Alcoholism is a dangerous addiction that causes harm to both your physical health and mental health. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, your drinking habits may also negatively impact your professional career, your family life, and your financial stability.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how to overcome alcoholism.
How to Overcome Alcoholism
While the term tends to be a bit outdated, the idea of alcoholism is like any other -ism. The suffix of ism refers to the holding of a dysfunctional belief. In the case of alcoholism, it is implied that the person in question holds a belief about alcohol that is unhealthy. If you have realized that your drinking habits are a problem, you have already made your first step away from alcoholism.
The rest of the journey toward sobriety consists of a series of steps that will be largely unique to you, as an individual. Even with the highly personal nature of recovery, it has been discovered that these steps do tend to have some features in common. People who are escaping the destruction of alcohol addiction and abuse will need to feel encouraged and inspired to change. They will need to devise a plan for making changes, and they will need to take some action. The following are some applications of the stages of recovery that are common to the process of overcoming alcohol addiction and abuse.
Here’s how to overcome alcoholism.
Be Kind To Yourself
Alcohol addiction can become a vicious cycle. Many people who drink know the feeling of failure. They will engage in drinking to forget about those feelings, only to wake up the next day to realize that the sense of failure has grown even stronger. A powerful step in breaking that cycle is to learn to be more kind to yourself. You are human, just like everyone else. Every adult human on the planet has certain weaknesses, and most of us have a tendency to react to situations in less than ideal ways. Beating yourself up for being a failure in regard to your drinking will only tend to make the situation worse.
Your propensity toward using alcohol to escape unpleasant feelings may be more obvious and socially unacceptable than the habit of others to overeat, binge on technology, or indulge in shopping sprees, but it is not any more condemnable. An unhealthy coping mechanism is simply that, regardless of the form it takes. Give yourself a break when it comes to being human, and you are likely to find that the grace you give yourself results in renewed inspiration to become better. Each new day is another chance to change the future.
Even though there are many ways to engage in unhealthy coping – and none of them are ideal – it is a fact that some unhealthy coping mechanisms can result in more dire consequences than others. When it comes to abusing alcohol, there is a long list of potential outcomes that can end up being devastating. It is often the case that a person doesn’t even stop to consider that drinking is a problem until after the point that these negative consequences begin to pop up.
Continuing to drink in the face of potential consequences is a hallmark of alcohol addiction. Abuse of alcohol can result in relationships being destroyed, careers being sabotaged, and even lives being lost. Take stock of the things that you have left to lose if continuing in a life of alcohol abuse, and consider whether you are really on board with a future that includes these losses. If not, it is time to buck up and change things.
Create A Game Plan
For some people, the consideration of making a change away from the consequences of alcohol involves an all-or-nothing approach. This approach is commonly referred to as going cold turkey. If you are one of the types of people who want to completely start fresh with a life of sobriety, you will want to pick a day and time that you are willing to take that plunge. Then, hold yourself to it.
Other people may find success in a more gradual cessation of drinking behaviors. Try making a list of times, places, and situations where you tend to imbibe. You will also want to make note of the quantity and types of alcohol that you tend to consume during these scenarios. Then, use your chart to determine how and when you can make some changes to the drinking habits which tend to be most destructive. Work out a plan to eliminate and alter those habits by forming new rules to follow. Examples of moderating rules include deciding to only have a drink when with certain friends, determining to avoid all hard alcohols, or committing to not drinking on a weeknight. Of course, if you find yourself unable to follow your own rules for more responsible drinking, you might need to consider going the cold turkey route.
It is during this stage of crafting a plan that many people will consider the benefit of adding the support of some recovery specialists. Most communities offer various forms of support when it comes to embarking on a life of recovery. These supports can include alcoholism treatment programs, outpatient clinics, support groups, therapy, and peer counseling. Examine the options available to you within your community, and decide what level of support will best assist you in reaching your goals.
Put Your Plan in Place
After you have taken stock of your situation and gathered the data necessary to inform your next steps, it is time to put your plans into place. Clear the alcohol out of the house, inform your friends that you won’t be drinking at gatherings, or attend your first support meeting. If you find it beneficial, make your plan to live a life of sobriety known to your loved ones. Otherwise, just quietly make your commitment to change.
It is important that you continue to give grace to yourself during your journey. It is extremely common for people who are in recovery – from any unhealthy habit – to occasionally slip back into old ways. It is so common, in fact, that many recovery models now include the aspect of relapse within the formula for eventual recovery. When in doubt, go back to being kind to yourself!