel-jeunes.
Set goals for yourself
Do you want to quit drinking completely? Cold turkey or gradually? What are your goals? Are they realistic? What factors might help you reach them? What would stopping drinking give you? What would be the benefits for you? Having a good friend you’re accountable to could help you reach your goals.
Tools to succeed
Do you need to keep away from certain people for a while because they’re a bad influence? Are there healthy activities you’d like to do to keep busy? How did you manage your emotions before you started drinking regularly? Have you thought about how you’ll explain your decision and your choices to the people you know? Have you looked for support so you’ll feel less alone, and be encouraged, accompanied, and better equipped?
Resources to help you
Support people in various organizations can help you if you think you’ve hit rock bottom or you feel you’re being controlled by alcohol or drugs. You can find out about services in your region by getting information from Drugs: Help and Referral (1 800 265-2626, available 24/7). You can also write or call Tel-jeunes at any time.
How should I quit: gradually or cold turkey?
There are no right or wrong ways to stop drinking or drugging. The important thing is, if you realize that alcohol or drugs have become a problem you want to solve… then just try! Some young people prefer to stop once and for all and decide they’ll never touch the alcohol or drug they were dependent on again. Others find it easier to go gradually. If you have support during the process, you’ll increase your chances of success, because it’s often hard to break free of an addiction without any support at all.