‘Don’t drink and drive!’ This is such a common statement that’s very easy to comprehend, but you’re always left wondering why many people still go against it. Well, there are many potential reasons that could answer this question, but the most popular one is addiction. It might come as a surprise to you, but there are people who can’t go a day without opening that bottle.
Many of them claim that alcohol helps them cope with the stress that comes with their daily responsibilities. In fact, this is a belief that’s shared by many alcoholics. What these people don’t know is that such habits are slowly making them slaves to the substance. Once you’ve started that journey, it can be very difficult to come back simply because your body has already been programmed to function well while drunk–or so you might believe.
If you open the books of records, you will find many victims who have succumbed to the effects of this product. Others have suffered indirectly either through car accidents or family fights involving a drunk partner(s). Have you become a slave to alcohol? Well, hope is not lost! It’s never too late to turn back and clean up your mess. This article aims to cover some tips that will come in handy in your alcohol addiction treatment process.
1. Contemplate on the Issue
Alcoholism isn’t something that starts overnight; you don’t wake up one day and start drinking uncontrollably. It’s a disorder that grows gradually and eventually becomes part of your life. Before you know it, you’re spending too much money and time in bars in the name of having fun or forgetting your troubles. Similarly, the recovery process can take months or even years, depending on your level of addiction.
All reformed alcoholics went through a phase where they started seeing the negative impacts of their actions. Of course, this is one thing that your mind must be willing to see for you to even realize. This explains why many alcoholics are forced to spend time in rehab facilities so that they can be monitored and guided by professional rehabilitation officers.
But then again, you don’t to be a chronic alcohol user for you to seek the services of a counselor. These experts will not only advise you, but they’ll also help you see the light whenever you feel like backsliding.
The contemplation phase, as the name suggests, is all about weighing the risks and benefits of your actions. All rehab programs usually cover focus on this area as the step towards reforming the clients. During this stage, a professional counselor will guide you in listing all the benefits and negative repercussions of using alcohol. If at all you’re committed to the course, you shouldn’t list these points just for the sake of it. Instead, make sure you focus on them at a personal level.
For instance, you could say that it enhances your fun moments and helps you interact with people. But has it broken any of your relationships before? What about your productivity? Has it improved or dropped since you started having drinking issues? The more accurate and sincere you answer these questions, the higher your chances of reforming.
2. Speak to Someone
Once you have weighed on the risks and benefits of alcoholism and accepted that you need help, what next? Well, it’s recommended that you find someone close and discuss this issue with them. However, be careful with the people you decide to share this information with. For instance, discussing it with your drinking buddies might be a bad idea. Remember, not everyone is ready to change for the best, and some of them might end up discouraging you.
One of the closest people you can speak to is your partner, that’s if you’re already married. Why is it important to share your plans with someone you trust? For one, they’ll definitely lend a helping hand either emotionally or financially. At this stage in your life, you need a lot of encouragement, and you can source this motivation from such people. It’s even better if you can find someone who has gone through the same in the past. They will not only show you the way, but they’ll also point you towards the most reputable service providers.
3. Get Help
As earlier stated, some people living with alcohol disorder are usually forced to spend some time at a rehabilitation center. They are guided from the first step to the last. However, assuming that you’ve decided to quit drinking but are still staying at home, what should you do? Well, the best move is to find a professional or get help from any recognized rehabilitation center.
Why is it important to seek help yet you can quit on your own? Many people have been inclined to believe alcohol counselors and other related professionals are only there for the money. Well, there’re fraudsters in every industry, but the work of a true counselor is to help you overcome the urge to go back to drinking.
One thing that’s common among most–if not all–alcoholics is that they’ve gone through a period where they thought they had changed their drinking habits only to find themselves back where they started. Everyone has a weakness, and like an alcoholic, your weakness is that very thing you’re trying to run away from.
What happens is that you might find yourself interacting with your old friends whom you drunk together. All it takes for them to convince you is a little taste of the product. Of course, finding a counselor doesn’t take a walk in the park, but at least you’ll have someone who understands and can give you tips on how to overcome such temptations.
4. Safe Withdrawal from Alcoholism
If you were a heavy drinker, your body might already be physically dependent on alcohol. As such, it could be a risky affair to suddenly stop your habits. Remember, everybody reacts to such changes differently. In fact, there are those who can stop drinking immediately and feel nothing significant. However, some people will undergo some form of withdrawal.
