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If you’ve got a drinking problem, you’re not alone.
Over 14 million adult Americans suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Plus, almost 100,000 of those adults die every year from alcohol-related causes.
Alcohol abuse disorder ranges from mild to severe (alcoholism). Regardless of how much you drink, the recovery process can be daunting and challenging. Fortunately, this guide will help you get started and understand what to do next.
Do you want to be one step closer to overcoming alcoholism? Keeping reading to get a better idea of what your recovery might look like.
What Is an Alcoholic?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that women who drink no more than 3 drinks in a day and 7 drinks in a week fall into the “moderate or low-risk” range. For men, it’s no more than 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks per week. Drinking any more puts men and women into a category of “at-risk” drinking.
The numbers are different for men and women because alcohol can cause a variety of health issues. Because the female body has a lower water content than a man’s body, the damage happens at a lower dose. The most common health issues concerning alcohol abuse include liver, heart, and nerve damage.
In addition to health problems, alcohol abuse can lead to legal and monetary problems such as DWI probation or gambling. It’s not uncommon for an alcoholic to find their lives turned upside down before they realize they need help.
It’s crucial to note that there isn’t a defining mold for what constitutes an alcoholic. An alcoholic can be a functioning adult with a 9 to 5 job or an unemployed individual who sleeps in the park at night.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an all-day drunk or a parent who consumes a bottle of wine every night once the kids are in bed. What matters is where it stems from, how it affects you and those around you, and what you do to get help.
Choosing to Change Is the First Step
Functioning alcoholics especially might spend a fair amount of time pondering with the idea that they have a problem, long before they take action.
Some individuals opt to drink wine instead of liquor. Some try to limit their intake to only certain days of the week, and many take breaks only to fall back into the same patterns as before.
To complete the process, anyone longing for recovery from alcohol must acknowledge their addiction to alcohol and then make a choice to change.
Get Support From Friends and Family Next
It’s essential for any recovering alcoholic to get support. If you have friends and family around who want to see you thrive, start discussing your realizations with as many people as you can. The more people you have to hold you accountable, the greater your chances of success.
Plus, support is the best way to ensure success.
Many alcoholics hurt or hinder relationships with friends and family. If that’s the case, or if you’d like to combat your illness on your own, there are plenty of other ways to find support.
Detoxing Can Be Difficult
Once you’ve committed to overcoming alcoholism in your mind, it’s time to let your body do the work.
Depending on the level of alcohol abuse, it’s not uncommon to seek professional help. Detoxes can be dangerous, and even if you do it at home, it’s wise to have someone by your side to help you through it. Make sure that person knows what to look for and how to help.
If you experience symptoms of delirium such as seizures or hallucinations, seek medical help immediately. Residential treatment or enlisting in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) both ensure your safety during detox.
It May Feel as Though You’ve Lost a Friend
Believe it or not, the detox is the easy part. Forming and sticking to a completely new lifestyle and mindset are what prove to be difficult for most adults suffering from alcoholism.
When you say goodbye to alcohol, it may feel as though you’ve lost a friend. Emotions such as grief, loss, anger, denial, and depression are normal aspects of the recovery process. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to find support, and that support is there for a reason.
While some alcoholics quickly find solace in their new way of life, many struggle for years to maintain balance and commitment. Relapse is possible during any stage of the recovery process, and it’s important for every individual to recognize which situations can be triggers. Remember that if you do relapse, it’s temporary, and it doesn’t mean that your treatment isn’t working.
How Long Is the Recovery Timeline?
The timeline for recovery from alcohol differs from person to person. When an alcoholic reaches transcendence, their prior dependence on and pain from alcohol will feel further and further away. For every person, this stage is different. The main goal is to continue moving forward, regardless of bumps in the road or feelings of failure.
Commit every day, and whether it’s months or years later, you’ll reach a point when alcohol stays in the past. Recognize when you need support and don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Whether you choose to attend an AA meeting 5 days a week or have a counselor on call every time you want to drink, support is the best way to ensure success.
The Recovery Process Is Both Difficult and Empowering
The recovery process for alcohol addiction can be tough, but it gets easier with time. The process can be one of the most enlightening, productive, empowering adventures of one’s life.
Without alcohol dependence, you can focus on keeping your mind and body healthy and happy and be the person you strive to be.
Don’t be afraid to admit you have dependence, and don’t stop yourself from sharing with those who care. Get the support you deserve, and don’t let the setbacks bring you down.
Most importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself for progress! Getting a new haircut or checking out some new entertainment could be the encouragement you need to get through another day in your recovery process.