Alcohol addiction is a problem that impacts the lives of everyone around the individual abusing the drink. The problem with alcohol is that the substance is readily available and is legal for adults who are 21 years old or older. Giving up alcohol takes effort and courage, but it is possible with the right tools and steps.
Detoxify the Body
The first step of sobriety is actually giving up the alcohol and allowing the body to remove the substance from the entire system. Depending on the level of dependency and the amount of time involved in the addiction, it can take three to seven days before the body is able to remove the majority of the toxins and it is possible to focus on staying away from alcohol.
During the detox process, it is important to seek professional assistance. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant and can sometimes become dangerous to human health if appropriate preventative measures are not taken to allow the substance to flush out of the system.
The withdrawal symptoms that might occur include:
• Extreme tiredness and fatigue
• Mental impairments or difficulty thinking
• Impaired or swinging moods
• Anger or general irritation
• Severe depression or negative thinking patterns
• Symptoms that are similar to a flu
• Aches throughout the body
• Challenges with insomnia
• Increased heart rate
• Seizures and tremors
• Auditory and visual hallucinations
• High fevers
The severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary between individuals and the level of addiction. Even if alcohol abuse is being stopped early, the mild discomforts are likely to develop. Long-term alcohol abuse and addiction will often result in moderate to severe symptoms.
Due to the possibility of facing seizures, hallucinations or heart palpitations, it is best to go through a professional detox program. Professional programs will provide medically supervised detoxification services that help reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms and provide appropriate care based on the symptoms that are developing.
Setting Clear Goals
After the initial detoxification process is complete, it is possible to think clearly and start setting goals for the future. Although the obvious goal is getting and staying sober, that is only the final step of recovery. It is important to set small steps that pave the path to long-term success to reduce the risk of relapsing in the future.
Goals are ultimately a personal decision based on personal belief systems and the specific problems that have developed during alcohol abuse. For example, if the abuse caused relationships to suffer, then a goal might be talking to loved ones and asking for forgiveness. That goal might not seem challenging, but it takes time to accomplish and will give a realistic task to try incorporating into the treatment plan.
Every small success along the road to recovery is a positive part of the journey. It takes time to fight alcohol addiction and it does not stop when the physical withdrawal symptoms are complete. The war is won with every small battle and success.
Ask for Help to Get Sober
Alcohol addiction is a challenging problem because it has many potential causes and each individual has different needs. The best way to fight the addiction is by asking for appropriate help to reach each goal and step along the way.
Recovery assistance can take two main forms: loving support from family or professional help. The best chance of fighting the addiction and making a full and long-term recovery is getting help from both sources. Family can help by providing distractions from cravings, offering a loving ear to listen to problems immediately after they occur or giving a reason to keep fighting when the temptation to abuse alcohol becomes hard to resist.
Professionals do not act in the same way as family members. Instead of focusing on loving support and helping in normal daily life, professionals strive to find the exact cause of the addiction and treat all of the problems that are leading up to temptations. Depending on the treatment program, professionals might work on changing thought processes, overcoming trauma, working through mental health issues or giving tools to fight cravings when a trigger occurs.
Although the form of assistance will vary, the best way to work through the challenges of addiction is with support and guidance. It makes a difference when loved ones are willing to dump the drinks down the drain or give a distraction when triggers occur. It also helps to have professional advice and personalized treatment plans that focus on mental, physical and emotional health.
Find the Tools that Work
Sobriety is only possible when triggers to abuse alcohol are considered. While the support of professionals and loved ones can help, it is not always enough when the temptation to abuse alcohol arises. The best way to fight back is by developing tools that work on overcoming the cravings or stopping the cravings before they can get out of control.
Since stress and emotional trauma are often related to alcohol abuse, finding ways to reduce stress levels and put the emotional challenges into perspective can help.
Options to reduce stress or emotional discomfort include:
• Exercise programs
• Art classes
• Listening to music
• Taking dance lessons
• Personal hobbies or interests
• Reading a good book
• Massage therapy
• Watching an interesting movie
Any activity or interest that causes personal relaxation is an appropriate way to reduce stress. The key is finding a healthy alternative to drinking alcohol. The exact tools that work for personal needs and cravings will depend on individual interests, so it is important to try a few different options to see what works well.
Although stress relief measures can help reduce the number of triggers or keep ideas into perspective, it is also important to have immediate tools to fight cravings when they occur. Getting up an exercising or putting on music is not always a possibility, especially when alcohol is readily available. The best way to overcome these temptations is having alternative actions to take when the craving hit.
Alternatives to alcohol abuse when triggers cause cravings include:
• Chewing a piece of gum
• Looking at a picture of loved ones
• Eating a favorite food or sweet treat
• Saying a prayer
• Talking to another individual about hobbies or interests
• Finding a distraction
Fighting the temptation to abuse alcohol is not easy, but having tools and solutions available at every turn will make it possible to stay on track.
Fighting an addiction to alcohol is an uphill battle. It takes time and effort to find the tools that work best and avoid the temptation to abuse alcohol when times are hard. It is important to stay positive, even when situations arise that cause a stumble along the road.
Relapsing does not necessarily mean it is not possible to get sober. It just means that there was a bump on the road and it is time to stand back up and try again. It is possible to give up alcohol and live a sober lifestyle. It just takes a little time.
Getting sober is a long-term commitment, but it is worth the effort of fighting the battle against alcohol. It will provide the opportunity to heal relationships, improve physical health and start enjoying life. A sober lifestyle is possible with a little support, a positive outlook and self-discovery of the tools that work.