Regaining control of your drinking habit is one way to describe alcohol addiction rehabilitation. While the thought of giving up drinking for good is a big deterrent to seeking help for many alcoholics, the alternative is having the power to determine how you will experience life on a daily basis. From the moment the decision is made to step out of the alcohol abuse lifestyle, the fear of facing life without this destructive crutch can come crashing in.
In the story “Life Gets Better” Andrew shares how drinking dictated his behavior and the lens through which he saw life before he rehabilitated from an alcoholic lifestyle. According to Andrew, his dependence on alcohol was all consuming; he needed it just to get by. As consuming alcohol preceded every activity in his life.
“Feeling numb was my normal state of mind” Andrew said. “If I was going to a concert, I had to get drunk beforehand…if I was going to a movie, to the grocery store, to play golf or mow the lawn, it was the same. It was the only thing I knew how to do Thank God for this program” he said of his rehab intervention story. “Now I know why I behaved the way I did, I now have the tools to recognize the signs when I’m falling back into old patterns”.
Overcoming alcoholism is more than just exchanging mental inertia for sobriety. Scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warn that alcohol affects every organ in the body and impair brain functions and motor skills. Chronic use of alcohol also put drinkers at increased risk of many illnesses including certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease among others. Alcoholism or a dependence on alcohol is characterized by an uncontrollable craving for this substance and continued regular consumption of it despite serious consequences that can affect every single area of an individual’s life and the life of their loved ones as well as threaten the safety and well-being of others.
As Andrew pointed out, alcohol addiction rehabilitation is having the tools to stay sober. It means dispelling the mental fog in order to understand the subtle nuances of movie, safely drive a car, enjoy a concert, a golf game, hanging out with friends or simply navigate the aisles of grocery store with a clear head. To achieve this, attitudes and patterns of behavior that motivate alcohol abuse, must change. Alcohol rehab programs provide a comprehensive continuum of care that includes:
Because of the social and legitimate context in which alcohol addiction typically develops, treatment for any type of alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process that must continue as aftercare following rehab for sobriety to be sustainable. Aftercare planning is an important process that incorporates various mechanisms such as group meetings, seminars, individual sponsors as well as engaging friends and family to support long term sobriety.
After more than three years of sobriety Andrew’s advice to people still struggling with alcohol addiction is that with treatment “your life will get so good it’s crazy” he says. For Andrew and millions of other recovering alcoholics, going through the rehabilitation program is life changing.
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