If you think you have a problem with alcohol, do something about it.
Do You Need Help?
For most adults, moderate drinking is pretty harmless. Moderate drinking is defined as up to two drinks a day for men and up to one drink a day for women.
However, excessive drinking can cause problems. If you down too much alcohol, lose control and put yourself or others at risk, it may be time to think about cutting back. A sure sign that your drinking has become a problem is if your drinking patterns harm your ability to do your job, health or relationships. Ask yourself if anything on the following list applies to you.
- Believe alcohol is necessary to have fun?
- Drink more or longer than you planned?
- Blow off friends or family to drink alcohol?
- Miss work or school often because of alcohol (or its effects, like hangovers)?
- Lie about how much you drink?
- Have to drink more to get the “effect” that smaller amounts of alcohol used to give you?
- Feel depressed, anxious or irritable during or after drinking?
- Get drunk alone regularly?
- Have frequent hangovers?
- Experience blackouts (periods of memory loss for events that happened while drinking)?
- Put yourself in dangerous or harmful situations while under the influence of alcohol?
- Get in trouble with the law because of something you did while drinking?
Still Not Sure?
Still not sure if your drinking is a problem? Try these steps the next time you go out:
- Keep track: Keep track of how many drinks you have in a night. Make a tally in your phone or write it on your hand. When you realize just how many drinks you throw back on a typical night out (as well as the costs), it may help you decide if it’s time to cut back
- Make a list of pros and cons: Weigh the pros and cons of drinking to see if cutting back might benefit you. Use this list from Rethinking Drinking to get started
- Take note of how drinking makes you feel: Do you get sad or angry? Do you feel sick the next day? If you are not sure, ask a friend what they notice. Maybe the you who drinks isn’t the best you out there
If you relate to anything on the list above, it may be time to cut back on drinking. Keep reading to find out how.
Tips For Cutting Back
Time to cut back? Try these tips:
Set limits & stick
Keep alcohol out
of your home
Drink slowly on a
Make every other drink
a nonalcoholic one
Find other fun things to
do that don’t involve alcohol
Get support from
family & friends
Find other ways to cope with stress, especially if you often use alcohol
Stay active, eat healthy and avoid tobacco
Helping a Friend
If you are worried about a friend’s drinking habits, think about talking to them about their alcohol use. They may not realize they are drinking a lot or drinking for the wrong reasons. These conversations can be hard, but you might be able to help your friend. Follow these Dos and Don’ts when talking to someone about alcohol use.
Check out the resources below for help changing drinking habits. Some resources can also help you address other concerns in life that may be related to your alcohol use.
Or call your regional contractor:
Health Net Federal Services: 1-844-866-9378
Humana Military: 1-800-444-5445
During crisis situations, reach out to one of the following resources:
- Military Crisis Line: Dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and Press 1
- Get connected with a skilled, trained counselor when in crisis
- Military OneSource: Call 800-342-9647 24/7, 365 days a year (International Calling Options)
- Military Service members and families can connect with a peer counselor through the phone or an online peer-to-peer program. Counselors understand military life and its unique challenges
- Marine Corps DSTRESS Line: Chat online or call 1-877-476-7734
- Marines, Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen, attached Sailors and families can get professional, confidential counseling
Military and Family Life Counseling Program
The Military and Family Life Counseling Program offers free and confidential non-medical counseling on stress management, grief or loss, deployment adjustments, relationship building and more. Reach out to your Military and Family Support Center to find a military and family life counselor. Search by type of program or service (Family Center) and your installation. There are also counselors available for children and youth in military families. This program cannot address suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, abuse, alcohol or drug abuse or serious mental health conditions.
Military OneSource offers many resources to active duty, Reserve and National Guard Service members as well as their immediate family members. Military OneSource offers confidential, non-medical online counseling 24/7. Military OneSource does not address active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse or serious mental health conditions. However, you will receive a referral for medical counseling services at your military treatment facility (MTF) or via TRICARE if they cannot address your situation.
Your local chaplain can also provide confidential counseling on many issues and concerns. Visit the nearest chapel on your military installation to speak with someone. Search online by type of program or service (chapels) and your installation.
Each military branch addresses alcohol use differently. Here’s who to reach out to within each service if you need help changing your drinking habits:
- Air Force: Talk to your unit commander, first sergeant, a military medical professional or mental health provider for help with alcohol misuse or abuse. Find more information in Air Force Instruction 44-121 [PDF 476KB]
- Army: Reach out to your unit commander if you are concerned about your alcohol use and to get more information on the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). Soldiers may request help from their unit commander, installation ASAP, a military treatment facility (MTF), a chaplain or any officer or noncommissioned officer in their chain of command. Find more information in Army Regulation 600-85 [PDF 857KB]
- Coast Guard: Talk to a chaplain, command, command drug and alcohol representative, substance abuse prevention specialist or health care provider. You will receive appropriate screening and treatment if necessary. Find more information in COMDTINST M1000.10 [PDF 850KB]
- Marine Corps: Marines may self-refer for alcohol abuse issues to anyone in their chain of command. Find more information in Marine Corps Order 5300.17 [PDF 3.2MB]
- Navy: Members can disclose alcohol abuse to the drug and alcohol program advisor; a commanding officer, executive officer, officer in charge or Command Master Chief Petty Officer/Chief of the Boat; Navy drug and alcohol counselor; DoD medical personnel; chaplain; or Fleet and Family Support Center counselor. Find more information in OPNAV Instruction 5350.4D [PDF 3.8MB]
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Navy Medicine and MedlinePlus