Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease.
It’s not a weakness or a lack of willpower. Like many other diseases, it has a course that can be predicted, has known symptoms, and is influenced by your genes and your life situation. Physical signs of alcohol abuse are related to alcohol’s effects on different organ systems. However, while these findings are often present, they are not necessary to make a diagnosis of alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse shows its drastic effects on the central nervous system, including inebriation and poor judgment; chronic anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
Alcohol’s effects on the liver include elevated liver function tests. Prolonged use/abuse leads to cirrhosis and liver failure. With cirrhosis, patients develop an inability to process hormones and toxins. The skin of a patient with alcoholic cirrhosis can feature cherry angiomas, palmar erythema and — in acute liver failure — jaundice and ascites.
Outpatient treatment is an option for many alcohol abusers.
Outpatient treatment centers are designed to provide abusers with a place to explore their behavior. Many outpatient treatment centers provide anonymous group meetings, as well as other programs to help alcohol abusers overcome their issues. With outpatient treatment, individuals are not placed in a controlled environment and may be vulnerable to outside temptation during treatment. Typically, this type of treatment is ideal for individuals who have successfully completed an inpatient treatment program. When you are sober, you’ve taken the first step toward recovery. To gain full recovery, you need to take steps to improve other areas of your life, such as learning to deal with work and family. Life’s stressors that you used to cover up with alcohol or drugs will now meet you head on and without the aid of getting high, you need some real coping skills. When you are able to cope, first minute by minute and then hour by hour and then day by day, it will be easier to stay sober.
Whether you choose to go to rehab, rely on self-help programs, get therapy, or take a self-directed treatment approach, support is essential. Recovering from alcohol and drug addiction is much easier when you have people you can lean on for encouragement, comfort, and guidance. Without support, it’s easy to fall back into old patterns when things get tough.
So where do you get support in your recovery?
If you Google self help addiction recovery groups, you will get many, many choices and I am sure one that fits your philosophy and goals in recovery. I hear over and over that some folks don’t like a religious affiliation with recovery and that’s okay because there are many groups that do not align themselves with any affiliation to religion.
I recently learned of a group called Hello Sunday, a group that gets together for social functions in a sober environment. I also want you to have a look at Smart Recovery as an option for sobriety. There are so many ways to get help for alcohol and substance abuse. There are even classes that can teach you about alcohol and drugs and how they are affecting your life. You don’t have to be court ordered to learn at Center Of Solutions. Maybe alcohol education is your first step to living sober? Maybe there are facts you never considered in using alcohol or drugs? Learning about alcohol and drugs can be a stepping stone in understanding how and why you are using them. There are also alcohol and drug evaluations or sometimes referred to as alcohol and drug assessments or alcohol assessments. That could be a good first start to understanding your drinking patterns. Over the years, people have told me “I drink because I am angry.” Then it might be time to look at your anger too. Anger management classes are a great way to take a look at your life and how anger may be affecting your life and secondarily your drinking or using drugs.
With all of the choices available, start the process today and don’t be afraid to need people to support you. We all need people in our lives be it family, friends or support groups. There is support available to you; all you need to do is find it.