When we think of drinking generally, we think of absolutes or extremes; people either don’t drink, drink responsibly, or people drink to excess. However, there seems to be a middle ground between socially responsible drinking and destructive drinking. Drinkers in this area may be drinking a little more than average but are keeping it together and able to function at school, the workplace, and home. While people in this “middle ground” are keeping it together, they are on the slippery slope toward alcohol abuse and addiction.
This hazy area between responsible and addictive drinking is called gray area drinking (GAD). If you are unfamiliar with GAD, this article will give you more information on gray area drinking and the signs of gray area drinking. If you feel your drinking is starting to spiral out of control, it is important to find professional help as soon as possible. Thrive Treatment is an outpatient alcohol addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. Call us toll-free today and learn more about our evidence-based services.
What is Gray Area Drinking?
If you look at drinking on a spectrum, gray area drinking falls in the middle of occasional, now-and-then drinking and problem drinking. Gray area drinkers may not feel they need to stop or need the help of Alcoholics Anonymous or other self-help support groups. Gray area drinkers may be able to stop for extended periods and start and stop their drinking with little or no trouble. Additionally, this type of drinker may not feel they need any form of alcohol rehab.
While gray area drinkers may not have anything bad happen to them or experience negative consequences, gray area drinkers never feel good about their drinking. While they can stop drinking and do so for extended periods, they can never stop thinking about drinking. Once they resume drinking, the level of which they drink may increase and inch them closer to more problem drinking. Additionally, their alcohol intake may make them vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.
What are the Signs of Gray Area Drinking?
Because those in this middle ground of drinking may not feel they have issues, the signs of gray area drinking are difficult to spot. The signs of gray area drinking may be vague, but they are present. If you feel you are a gray area drinker, the following are common signs you may have a problem:
- You can stop drinking for periods, but you can’t fully stop drinking. There are instances where people who engage in gray area drinking have stopped for months or even years at a time. However, it is very hard to stay away from alcohol.
- Gray area drinkers aren’t necessarily “problem” drinkers. To family, friends, and others, their drinking appears to be social and “normal”. You may feel you may be drinking more than what is considered normal, but others may not see it that way and say that you are worrying too much.
- You experience regret and remorse about your drinking, but you can function at a high level. You can uphold your family and work commitments and are in relatively good health, but when you drink you regret the hangovers and feeling sick.
- You go between feeling remorseful that you are drinking and then telling yourself that you are just overthinking and worrying too much about drinking. While you have “just a couple” to unwind after work or at a social event, you often feel like you can’t continue drinking and it will lead to something worse down the road.
Gray area drinking often feels like you are on a rollercoaster. If you are feeling that you are heading towards problem drinking, stop and think about why you drink and what leads you to drink. Is it everyday stress? Are there life events that are dragging you down? The way to curb gray area drinking may be as simple as learning mindful meditation, working out, or acquiring a new hobby. You may consider speaking to an addiction professional or sitting in on an AA or other support meeting.
Stop Problem Drinking With the Help of Thrive Treatment
Gray area drinking can be a slippery slope to addictive drinking. If you feel that your drink is more than just being social, you may want to consider seeking professional help. Thrive Treatment is one of Southern California’s premier treatment facilities. We offer evidence-based programs and multiple levels of care that fit your specific needs. Our experienced team of professionals treats you and every client with compassion, empathy, and respect.Don’t let your drinking take over your life; call Thrive Treatment today and start living your best life at our Los Angeles drug rehab center.