Breaking Free from Alcoholism
Alcohol use disorder can really begin to take its toll on a person’s ability to truly enjoy their life. It has been known to negatively impact one’s relationships, mental health, physical wellbeing, and careers. Are you ready to begin your path toward breaking free of the hold your alcohol use disorder has on you?
What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?
According to the DSM 5, alcohol use disorder can be defined as a medical condition that is characterized by an impaired ability to control alcohol use, despite negative consequences related to their social life, occupational wellbeing, or health and wellness.
The health condition has been referred to under many names, including alcoholism, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependency, and alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder is considered a brain disorder and can have long-term impacts on the addicted person’s cognitive functioning, mood, and overall mental health, which is a significant reason many relapses can occur.
The disorder can range from mild to moderate to severe but is considered treatable no matter the severity. Scientists have found treatment options that are highly effective in helping one find their way to healing from alcohol addiction. This means that, no matter how bad your alcohol use disorder may seem, there is still hope for a brighter future.
How Do I Begin to Break Free from Alcoholism?
As cliché as it sounds, the first step to breaking free of an alcohol use disorder is admitting you have a problem. Once you have made the decision to begin your journey to healing, you may find yourself wondering where to begin.
Determine your why
Drinking can negatively impact many different areas of your life. Think about the areas of your life drinking has taken its toll on. Write each one of these areas on a little piece of paper. On the same little piece of paper, write the main reason you would like to set yourself free from the chains of alcoholism. Determining your why will be a great way to motivate you to begin your journey and to push past any obstacles that may present themselves on its long and winding road.
Set goals and plan your journey
Once you have made the decision to free yourself from alcoholism, you need to develop a game plan. Make each goal as specific and realistic as possible. Determine whether you wish to slowly cut down on your drinking or if you wish to set a date to cut the alcohol out cold turkey.
If you have decided to cut down on your drinking habits, you will have to be specific about how many days a week, month, or year you will allow yourself to drink. How much do you intend to drink on those occasions?
If you have decided to cut out alcohol cold turkey, set an end date for the last day you intend to quit. Having these specific and attainable goals will motivate and keep you on track throughout this journey. Accomplishing your goals won’t always be easy, but they will be worth the battle in the end.
Talk to the people around you about your goals and plans for quitting. Surround yourself with people who will be supportive of you throughout this journey. Ask your friends and family members to support you in your journey by refraining from drinking in front of you.
If you encounter some friends or family members who are less than supportive, you may have to distance yourself from them to stay on the right path. Work to surround yourself with people who make you feel supported and encouraged, not those who make you feel hesitant or embarrassed of your journey to recovery.
You may also benefit greatly from joining a support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Being around people living through similar experiences and struggles will be a great motivator to keep you on track throughout your journey to recovery.
Avoid your triggers
Get rid of temptations that may be hiding around your home. Remove all alcohol, barware, and alcohol-related items from the areas you occupy, like your home, car, and office. If being around certain people, places, or things leaves you craving a drink, work to stay away from them. If your drinking friends are willing to support your journey, consider switching up the scenery. If they are not supportive, you may have to let them go as well.
However, the difficult truth is that triggers can be difficult to avoid forever. In situations where temptation is knocking, practice ways you can get yourself out of a triggering situation. Be prepared with a response for instances in which you will be offered alcohol and try to consider ways to leave situations that activate your cravings.
Work to control your cravings
Cravings can be a difficult obstacle to battle when suffering from an alcohol use disorder. If you are dealing with cravings, work to get them under control. I know that this is easier said than done, but a few ideas for getting through a period of craving include:
Reaching out to a loved one for support. This can be a friend, family member, sponsor, or romantic partner. Accept the support and help from those who want to be here for you.
Remember your why. Remember that paper with the negative consequences of drinking and your main reason why you wanted to cut back in the first place? Moments of craving are a great opportunity to pull that paper and remind yourself why you decided to stop in the first place.
Find a distraction. Do something to get your mind off the craving, whether that be a hobby, hanging with friends, or something else.
Seek the help of a professional
Alcohol addictions can be difficult to break free from on your own. More severe cases can even present severe withdrawal symptoms if not done under the supervision of a professional. If you are ready to talk about beginning your journey to healing from alcohol addiction, talk to a professional so they can get you the safe and effective treatment you need.
A professional will evaluate your drinking patterns, help you develop the treatment plan that works best for you, keep a knowledgeable eye on your overall health, and determine whether or not medications are necessary for your personal journey.
Begin to live a happier, healthier life
Recovering from alcohol addiction is only one stepping stone in the entirety that is your life. Work to build a life that feels meaningful, happy, and healthy. Start a new hobby and pursue deeper relationships. Take care of your mental health and physical wellbeing. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress and, most importantly, continue to pursue treatment in order to keep yourself on track.
One key to staying on track with your recovery is to live a fulfilling life. Pursue happiness, love, and peace. This will prove to be so helpful in keeping the cravings away.
We Are Here to Help
The road to recovery can be a long and bumpy one, but it is well worth the effort. If you have made the decision to break free from alcoholism, know that you are making an incredibly beneficial and brave decision for your future. We are here to help you break free. Contact us today to begin your journey to recovery. Our addiction professionals will work with you to ensure you are getting the treatment that works best for your lifestyle, overall health, and addiction severity.
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