At some point, having a drink with friends becomes more than a social event. You find that you don’t even go out with the group unless they plan to drink. You’ve fooled yourself into believing that when you are drinking alcohol, you have more fun and you’re more outgoing.
You also ran up the credit card buying rounds for everyone and you lost money being too hung over to go to work the next day. No matter how tired you are of listening to your family or friends tell you that you have an alcohol problem, in your sober moments you know that drinking is taking over your life.
People tell you to go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but you don’t think you’re like “those people.” The truth is, you are exactly where “those people” were when they realized that they were powerless over alcohol and started to do something about it.
Alcohol is readily available at 24-hour convenience stores and in clubs on a nightly basis. It’s legal to buy if you’re of age, so you can get it anytime the urge strikes. Alcohol abusers often argue that they can’t be an alcoholic because they drink beer or wine, not hard liquor.
Beer and wine may contain a lower percentage of alcohol than liquor, but if you drink enough of it, you get the same result. That’s part of the deception – beer drinks are notorious for bragging that they can down a six-pack of tall cans and hardly notice it.
Chemically speaking, alcohol is a depressant – so you may swing from the chandelier during the party, but later you’ll crash into despair later. Then you get another drink to stop feeling so bad, and the cycle repeats itself.
Alcohol abuse on a daily basis leads to impaired judgments, reduced coordination, aggression, and is often the fuel that ends with domestic violence or child abuse. The physical impact of drowning the body with alcohol includes nausea, upset digestion, sleep disturbances and eventually liver and brain cell damage.
Coming out of alcohol addiction is a complicated and painful process. Medical supervision is the best way to handle the withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, convulsions and hallucinations.
Once the withdrawal period is over, the process of rebuilding both body and behaviors begins. Nutritional changes are critical to overcome the damage caused by alcohol abuse.
Some drug interventions are useful. Antabuse was the first drug of its kind to prevent the body from breaking down alcohol, so drinking while taking this drug causes extreme physical discomfort. Another promising drug is Topiramate (Topomax), which helps alcoholics reduce the amount they drink or eliminate drinking altogether.
Breaking free from alcohol addiction requires a major attitude adjustment to support behavioral changes. Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon Family Groups are available in most every community for ongoing support of the alcoholic and the family. Other recovery groups and individual psychotherapy can further help overcome alcohol addiction.