Have you been using alcohol for a long time and developed a drinking problem? You may have seen addiction destroy your life, and you wish to give up but have understandable concerns.
The reason Rehab Guide exists, our aim, our goal, our purpose and intention is simply this; to help you rid yourself of addiction. Whether you suffer from excessive drinking, drug abuse, gambling or ‘everything’, it is still suffering, and that just won’t do.
There are many theories as to how addiction is best confronted. Some say ‘stop a little at a time’, some say, COLD TURKEY OR NOTHING! Some will suggest it takes a lifetime and some will ‘cure you’ in a lunchbreak. What we know, the facts, are that it is different for everyone. Addiction comes in many forms, and everybody is different, this means the combinations of addict/addiction treatments are many and varied.
The first steps are the most important, and this delicate stage is where we feel that you need the most clarity. We will follow below with the information we feel is ‘Need To Know’ about beginning Recovery.
Many may be worried about the prospect of going through withdrawal. There is another daunting aspect which may be hard to comprehend, where, to conquer alcoholism, you must choose abstinence. But if you have a dependency, this can be a frightening proposition. The question is, how do you stop drinking alcohol if you have been using for a long time? Are you ready to give up the bottle and never drink again, to defeat your addiction?
For decades, some have believed to combat a drinking problem; you should abstain from drinking all at once, while others advise reducing your alcohol intake gradually. The fact is, if you have become dependent on alcohol, it can be tough to give it up.
In many cases, it may take more than willpower alone, some choose to detox at home on their own, but it is not advised. It is generally recommended you receive professional medical care when undergoing detox, where the staff closely monitor you throughout your recovery. Pointing out to you how giving up alcohol can change your life for the better.
If you suffer from alcoholism, then you must stop drinking alcohol with care because it is possible you will experience withdrawal symptoms. One of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms is Delirium Tremens (DTs).
The main issue with starting recovery, or at least researching how to start recovery, in the age of the internet is the overwhelming amount of information thrown at you right at the start. The golden rule is this; nothing will change unless you accept your problem. Addiction is a cruel and sadistic master. Acceptance of and surrender to the facts is the key to recovery. There can be no room for minimising or understating the problem. An addiction is an addiction.
To get a better overview and hopefully a better understanding of the issue, and to personalise it. Take some time, alone, and think about your drinking ‘career’. Really think about it. When did it start? How did it make you feel back then? How did it progress? When did it get worse or out of control? How does it feel, right now? You can afford to be completely honest. You are only fooling yourself by lying or minimising. Writing down your thoughts, maybe in the form of a timeline, will help.
Most of the information you can find on the internet is perfectly valid. As we pointed out, however, and as we are sure you have found, is that the huge amount of info makes it impossible to pick out the valid ‘gems’. What it all boils down to can be summarised thus:
You may have witnessed first-hand how addiction has affected different aspects of your life, from your finances and job to your personal relationships, with a partner, friends or loved ones. For many people, one of the most important factors when giving up alcohol is the effect it can have on their health. If you are questioning undergoing detox, you should consider how abstaining from alcohol could improve your wellbeing.
Many may not be aware of the negative impact alcohol can have on their body. After all, it is basically a toxin which can adversely affect human organs, particularly the brain and liver. The liver is a regenerative organ which will start repairing if you lay off alcohol but may not regenerate if you keep drinking. You do not have to be a heavy drinker to suffer alcohol-related health problems, and even if you are only a moderate drinker, you will notice a great change if you stop. According to recent research, if you cease imbibing for a month, you will lose weight, reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, lower your chances of suffering type 2 diabetes and even clear your skin complexion, amongst other health benefits.
There can be both physical and emotional ramifications to giving up. If you cut out alcohol, you can have more energy and greater productivity. It can negate sleeping problems and improve relationships with those closest to you, be it friends, family or work colleagues. If you stop drinking, it can improve both your physical and mental health altogether.
