Trouble Controlling Drinking

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Lately, I have begun to worry about my drinking. I feel as if my occasional social drinking has now transformed into a much bigger issue. First and foremost, I have reached a point where I cannot even have fun when sober, and I also have no control over how much I am drinking. Partying is the only thing I find fun anymore. I usually drink so much that I am completely blacked out, and do completely out of character things such as having unprotected sex, using cocaine, and just basically making a complete fool of myself. It is so bad that the next day, I will not remember having conversations with people, or even seeing them in general. I sometimes don’t even remember how I got home, even though half the time I drive myself drunk, and don’t even remember doing it. I lose my shoes, my phone, anything that basically isn’t glued onto me.

That is just the jist of things, I have tons of stories of crazy things that I have done while drunk. I am finding it very hard to be productive with anything, and i recognize things need to change. I’ve always been a very popular, well liked, and intelligent girl, but my impulsive, and foolish actions while intoxicated are beginning to label me with a bad reputation. My friends and actually basically my entire high school knows me as the crazy out of control party girl, and I’m over it.

My point is, I don’t want my drinking to destroy my future oppurtunities and overshadow my intelligence (I recieved an almost perfect SAT score). Every day i have to hear sarcastic remarks from people….”oh god, do i even wanna know what you did this weekend?”…”So, who did u hook up with this time?”…”I’m surprised you haven’t gotten a DUI yet.” Everyone loves being around me because it’s always entertaining, and very very unpredicatable. All jokes aside, I need to know how I can go about changing my behavior. I will be going to college in the fall, and want to leave this all behind. I know there is no way I can keep up with the rigorous curriculum in college if I am always drunk/hungover. I want people to see the rational, sober me. I want to learn to control my drinking. I don’t want to loose everything that is important to me!!! Please give me some advice on where to begin!!

A. There is no secret behind stopping drinking and partying in your case (this would not be true for everyone of course). You just have to stop. And it is that simple.

Many people drink and party in high school and throughout college. Most people think it is the thing to do — it’s what you’re “supposed to do.” It’s what everyone does, right? It makes you feel cool and if you did not drink and party, you would feel like an outcast. It’s such a shame that society cultivates young people who think the only way to fit in and be “cool” or to even be normal, is to drink and party. Society could not be more wrong.

As you are experiencing firsthand, drinking causes you to do regretful things. While drinking, your letter indicates that you are engaging in unprotected sexual behavior, using drugs, driving while drunk, acting silly and making a fool out of yourself, and so forth. This behavior puts you at risk for becoming pregnant, catching a sexually transmitted disease (STD) (diseases which are on the rise) being raped, being used by men who only want you for sex, getting addicted to drugs, getting yourself arrested, killing yourself, your friends or other innocent bystanders — all of this could be brought on by your continued use of alcohol. This is the reality of drinking. You risk, by continuing to drink, possibility ruining your life.

You mentioned getting an SAT score of nearly 1600. A score that high is excellent and a very remarkable feat. This academic achievement certainly allows you to choose among almost any college in the nation where it is you would like to go to school. Few people can say they have achieved such a high score. This opens up so many unique opportunies for you.

But what if you were partying one night and wrecked your car into a pregnant mother driving to the grocery store and killed them both. Your near perfect SAT score would mean nothing in the face of such a horrific accident. You would no longer be worried about choosing which college to attend. Rather, you’d be faced with which prison you would be spending the rest of your life in. This can be the ugly reality of drinking.

Many people are hurt by their “partying days” and if you continue you will be extremely lucky if you make it without doing major damage to your life. You have already done some damage to your life (as you mentioned, your reputation) but if you stop now, you can end the potential damage drinking can do to your life. You can choose to stop drinking. Know that the power to stop drinking at this point in your life is in your control.

Realize that drinking and partying will only hold you back in life and can only serve to stunt your growth. Psychologically healthy people do not need to drink. Stop drinking while you are ahead, while you have not yet done too much damage to your life. You’re about to enter college with one of the highest SAT scores a person can get. Wow! Use your brains —- which, from your SAT score, you know you have. Stop wasting your brain cells on drinking (yes, drinking kills brain cells) and find another activity that is worth your time or energy.

I know this answer may sound “harsh” but I wanted to give you a reality check when it comes to drinking. I have seen many clients come into my office extremely upset and regretful after practically ruining their lives from their use of alcohol and drugs. I hope that you can stop drinking and take up an activity that empowers you and others around you. Please consider writing again to let me know how you are doing. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Nov 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). Trouble Controlling Drinking. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/21/trouble-controlling-drinking/