How are You Handling Your Grief?

While alcohol can give you great pleasure and make you feel more relaxed, excess alcohol is an addictive drug. It is not uncommon for people to turn to alcohol for comfort when they are stressed or unable to sleep.

There are no hard and fast rules as to when you cross over from being a social drinker to excessive drinking, but generally if you often drink by yourself, have more than a couple of drinks a day and start drinking early in the day, you should be aware that it could be a problem and try to cut back.

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the brain down, dulls your reactions and affects your moods. Excessive drinking will affect your sleep patterns and often cause you to wake early in the morning feeling tired.

• Keep a drink diary to see just how much you are drinking.
• Indentify your vulnerable times and drinking patterns.
• Pace your drinking – sip, dilute hard liquor, don’t stockpile alcohol.
• Don’t let others pressure you to social drink, just say “No”.
• Try alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
• Join AAA or call a buddy.

The nicotine in tobacco sooths the nerves but it is a powerful and addictive drug that causes long term damage to the heart, windpipes, lungs, bronchitis cancer and other fatal illnesses. Tips for quitting:

• Distract yourself – explore new activities or go for a walk.
• Avoid obvious triggers.
• Cut down gradually and ask your doctor for helpful tools.
• Use the money saved to buy something really special.
• Pick a positive time for withdrawal, not in the midst of other changes.
• Establish social support from people who want to see you quit.

Taking tranquilizers can make you less anxious in the short term but they only mask the symptoms and don’t deal with the real issues. If you take them for a prolonged period of time you may become addicted to the secure, relaxed feeling that they give you. Talk with your doctor about the dose and length of time you are comfortable with.

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