After so many years of “Social Drinking”, I found myself consuming alcohol on a daily basis at an ever increasing amount. So, I decided to do something about it. In these pages I am going to share information I compiled from various sources to help others who may be having a little bit of a problem like I do.
Baby steps to sober living
Society seems to think that kicking an addiction is easy, what more an alcoholic addiction. The easy part may be getting sober. However, the most difficult part is the one that comes after that, staying sober. So here are five little basic ideas to get you through the day.
- Positive activities. Say it has been your childhood dream to be an underwater explorer. Now here is your chance. Enroll in a class, get your license. Find friends who love diving and start a new experience together. Love cooking? Take classes. Choose activities or the things that you love that will increase your self-esteem and self confidence. This will increase your chances of staying sober.
- Trying new things. Just as taking a diving license, now is the time to discover that other side of you. Who says you will truly know yourself by the time you are an adult. Continuously try new things, visit new places. Take a holiday. With that new diving license, start diving at the beautiful islands of the world. By getting interested in new experiences, you are taking your mind off your addiction and staying sober will be just a piece of cake.
- Always be wary. Pay attention to little triggers that might set you off on a drinking spree again. Stressful triggers like deaths, anniversaries may depress you, and that is when the urge would kick in. Write down a list of these triggers and also list downs what you could do when you are faced with such triggers. One such example is you could go for AA meetings when at that time of the year.
- Make resolutions. Sit down and jot down a list of things that you have always meant to achieve and give yourself a timeline for it. Before the age of xx, I would like to have such and such, etc.; I would like to visit the majestic Taj Mahal. Anything. But most importantly, work towards your goals.
- Lastly, do not give up. Yes if you relapse once, it is a mistake. However, do go easy on yourself. If you fall down, pick yourself up and try again. At the end of it all, you know it will be worth it.
Alcohol addiction: Debunking the myth
Many people have their beliefs about alcohol addiction. However, most of these beliefs stem from a lack of experience, understanding and perhaps tolerance. So let us correct some of these common misconceptions.
Myth 1: Addiction is only a bad habit and the only reason addicts can’t quit is because they have no willpower.
At the start of drinking, perhaps it could be a voluntary decision. Consider it a much needed respite from work, bills, relationship and all the drama. However, the more they choose to turn to it, the more dependent they become on it to relieve stress and in the end, they become addicted. This addiction happens because alcohol alters the brains and now the alcohol is in control of the addict.
Myth 2: Addicts are people with mental problems.
The statement is untrue. Addicts began as normal people who only started on one or two drinks to relieve stress. The more they seek this as an outlet, the more addicted they become. As we said in myth #1 alcohol alters the brain, creating a need in the user to be drinking all the time. This leads to bad life decisions.
Myth 3: Treatment never works. Look at how many people relapse.
The public thinks, that it will be easy to quit alcohol cold turkey however it is not that easy. The rehabilitation of alcoholics or treatment for them is not a one size fit all. The program has to be tailored to suit the needs of the alcohol addicts. Different individuals have different issues that they are dealing with and they also respond differently to various treatment.
Myth 4: The addict has to be willing to quit for treatment to be effective.
Most of the time, they do not want treatment. They only seek treatment because they were ordered by the court or they were referred by concerned family members. Wanting to quit has little effect on the effectiveness on the treatment.
Myth 5: Addicts are a lost cause once they relapse.
Getting off the addiction is easy. Staying off it is difficult. Relapsing does not mean hitting rock bottom. It could be used as a positive thing by analyzing why the individual relapsed, what trigger that triggered the event and learn to avoid it next time.
These are a few of the myths of alcohol addiction. The knowledge of this alone will help you be a better friend to those in need.
4 powerful remedies for sobriety success
The brain will tell the addict that they need the alcohol. Otherwise the individual will be unable to function properly. So before you pick the keys and head off to the nearest bar, go through our 4 remedies to help you survive the day.
First, eat food. Ignore the demand for alcohol and feed your body with food instead. Most problem drinkers tend to drink alcohol as one meal of the day. Take that away and substitute it for a filling and nutritious meal. Eat a solid good meal and the best way to fight your alcohol cravings is to have three square meals in a day. Enjoy your breakfast, lunch and dinner and you’ll be surprised to find that the urge to drink alcohol gets less or almost non-existent.
