There seems to be an unwritten rule that writers have to be heavy drinkers, too. Hemingway, Joyce, Truman Capote, Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner, Bukowski… the list goes on. Some cheerily accepted their dependency, arguing that alcohol fueled their creativity. Others tried to fight it–even Hemingway claimed he abstained from drinking while working.
That’s why I found this idea for a guest post on drinking by Patrick Bailey intriguing.
Patrick is a professional writer who specializes in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Why Do People Drink?
Working too long without a break can cause a multitude of health problems. Scientists warn us about various diseases that can be produced by stress and lack of sleep such as burnout syndrome, ulcers, depression, and many others. Increased alcohol consumption is among them.
Studies conducted in 2015 showed that overworked or not satisfied emotionally employees tend to drink risky quantities of alcohol. Some fields have higher percentages of heavy drinkers than others. Mining and construction workers are on top of the chart. Health care and social work employees also have high rates of alcohol use disorder.
Drinking alcohol in moderation can be a way to release some anxiety, relax, and socialize, but above a certain quantity—which varies from individual to individual—alcohol can turn into your biggest enemy. It can cause both short- and long-term effects. Short-term effects include anti-social behavior, injuries in the workplace, injuries from drunk driving, burns, and assaults.
Studies have shown that too much alcohol regularly consumed can cause long-term problems such as life-shortening diseases like cancer, liver disease, alcohol dependence, mental health problems, and cardiovascular diseases.
Alcohol can also negatively impact the workplace, damage your company’s reputation, and cause overall productivity to fall.
Relationships at your workplace may be damaged when an individual acts unprofessionally due to the effects of excess alcohol and AUD on the body and brain.
What Can You Do?
First, ask yourself what is the root cause of your drinking. If the answer is that you are not happy with the job you have, then it’s time to deal with it. If a job or career shift is not possible, you can replace bad habits with good ones, such as a fulfilling hobby or activity.
If you’re drinking because you feel like you need relief after a heavy day, then you might want to try meditation and mindfulness. You should also consider drawing hard lines where you will stop working for the day—turn off your smartphone and don’t look at emails—and spend some quality time with friends and family instead.
Another 2015 study suggests that people who work a lot of hours have higher rates of alcohol consumption. Even though the study was observational and didn’t state that there’s a certain link between drinking and long working hours, the study suggests there’s a higher chance for anybody who works long hours to start drinking heavily. If you often head to the local pub or liquor store after a long day at work, then maybe it’s time to consider if it is worth it. Learning how to say “no more” might be hard, but there is nothing wrong with putting yourself and your health first.
There are many factors that determine whether you may become a heavy drinker and develop an AUD. Some are caused by a genetic predisposition or family history, but working habits have a considerable influence on the alcohol consumption of business owners and employees. Some professions and industries, too, seem more susceptible to heavy drinking than others.
Drinking heavily has many negative effects on one’s health and productivity. If you think you are or are at risk of becoming a heavy drinker, you should make a change as soon as possible. Alcohol and drug rehab success rates are higher in people who get help early. Changing your lifestyle and starting a healthy hobby such as meditation is a good way to decrease the amount of alcohol you consume.
Knowing your limits and learning to say no to overtime can also improve the quality of your life and reduce the need for drinking alcohol. And maybe even improve your writing!