Alcoholism: It’s a real problem
Many adults today have come to normalize drinking “socially” when in reality it can impact their mental health in a profound ways says Emily Roberts, psychotherapist. “Fear of missing out and drinking with co-workers and friends is an activity people use to connect and distress, but society tends to overlook the more effective and healthy ways of doing this, so it becomes reinforced that to feel better or to feel connected one must go to the happy hour or wine night,” she says. This, coupled with insecurities, trauma or any life stressors leads to even more problems and makes it harder for people who have addictive patterns or underlying mental health issues to seek help. By the time I was 21, I had all but officially identified my social drinking as problematic, but since I was such an all-star college student, local paper reporter, and publishing-house intern who never drank on the job, in the mornings, or alone, I reasoned it was something I just had to get better control over. Not so much. A year later, I had identified as an alcoholic despite being the youngest one in many of the 12-step meeting rooms —I didn’t need to go to rehab—and never picked up a drink again. More and more, women are going toe-to-toe with their male counterparts when it comes to binge drinking, and it’s not surprising: society normalizes, encourages, and promotes drinking so heavily that it can be nearly impossible, at times, to know what’s “normal” or not.
You always want to keep the party going
As everyone else starts to head home, you try to get them to stay out longer, drink more, or you keep the party going yourself by staying out alone and continuing to drink. Of course, says Roberts, after a fun night, it can be hard to back to “real life,” but the difference between social drinkers and alcoholics is that social drinkers don’t need to stay out drinking. They want to remember their night and feel good the next day; they know their limits and are aware of the way that too much alcohol will interfere with their functioning the next day. “One client of mine never wanted the party to end, so she would go out with one group for girlfriends and come home with another, and her friends couldn’t keep up with her,” she says. “She actually had a hard time being alone with her thoughts, so she’d make friends with strangers just so she could have someone to drink with.”