It’s no secret that alcoholism is a serious problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 14.5 million adults aged 12 years and older in the United States have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). But what exactly is alcoholism? Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes strong cravings for alcohol, difficulty controlling one’s drinking, continuing to drink even when it causes problems and needing more and more alcohol to feel the same effects.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to know that help is available. This blog post will outline four gradual steps that can be taken to break the cycle of alcoholism and begin the journey to recovery.
1. Understand Your Relationship With Alcohol
The first step to breaking the cycle of alcoholism is understanding your relationship with alcohol. This means being honest with yourself about how much you drink, how often you drink, and why you drink. For example, do you drink to relieve stress or cope with anxiety? Do you drink because you’re bored or because you want to socialize? Once you clearly understand your drinking patterns, you can begin to address the underlying reasons for your drinking.
It’s also important to be aware of the negative consequences that drinking has had on your life. Alcoholism can lead to financial problems, relationship difficulties, health issues, and other problems. If you’ve been struggling in any of these areas, it may be time to take a closer look at your drinking habits.
Only when you understand your relationship with alcohol can you begin to take steps to change it. Therefore, the first step in breaking the cycle of alcoholism is to take an honest inventory within yourself.
2. Set Some Goals
The next step is to set some goals. If you’re unsure where to start, consider setting a goal to cut back on your drinking or take a break from drinking altogether. For example, you might set a goal to only drink on weekends or two drinks per day.
It’s important to make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable. If you set too difficult goals, you’re likely to get discouraged and give up. On the other hand, if your goals are too easy, you may not see the need to change your drinking habits.
Think about what you want to achieve by cutting back on your drinking or taking a break from drinking. Perhaps you want to improve your health, save money, or repair damaged relationships. Whatever your reason, make sure it’s something that is important to you and that will motivate you to stay on track.
Other goals could include attending AA meetings, seeing a therapist, or getting a sponsor. The important thing is to set goals that are right for you, and that will help you move towards recovery.
3. Detox From Alcohol
Once you have set some goals, it’s time to take action. It’s important to remember that perfection is not the goal here; progress is what counts.
Alcohol detoxification can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous process, so it’s important to do it under the care of a medical professional. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, shaking, sweats, and nausea. In some cases, withdrawal can even lead to seizures or death.
During detox, medical staff will monitor you closely and give you any necessary medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Once you have safely detoxed from alcohol, you can begin to focus on other aspects of treatment, such as therapy and 12-step programs.
One of the most important things to remember when breaking the cycle of alcoholism is that recovery is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs along the way, so it’s important to take things one day at a time. Rewards can be helpful in this step as they provide motivation to stick with your plan and remind you of how far you’ve come. Just be sure not to reward yourself with alcohol!
4. Seek Help When You Need It
If at any point during this process you feel like you need additional help, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor specializing in addiction recovery. There are also many great support groups available, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon, and SMART Recovery. These groups can provide invaluable support and guidance along the way.
Breaking the cycle of alcoholism is no easy feat, but it is possible with hard work and dedication. By taking things one day at a time and seeking help when needed, anybody can overcome addiction and start on the path toward recovery.