Overcoming Alcohol Addiction: Accepting you have a problem is the hardest part


alcohol addictionOne of the positive aspects of alcohol addiction is that treatment is readily available and generally effective.  Of course it is not as simple as turning up to a treatment facility or beginning a rehab program and ‘voila’ you’re cured.  The process of becoming sober can be long and arduous, but with the right level of support it can be successful.

Unfortunately the necessary support doesn’t just turn up at your door.  In order to receive the help you need to overcome alcohol dependency, first you need to convince yourself you have a problem.  Until you do that there is very little anyone else can do for you.

You might not even require convincing.  Deep down you are probably aware of the impact excessive and prolonged drinking is having on you, your family and your friends.  Perhaps it is just about being upfront and admitting there is an issue you need help with.
Talking openly about these sorts of problems is tough I know.  It can feel like a real weakness or failure.  It’s also very easy to dismiss drinking or alcohol dependence as the odd ‘big night’ to blow out the cobwebs.

But when does it become more than that?  Do you struggle to get through a day without a drink?  Is your health beginning to suffer?  Are you enduring frequent memory loss?  Do you struggle to function in a social setting?  All of these are tell tale signs you need to talk to someone about the role alcohol is playing in your life.
For some admitting a problem to close friends and family is often all the support required to help abstain from drinking and get their life back on track.  But depending on the severity of your addiction and the length of time you’ve been suffering from alcoholism, it may require a more structured or tailored approach to overcoming alcohol issues.

What does recovery involve?

There are typically three key stages to alcohol treatment and achieving ongoing abstinence, the first of which is detoxification.  Detox can be really gruelling at the outset as your start to abstain from drinking.  It can result in withdrawal symptoms and requires motivation and strong social support to cope effectively.

The second key stage is all about developing the skills necessary for maintaining sobriety.  This rehabilitation stage includes counselling and therapy, and sometimes medication has proven to be successful in both an inpatient (live in) and outpatient setting.

The final stage of recovery is about maintenance.  By the time you reach this point you have been through difficult withdrawal and have learnt the necessary skills to stay on the straight and narrow.  A key component of this stage is self motivation.  Without self motivation you will struggle to avoid a relapse.  Poor social support can also spell trouble and a feature of achieving sobriety is sometimes the need to avoid people and places that you have previous associated with drinking.  Try to replace them with new activities or non drinking friends.  Self help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are also a tremendous support mechanism throughout this time.

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