It doesn’t take a lot to become a gray area drinker. For those of you who don’t know, gray area drinking refers to consuming alcohol in different spectrums. People who fall into this category usually don’t consider themselves alcoholics because they feel their alcohol consumption is completely under control. Or is it?
The problem with gray area drinking is that it gives you a false sense of security. While you may not be physically dependent on the substance, you often use it to help achieve a state of mind like relaxation and happiness. Society has made gray area drinking the norm which is why people are having a tough time identifying it as an issue.
Just because everyone is comfortable doing it, that doesn’t mean you should too. Here are a couple of tell-tale signs that you may be a gray area drinker and how you can address this situation.
- You’re becoming concerned about your drinking habits
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling remorseful after a drinking session? Yet you go on with your normal routine like working out, eating a healthy diet, and functioning properly at work. Sure, your drinking isn’t affecting your life drastically, but you know in the back of your mind that it’s something worth paying attention to.
This is how most gray area drinkers feel. They’re quite unsure whether their drinking habits are starting to get out of hand or not. Still, they engage in alcohol consumption because nothing bad is happening as a result.
- You drink between two extremes
As a gray area drinker, you’re far from hitting rock bottom and you’re most definitely not a now-and-then drinker either. You fall somewhere in the middle where your alcohol consumption is either sporadic or intense. One day you find yourself drinking a pint or two and the next day you end up half drunk.
This is what tricks gray area drinkers into believing their drinking habits are okay. Because they don’t end up getting hammered, they think they have everything under control.
- You stop drinking alcohol but jump back in again
Say you were working on your fitness goals and you stopped drinking or you swore on your New Year’s resolutions that you would cut down on alcohol. You maintain sobriety for days — even months on end, but something comes up like a surprise party or a promotion at work.
You find it hard to turn down alcohol and back again in the drinking carousel you go. You immediately regret how much you’re drinking and you can’t seem to stop as easily as you did last time.
- Your drinking habits don’t look alarming to those around you
Gray area drinkers are surrounded by people who engage in the same activities they do. If you talk about your drinking with your social and business circles, you probably know who drinks much more than you. Knowing this, you tell yourself that your drinking habits aren’t that bad and your colleagues don’t view it as a problem.
- You view alcohol as a reward
As a gray area drinker, you consider alcohol as a reward. It’s how you enjoy life and unwind after a stressful day at work. Everything in moderation, right? Yet, you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve woken up with a hangover and swearing not to drink too much ever again.
Gray area drinking is like a slippery slope and the societal pressure to keep drinking is strong. Friends and family members will come to you and say “Let’s have a drink” and while your initial answer is no, you end up drinking because it’s only this one time.
How to combat gray area drinking
Gray area drinking can be addressed by making small, meaningful changes to your life. Be honest with yourself; what’s the reason you engage in gray area drinking? Do you use alcohol as a way to relax and have a good time with friends? Or do you drink to ease the frustration and anxiety?
Find other ways to spend time with your loved ones. You don’t need alcohol to enjoy the companionship of friends or family as you can engage in other healthy activities like playing sports and working out. Look for alternative avenues for dealing with your frustration and anxieties that don’t involve drinking. As you learn to replace your drinking habits with positive ones, you can slowly step out of this gray area and live your life completely sober
Reach out to healthcare professionals that understand your drinking concerns. Gray area drinking is real and there are many qualified coaches, therapists, and healthcare practitioners who understand the root cause of this problem.
If you’re dealing with gray area drinking and would like to receive professional help, you can reach out to Calm Rehab. Calm Rehab is a drug rehab in Bali that specialises in both drug and alcohol rehabilitation. With a team of qualified clinical professionals on our side, Calm Rehab sets the stage for helping you make lasting life changes and step away from gray area drinking once and for all.