Many Americans struggle with an alcohol addiction. After all, this is one of the most addictive substances in America. If your alcohol use has graduated into abuse or even an addiction, it’s time to take action. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a wealthy array of physical and mental consequences. Quit drinking to heal your body.
You need to get your mindset in the right place to deal with an alcohol or drug addiction. If you’re having a hard time, take a look at these 8 words of wisdom from recovering alcoholics. They give you some insight into the recovery process and some tips on how to succeed.
Recovery Is Not a Problem You Can Fix by Just Working Harder
Many alcoholics don’t realize how difficult it is to get over alcohol abuse. They believe that they can manage their alcohol addiction alone by just working hard at it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Alcoholism is not something you can just work hard to cure. For a successful recovery, you’ll likely need professional help from treatment centers.
Drug abusers and alcoholics can benefit from substance abuse treatment. Addiction treatment involves not only medical detox, but also counseling and therapy. Counseling and therapy teaches patients how to live independently and how to take care of their own mental health. All treatments are evidence-based approaches to treating an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
To defeat alcoholism, you need to gain certain skills and tools. Recovery is a lifelong journey. You’ll continue to implement skills you’ve learned at rehab and at support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous. To treat alcoholism, you need to work smarter, and not necessarily harder. Without the right tools, you’ll find yourself trying to get out of a never-ending hole.
Guard Your Sobriety with Your Life
It’s easy to let little accomplishments get to your head. Unfortunately, it’s super easy for alcoholics to relapse. In fact, 90% of alcoholics will relapse at least once in the four years following seeking alcohol treatment. An alcohol addiction is very hard to kick. It’s easy to relapse when faced with triggers and stresses.
Upon completing alcohol rehab, guard your sobriety with your life. Don’t let anyone convince you to go out for just one drink. Even when a loved one asks you to go out to celebrate, you still need to guard your sobriety. Opt for a virgin cocktail rather than an alcoholic beverage.
Many alcoholics become overconfident and think that their decision to use a certain drug or alcohol once won’t affect their sobriety. Unfortunately, this confidence is what causes many alcoholics to relapse. Just a single drink may cause them to experience mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This may cause them to start drinking again.
To learn how to guard your sobriety, look for treatment options that teach you how to avoid triggers. If you feel like you need more support after completing alcohol rehab, you may want to sign up for an outpatient treatment program. This gives you more time to get used to a life of sobriety and abstinence. Finding treatment programs will usually be fairly easy. Most alcoholics will continue to work with the same alcohol rehab facilities.
Branch Out of Your Comfort Zone and Try Other Ways of Sober Fun
Many alcoholics are under the assumption that the only way that they can have fun is to drink. Drinking may be all that they are used to. When recovering, it’s important to keep yourself busy and entertained. You don’t want to allow boredom to set in. This may make you turn to alcohol or other drugs, like prescription drugs.
During the withdrawal and detox process at the alcohol rehab facility, you likely participated in many activities. It’s a good idea to continue these hobbies even after you’ve left the substance abuse treatment center. For example, if you frequently participated in art therapy, buy yourself some paintbrushes and paint. Sit down and paint the landscape at a park or use your imagination to come up with a creative piece.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between keeping busy and stuffing as many activities as possible into your schedule. Most people don’t actually like having a schedule with no free time or wiggle room. Instead, you want to sprinkle fun activities here and there throughout the week.
There are many sober activities and hobbies that can help you reach sobriety. Picking up a hobby or two will also help you become a much more well-rounded person. Consider the type of activities that you enjoyed prior to having a problem with substance abuse. Branch out of your comfort zone and try different activities.
Examples of Fun Sober Activities and Hobbies
There are many different sober activities that can be quite fun. Step out of your comfort zone and try the following activities:
- Go to a comedy club for a night filled with laughter and fun. Who knows? You might even end up on stage performing some day.
- Volunteer. Volunteer work can be very fulfilling and satisfying. Find a charity or an organization that aligns with your beliefs.
- Participate in sports or exercise. Exercise is great for the mind and the body. Join a sports team that participates or plays regularly to keep yourself preoccupied.
- Watch a movie. Instead of focusing on your own life, get sucked into different stories.
- Learn how to cook or practice new recipes. Cooking at home can teach you healthier eating habits. This can improve your physical health. Many people also find cooking to be very therapeutic. Best of all, the results are often delicious!