How long it takes to stop drinking may also be based on the length of time you have been using and how much. It is widely thought you have an increased possibility of successfully defeating alcohol addiction with professional help. If you receive inpatient treatment at an alcohol rehab centre will be cared for by trained medical staff, doctors, nurses and psychiatric specialists, helping you overcome the effects of giving up drinking. They can keep you under close observation and prescribe any medication you need to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal, ranging from the mild or minor to the more severe.
If you are combatting alcohol addiction, generally the initial step is carrying out a medical detox. It is advisable before stopping using alcohol but brings on inevitable symptoms of withdrawal which can be uncomfortable or, in certain cases, possibly even life-threatening. The type of withdrawal symptoms you suffer and long your detox lasts may be reliant on various considerations, such as the severity of your addiction.
As well as going through a medical detox and experiencing withdrawal, you can also undergo counselling, by attending regular therapy sessions, allowing you to talk about any pressing or underlying issues, which could be at the centre of your alcohol use. You may also turn to a support group like AA or Alcoholics Anonymous, known for its 12-step rehabilitation programme, where you can meet with fellow addicts and share your experiences, to help each another with recovery.
You have a range of options in front of you, and it is important to be open to suggestions. At Rehab Guide, we know that different approaches work for different people; it’s what makes us all so perfectly unique. Getting the best possible results doesn’t need to be a ‘trial and error’ process, but often, one method is not enough.
For instance, one person may respond well to a strict plan with regimented activities, coupled with a form of talking therapy that allows them to analyse their progress. Another may benefit from a more holistic approach, structured but flexible guidance and regular group therapy to approach their issues in a supportive environment.
Neither will benefit at all, however, without first addressing the underlying problems that have led them to addiction in the first place. That is why Rehab Guide always recommends a stay in residential rehabilitation as a kick start to recovery, raising your consciousness, awareness and understanding of the major issues.
Rehab clinics will also use contemporary therapy techniques like cognitive behavioural, psychotherapeutic and holistic therapies like yoga, mindfulness and music therapy, as well as evidence-based treatments to aid with your rehabilitation.
We understand that sometimes a residential stay simply isn’t possible, but don’t use that as an excuse! If you are going to take your recovery seriously, then start now. These are several measures people in recovery can use to try and stop drinking. Contact your local GP or NHS walk-in centre. Your GP may refer you to your local Alcohol Action Group. Your GP may recommend you taper down the amount of alcohol you consume slowly so that you avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Many experts believe the key to abstinence is to set realistic goals for yourself which could have a positive effect on your life. By having an achievable goal and meeting it, you can have a feeling of accomplishment, which you may have lost when you were drinking.
There are also changes you can make to your social life, to prevent relapse. It may be difficult, but you may avoid going to places where alcohol is served, such as restaurants, pubs or nightclubs. This may also involve changing your circle of friends. It is also a fact drinking to excess can impact your eating habits, where you may have paid no attention to what you were eating, or even neglected to eat. This can have a detrimental effect on your nutrition, but watching what you eat can help you maintain good health after you stop drinking.
If you are looking for something to fill the void of alcohol, there are various activities in your local you can try, to occupy your time and may keep your mind off alcohol. This can assist you in your goal to stop drinking, as part of your recovery. For instance, you could try exercising more, be it going for walks, swimming and bike riding. You may also take up a new hobby or pastime, from taking up a sport to learning a language or a musical instrument. You could also try further creative endeavour from painting or sculpting to crafting or possibly drama, alongside other avenues. Providing you with an outlet which could negate the use of alcohol and improve your mental or physical health.
However, even if you have stopped taking alcohol, this may not mean the battle is over. Your recovery will be an ongoing process, and there is always the possibility of relapse. It may be a constant struggle to resist the temptation to start drinking again. So, you should carry on with your rehabilitation and watch for any triggers which could cause you to stray.
Most who give up drinking take it a day at a time and may find it hard to imagine living without alcohol. But, entering rehab and talking about your problems with a counsellor, or accepting the help of friends and family, can help you stop drinking. You could also find something to take the place of alcohol in your life, from trying a new activity to taking up a hobby, as you continue with your recovery.
There are many ways to give up and, in time, you can learn to live without alcohol.
It does not have to be an impossible dream.