Alcohol abuse affects millions of Americans every year. Not only does it affect those who struggle with alcohol dependency, it also affects the family members and friends who see their loved ones in pain. Fortunately, with the help of a strong support team, you can beat alcoholism. It doesn’t have to be the thing that defines who you are. There are ways you can tackle the disease and create a better future for yourself, starting today.
Alcoholism affects how you think, act, and behave. Once your body becomes addicted addicted to drinking alcohol, it changes the physiology of your body and affects your overall mental health. It causes your brain to think it needs alcohol to function. High-functioning alcoholics may even believe alcohol doesn’t have as strong of an effect as it actually does.
Do you use alcohol as a way to cope with stress or pain? Do you typically drink alone and in excess of more than 3-4 drinks a day? Have you recently noticed struggles with work, school, or interpersonal relationships as a result of your drinking habits? Have you found yourself questioning, am I an alocholic? If you identify with any of these questions, you may be a functioning alcoholic.
No stage of alcoholism is better than the other. It’s harmful at any level. Although outside appearances and actions may differ, alcohol also slowly destroys the liver, brain, and causes other adverse health effects. It may require the encouragement from others to help you recognize alcoholism in your own life or you may be wondering if you are headed down that road. Either way, you have a choice: continue to allow alcoholism to control of your life or reach a state of sobriety. You have the option to take back your health.
Sobriety is the goal, but there are several steps to get to that end result. The first step in beating alcoholism is to make the choice to stop drinking. It takes a conscious, consistent effort to focus on your health and all that entails. Once you’ve decided that you want to proceed with detox, turn to the help of others. Those who go through the withdrawal or detox period alone often relapse.
This is because the alcohol withdrawal period is challenging, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful. Side effects often include severe headaches, nausea, shaking, insomnia, and other less than pleasant symptoms. However, this phase is short-lived. Symptoms lessen in intensity as each day passes. Detoxification is your body’s way of ridding all traces of alcohol from your system, while calibrating to a new normal without it.
Often, the temptations and cravings of alcohol addiction are too strong to overcome by yourself. It’s important that you are in the right environment and frame of mind to focus on your sobriety. Alcohol addiction treatment at a rehab center provides a more successful chance to advance to the next stage of treatment. When in the care of others, you will also receive medical monitoring in a safe, secure environment. This may include access to certain medications to ease the withdrawal side effects.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable, especially if you’ve struggled with alcoholism for a long time. During this time, you won’t likely be at your strongest or healthiest either, which is even more reason to undergo care in a rehab facility. Think about what it takes for the body to recover from surgery or a bad case of the flu. It’s weakened as the body works hard to make up for the injured or ill part. Doesn’t it make it easier to heal if you have someone guiding your progress? The same is true with battling alcoholism.
Recovery and healing progress more quickly when in the care of others. Your rehab team provides the medical and emotional support that will help guide you through each stage of treatment. It’s not something you should have to experience alone. There are facilities nationwide with the resources necessary to help you beat alcoholism and achieve sobriety.
Accept the Help of Others
This is a difficult step if you don’t feel like you have a problem with drinking, or if you think you can overcome the disease on your own. Often, self-motivation is required to seek the help of others. If you are a friend or family member seeking options for your loved one, turn to the help of a intervention specialist. This person can help guide you through the discussion with the person in your life who is suffering from alcoholism.
The specialist can create the right environment to have the conversation, discuss what to say, and how to handle any negative responses. It’s also important to be prepared before starting the discussion with your loved one. The more information you have, the more dedicated it will show you are to the cause and take more of the burden off of the person who needs help.
Every case of alcoholism is unique. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of treatment. There are several solutions available for inpatient and outpatient care. These programs are designed to help reach sober living in the most comfortable and healthiest way possible. Research which may benefit healing most. Many rehab facilities are located in peaceful locations, such as near a lake or by the ocean.
Seeking help means you’ll have options and solutions to help beat your alcoholism. It means you have a team who cares for your well-being and will do everything possible to support it. When you enter rehab, you’ll receive a health assessment. From there, you’ll receive an individualized treatment plan designed for your recovery. You won’t reach sobriety overnight, but with time, you’ll start feeling healthier.
Start a Treatment Program
While your treatment plan is unique, each rehab program follows a similar protocol. How fast or far you advance is up to how you work within the program. Any rehabilitation program will always include a detox period. Each phase is built upon the success of the one before.
