What is a gray area drinker?
When you think of an individual who has active alcohol addiction, you will often visualize someone who has lost their job, unable to go a day without drinking, depends on others, and with a mindset solely focused on how they will consume their next substance. However, what is an individual classed as if they don’t have these issues but are still concerned over their drinking habits?
You may be placed in the “Gray area”, which is a generally new term referred to individuals who find themselves in limbo between light social drinking and the classic signs of alcoholics. If you find yourself drinking more often than what is classed as now and again but not enough for the substance to be having detrimental effects on your life, we would say you are on the spectrum of the gray area with your drinking habits. The gray area of consumption was associated with minor but significantly increased risks of prevalent and incident alcohol dependence, incident alcohol-related interpersonal problems, and prevalent job loss.
Signs of a gray area drinker
If you find yourself googling such phrases as:
- Do I drink too much?
- What are the signs of an alcoholic?
- How often can I drink without being an alcoholic
- How to know if I am drinking too much
We advise you to get checked out regarding how much you are drinking. More often than not, if you are googling how much you should be drinking or terms related to that phrase, the likelihood is that you are drinking too much. When we are doing too much or too less of something, we generally know that we have a problem; however, we begin googling for results that fit our narrative; we want to be told that our drinking habits are acceptable to continue without worrying or feeling guilty.
Additionally, further signs of a gray area in drinking can include but are not limited to:
- Commonly drinking a lot more than intended
- Experiencing negative but not life-altering consequences from alcohol use
- Allowing your alcohol to stop your goals
- Having limited ability to refrain from drinking
- Commonly questioning whether you are consuming too many
Individuals who float around the gray area of drinking will often not have any complications with the law. In contrast, many diagnosed alcoholics will have difficulties with the law. Individuals placed within the gray area of drinking will generally be surrounded by individuals who follow the same drinking patterns, making it hard for them to notice that they have a problem. Usually, this is one of the reasons individuals do not see a problem with their drinking habits unless outsiders point it out because everyone around them has the same type of habits.
How to get out of the gray area
An individual must take the ultimate step when they are within the gray area with their drinking habits to identify that they have a drinking problem and actively want to break the cycle. Attempting sobriety months such as ‘Dry July’ or ‘Sober October’ can allow individuals to understand that they have drinking problems.
Taking a break from drinking will essentially allow individuals to thoroughly understand their emotions about alcohol and the possible adverse effects it may be having in their daily lives. If drinking is not a problem for the individual, taking a short month’s break should not be a challenge.
We would always advise that you speak to a medical professional if you believe you are within the gray area of drinking and plan to stop for some time. Only you know how your body feels; withdrawal symptoms can be potentially life-threatening, so if you believe your body is beginning to experience any sort of withdrawal symptoms.
What to do if you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms?
If you have identified that you are suffering from a drinking problem or are simply challenging yourself to a break and begin experiencing unusual pains or symptoms, we advise you to seek immediate medical help. While your symptoms will likely not be life-threatening, it is never the wrong time to get them checked out by a professional for peace of mind.
Getting help for drinking
There is never a perfect path to take when you decide that you would like to join sobriety; however, the first step is almost identical for most people. Seek assistance, whether from your family, friends, or a professional. The first step is to identify and accept that you have a drinking problem and to speak about it to a person you trust whom you know will only want to help you.
Shoreline Sober Living, located in San Diego, is the country’s top destination to begin your sobriety journey. Shoreline Sober Living provides the guidance, community, and environment necessary to enact lasting change in a life of recovery from alcohol.
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