- Meditate or practice yoga. Meditation and yoga is good for your mental health. Both can help you relax and strengthen your mind
- Read a new book. Grow mentally and escape into another world by reading a new book. You could even read self-help books if you want to learn new habits or skills.
- Study a new language. Sign up for classes or even pick up language-training CDs and books to learn a new language.
- Travel. Go to a new country if you’re feeling super adventurous and a new city if you’re just looking for a new experience. You can even act as a tourist in your own city. You’d be surprised at how much you miss on a regular basis.
Taking up new hobbies and activities can be life changing. You’ll learn new habits and become a more well-rounded individual.
Avoid Social Use Because It Leads to Abuse
Many recovering addicts will tell you that they got lulled into a false sense of security after being abstinent for many years. Many people who used to be high-functioning alcoholics are usually under the assumption that they can control their alcohol use. They believe that they’ll be able to stop before they develop any sort of alcohol dependence.
If there’s anything that almost all recovering alcoholics agree on, it’s that social use often leads to alcohol abuse. Sobriety is a lifelong process. Once you’ve dabbled with addiction, social drinking will almost be impossible. Social drinking will only interrupt your road to recovery.
Cut Off Toxic People and Nourish Healthy Relationships
Toxic people can be detrimental to your recovery. One of the most important skills that the treatment programs will teach you is how to cut toxic people off. It’s important to know who is a good influence in your life and who is preventing you from succeeding.
During the recovery process, you should think long and hard about the people who are around you. Learn how to cut off toxic people and remove them from your life. This can include friends who encourage you to drink or other alcoholics in your life.
On the other hand, it’s also important to recognize those who are good influences. Nourish these relationships. These people may include those who encouraged you to seek substance abuse treatment.
Have a Plan for Life After Discharge
While everything may seem fine and dandy at the rehab centers, the circumstances change drastically when you leave. Once you leave the rehab center, you no longer have as much access to as many resources and tools.
It’s vital that you choose recovery programs that focus on aftercare planning or continuing care. These programs should look at how to deal with alcoholism and drug addiction even after the rehab program is completed. It will look at the type of skills that the patient should implement whenever they feel stressed. It should also look at the type of support groups and programs that the patient should continue to participate in even after the completion of the treatment programs.
The key is to have a plan in place. Figure out where you’re going to work, what you’re going to do and where you’re going to live. Have a good idea of the places and people you should avoid.
Baby Steps Are Better than Constantly Challenging Yourself
Take baby steps in your road to recovery. Remember that this is a lifelong process that cannot be rushed. Don’t try to constantly challenge yourself day by day. This can tire you out quite quickly. Instead, take baby steps.
Try something new every week and be proud of yourself. Take baby steps. If you feel overwhelmed, take a step back. Reach out to family and friends in your support group. Go to an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Learn How to Forgive Yourself
When abusing alcohol or drugs, there’s a good chance that you’ve ruined several relationships. You’ve probably acted out during this time and done some things that you’ve regret. While support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, encourage you to make it up to the wronged parties, you also need to accept that they may not always forgive you.
When on the road to recovery, it’s important to learn how to forgive yourself. Holding on to the shame and guilt will only come in the way of your recovery. Take any actions you deem necessary to make amends to those you have harmed. This includes repaying money that you’ve stolen or apologizing for any harmful things you’ve said.
If you’re having a hard time forgiving yourself and letting go, write out what you’ve done. Don’t forget to include why you feel angry with yourself. Having everything written down on paper can be very therapeutic. This gives you an opportunity to be completely honest with yourself.
You can also take this time to sit down and discuss your feelings with a sponsor or a mentor. Counseling and therapy can be particularly beneficial during these times as well.
Band Together with Like-Minded People to Get the Support You Need
If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse or dependence, don’t hesitate to reach out to recovering alcoholics. There’s a lot of support within the community, and many recovering alcoholics are happy to provide support to newcomers. If you’re looking for a mentor, join a 12step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also plenty of other support groups around for addiction treatment and recovery.
Being around like-minded people or people in similar situations can help ease your fears on quitting. You can share personal experiences with others to give off steam. You can also learn a lot from the experiences of others as well.
Here, at New England Recovery and Wellness, we understand the importance of having a strong support group. We encourage our patients to get to know one another. Also, we host many support group meetings for patients to share personal stories and words of advice.