Why can’t I stop drinking after a couple drinks? Social drinking

Posted by viola @viola, Aug 2, 2021

I have no problem not drinking for a period of time, like 10 days.then I go out dinner with the intention of having a couple drinks. And I don’t even think about stopping. I usually can’t remember everything that happened the next day. Is anyone else experiencing this? Has anyone found a way to cage the behavior? I feel fine when I’m not drinking, no withdrawal. But I want to enjoy Social Drinking.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Addiction & Recovery group.

Hello @viola and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am glad that you posted this question on Connect. As you probably know, on Mayo Connect we are not medical professionals but people who want to share their health care journeys in order to offer support and encouragement to each other.

We have an amazing group of people in this group who have posted about addictions. Here is a link where you can meet some of these members and learn about their experiences with addiction, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/addiction-recovery-meet-others-come-say-hi/. Just click on the link. I would like to invite some members to join this conversation, @mothergoose76 @johnwhitfield @stsopoci

From what I understand from your post, you can't stop drinking once you start, and then you don't remember what happened the next day. Is this correct?

I would certainly encourage you to talk with a doctor about this. The "not remembering" what happened is a rather serious situation and definitely needs some resolution. Would you agree?

Have you considered sharing this at an AA meeting? Many of these meetings are on Zoom now. Here is a link where you can find AA meetings nearby or online, https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-local-aa.

Will you discuss this with a doctor soon?

REPLY

Hello Teresa,

I truly appreciate your your quick, caring response. I will check out the links that you sent. The online resources sound perfect.

I would appreciate you inviting the other people to join the conversation.

The inability to find my Off Switch and not remembering have recently become my norm, if I drink. And yes it is scary. It’s so frustrating, because I don’t want to keep going. My husband thinks I’m making a conscious choice to keep going, but I’m not.

Thank you once again and please stay in touch.
Suzanne

REPLY
@viola

Hello Teresa,

I truly appreciate your your quick, caring response. I will check out the links that you sent. The online resources sound perfect.

I would appreciate you inviting the other people to join the conversation.

The inability to find my Off Switch and not remembering have recently become my norm, if I drink. And yes it is scary. It’s so frustrating, because I don’t want to keep going. My husband thinks I’m making a conscious choice to keep going, but I’m not.

Thank you once again and please stay in touch.
Suzanne

Jump to this post

Viola, I have seen this behavior in family members. On weekends, moderation seems to be ignored. Drinking doesn't stop with 1, 2 or 3 drinks, but continues to unreasonable drunken state. (Sometimes this is referred to as binge drinking.) When asked why, they too don't have a solid answer. Although one relative explained it as the effects of the alcohol feel good and they just want to keep feeding that good feeling. But they didn't realize that the increased alcohol was negatively affecting their behavior towards others. For them it wasn't a conscious decision either only a rationalization when discussed (in a sober state).

Your question led me to doing some searching and found this interesting article:
– When Does Social Drinking Become 'Problem Drinking'? Experts weigh in on just how much drinking is considered "normal." https://www.huffpost.com/entry/social-drinking-problem-drinking_n_5b86b8e8e4b0162f471e8d01

This webpage also offers useful tests and helpline to call if you would like to speak to with a trained counsellor.
https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/binge-drinking-problem

REPLY
@viola

Hello Teresa,

I truly appreciate your your quick, caring response. I will check out the links that you sent. The online resources sound perfect.

I would appreciate you inviting the other people to join the conversation.

The inability to find my Off Switch and not remembering have recently become my norm, if I drink. And yes it is scary. It’s so frustrating, because I don’t want to keep going. My husband thinks I’m making a conscious choice to keep going, but I’m not.

Thank you once again and please stay in touch.
Suzanne

Jump to this post

Hi Viola. I too have that problem where I cannot stop once I start, and for the exact reason of feeding that feeling of feeling good, mentioned in Collen’s reply below. I also don’t remember the next day and then don’t even want to look at my phone in fear of what I might have said to people. Yesterday marked 18 days completely alcohol free for me. Before then, I had never tried to abstain. I was drinking every other day or every other, other day (some days more than others) and the day or days in between was usually a recovery day or a day where I was telling myself just don’t drink… I grew tired of the anxiety and shame the next day that was caused by excessive alcohol use. It’s been a trying 18 days to say the least, but I keep reminding myself if I just have one drop, I’d be opening the Hoover dam, and that I do not want. I understand everyone is different, but what’s working for me (at least right now) is realizing and remembering that just one drink always (always!) leads to many more and will turn me into someone I would not like if I was sober. I know I can’t just have one, so I’m not even going to try to convince myself one or two will be OK in a social setting. I remind myself I like the alcohol free me way better than the inebriated me, and not having to worry about what I did or said the night before is a huge relief. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone!

REPLY

viola @viola, I understand your problem, I have similar problem. One drink is great, 2 OK, and then there is never enough. That fact you can not remember what happen day before is a red flag that you need help. unfortunately their is a stigma associated with alcohol abuse just like there is for mental illness. But very few people can change without help. It is a disease that some people have and some do not. Taking the time to reach out on Connect shows you are ready for a change.

I once explained to a friend who loves chocolate this way. You open a box a chocolate and have one, your brain liked it so wants another, etc…. and without realizing you ate a box a chocolate and regret it. Or maybe a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream, etc.., Everyone has their weakness. It is just how are brains are programmed.

AA is good option. Some people think it is a cult or only for people who are drinking large quantity every day. It is for everyday people who have desire to stop drinking. An earlier link has resources to find meetings anywhere your at. It takes courage to walk into first meeting, but they will be welcoming. You can sit and back and listen or participate. There should be no pressure to share, if do not want to talk, just say "PASS" or "I am only going to listen". A ZOOM meeting might be good alternative if afraid to go to meeting. Also, if first meeting you attend is not a good match, try another. Though all AA meetings are based on same format, they vary greatly.

