Everyone needs an outlet—a way to deal with life problems, childhood pain, broken dreams, and disappointments. Alcohol is one of the few things that help us momentarily forget the hurt. But when do you draw the line and say it’s becoming too much? The reality is, admitting that there’s an issue is always the hardest part. If you are struggling with alcoholism but can’t find the strength to stop, let us help you take the first few steps towards change.
See a Doctor
Stopping the excessive intake of alcohol is not as easy as it may seem. You may think that all you need to do is to refrain from drinking. But that’s not the whole picture. As with any addiction, stopping abruptly can cause medical issues, especially if you’re a chronic drinker. It’s called withdrawal.
The symptoms can vary from mild headaches to seizures. If you have been drinking heavily for years, hallucination is one of the most common symptoms you will experience after 24 to 48 hours of not drinking. Other signs of withdrawal are:
- Severe headache
About 90% of individuals who stop drinking experience withdrawal. These symptoms can put you at serious or even life-threatening risk that why a doctor must guide you. Severe symptoms often require inpatient treatment and prescribed medication.
During the crucial first 24hour period, the doctors will closely monitor your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and level of fluids such as electrolytes.
Analyze the Pros and Cons
The decision to quit should come from no one but you. One way of weighing your decision is to create a list of the pros and cons of drinking. Write it down on a piece of paper or in your journal and do a cost-benefit analysis. In doing this, remember that alcohol is classified as a depressant. It doesn’t just put your physical health at risk. It also affects you mentally. You can begin your list with these:
- It helps you have a good time.
- It makes socializing fun.
- It’s a distraction from your problems.
- Alcohol is not healthy.
- It drives your family and friends away.
- Drinking has been badly affecting your everyday life.
- It’s ruining your career opportunities.
The list can go on depending on your personal situation. Create this list and look at it every time you feel like going back to drinking. In this case, the bad always outweighs the good.
Have a Strong Support System
This is a battle that you can not win on your own. You need a solid and consistent support system that will help you throughout the process. Your family and close circle of friends can be the foundation of this support system. With their help, you will feel more empowered to stay on track.
However, it is also understandable if you are not yet comfortable sharing this part of your life with people who are dear to you. This is where AA or Alcoholic Anonymous Meetings come in. Some individuals feel it easier to pour out their emotions to total strangers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. With these support groups, you wouldn’t feel alone because you share the same struggles.
Stay Away from Temptation
We know it’s hard to refuse alcohol after a long stressful day at work or if your out having fun with friends. But there’s no way around this but to completely avoid situations that may cause you to relapse. Let start with removing all alcohol and paraphernalia from your home. With addiction, half the battle is out of sight, out of mind.
Your home is just the starting point. To effectively quit, you have to avoid the common places you go to that serve alcohol, like your favorite pub. You also need to spend lesser time with people whose lifestyle involves heavy drinking.
Seek Professional Treatment
Many chronic drinkers wait for the ‘rock bottom’ phase before seeking help. But like with any addiction, you have to come to terms with the reality that you can not do this on your own. Accepting that you can not do this by yourself is one of the hardest things to do because it amplifies your helplessness.
Many factors can determine the severity of the addiction. But if your alcohol dependency is already costing you your health and your relationship with your family, then it’s time to think about it real hard. Self-help tips can only take you a quarter of a mile, but professional treatments like checking in a public or private rehabilitation clinic will help you go far in your journey.
Alcoholism, like any addiction, is curable. Change can be hard and painful, but it is also good and redeeming. Remember that in this fight, there’s always help, and you are never alone.