Many alcoholics attempt to wean themselves off of alcohol without the use of outside help. In some cases this can be successful, but there are many barriers to doing so. Here are some things that can get in the way of successful self-recovery.
Lack of Self Control
Part of the reason that addictions form is a lack of self control. This makes weaning yourself off of alcohol very difficult. It may be successful for a while, but then you have a stressful day or a personal setback and alcohol begins to look like a convenient solution. While the alcohol is still in your system, it is very hard to simply decide to stop drinking.
Harmful Thought Patterns
Another thing that can prevent you from self detox is your own thought process. You may begin to reason with yourself that it’s ok to have a few more drinks to reward yourself for good behavior. On a bad day, you may try to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Without some outside intervention and support, it will be difficult for you to get rid of thought patterns that reinforce your drinking.
Your personal habits are another thing that can harm your recovery. Quitting alcohol abuse will often mean that you have to rearrange your life. You’ll need to avoid places, people, and situations that make you want to drink. Without the help of a counselor, it can be difficult to make a good plan for doing this.
Lack of Outside Support
There will be moments when you feel like drinking, and unless you have a close friend or support person who understands what you are going through, it will be hard. Even close friends may not be able to fully support you unless they deeply understand the nature of addiction. By joining a support group or a rehab program, you will have access to a counselor who can help you manage your particular situation. This person can give you advice on how to set yourself up for success and anticipate the problems you’ll face. Having this outside person who is right with you in your struggles can be a huge psychological asset.
Your health routines may predispose you to alcohol use. For instance, staying up late, not eating a healthy diet, and not exercising enough can cause chemical changes in your body that make you unhealthy and fuel your addiction. In addition, having a lack of structure can create a lot of down time, which creates the perfect opportunity to drink. By staying in a rehab center during your recovery, you’ll be given lots of structure and healthy guidance. You won’t have time to think about alcohol, and at the same time you’ll be nourishing your body to prevent withdrawal and low mood.
Lack of Incentives
While personal motivation is sometimes enough to help you successfully wean yourself off of alcohol, it can also be helpful to have outside motivation. For instance, if you have spent a lot of money on rehab or have someone keeping track of your progress, you may be more likely to give yourself over to the process fully. It’s important to put as many obstacles in place as possible, so that you can easily write off the possibility of drinking. Although it’s sometimes possible to do this on your own, a support program can do a great job of keeping you motivated.
When you try to slowly cut down your alcohol intake, one thing that will be difficult for you to manage is your withdrawal symptoms. Lowered mood, headaches, and a lack of energy may be a part of the recovery process. A good health routine is necessary for managing these withdrawal symptoms, and you’ll need something to distract yourself from discomfort, since withdrawal symptoms will likely make you want to drink to relieve the problem.
Many alcoholics can successfully wean themselves off alcohol for a period of time before slipping back into old habits. Relapses are disheartening for all recovering alcoholics, but they are especially detrimental to people who have tried to quit on their own. If you have rehab under your belt and have access to a support system during your relapse, you can get back on track much easier.
Change is very difficult, even when a chemical addiction is not part of the mix. Many people are not successful at fixing their alcohol addiction on their own. In some cases, individuals will go through periods of sobriety and alcoholism for years before they realize that they need outside help. By going to a rehab center at the start, you can have a higher chance of success and less risk of struggling through your addiction for years to come.