Why Is
It Difficult to Quit Drinking?

In society today, when you speak of alcohol, we don’t normally see it as a drug. That’s because drinking is so socially acceptable that many don’t second guess it. Another point to consider is that alcohol is legal. 

That alone makes it less harmful than, say, cocaine. However, according to Statistics Canada, in 2021, close to 5.1 million residents (or 15.6%) of Canadians – age 12 and older engaged in heavy drinking.

Over two decades of our career in working with families, we have been able to conclude some simple and observable facts on drinking. Below are six facts that make it difficult to quit drinking.

1. The withdrawals can cause severe risk.

It’s a known fact that alcohol withdrawal can cause death. For this reason, they should seek medical treatment for their condition. It is important to speak with a medical practitioner before attempting to quit drinking to assess the severity of the physical dependence.  So, one should realize how important it is to receive a medical evaluation from a trained professional when stopping alcohol.

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2. Alcohol is Everywhere.

Another reason alcohol is so difficult to stop using is the ease of access. Alcohol is still the easiest to purchase. You can buy some in liquor stores, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations. Anyone with a drinking problem, when attempting to stop, will find that there is a constant reminder of it around.

Apart from the above sources, one will also see it on TV Ads, television series and shows, movies, sporting events, etc. That alone keeps it in one’s face at every turn. 

3. Alcohol has Intense Cravings

Like any drug, intense cravings for a person occur when they try to quit drinking. . It is one of the major barriers people face when they attempt to stay sober. The beginning stages of sobriety are often the most difficult to get through because of the cravings that occur.

Further reading: Alcohol Cravings

That is why it is often beneficial for a person to do some inpatient program to help gain stability. The length of time a person will need to be in a safe place will vary. It should be an environment where they are unable to access alcohol, with support, to get through this stage.

 Human body and its eements.
Different beer advertisements.

4. Advertisements & Alcohol

Perhaps one of the biggest slaps in the face to a person trying to quit alcohol is the number of ads that one sees on billboards, television, radio, magazines, and online. Alcohol companies spend billions on advertisements trying to make drinking look glamorous and fun.

While this does wonders for their profit margin, it wreaks a lot of hell on the minds of people who are trying to stop drinking. At least when a person is trying to quit smoking crack, they don’t have to worry about seeing a billboard promoting the use of it on their way to work.

5. A High Percentage of people drink.

One can find alcohol at most celebrations, family get-togethers, office parties, concerts, and professional sports games; really, the list goes on and on. According to Statistics Canada, on a volume basis, sales of alcohol were at 3.1 million litres in 2021-22, which is equivalent to 9.5 standard alcoholic beverages per week per Canadian of legal drinking age.

When looking at these statistics among the many others listed by the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction Report 2019, it becomes apparent how widespread alcohol use really is.

More on the report here: Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction Report 2019

6. Need to explain why you don’t drink.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of quitting drinking is having to explain to people that you don’t drink. But it is a personal choice that you really don’t have to explain. Many people will still question someone when they say they don’t drink.

You may get some strange looks when you say, “I don’t drink alcohol.” It is a rather sad fact that points to a much bigger problem. No one asks a person why they stopped smoking crack or why they stopped shooting heroin. But for whatever reason, people tend to question you if you say you don’t drink alcohol.

Despite the above facts, can you stop?

So, while quitting alcohol can be very difficult, it is important to remember that it is entirely possible. Many people allow the difficulty of quitting to prevent them from getting sober. While this is understandable to a degree, it is certainly not a good reason to completely give up and give in to the addiction. Countless numbers of people with an alcohol drinking problem have overcome their abuse.

Normally, it is only a question of how far you are willing to go to achieve sobriety and a happy, alcohol-free lifestyle.   If you need help, we can assist you anywhere in Canada.

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