Alcohol addiction, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a widely recognized medical condition. According to the Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society (CAUDS), AUD “is a chronic health condition that causes people to feel compelled to drink, to drink too much and not be able to stop.”
Alcohol addiction is not only widely recognized; it is found near and far. According to Statistics Canada, “In 2018, 19.1% of Canadians aged 12 and older (roughly 5.9 million people) reported alcohol consumption that classified them as heavy drinkers.”
Sure, some individuals are able to enjoy an occasional drink or two. Some indulge in alcohol at parties and out at dinner with friends. However, for others, alcohol use is a much darker path. Alcohol addiction is a very dangerous and very costly disorder. What do the costs and benefits look like?
Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Alcohol
A 2019 report from the CDC showed the economic cost of alcohol at a staggering $16.6 billion. According to the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (CSUCH), overall, the cost of substance use in Canada was $46 billion in 2017. This equates to roughly $1,258 for each Canadian. Alcohol makes up 36% of this total cost.
It’s no secret that excessive alcohol use is excessively expensive. However, there have been many studies that show a clear association between light-to-moderate alcohol use and the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), by which there is a 25%-40% decrease. This can include the following:
- Heart attack
- Ischemic (clot-caused) stroke
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Sudden cardiac death
- Death from other cardiovascular causes.
Alcohol usage benefits not only healthy individuals but also patients with established CVD. However, increasing alcohol intake to more than four drinks a day can increase the risk of hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, stroke, heart attack, and even death.
There is a fine line to balance regarding alcohol intake. This balancing act is quite difficult for the average person. If you struggle with alcohol addiction, it’s an impossible feat. The number of possible benefits is small and, quite frankly, not worth the risk. Ultimately, what is the best solution? Not drinking at all. You can get a plethora of similar benefits by incorporating exercise into your daily routine as well as eating healthier. Neither of which comes at any extra cost to you.
How to Stop Drinking
Overcoming alcohol addiction is not an easy process, and it does not happen overnight. However, there’s wonderful news for you. No matter how far along your addiction may be, recovery is always an option. Maybe you feel powerless and without hope right now. However, you don’t have to feel that way. There are options today, tomorrow, or the next day. Hope is available, even when you think there’s not. Whether you want to cut back or quit drinking alcohol altogether, you can do it.
Cutting Back vs. Quitting Alcohol Altogether
Cutting back on your alcohol consumption can be achieved depending on your level of alcohol addiction. If you are severely addicted, it’s best to stop drinking entirely. If you still maintain some control over your drinking, then cutting back is an option. These are some helpful steps to cutting back.
- Make a goal: No more than one drink per day for a woman and no more than two drinks per day for a man. Aim for at least one to two days a week without alcohol.
- Cut back at home: Eliminate or significantly lessen the amount of alcohol in your home. This helps reduce temptation.
- Drink slower: Take breaks when drinking. Try to stretch out the one drink you allot yourself.
- Keep a record: To achieve your goal, keeping a record is important. This will provide written proof of your drinking habits, helping you visualize your intake and cut back.
Quitting alcohol altogether is the best choice due to the health risks of alcohol consumption. There are multiple treatment recommendations available for alcohol addiction. Finding the right plan for you starts with a consultation from a trusted facility.
Withdrawing from Alcohol Safely
Support is essential in ceasing alcohol use safely. Don’t try it alone, as quitting suddenly can bring dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Your body becomes dependent on alcohol during addiction and won’t react well to its sudden loss. The right treatment plan can help you get through your withdrawals safely and with the aid of medical professionals.
Plan for Triggers and Cravings
When on the road to recovery, it’s imperative to plan for triggers. You will want to start by identifying each one of them and then break them down. Once you have done this, you will able to plan accordingly on how to avoid them.
Secondly, self-care should become a priority. Often times people with alcohol addiction struggle with confidence and feelings of worthlessness. When you are focussing on yourself and your needs, you will develop more confidence and self-worth without alcohol.
This is your journey. You are in control. A future without alcohol addiction is possible.
A life with alcohol addiction is not for anyone, and it’s certainly not for you. We know you deserve so much more than that, and we need you to know it too. You are worth it. It’s time for you to stand up for a better, brighter future. A future that is full of happiness and hope. Here at BeWell, your goals are our goals. This is not a job to us. It’s a passion in our hearts to help change the path you’re on so that tomorrow and every day after is a day you look forward to. Call us at (647) 715-3900, and let us walk this new path with you. The rest of your life starts now.