As such, they’ll feel or exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea and/or stomach cramps
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleepless nights
If you start experiencing any of these signs, then your body was already a slave to alcohol. Some people end up revert to their normal behavior just because it seems like the easiest and shortest way out of this suffering. Are you finding it hard to cope with the ‘no drink’ lifestyle? It’s important that you seek help from a health professional, especially if you’re going through the rehabilitation process away from the therapists and other experts.
Again, some people may recover from this condition within a few hours or days, but the whole situation can be life-threatening to some. Fortunately, there’re special drugs prescribed to heavy drinkers who exhibit extreme symptoms.
5. Maintaining Abstinence
In every project, what matters the most is not the fact that you’ve started but your consistency throughout the process. Almost all alcoholics, as earlier mentioned, have made that initial move of contemplating their actions and abstaining from the habit. However, along the way, they lose focus and get carried away by a wave of their drinking buddies. At the end of the day, such people will have accomplished nothing despite their desire to change.
Professional therapists who have been in the field long enough can tell you that maintaining that abstinence phase is the toughest of all stages. Imagine starving your body of something that had been part of your daily routine. It is usually regarded as the third stage of rehabilitation after contemplation and early abstinence.
At this point, patients who were receiving in-patient treatment at a rehab facility are discharged and submitted to follow-up programs. As such, it makes it even tougher because you won’t have someone to monitor your actions 24/7. Of course, before you’re left alone, your therapist or whoever was attending to you at the rehab facility will give you tips on how to overcome temptations.
Here are a few of the tips that might be relayed to you:
- Avoid Environmental Triggers
- Keep Your Emotional and Psychological Triggers in Check
- Seek Alternative Stress Relievers
Inasmuch as you might feel strong enough to face these triggers alone, psychotherapy is an essential part of recovery. From the withdrawal symptoms covered earlier in this article, it’s clear that there is some correlation between alcohol drinking disorder and other mental issues such as depression and anxiety.
Alcohol use can easily mask some underlying mental health problems, and only a professional psychotherapist can be able to tell. At the end of the day, you don’t only want to come out a reformed alcoholic but also with stable mental health.
6. Advanced Recovery
As mentioned earlier, the process of alcohol addiction recovery can take several years, depending on your level of addiction. After five or so years of abstinence is when one can be said to have undergone advanced recovery. As you would expect, this requires a lot of commitment on the part of the addict and the assigned therapist. After all the struggle and energy used to overcome all the temptations along the way, you will now have the necessary tools and skills to live a satisfying and fulfilled life.
So, what are the strategies towards maintaining your frame and living a clean life?
- Create long-term goals and upon them
- Come up with a daily routine and follow it up consistently
- Form a social group with other people who share the same sentiments and values as you, especially those who have also gone through the same situation
- Engage yourself in recreational activities where alcohol isn’t involved
- Take part in community work to avoid idleness and increase your happiness
Advantages of Alcohol Abstinence
Now that you’ve gone through the whole process of recovery, it’s time to note some of the benefits you’ll enjoy. Remember, these factors may vary from person to person, but most of them are common among all alcoholics.
1. Better Sleep
One thing that most alcoholics struggle with is having a good sleep. As an addict, your sleep-wake cycles are interfered with, and that makes it difficult to fall asleep or even rest for the recommended eight hours. If you’ve been facing this problem, then one of the best ways to improve your sleep is by abstaining from alcohol. Of course, it might take you some time to fully recover, but you’ll eventually see the light.
2. Healthy Weight
Excessive consumption of alcohol robs your body of some important nutrients. It’s also worth noting that the contents of alcohol include a lot of sugars accompanied by empty calories. As such, you can easily consume hundreds of calories within one night. At the end of the day, you’ll start adding weight unnecessarily, which can easily mess with your body weight. Therefore, abstaining from alcohol is one way of living a healthy life.
3. Mental Health Wellness
Talking about a healthy life, one’s mental condition is very important. Many alcoholics struggle with mental conditions, but most of them don’t even know that they’ve got a problem. The problem is that alcohol masks such issues and makes it difficult even for a therapist to realize it. However, once you abstain, you have a better chance of dealing with any underlying mental disorder.
The process of recovering from alcohol addiction can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It all depends on your level of addiction and commitment to the course. The first step involves accepting the fact that you have a problem that needs addressing. Once you’re done with contemplation, you’ll need to find someone who can help you through the whole process.
Of course, the toughest stage is the abstinence phase. Depending on your body’s reaction, the therapist or doctor may recommend some form of medication. As you’ll realize, recovering from such an addiction has a lot of benefits to your relationships and health.