It’s likely you’ll receive detox and rehabilitation treatment at the same facility. Detox can last anywhere from 3 to 14 days, sometimes longer, depending on your current condition. The timeline is based on factors such as how long you’ve suffered from alcoholism, how much you drink on a day-to-day basis, your state of health, and other physical characteristics.
After that, you’ll enter inpatient or outpatient care. Inpatient care requires a temporary stay at a chosen rehab facility for 30 days. This environment is designed to help you focus solely on your health and sobriety. It can be difficult to make such a big lifestyle change while still among your current influences and temptations. The goal is to free yourself from as much stress and chaos as possible during your treatment program. It gives you a chance to think about what you want to get from inpatient care.
If you are a loved one who is looking for options for your friend or family member, choose an environment that will make them feel the most comfortable and secure. It helps if you perform research ahead of time before proposing options to your loved one. The stress of finding options can add too much of a burden to them during this time. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide to start a treatment program, but it helps to be as prepared as possible.
Inpatient care offers health monitoring. This is important while your body begins to react to the changes. In addition to medical attention, you’ll also receive emotional support during your sober journey as well. This involves counseling, group therapy, and other helpful classes and resources. The goal is to pinpoint where your alcoholism is rooted. Once you uncover the true problem, you can start focusing on how to create healthier solutions without the need for alcohol. It may not seem possible in the early stages, but the more you give your positive focus to the program, the better it will be.
Many people decide on a combination of inpatient and outpatient care. Although, in some situations, outpatient care alone may be preferable. This option could be for someone who wants to remain in closer proximity to their family or already receives a strong support at home. This type of care requires the accountability to show up for daily treatment. You’ll still receive the same routine of medical, emotional, and education support as with inpatient care. It all comes down to which option will work best for you.
The bottom line is treatment options of both kinds are readily available to you. Going through the rehabilitation process can feel lonely, nerve racking, scary, and a host of other emotions. The good news is you won’t go through it alone. You’ll get the support you need to reach your sobriety goal.
Commit to a Post-Care Plan
A treatment program provides the space, tools, and support you need to become sober. What you learn in treatment will also carry on into your daily life. A strong transition plan will help you maintain your sobriety as you start to add to your routine. This includes how to interview for a job, searching for a new place to live, and acclimating back to the real world. It will look far different than when you went into treatment.
Stay connected to the resources available, such as outpatient programs, AA meetings, or other support groups. Make this a part of your regular schedule, in addition to turning to when you are feeling extra vulnerable or a in need of support. Focus on your coping skills during days when you are tempted to drink. Sobriety is a state of being that requires constant attention. Let others know the new path you’ve chosen and ways they can help support your new lifestyle.
With new knowledge and perspective comes growth. Surround yourself with people who have a positive influence on your life. This may mean saying good-bye to old relationships who aren’t supportive of your sobriety. Once you are through with treatment, you will be a different place than before. This means your environment and social circle likely will change. It also is an opportunity to reconnect with people who may have been affected by your alcoholism. The best thing to do is to take it slowly and realize your limitations and boundaries. You don’t have to change everything all at once. The transition period will take time.
To slowly integrate back into a social life, join the company of others who plan healthy activities where alcohol isn’t a factor. By doing so, you are not only cognizant of your sobriety but building better habits for yourself overall. Although there will still be social situations or events where alcohol will be present, the less you surround yourself with that temptation, the better it will be for your sobriety and wellness.
Be Mindful, Show Gratitude
Beating alcoholism can feel like a long, slow-moving process. The work and effort it takes to get to where you want to be is worth it in the end. Take a moment every day to be mindful of how far you’ve come. You’ll see changes at two weeks, two months, and beyond. Show appreciation for your progress. You’ll realize there’s much to be grateful for and more positive changes ahead of you.
Alcoholism is a dangerous and in some cases, deadly disease. It’s not easy to beat and doesn’t come with a speedy recovery process. Don’t let that deter you. It is possible to reach and maintain sobriety. Alcoholism doesn’t occur overnight and neither does sobriety. Think about how your next actions will set the tone for the rest of your life.
You can beat alcoholism. Your life is worth it to try. Accept the help of others. Enter a treatment program. Concentrate on your wellness post-rehab. And, don’t forget to be grateful of the healthier life you’ve built for yourself. Follow the process just as many others have done before. The first step is deciding you no longer want drinking to be part of your life. We are here to help you start your sober journey. Let us know when you’re ready to get started and we can help you on the road to recovery from alcohol with one of our treatment programs.