An alcohol free lifestyle has many benefits. Understanding the reasons why people drink alcohol can shed a lot of insight into how alcoholism and alcohol addiction begins. It can also help those who are working towards recovery and sobriety avoid triggers and work on making changes in their lifestyle to continue living sober.
Here are Some of the Most Common Reasons Behind Drinking Alcohol:
1. Social Influence: We’re constantly surrounded by the acceptance and encouragement of alcohol in many different situations. From television advertisements to walking into a restuarant that serves alcohol, we constantly see things that show that encourages drinking.
Many restaurants will post their daily drink specials ($1 drafts for example) or have banners and signs featuring certain types of alcohol. Watch any football game on television and you’ll likely see plenty of beer commercials.
While obviously a television commercial isn’t going to cause you to start drinking directly, it adds to the social influence and acceptance of alcohol in our society. The more “normal” and “accepted” alcohol becomes, the easier it is for people to disregard the dangers of alcohol abuse.
2. Social Pressure: Many of us have had our first drink from some sort of social pressure. Maybe it was a group of friends having their first underage keg party, maybe it was someone else that said “Here, have a beer”.
While you would think peer pressure would stop after high school and college, for many adults it does not. Coworkers who make it a habit to go to the bar after work can put social pressure to drink – visiting friends or special events such as weddings or family reunions may also include social pressure and expectations to drink.
Many individuals who often find themselves in social drinking situations, may someday need to consider an alcohol treatment program.
3. Looser Inhibitions: Many people feel shy, awkward, or afraid in certain situations. It can be a social situation, such as a party full of strangers, or it can be something more formal such as while at work.
Alcohol naturally causes people to lose their inhibitions, feel more relaxed, and become seemingly more outgoing or less shy temporarily. (Temporarily is the key to be stressed – it can cause more problems after prolonged use) Rather than dealing with problems such as overcoming shyness or other issues, alcohol is used as a temporary solution to deal with awkward situations.
4. Stress Relief: Many people in a stressful situation want something that is quick and easy to get their mind off their problems. By drinking alcohol, someone is able to forget about their problems, and so it becomes a temporary solution to their problem.
Unfortunately, excessive drinking only leads to more problems, and while you may forget about something for a few hours while drinking, it does not actually provide an end to the cause of stress.
5. Escapism: This is another reason why someone may start drinking alcohol or continue the habit. Escapism can be brought on by a variety of things – boredom, depression, mounting stress or problems, etc. For those who have been drinking long term and are borderline alcohol abusive, the need for escapism rises.
These are just a few of the most common reasons – many people have different reasons that may or may not be related, or they may drink alcohol for a combination of several reasons.
Fortunately for those who are seeking treatment and living sober, identifying these common triggers and reasons for alcohol abuse can help them learn ways to continue sobriety and deal with their addiction. Many treatment and rehab centers focus on things such as learning to ignore social influences, how to deal with peer pressure, and problem solving skills. Treating other underlying causes for drinking, such as depression or anxiety, can also often help.
Any thoughts on the reasons why people drink alcohol? Share your thoughts in the comments below.