Second, a temptation to drink alcohol may be a body’s cry for sugar. If you eat a few sweets a day, your body may be addicted to sugar. Your body is sourcing it from various foods including alcohol. Perhaps it would be best to cut back on the sugar and alcohol and source your sugar from natural products such as fruits. If you do feel the temptation to drink, try eating a sweet. However do not turn this new habit into a full-fledged addiction.
Third, drink more water. Every time your brain screams out for alcohol. Silence its demands with a glass of water. It has been recommended that a normal individual consume 6-8 glasses of water. This does not include normal beverages such as coffee, tea, juice but just plain old water. Start the habit of drinking lots of water daily. Buy a 2 L water bottle. Fill it up at the start of the morning and promise yourself by the end of work, that 2 L water bottle will be finished.
Fourth, remember to exercise. Give yourself the burst of endorphin and the adrenaline rush through exercise. Just take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This will improve your self-esteem and increase your self confidence. If you are bored at home and feel the urge to drink, go out and stretch a little and then go for a little walk around the neighborhood. Get the oxygen flowing in the brain. This will silence the body’s urges for alcohol.
So remember all these steps, and try it. Do not give up so easily because the best things in life are the ones worth fighting for and taking control of your life is one of them.
How to quit drinking without full abstinence
You may have a problem with drinking but may be too embarrassed to enter an AA meeting. Here a few simple steps to help you kick the habit without going full turkey.
First, as cliché as it may sound, acknowledge that you have a problem. You need to first accept that you are an alcoholic. Then we can proceed to the next step. You need to understand why you drink. Do you start drinking when you had a bad day at work? You have an argument with your spouse? Identify the little triggers that set you off and have a game plan of what you will do when faced with that trigger. Be it, when having an awful day at work, going for a spa or a massage or calling a friend out for a coffee. Know your triggers and know yourself.
Second, commit yourself to the goal of ridding yourself free of alcohol. You are a smart human being who does not need alcohol to function. Yes, it may be difficult for you to get through the day at first. Do not listen to the little cravings or little commands that your brain sends to you demanding for alcohol. You are the master of yourself. You have lived once before and functioned perfectly well without alcohol. There is no reason you could not do it again. Make your mantra: I will quit for good. Repeat it to yourself every time a trigger presents itself to you.
Third, learn to say NO. If a friend asks you out for a drink, be absolutely ready to be firm in your reply. Say no thanks, I’m quitting. Tell your friends of your intentions and tell them that you need them to be there for you. If you have to avoid your group of drinking friends for a certain period of time, do that. Tell them you are not burning bridges, you are just trying to quit alcohol. They will respect you for it and help you in your road to sobriety.
Fourth, be patient. Enjoy your recovery from your addiction and do not be afraid if you relapsed. If you relapsed once, that does not mean you will fall all the way down and hit rock-bottom. It takes time and patience. Do not be hard on yourself if you relapsed after a certain period of time. After that relapse, say to yourself, I will try harder and this time I will succeed.
Most of all, remember that you are doing all these for yourself and your family. These should be the biggest motivation and inspiration of all to keep on moving forward.
Alcoholism and Marriage: Do they go together?
According to statistics, more than one half of families in US have an individual who are abusing alcohol or addicted to it. Be it the husband or the wife, the effects of it on a marriage can be damaging. SO, what are some of the effects of it?
It causes anger. Imagine having all the tension simmering under the guise of a happy marriage. As the saying goes, still water runs deep. Heavy alcohol use does not yield warm communication. It yields more negative and hostile communications. There is more hostility in everyday conversation and all these factors decrease the couple’s satisfaction in the marriage.
There’s marital distress. Negative and hostile communication yields to marital distress in the non-alcoholic spouse. It adds to the strain and the tension of the marital ties. There is less problem solving, more damaging communication. The problem just keeps on piling up. This may lead to a greater potential of marital violence or divorce.
Being absent in the family. The alcoholic spouse is constantly absent in the family. They are unable to shoulder everyday family responsibility or daily household tasks. This inability leads to a diminished role in the family as a husband or a wife to the non alcoholic spouse and as a father or a mother to the children.
Physiological distress on the family especially the children. An alcoholic father or mother figure increases the children’s social, emotional, behavioral and academic problems.
Marital violence. The more men are frequently intoxicated, the more likely they are to vent their anger on their wives. Alcohol abuse is linked to increased aggression and more physical violence as their ability for rational thinking is reduced. In addition, the intoxicated spouses are more likely to act on impulse and unable to exert self-restraint.
In conclusion, no good can come out of it. Alcoholism and marriage are like oil and water. They can never mix.