Take a look at this picture. At first glance, it seems like just another pyramid picture that you would see in one of those don’t drink ads. There is so much more to this than you might think. Let’s take a look at the levels.
Happy Hour – When you see happy hour advertised, your first thought is cheap drinks. It is the place to meet up with friends and relax. Having a drink or two isn’t bad. Just the opposite, in moderation, alcohol can have its benefits for your health and your sanity. However, the cheap drinks and easy atmosphere can be just the tip of the iceberg. It can lead to the next level very easily.
Binge drinking – notice it is up at the top of the iceberg. That is because while it is fairly common, it can be a sign of things unseen. Binge drinking can do major damage to your health – even if you do it occasionally, the effect can actually be irreversible.
That right there is the surface of the water. This is what you see of your friend’s alcohol dependency. Everything seems under control. Your friend is doing good, but he is meeting you at happy hour a couple of times a week. He is binge drinking each time. You begin to wonder what is lying just below the water.
Unusual practices – this sounds like a frat boy’s dream. All the testing of limits. This can be a sign that you or your friend has been building a tolerance to alcohol. By introducing new ways to get alcohol in your bloodstream, you are going to have different results, some of which may be more potent. It is just the beginning of problems. There is still time to get help before everything starts to fall apart.
New alcoholic games – finding new reasons or ways to drink is a sign that alcohol has a stronghold on your life and that you aren’t completely comfortable with it. Its validation of your drinking. Telling yourself and your friends that it is all okay. New games can be an attempt to keep the drinking situation light and less serious.
Neknomination – The online drinking phenomenon. The seriousness has become extreme. Filming themselves chugging the drinks often leads to so much more. The amount of tolerance that is needed to be part of this is scary. It is dangerous and the line is then. At this point, the results can be deadly.
Dangerous Behaviors – these can include drinking and driving, drinking to the point that you pass out, the inability to stop drinking once you start, the inability to remember what you do when you drink, and the inability to control one’s actions while drunk. This is at the bottom because you have essentially hit bottom when you have reached this point.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of alcohol dependence, you should reach out to the resources that are available. There are many signs and symptoms that will show you that you need help. You simply can’t ignore the signs as they approach. The strength of this picture becomes obvious when you realize that meeting your friend at the bar for happy hour may simply be the tip of the iceberg for you or for them.