Drinking is recreational for many people, but not for everyone. As the weather warms up and summer days last longer, the cool wines and cocktails make more frequent appearances at summer gatherings and BBQs. Unfortunately, for some, alcohol consumption surpasses what can be categorized as recreational or even social. In fact, 16 million people in the United States above the age of 18 have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD); even adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD.
Like any addiction, there are steps to recovery for those seeking a critical lifestyle change. The first, of course, is recognizing that the problem exists. Symptoms of AUD include:
- Dependency on alcohol (i.e., wanting to stop, but feeling unable to)
- Drinking more to get the same effects
- Drinking even though it makes you feel depressed or anxious
- Much of your time is spent drinking alcohol
In order to deal with this addiction, those suffering from AUD should consider the following steps toward recovery.
1 . Recognize the Problem
Although it sounds cliché, acknowledging there is a problem is the first step to recovery. It is difficult to admit one has an addiction, especially when the addiction is to something so easily and frequently consumed by so many. However, realizing a problem exists brings you one step closer to recovery.
2. Seek Help and Support
Joining a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), seeking medical attention or even asking a friend or loved one to hold you accountable is a step in the right direction. Acknowledging you cannot reach recovery alone is not only brave, but admirable.
3. Detox and Re-detox or Rinse and Repeat
Once you have acknowledged there is a problem and have sought help, you can begin treating AUD. Substitute your desire for a glass of champagne with a glass of sparkling water. If you are attending a party or Happy Hour with colleagues, ask for seltzer. In moments when temptation is strong, a substitution will not only keep you preoccupied, it will also keep you hydrated. After drinking alcohol for so long, your body will welcome the healthy change.
The steps to recovery are not only possible, but they are within reach. Although alcohol abuse is so prevalent, it does not mean it should be ignored. There are plenty of Americans struggling with AUD today who have yet to acknowledge it. If you fear you might be one of those 16 million individuals, speak to a therapist today. The Advantage Mental Health Center’s team of experienced professionals is available to walk you through the necessary steps to recovery – the steps toward a brighter, healthier future. There is hope and we’re here to help.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for you or your loved one.