Despite the dangers of addiction being common knowledge, alcohol abuse remains one of the most insidious dangers to society in modern times. Though it is reported that over 15 million citizens in the United States are battling alcoholism, the substance not only remains legal, in some circles it is an expected element to social interaction. The CDC reports that over 88,000 deaths a year in the United States can be attributed to alcohol and despite an ever increasing drive to educate the public on the dangers of alcoholism, alcohol related deaths in teens are reported to be 4,700 yearly.
The impact of alcohol addiction can include risks to health, financial challenges, potential legal issues and damaged relationships. Fortunately there are multiple organizations dedicated to providing options to those individuals seeking to beat their addiction. Sadly less than eight percent of those who need treatment will get it, not because it is unavailable but due to the individual’s denial of their addiction.
The first step to recovery is to acknowledge that help is needed. Once a person is ready to reach out for assistance, it is important to enlist the help of a well-known and respected recovery centers. Recovery from alcohol addiction requires a multi-level treatment that will cover not the physical, emotional and mental aspects of addiction. During the initial phases of treatment, detox will be necessary and can often have some unfortunate effects on the body. Flu like symptoms, including vomiting, shaking and sweating are common, while more serious effects like hallucinations and seizures can occur in long time addicts; therefore it is important to ensure that the individuals detox is overseen by a medical professional who specializes in addiction recovery.
After the initial detox, successful recovery is dependent on complete abstinence, a task made frustratingly difficult by modern society’s love affair with alcohol and it’s prevalence in our media. Even though ads for alcohol have been banned in some countries, popular TV shows and films continue to highlight alcohol as a widely accepted means of relaxation and celebration. It is imperative then that the recovering addict have ease of access to ongoing 24 hr support. As such organizations that provide a mentoring system have a high success rate with creating an environment in which addicts can continue to thrive. Support groups that provide the individual with a community of peers who understand the challenges they face and can offer support by way of shared personal experience will encourage success. A safe space in which the patient can unload their personal emotions and an opportunity to talk about their experiences in a place of non-judgement can go a long was to helping to instill a much needed sense of self-worth and confidence that will ultimately lead to a balanced healthy lifestyle.
One on one counselling is also recommended as alcoholism is often a symptom of a much deeper emotional or mental issue. Alcohol is commonly turned to as a way to escape personal problems such as depression or abuse. It is frequently used by those suffering from PTSD as a way to self-medicate and thought it can seem to temporarily take away the pain of emotional trauma, unless the underlying cause is addressed the urge to ‘escape’ will continue to plague the victim. Professionally trained councilors can help the patient to face those life events that have in the past been triggers for their addiction, help to identify possible future triggers, and work to create a viable plan of action that can mitigate the potential for a relapse.
Another essential ingredient to success is the support of family and friends and though this may initially be a challenge to the patient due to their hesitation to be vulnerable in front of the people they love, it can in the end provide a life-long support system and powerful motivation to stay sober. Making amends to those that the individual’s drinking has hurt is often included in the recovery plan laid out by treatment centers as it encourages emotional healing in the patient and their loved ones.
A final yet essential ingredient in the recovery cocktail is the finding of purpose and/or spiritual connection to the world in which we live. Most treatment centers offer spiritual counselling and encourage recovering addicts to become involved with their communities in a volunteer capacity. Offering of ones times and energy to help out and uplift others in need can help the patient to feel as if they have value to their community and helps to heal the sense of failure and guilt that often goes along with addiction.
Most importantly it is essential that society recognize alcoholism as a disease so that those suffering from it may be offered the support and assistance they require to overcome the challenges that addiction present.