Overcoming addiction might feel impossible, but there is always help and support available. In conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month, here are several steps that might help you or a loved one get back on track to recovery.
Commit to Stop Drinking
- There are consequences to every action in life. Denial is the first step in the process of admitting you have a problem, but after you plan to address the problem, think about the cost of continuing your habit and the cost not continuing your habit. For alcohol addiction, common benefits of drinking include social fun with drinking friends, relaxation, and avoidance of difficult situations. The benefits of not drinking include improved relationships, an improved physical and mental state, and more time to spend energy on activities that are fulfilling. Make your own table to weigh the pros and cons.
- After considering why you want to stop drinking, think about how you plan to get there. Small goals amount to large achievements over a course of time. Remove temptation from your life, announce your goals to friends and family, and be assertive about your goals. Avoiding enablers and learning from previous attempts will help make this attempt more successful. Keeping a diary can be beneficial for tracking progress.
Get Sober Safely
- Some can withdraw from alcohol on their own, while others might need medical attention. Visit Neighbors Emergency Center if you experience any of the following: severe vomiting, confusion and disorientation, hallucinations, or seizures/convulsions. These can be life threatening symptoms and medical attention might be needed right away. Neighbors is available 24 hours in the event of an emergency.
Find New Meaning in Life
- Getting sober is the first step and only the beginning of recovery. To sustain this lifestyle, you have to create a new, meaningful life in which drinking has no place. Take care of yourself by sleeping enough, exercising, and eating healthy. Ask supportive people in your life to be there for you during this time. Develop new hobbies that encourage you to avoid drinking. Continue treatment and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in your area. Remember to deal with stress in a healthy way, either with counseling, meditation, or simple breathing exercises.
Handle Urges and Cravings
- You might have triggers that encourage you to start drinking again, but try to avoid these as much as possible, like being in a bar for instance, or being around old drinking buddies. Remember to practice saying “no” when you feel the urge to drink. When cravings occur, talk to someone you trust about it for support. Also, remind yourself why you aren’t drinking. Positive reminders can be just as powerful as negative ones, i.e., your stronger relationships with your family, feeling mentally alert, etc.
Work on Treatment
- Ask for support from a trusted community and don’t be afraid to ask for help during this time of recovery. Outside of family and friends, there is a network of people facing the exact same problems you are and are willing to help. Find a recovery support group in your area and make it a priority to attend meetings regularly.
Remember, setbacks are a natural part of the recovery process, but don’t let a relapse shape your future. A setback is an opportunity to learn and recommit to sobriety.
If you feel like you or a person you care about is struggling with a drinking addiction, or if you’re experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms, contact Neighbors Emergency Center immediately.