02/11/2013 03:24 pm ET Updated Apr 13, 2013

Tim McGraw: When Is It Time to Stop Drinking?

Country singer Tim McGraw has finally opened up about how he stopped drinking alcohol in 2008. With five years of sobriety under his belt, good for him! It is great that he can talk about this now and be a role model and inspiration for others.

Our culture is such that many of us find ourselves in situations where alcohol is involved in one way or another. You go somewhere, and one of the first questions you're asked is, "Do you want a drink?" It is ever-present and oftentimes goes hand in hand with work. As Tim described, drinking became necessary for his profession. Loosening up was part of his pre-show routine. For others, business deals might be discussed and made over cocktails. It is so accepted and commonplace that people often don't see it as problematic, but it can become so. Has the drinking gone overboard to the point where it is now compromising or disrupting the content of your socializing and work, instead of enhancing it? You might think it's making you funnier or more easygoing, when in fact it might be making your colleagues or family uncomfortable and even concerned. So the question becomes: How can you tell when the drinking is putting you at risk? If so, when is it a good time to cut back or stop altogether?

The wake-up call is different for everyone. So often, drinking takes place in a social setting, and the person doing it might think he or she has it well under control. Because of that, the idea to cut it out might not be on your radar screen for a while. But at some point, it might seriously begin to bother family and friends. Tim said in his interview with People that he used to embarrass his wife more when he was drinking, something he doesn't do anymore now that he's stopped. Another big concern he had -- and this is one of the loudest bells that can ring telling someone they have a problem -- was his health. He wanted to make sure he would be healthy and here for his wife and two kids.

Tim said he replaced the alcohol with multiple daily workouts that not only made him lose weight and feel better, but also gave him the energy and adrenaline he needed to take the stage. With that in mind, it's a good idea to think of what you can choose to replace the drinking. The idea is to find something that will energize you and you will feel good about. So whether it is exercising, taking a walk, getting together with a friend, or working on a project, focus your energy into feeling good in a new way.

Tim's worrying about his wife, his children, and his health were his clear red flags that it was time to sober up. If red flags are on your horizon, now might be a good time to follow his lead and think about making a change.

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