Alcoholism is a significant problem in the entire country and leads to 304,472 years of potential life lost annually in California. 8.5 percent of the state’s population is fighting substance addiction.
Sadly, the last one to admit they have a problem is the person with the issue. Many people might point out your drinking, but it’s not until you hit rock bottom that you realize you have a problem. When this happens, it’s time to get help.
It’s not a walk in the park, but it’s possible with guidance and support. Seeking treatment in California and joining an AA meeting near you are the first steps on your road to recovery. Here is all to know about alcohol addiction.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a chronic disease that includes compulsive drinking and an inability to control how much or how often you drink. It is considered a brain disease because it changes how your brain functions.
People take alcohol to fit in, celebrate, or feel better. Usually, people start drinking in social settings, and it’s not easy to predict who will become addicted to alcohol.
Taking alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, so it’s not always obvious when someone has a problem. As most who attend Alcoholics Anonymous will confess, the problem often sneaks up on you, slowly progressing from social drinking to dependence.
If you’re wondering whether you might be an alcoholic, here are signs to look out for:
If you’re struggling with any of the above, it’s time to seek help.
Alcoholism can lead to serious health problems, including:
Alcoholism can also lead to accidents, injuries, financial problems, relationship problems, and legal trouble. Families are dragged into the chaos as well. If you’re an alcoholic, getting help is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the risks of this disease.
The first step in treating alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem. It’s difficult, but it’s a critical step to recovery. There are several treatment options available depending on severity. They include:
Inpatient treatment is a residential program where you stay at the facility for a certain period, usually 30 to 90 days. During this time, you receive 24-hour care and support from medical staff and counselors. If you have a severe addiction, this is the best option.
Outpatient treatment is a less intensive option that allows you to live at home and come to the facility for treatment during the day. It’s a good option if you have a solid support system or are not ready to commit to an inpatient program.
Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous use a 12-step program to help you recover from alcoholism. These programs are free and open to anyone who wants to join. Check out AA meetings near me to learn more.
Therapy is an integral part of treatment as it helps you identify the underlying causes of alcoholism and develop coping mechanisms. It’s done in an individual or group setting.
Recovery is an ongoing process. There’s always the risk of a relapse. However, there are things you can do to reduce the risk, such as:
Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide support to stay on track. If you’re not ready to join a group, consider talking to a therapist. Also, surround yourself with friends who support your sobriety.
Eating healthily, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are essential to maintaining sobriety. Avoid triggers, such as people or places that make you want to drink. You will have to drop some friends, but it’s for the best if they don’t support your sobriety.
Mindfulness can help you stay in the present moment and avoid triggers or cravings. Take time every day to meditate and do yoga or Tai Chi. Note that stress can trigger a relapse. Find healthy ways to cope with it. Exercise, meditation, and time management can all help manage stress.
Creating and focusing on your goals will help you stay motivated. Write down your goals and look at them every day. As you achieve your goals, replace them with new ones.
Also, work on areas of your life alcohol has affected, such as your job or relationships. Improving these areas will help you stay sober, as you’ll have more to lose if you relapse.
In AA, there’s a saying, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Keeping sobriety to yourself can make it harder to stay sober. Helping others going through similar struggles will help you stay on track as it gives you a sense of purpose. Attend AA meetings near me to get started.
There are warning signs that a relapse is about to happen, such as:
Mood changes- If you’re feeling angry, anxious, or depressed, it could signify that a relapse is coming.
Changes in behavior – If you’re not taking care of yourself or doing things you know you shouldn’t.
Changes in thinking -If you’re starting to rationalize your drinking or think about drinking more than you should.
Changes in feelings – If you’re feeling restless, irritable, or anxious.
Changes in association – If you’re hanging out with people who drink or going to places you used to drink.
Alcoholism treatment is essential, but it’s just the first step as recovery is a lifelong process. Find a support system to help you through the tough times. Alcoholics Anonymous is one option. The most important thing is to reach out for help if you’re struggling and continually work on your goals. The struggle gets easier with time.