With alcohol often considered to be one of the world’s most addictive substances, it’s estimated that over 17 million adults in the United States alone suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse. Every single case of alcoholism is completely different dependent on the individual, and symptoms can significantly vary. Therefore, defining and establishing a true case of alcohol addiction can be difficult, sometimes making diagnosis and recovery even more challenging in the long run.
Depending on the severity of the addiction in question, alcoholism can be treated in an array of different ways. So, if you or someone you love needs help in conquering this condition and getting a true life back, here are some effective self-help strategies that can be used right away to get the road to recovery on track.
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Accept there Is a Problem
Whilst this may seem like common sense, accepting you have a drinking problem can often be the hardest step of all. Most people are in total denial to begin with, and won’t even admit their addiction to themselves let alone other people. Blinded by pride, some may even ignore the issue altogether until it’s too late and they find themselves in a severe addictive cycle that will be extremely difficult to break.
Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction is vital and, if you think you’re a victim to any of these, it’s essential to take action and accept the problem. Signs can include cravings for alcohol, mindlessly drinking without keeping track and, in some severe cases, being unable to function properly without alcohol. So, no matter how mild or severe you think your condition is, acceptance is key to achieving a full recovery.
Remember, how are you going to start recovery if you won’t even accept you have a problem?
For some alcoholics, going ‘cold turkey’ and immediately stopping your drinking altogether can sometimes be the best option. However, this may produce a plethora of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which can be very tough to handle. So, a gradual recovery period is often the most appropriate self-help method for many alcohol addiction sufferers, and setting goals is a great way to get started.
Instead of saying to yourself “I’m going to immediately cut out all alcohol straight away”, say “I’m going to drink one less drink per day for the next week”. Then, once this much easier goal is achieved, you can keep setting new goals that further reduce your alcohol intake until you’re no longer drinking at all. Setting small goals often is likely to be a lot more successful than setting one large intimidating goal.
In order to increase your chances of achieving these goals, avoid drinking triggers. Don’t go to bars or pubs, and avoid the alcohol aisles in stores as much as you can. The last thing you need, especially in the early stages of recovery, is temptation. So, ridding alcohol from your life as much as you can will form yet another step certain to boost your chances of recovery.
Often, alcohol addiction can make sufferers feel ashamed and embarrassed, making them think they must recover alone. It’s important to remember that addiction is nothing to be embarrassed about and, in fact, discussing your condition with loved ones will create a great network of support for you.
Your close friends and family will want nothing more than for you to get better, and will likely provide much more help than you’d ever imagine. If you’re struggling to achieve a particular goal, don’t suffer in silence as it will just get bottled up and may even cause you to gravitate towards alcohol again in an attempt to numb your problems. Getting things out in the open is a great way to keep you on track and make you feel more positive about the entire recovery process.
Seek Medical Help If Needed
Whilst the above self-help methods can be extremely effective, severe alcohol addiction may require more serious medical attention. If you’re using the above methods but find yourself experiencing violent vomiting, disorientation, stomach cramps and increased heart rate, these are all sure-fire signs that your body is going through severe withdrawal and requires medical attention. For tailored help and advice, take a look at this from Clearbrook Treatment Centers.
Don’t be too proud to seek expert help, as it may mean the difference between life and death in some severe cases.
Alcohol addiction is a serious condition that affects millions. However, it can be conquered as long as the problem is accepted and the most appropriate methods are correctly used.
Samantha Baker works as a therapist and shares her insights and tips online at a range of blogs.