In 2010, the Center for Disease Control reported that there were almost 16,000 alcoholic liver disease deaths counted in the United States. Further, there were more than 25,000 deaths related to alcohol, not including homicides and accidents. It cannot be denied that excessive alcohol use takes its toll, but the truth of the matter is that if you are addicted to alcohol, stopping might be one of the most difficult things that you ever do. Conquering an alcohol addiction takes time, perseverance, and patience, but the truth is that it can be done.
Evaluate Your Alcoholism Addiction
To what extent has your addiction affected your life? Sit down and make a list of what is going on in your life, and what alcohol has taken away from you. When you do this, do not be surprised if alcohol has taken more away from you than you thought. Alcoholism is an infectious, insidious disease, and it can take a firmer hold on you than you might believe. You should know the scope of the issue and how large a job your recovery might be.
Evaluate the Reasons
Why do you drink? The truth is that the reasons for people drinking are very varied. Some people drink for comfort, and other people drink out of depression; alcoholism and depression go hand in hand. Other people drink because it makes social activities much easier, and still others drink to escape knowledge about their lives. This is where having a therapist or a counselor can help. They can look at your life and determine what it is that you need to be looking for. They can get to the root of the matter and the stressors that trigger this habit.
Figure Out Your Danger Zones
Though drinking can very quickly become a habit, there is often something that triggers it. Where are your danger zones when it comes to drinking? These zones can be situational or physical. For example, situational risk areas may occur when you are stressed or when you are happy. If you are having some drinks because you are tired and angry or because you are happy and want to celebrate, these are risk areas. On the other hand, people can also associate drinking with being in a specific place or close to specific people. You need to figure out which of your danger zones can be avoided and which need to be modified.
Talk To People
There is definitely a certain stigma and shame about alcoholism. You may be afraid that people are going to think that you are weak, that you are making problems where there are none, or that you are not a good person. It can take a lot of courage to admit that you have a problem with alcohol, but this is an important part of being honest with the people that you care about. If they abandon you, they were not people that you needed in your life during your recovery. This can hurt a great deal, but it needs to be done.
While there are many things that might have pushed you to drink, you need to be responsible for the act of drinking, yourself. No one has forced you to drink, and there are many, many people out there with your stressors that do not consume alcohol. One of the best things to remember is that you are responsible for your drinking, and that you are responsible for your own abstinence as well. If you realize that you have responsibility over what you do and that you control it, you will be able to take a much clearer path toward recovery.
Come Up With a Plan
When you have quit drinking, you are going to want to drink. Do you have a plan of what to do when you are craving alcohol of some sort? The plan will vary from person to person, but you need to replace the activity of drinking with something else. Simply sitting there and craving a drink is not going to be a helpful thing for you at all. It will make you angry; it will make you resentful, and it makes it altogether too easy to relapse. Come up with something else to do instead. If you are feeling an immense craving for a drink, think about taking a walk, watching a favorite movie, or calling a friend. These things sound simple, but if you are able to do them, you are taking an important step in disrupting the chain of addiction.
Addiction is pervasive. Alcoholism is one of the toughest addictions to beat, and there are plenty of people who relapse. The important thing to remember is that messing up one day does not mean that you are going to be doomed to alcoholism forever. Mistakes get made, and you will find that the only thing that you can do is do better tomorrow. This can make conquering addiction feel very daunting, but it is still something that can be done. While it is ideal to never relapse, it is definitely worth understanding that it does happen.
Seek Professional Help
Alcoholism is something that can affect your entire life. The way that you work, the way that you live, and the way that you interact with your friends and family, all receive a certain amount of impact. It can be hard to unearth alcoholism from every aspect of the way that you live, and this is where the right counselor or the right therapist comes in. They can help you mend bridges, build better work habits, and continue on your path to alcoholism recovery.
Consider What You Need
For many people, alcohol replaced a need that they had in their life. For some, alcohol was a way for them to deal with grief, and for others, alcohol was a way for them to deal with stress. There is something in your life that created a hollow, and because alcohol gives you a way to forget about the need for a while, it took the job of plugging the hollow. Alcohol is a coping mechanism that people reach for when there is something going on in their lives. Think about the need that alcohol is fulfilling and find another way to meet it.
Neither Too Good or Too Bad
Oftentimes, when people are confronted with addiction to alcohol, they think that they cannot possibly use the resources out there. They feel unique, whether it’s because they feel too stupid, too smart, or simply too damaged for help. Overcoming this uniqueness takes effort, but it must be done. Take a moment to think about your own situation, and to realize that you have a problem that hundreds of thousands of people share. Even if you are not terribly similar to them in other ways, you will discover that addiction has certain similarities that cross many, many lines.
Count the Days
Sometimes, it is very hard to see progress. Just like alcoholism is a very insidious thing that can creep up on you, sometimes it is hard to see how far you have come. Count from the last day that you took a drink. Keep track on a calender, or find an app to help you. While your progress might seem slow at first, soon you will be able to look back on the days that have passed and realize that you have been free from alcohol for months and years. This gives you a real sense of accomplishment and progress.