Have you or a loved one been charged with one or more Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges? Trouble with the law is a common theme for people with an alcohol use disorder. When alcohol starts to affect your life negatively, it’s time to look at your relationship with alcohol.
A DUI is just one effect that can come from excessive alcohol use. If you have gotten a DUI, you’ve probably had other problems in your life that could be attributed to your drinking.
How Much Drinking is Too Much?
According to Harvard Health, excessive drinking can be defined as two or more alcoholic beverages a day. Most people who drink alcohol don’t follow these guidelines, however if you drink to the point you are drunk, you are drinking excessively. It is more socially acceptable to drink to excess than to participate in other drug use. (Although marijuana is increasingly a substance of abuse in states where it is legal.) Because of this, many people don’t realize that their alcoholism is a problem.
Alcohol use affects your judgment. If you regularly drink to excess, you may stop realizing that your decision-making is impaired. You may decide it’s safe to drink and drive or act in a manner that’s not normal for you. Maybe alcohol makes you act promiscuous or wild. Perhaps you get in heated arguments that lead to fights. Some people are also more likely to try risky drugs when they have already been drinking. None of these things are healthy or safe drinking behavior.
If alcohol is negatively affecting your life, you may have an alcohol use disorder.
What is a DUI?
DUI, also known as Driving Under the Influence, is a law that keeps impaired drivers off the road. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, poor decision-making skills, and drive haphazardly without even realizing it. California’s DUI law means that you can’t drive “buzzed” or drunk and states that a definition of impaired driving is a Blood Alcohol Limit of .08 or lower. The police may ask you to step out of the car to do a series of physical tests to prove you have proper coordination.
If you fail a sobriety test, you can be prosecuted for a DUI. This is also true if you fail the physical tests and don’t register as drunk on the BAC test. California is one of the strictest states in the union when it comes to DUI laws.
The law gets stricter if you are highly intoxicated. If you test for twice the legal alcohol limit (.16), then there are more penalties, and you may be charged with Aggravated DUI. Additional criminal charges are possible, for example, if there was a minor in the car or if your DUI is a second or third offense.
The Negative Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
If you drink too much, too often, and continue to do so despite the negative consequences of any kind, you might have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or be addicted to alcohol. DUI is just one symptom of an alcohol problem.
For many people, AUD means that they have trouble with their sleep, relationships, or financials due to their alcohol use. For example, you may end up late to work frequently because you are hungover. Or your significant other is upset that you won’t quit drinking.
Alcohol can cause problems in your thinking, and you may make bad decisions due to your relationship with alcohol. Getting arrested for DUI, drunk and disorderly charges, domestic violence, or fights with others are all legal consequences common among people who binge drink or are addicted to alcohol.
Health problems caused by excess alcohol consumption can range from getting bruises and injuries when you drink to overdose on alcohol, leading to coma, seizures, and death.
Alcohol addiction or dependence can lead to severe withdrawal effects and a change in your thinking due to addiction’s chemical aspects. If you have a physical alcohol addiction, the safest way to get sober is through a clinically managed detox.
Getting Help for Drinking
The best way to prevent a DUI or other criminal charges related to drinking or drug use is to get sober for good. There is a lot of support available for you! Many people have been where you have been.
Present Moments Recovery can give you a DUI Assessment and maybe even a new start by helping you stop drinking for good. We will help you chart a path to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about how we can help.