Most AA areas have New Comers meeting. This meeting is specifically for people new to AA and led by someone familiar with AA.. There are also Women only meetings if you think you might be more comfortable with just women.

Beside AA, there are treatment options. That can be from individual counseling to group outpatient or inpatient therapy. Your dr may advise solutions or refer you for alcohol use evaluation to determine best solution for you. .

If you decide to be evaluated for alcohol use, Mayo's web page explains what the process may be like: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243

You are brave to acknowledge your situation and reach out for help.

Good luck
Laurie

REPLY
@jennymja

Hi Viola. I too have that problem where I cannot stop once I start, and for the exact reason of feeding that feeling of feeling good, mentioned in Collen’s reply below. I also don’t remember the next day and then don’t even want to look at my phone in fear of what I might have said to people. Yesterday marked 18 days completely alcohol free for me. Before then, I had never tried to abstain. I was drinking every other day or every other, other day (some days more than others) and the day or days in between was usually a recovery day or a day where I was telling myself just don’t drink… I grew tired of the anxiety and shame the next day that was caused by excessive alcohol use. It’s been a trying 18 days to say the least, but I keep reminding myself if I just have one drop, I’d be opening the Hoover dam, and that I do not want. I understand everyone is different, but what’s working for me (at least right now) is realizing and remembering that just one drink always (always!) leads to many more and will turn me into someone I would not like if I was sober. I know I can’t just have one, so I’m not even going to try to convince myself one or two will be OK in a social setting. I remind myself I like the alcohol free me way better than the inebriated me, and not having to worry about what I did or said the night before is a huge relief. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone!

Jump to this post

@jennymja
That's very admirable. Your to be congratulated. Keep up the good work. I had 5 drinks when I was 21 and everything I tried was awful, that was it.
My girlfriend was killed at 17 by a drunk driver & my Dad was paralyzed from the neck down by one.
Jake

REPLY

I was once exactly how you described. I felt and experienced the same thing. i would go out and have fun I would think, and "come to" the next morning…afternoon more likely and if I was lucky at home. I usually didn't remember but a little bit of what i did the night before and very little else. As time went on that became less and less. I went thru two marriages and eventually lost custody of the two daughters i had given birth to, at the time i lost custody of my daughters that is when my drinking went from being "fun" to disastrous, even though at the time i was still "just having fun". It wasn't until i would guess I'd say maybe 1 year maybe a 1 1/2 later, I finally went to treatment to get some help. I won't say even after treatment that I quit not because treatment doesn't work cause it does I just wasn't ready to quit doing what I was doing but it definitely put me on the right path. Today I am 18 1/2 years clean. No one could tell me what I needed to hear, my ears were closed…until i was ready to hear what i needed to hear was i ready to do something different, good luck and know…You path doesn't have to be as long as mine was..

REPLY
@dmcdaniel1

I was once exactly how you described. I felt and experienced the same thing. i would go out and have fun I would think, and "come to" the next morning…afternoon more likely and if I was lucky at home. I usually didn't remember but a little bit of what i did the night before and very little else. As time went on that became less and less. I went thru two marriages and eventually lost custody of the two daughters i had given birth to, at the time i lost custody of my daughters that is when my drinking went from being "fun" to disastrous, even though at the time i was still "just having fun". It wasn't until i would guess I'd say maybe 1 year maybe a 1 1/2 later, I finally went to treatment to get some help. I won't say even after treatment that I quit not because treatment doesn't work cause it does I just wasn't ready to quit doing what I was doing but it definitely put me on the right path. Today I am 18 1/2 years clean. No one could tell me what I needed to hear, my ears were closed…until i was ready to hear what i needed to hear was i ready to do something different, good luck and know…You path doesn't have to be as long as mine was..

Jump to this post

Your genuine response means a lot to me and reinforces my desire to change. I’m so happy for you and your recovery. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to reach out to you for support, directly/privately on Connect.

REPLY
@viola

Your genuine response means a lot to me and reinforces my desire to change. I’m so happy for you and your recovery. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to reach out to you for support, directly/privately on Connect.

Jump to this post

@viola and @dmcdaniel1

If you would like to reach out privately please use the "envelope" at the top of your screen for Private Messages. That way your personal contact information will not be on the public forum.

However, please remember that when you post on the Connect public forum, others can learn from your experiences.

@viola, I look forward to hearing from you again. Will you post updates as you can about your recovery on this forum?

REPLY
@viola

Your genuine response means a lot to me and reinforces my desire to change. I’m so happy for you and your recovery. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to reach out to you for support, directly/privately on Connect.

Jump to this post

By all means do

REPLY
@dmcdaniel1

I was once exactly how you described. I felt and experienced the same thing. i would go out and have fun I would think, and "come to" the next morning…afternoon more likely and if I was lucky at home. I usually didn't remember but a little bit of what i did the night before and very little else. As time went on that became less and less. I went thru two marriages and eventually lost custody of the two daughters i had given birth to, at the time i lost custody of my daughters that is when my drinking went from being "fun" to disastrous, even though at the time i was still "just having fun". It wasn't until i would guess I'd say maybe 1 year maybe a 1 1/2 later, I finally went to treatment to get some help. I won't say even after treatment that I quit not because treatment doesn't work cause it does I just wasn't ready to quit doing what I was doing but it definitely put me on the right path. Today I am 18 1/2 years clean. No one could tell me what I needed to hear, my ears were closed…until i was ready to hear what i needed to hear was i ready to do something different, good luck and know…You path doesn't have to be as long as mine was..

Jump to this post

By all means

REPLY

Yes write me if you want, by all means!!

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment