Anyone looking for help to get sober or stop drinking has a number of options, which can make the process both a bit more confusing and a bit more difficult knowing which way to go.
Some people will get sober on their own without any intervention or help to all, but the majority will need some assistance, short-term and long-term.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the oldest and perhaps best known source for helping people to get sober, and there are a number of other 12 step fellowships that relate to different addictions, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous etc.
A number of people will go into residential treatment centers, or rehabs, and some will seek a variety of outpatient type sources of help, commonly referred to as partial hospital treatment.
Historically, Alcoholics Anonymous has been thought of as the go to place for anyone who has a drink problem, or wants to get help getting sober. For many this is still the case. People sometimes debate the effectiveness of AA, but for many people this is an academic exercise when trying to get sober.
If someone has a serious drink problem, then going to AA is inevitably a good first place to start. It is certainly fair to say that people have problems with some aspects of the AA program, normally centring around the God question, and these are not always easy to address.
On the other side, once someone gets sober and stays sober, they have a much greater freedom in their life to address any of the issues they feel uncomfortable with, either in AA or in other areas of their life.
One of the real aspects of AA at its best, is the freedom people have to simply turn up at a meeting, to stay or to leave at their own will – there should normally be no pressure within any meeting on any individual to disclose information about themselves or their situation.
The anonymity aspect of AA is a crucial part of giving someone who is newly sober a degree of protection, both within AA and outside it. This level of protection gives people some time and space to come to terms with what it means to be sober for themselves.
It is also fair to say that the reality of AA in terms of this level of freedom does not always add up or match the theoretical sense of how it should be.
People in Alcoholics Anonymous may often seem over keen or sometimes a bit overbearing in terms of trying to convince people that AA is the right solution. There are also groups in AA that very definitely have what could be called a cult dynamic, and anyone experiencing any group of this type would do well to run a proverbial mile.
Being aware of the failings of AA is not a criticism of such, simply an acknowledgement of its reality. Anyone newly sober or getting sober may not be immediately aware of these issues, but will probably come to acknowledge and understand some of them in due course.
Rehabs / Treatment Centers
The enormous growth of treatment centers over the last few years has led to a belief that anyone needing help for a drink or drug problem needs to go to a rehab in order to get sober.
Whilst this is not the case, as anyone can go directly to a meeting of AA or NA, many people find the idea of a rehab attractive in so far as it provides something of a bubble out of their normal life, away from family, friends and work.
In many ways a rehab or treatment center is intended to be something of a bubble, providing a safe space where people can address issues away from day-to-day distractions.
There are obviously benefits to this, as well as potential problems.
The main benefits are that it gives people time and space away from day-to-day life to begin to look at and address problems that may have been long seated and serious for their entire life.
People also have problems with the fact that a number of rehabs can seem quite institutional, and many have fairly strict rules and guidelines that cover every aspect of an individual’s life, from what clothes they can wear, to what music they can listen to, to what perfume they can use etc.
Many rehabs make a virtue of these types of rules and conditions, insisting they provide a structured framework that allow people to address more fundamental issues uncluttered.
On the other hand, many people find the rigidity of these rules and regulations incredibly oppressive, and as such it can have the opposite effect to that intended.
Having said all that, there are numerous different types of treatment centers around, although different from each other in many ways, and if time permits is normally possible to find one that seems to be in keeping with what the individual who is seeking treatment is looking for.
Treatment Cost and Programs
The other issue around rehabs and treatment centers is cost. Whilst most rehabs are fairly reluctant to give any idea of costs, Hazelden estimate that a 28 day stay in one of their treatment centres is likely to cost around US$30,000.
This is only a very rough estimate, and some of the high end luxury rehabs can charge three or four times this amount. It does however give some indication of cost, a cost that can often be covered by a health insurance plan
It should also be mentioned that most rehabs base their treatment programs on the 12 step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Whilst they don’t actually use the AA program itself, they take some elements of it and adapt them to their own type of recovery ideas.
In addition, most treatment centers will actively encourage residents to attend meetings of AA/NA etc whilst they are in treatment, and once they have left as well as a form of after-care.
Some AA meetings will take place on site at the rehab itself, although the meeting will be independent and have no connection to the center.
Anyone getting sober is likely to have to do with the issue of withdrawals from alcohol, whether or not a detox is necessary, and possibly the effects of withdrawal from narcotics as well.
If someone has been drinking heavily for a while, or to a point where it has become a problem for them, then suddenly stopping is likely to have an impact on them.
Not only their physical body, but on the emotional issues it is likely to start bringing up as well.
The reality is, that withdrawal effects from alcohol can vary significantly from individual to individual, irrespective of the amount they have been drinking beforehand.
What is important is to be aware of the potential dangers of withdrawal, how they can be managed and how best to prepare for the need for a proper detox.
A lot of people will get sober through a rehab or treatment center, and one issue about which rehab to choose is its approach to how to detox someone.
Any rehab should have clinical facilities and staff, or access to such locally, who can assess whether there is a need for a detox, and if so overseas and manage it in a safe and effective manner.
Clinical facilities in terms of staff, location and appropriate medication are a key element of ensuring the safety of an individual once they get sober, and beginning the process of rebuilding their life.
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or alcoholism are the body experiencing the withdrawal of something it is used to, which it has become heavily addicted to.
It is almost worth thinking of these symptoms as the body fighting back in the way.
Symptoms can range from nausea, headaches, shakes, sweats etc through to full-blown hallucinations, DT’s etc.
Many medical websites offer a full range of the potential symptoms of withdrawal, as well as a timeline of how this can affect people.
While this can be helpful it is worth remembering that individuals do differ significantly as to how they withdraw from alcoholism, and what is important is to be aware of the potential dangers, and have strategies in place in order to cope with them.
When a person does not go into rehab, and sobers up on their own in any way, the process of managing withdrawal is normally referred to as a home detox.
This does not normally mean that they actually do do any type of formal detox, it normally refers to the process of simply getting through it, albeit in a fairly unpleasant manner.
What is crucially important that someone is getting sober, is at they have access to medical help, and a medical assessment of what they are doing.
This is best done through a primary care physician, but if this is not possible and maybe other help available.
There are a number of websites available that give practical advice about the possible effects of withdrawal from alcoholism and how to manage it.
This is a phrase that is used to describe anyone who is addicted to alcohol and any other drug or narcotic.
A significant number of alcoholics also use drugs and pills, prescribed and non-prescribed, and this can also be a significant issue in stopping using them.
There are significant potential dangers when stopping using any type of narcotic, and these potential dangers can be multiplied significantly when the person has been using alcohol as well.
If someone is entering rehab, it is essential that completely honest about what drugs they have been using, how much and or how long.
This can be very tricky, as someone who is an active alcoholic will almost invariably minimise the amount they have been drinking and using.
If someone is getting sober on their own, even if they are using some type of therapy or 12 step based program to help them, it is essential to get some type of medical help as well.
This medical help can be in terms of assessing the need for a detox, and how that can best be managed. It is really important that this process is looked at as soon as a decision is made to stop drinking or using.
Many people use of the terms alcohol, alcoholic and alcoholism almost interchangeably, and there is often a lot of confusion as to what these terms actually mean, and how they relate to each other. In the context of a rehab/treatment center it is really important to understand at some level what these terms mean in order to make sure that the rehab is addressing relevant addiction terms accordingly.
Most people are aware of what alcohol is, and the different types of alcohol. For many people alcohol is not a problem at all in their lives. Many people do not drink at all, either for religious reasons or social ones.
Other people drink moderately and have a sense of control or normality over their drinking.
These types of people are often referred to in the context of alcoholism as social drinkers. Social drinkers represent a large proportion of society who are able to safely consume different types of alcohol as and when they choose, with no significant impact on themselves or others.
For other people, alcohol can represent a serious problem in their lives. This can manifest itself often at an early age when people are in their teens, through to people in later life.
People’s patterns of drinking may differ significantly, but there is often a common thread in that other people start to be concerned about their drinking, and the actual impact of their drinking has a detrimental effect on their lives at some level.
It is worth making a distinction that not everyone who has a problem with alcohol is necessarily an alcoholic. That may well be people who have a problem with alcohol at different points in their lives who are able to stop on their own and see the damage that they are doing to themselves and others.
Making a distinction between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic heavy drinker is an important distinction, not least because important considerations follow from both these patterns of drinking.
Someone who is a heavy drinker will most likely have become at some level addicted to alcohol as a consequence of continuous use. In the same way that someone becomes addicted to cigarettes, someone who is a heavy drinker will start drinking moderately and over time become more and more dependent on it.
This heavy drinking may well affect their lives, both their work lives and their family lives in some fairly obvious way. It is likely that once realised, the heavy drinker will be able to stop, although they will often need help and support from family, friends and possibly outside agencies.
Someone who is an alcoholic may outwardly displayed many of the same patterned behaviour and patterns of drinking as someone who is a heavy drinker. The real difference is likely to be an internal one, with the alcoholic having a significantly different mental and emotional attitude to alcohol and life.
There are many different patterns of alcoholics, and of alcoholism in general. It is probably safe to assume a few general pointers, although they should not be taken as a rigid definition.
Firstly, anyone of any age, status or background can become an alcoholic. There are no limits or prerequisites. Many people who are alcoholics grew up in alcoholic homes, and there is a widespread belief that there is some genetic component to people’s alcoholism.
Secondly, an alcoholic may well start off drinking at any age, and may start drinking as a social drinker as outlined above, and progress into active alcoholism at any point. Alternatively the alcoholic may start off drinking alcoholically, again at any age, and carry on drinking alcoholically for long as they are able to.
It is also safe to assume that someone who is an alcoholic reaches a point in their drinking when they are completely unable to stop on their own resources, and in most cases lose any will to try and stop as well. For a better understanding of the nature of alcoholism, it is suggested you read the book Alcoholics Anonymous, or attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In its simplest form, alcoholism refers to someone who is an alcoholic, in the same way that someone who is a diabetic is someone who has diabetes. This obviously is an oversimplification in one sense but does stress the point accordingly.
Whilst people have had drink problems for most of humanites time on earth, it is only relatively recently that alcoholism has been recognised as an illness, and as such people who drink alcoholically have been recognised as people who suffer from this illness, as opposed to people who have a moral weakness or lacking character.
In some ways this is a fairly spurious distinction, but is an important context for many people once they get sober. Alcoholism as an illness was recognised by certain members of the medical profession at the time that Alcoholics Anonymous was being formed, and the formation of this society gave significant growth to this belief, both within the medical profession and beyond.
Since then alcoholism is most often referred to as a disease, which has different implications to it being an illness, and has been generalised into a form of addiction in which alcohol and drug addiction and other forms of addiction are treated as the same issue.
This approach to treating alcoholism the same as other types of addiction has largely been formulated by rehabs and treatment centers, and is one that should be taken with much caution.
Alcoholism in its own right is probably best understood by people who are alcoholics themselves, and the relief in terms of understanding that it is a progressive illness gives many people a sense of context and reality that allows them to set in motion the process of recovery, and rebuild their lives both internally and externally.
The issue of alcohol withdrawal, historically often referred to as dt’s, is a far more serious problem than the term dt’s often implies, and is an issue that needs to be understood and dealt with and managed safely when anyone is stopping drinking.
The issue of alcohol withdrawal will normally always refer to someone who is either an alcoholic, or someone who has a serious addiction to alcohol and is considered a heavy drinker, or a drinker who is at risk to themselves and possibly other people.
It is certainly possible that this person has also used drugs of some type, either prescription or non-description. This means that anyone who is an alcoholic who is looking to stop drinking needs to be aware that there are potential serious effects of stopping drinking suddenly, both from the drink itself and from the a combination of drink and any drugs they may have been using.
For many people who are considering stopping drinking in the context of being an alcoholic or a heavy drinker addicted to alcohol are likely to seek help in a rehab or a treatment center. This is a really important issue, and should be a major factor when considering which rehab treatment center to enter.
The issue is twofold. The rehab should have a fully qualified medical staff who are able to access whether or not the individual is at risk from alcohol withdrawal, and if they deem that individual to be at risk to manage the withdrawal in a safe and secure medical environment.
If the rehab itself does not have the staff and the facilities to do this, then it should have an arrangement with a local clinical facility such as a hospital who can oversee and perform such a withdrawal in a safe manner.
It is worth being aware that if a rehab does not have such facilities and staff on site and has to refer you to a local clinical facility, then the cost of that facility may well be an extra item for the individual to pay, and may well not be covered under their insurance.
Not everyone who stops drinking has problems in terms of alcohol withdrawal, it is very much an individual experience that needs to be assessed and monitored by qualified medical staff in a facility where they are able to do this.
Once this procedure has been assessed it is also really important that the rehab has qualified medical staff on site or on call 24/7 in the event that there are any problems that need to be addressed.
It is also worth mentioning that alcohol withdrawal is also often referred to as an alcohol detox, or a drug and alcohol detox or a medical detox. This is important, as many rehabs will offer what they refer to as an holistic detox, which is a completely different process to a medically supervised drug and/or alcohol detox.
A holistic detox is a name that excites many people because of the implications of it. What it really refers to is a cleansing process of the body and mind and spirit. This idea is appealing, and often people are drawn to this without any real understanding of what is actually involved.
An holistic detox can refer to anything from a number of therapy sessions, through to a mountain climbing course, through to colonic irrigation through to things such as a sweat lodge. Some of these processes are potentially quite dangerous, and great care should be taken before signing up to them.
Anyone who is considering giving up drinking on their own, i.e. not going through a rehab or a treatment center would be well advised to seek medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner before beginning the process.
Many people do safely stop drinking without any major side-effects, but the implications of suddenly giving up alcohol after many months or years of abuse of fairly obvious.
Many people decide to stop drinking by going to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, which allows them to carry on with their normal day to day life, assuming they have one.
Even so they should be well aware of the potential effects of alcohol withdrawal, and would be well advised to seek medical advice prior to stopping drinking, and at any point during the first few days or weeks of being sober if they are at all concerned about any aspect of their health that they become aware of once they are sober.
People often ask what alcoholism symptoms, often at a way of trying to create a checklist of what constitutes an alcoholic, on the basis that a diagnosis will help confirm the illness in someone and lead to a recovery.
This approach has been fuelled in many ways by the acceptance in medical circles that alcoholism is an illness, often referred to also as a disease, and inevitably this will lead people to think that because alcoholism is an illness, there are obvious symptoms or signs of it that can be identified and labelled.
The reality of active alcoholism is much more difficult to define.
Anyone who lives with what has lived with or has been affected by someone else’s alcoholism will either be painfully aware of it, or completely in denial of it.
Often an individual or independent observer would be able to see that someone has a serious problem drink, either by their behaviour or that attempting to cover up their problems, or the inability to see their own truth about the problem.
Is worth pondering the recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous to have a better understanding of how alcoholism can be understood and processed.
For someone who is an alcoholic themselves, Alcoholics Anonymous offers a wide range of literature details experience of Alcoholics Anonymous, and presents many stories and examples of people who identify as alcoholics.
The stories and people’s personal sharing is give the individual and opportunity, if they so choose, to identify and begin the process of realising that they themselves may be an alcoholic.
Someone who is closely affected by another person’s alcoholism, either family or friends, then there is a separate concept organisation known as Al-Anon which will help the individual break out of that and measurement with the alcoholic or the alcoholic family and begin the process of re-establishing their lives as a separate person.
Once this process has started, then it is more likely the individual will gain some type of objectivity about the individual drinking and their alcoholism.
It is also were saying that Alcoholics Anonymous, along with other organisations, produces a wide range of literature that tries to explain alcoholism that is specifically geared to people who are not themselves alcoholics, but may well come into contact with people you are and who seek help.
Anyone entering a rehab for a problem with alcohol, commonly referred to as alcoholism or alcohol addiction would be well advised to be aware of the potential effects of alcohol withdrawal, sometimes referred to as a detox, historically referred to as the DT’s.
The effects of withdrawal from alcohol addiction or alcoholism can be severe in some people, and it is a good idea to make sure that anyone entering a rehab is clinically assessed, by experienced clinical staff to monitor the effects of withdrawal from alcohol.
One important aspect of alcoholism that is often not fully understood is that it is regarded commonly as what is termed a progressive illness.
There are sometimes a debate about whether alcoholism is a disease or an illness or a combination of nature or nurture, and people will have differing views on this question.
Too many people who have got sober using Alcoholics Anonymous, they are very aware that her own alcoholism is a progressive illness, and for many it is the progressive element that is really important.
ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL ADDICTION
The progression of alcoholism in many people is not simply a issue of tolerance for alcohol, it is a description of both how their drinking has progressed over a period of time, how that emotional state has changed during that time, and how alcohol has become at the end of the drinking the only thing of real value, the only thing that needs to be protected and kept safe.
One of the reasons this is so important, is in terms of understanding the nature of alcoholism, and in truth the only people who probably really do understand it either active alcoholics themselves, or people who have got sober and would consider themselves to be alcoholics in recovery.
The nature of alcoholism as an illness can be quite varied and widespread, the progression of it is an element that people who are alcoholics will at some level be able to identify with, either in terms of the tolerance or lack of tolerance of their drinking, or a more general felt sense of their inner and outer world closing in on them, and alcohol remaining the only thing that is holding them together.
The nature of alcoholic treatment can be detailed in certain ways, but should always be fully understood that there are a number of variables that determine whether any form of addiction treatment programs will actually work or not.
Probably the most proven method of treatment for an alcoholic is effected through the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous, and its 12-step program of recovery.
There has also grown a huge industry of treatment centres and rehabs which offer a wide range of varying treatment programs for an alcoholic, normally residential, and normally for a period of around 28/30 days.
One of the main issues concerning any type of treatment for an alcoholic relates to what is commonly referred to as the self delusion of the alcoholic themselves.
This normally refers to the nature of an alcoholic themselves, in terms of emotional and mental character, and the nature of how they relate to alcohol itself.
There are a number of different interpretations of what being an alcoholic means, and how alcoholism itself manifests within different people.
They are also a number of common features of alcoholism and alcoholics, which allow people to relate to each other at a particular level, and can help in terms of enabling people who are alcoholics to get a measure of stability and stay sober.
An alcoholic treatment program, whether it be in a rehab or treatment center, will need to address a number of highly sensitive areas, one of which will be the relationship between the alcoholic and alcohol itself.
It is probably fair to say, that at some point in their drinking, an alcoholic will come to see alcohol as being the solution to their problems, rather than the problem itself. This may happen at the beginning of their drinking, or maybe an element of the progressive nature of their drinking, Becoming the only type of reality they are able to understand towards the end.
This sense that alcohol becomes the only thing that is holding them together is perhaps unique to alcoholics, and is one of the hardest things for anyone outside of that circle to either understand or be able to deal with.
What is important, is that there is a safe environment created that allows an alcoholic to begin the process of feeling safe enough to dismantle the various emotional coping mechanisms that they have erected in order to keep themselves safe. This can include a variety of emotional survival skills as well as the main coping mechanism, alcohol itself.
Recovery from alcoholism can in some ways be as difficult to understand at the nature of alcoholism itself when someone is drinking as a full-blown alcoholic.
This in part is because recovery from alcoholism for most people is not simply about stopping drinking.
Stopping drinking is an essential and crucial part of the process, but for many people who intend to stay sober long-term, there is a real need to address and deal with a variety of underlying emotional and mental drives that have fuelled by drinking in the first place.
Many people will often talk about the issue of willpower in connection to either their drinking, that ability to stop drinking, and their ability to get sober or stay sober, or as a reference to an individual’s self will and the ability to seemingly force their life to happen.
Much of this can really refer to a distorted understanding of willpower, self well and alcoholism itself.
For anyone who is an active alcoholic, the issue of willpower often does not simply arise.
The reason for this, is that there are many alcoholics who simply do not wish to stop drinking, and never do or never try to.
This is not because they are oblivious to the reality of what their drinking is doing to them, but because the nature of that alcoholism in someway turns them in would, and makes them believe that however bad the lifers either internally or externally, alcohol becomes the only thing that matters, and the only thing that is actually holding them together.
In those cases, will power does not refer to an individual’s desire to stop drinking.Willpower is more likely to be seen in how an alcoholic will try their life board in order to allow them to keep drinking, and somehow seemingly hold themselves or their lives together, however precariously.
This sense of trying to force life to happen, regardless of the reality of how that life presents itself, is often a key characteristic of alcoholism. It is often referred to as self will, which is one expression of this type of enormous energy that somehow can manifest itself in a drive to create and living what in today’s jargon is referred to as a virtual reality.
Alcohol abuse is a term that is often used amongst many others, such as alcohol dependency, when people are in some senses either trying to avoid using the word alcoholism, or when people are quite significantly opposed to the idea of alcoholism being a progressive illness.
In some ways, the terminology itself does not really matter.
People debate the nature of alcoholism, whether or not it is an illness, and whether or not a rehab or treatment center is the best option, whether people should or should not use Alcoholics Anonymous etc.
Whilst all of these are valid questions and debates in their own right, the reality is that someone has a drink problem it should be owned as such, either by the individual themselves if they are able, or by family members, or by an employer or friends.
If the fact that the person has a drink problem can be owned, that Lisa is a process set in motion whereby the nature of the problem is identified, whatever the terminology.
Once a problem has been to some extent owned, then at least a search some type of solution will move forward.
If the debate stays around terminology, be it alcoholism, alcohol abuse, binge drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous, then quite literally the person may never get the proper help and treatment that they need.
There is a much greater sense that if people are open to the reality of their lives, then they can see over time clearly the nature of the problem and of the solution.
Alcohol abuse may relate to either active alcoholism, heavy drinking at a sustained level, periods of binge drinking or simply a long-term decline in an individual’s sense of motivation and purpose about the life.
Getting an individual to relate to the fact and understand the fact that they have a problem with alcohol is obviously the most difficult and pressing challenge.
If someone is an alcoholic or has a serious alcohol addiction and / or alcohol abuse there is a fair chance that at some point they have moved that locus of control from within themselves to alcohol.
At this point they are likely to see alcohol as being the solution to their problems, rather than the problem itself.
It is this viewpoint that is the most damaging to both themselves and their own lives, and is without doubt the most difficult barrier to get the the person to lower and seek help.
Binge drinking is one of those phrases that is generally used to refer to people who go off on what is also sometimes called a drinking spree, that may in reality last days weeks or even months.
The meaning behind binge drinking is that whilst an individual may go off on one for a certain period of time, there will then follow another period of time, short or long, where they do not drink and stay sober.
The thought process and sometimes the intent behind this approach, drinking is to imply that because they have periods of time when they do not drink they do not actually have a problem.
This line of thought can be well-meaning, and can arise from people’s confusion about the fact that they can drink excessively for a period of time and then either stop or go for another period of time without drinking at all.
This type of drinking gives rise to the illusion of control, and is a myth in many ways concerning both the nature of alcoholism, and a sense of control or not that an individual may have concerning their ability to control their consumption of alcohol.
Anyone familiar with the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous will be aware that at meetings of AA there are numerous sayings is and viewpoints that AA members have and are often willing to share concerning their understanding of alcohol and alcoholism.
Some of these sayings can seem a bit trite, and some of them a bit suspect or dubious.
One of the better sayings however someone is likely to hear at an AA meeting is something to the effect that alcoholism is not about how much you drink, or when you drink, or what type of drink you have, but what alcohol does to you when you do drink.
However this sentiment may be put, it is pointing to a pretty fundamental truth that it is not about the structure of someone’s drinking in terms of amount or time, but it is about the effect of alcohol on an individual which should be the starting point for an assessment of whether or not they have a problem.
When people talk about signs of alcoholism, there is quite often a sense of a hidden agenda, which is sometimes unfair but which often pervades a fear that other people may have about someone else’s drinking or their behaviour associated with drinking.
Whilst many people still debate the nature of alcoholism, there is a widespread belief that an element of it is at least hereditary, witnessed by the fact that a significant number, if not a majority of members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are sober grew up in alcoholic homes.
Whilst none of this is literally provable, whilst Alcoholics Anonymous continues to grow, there are essentially second and third generation recovering alcoholics, a lot of whom give witness to this fact that there is a sense of generational alcoholism within their families.
It is partly this reason that leads people to be overly conscious and perhaps a bit sensitive to their own children’s drinking and behaviour, at different ages and different stages.
If someone has either recovered from a drink problem themselves, or is aware of alcoholism within their family, then there is a real sense that they are likely to look out for signs of alcoholism within their own family, and especially within their children.
There is often a line of thought that if you can spot the signs of alcoholism early enough, then some type of treatment can be administered early enough and in the case of an adolescent or young person’s drinking perhaps prevent many years of active alcoholism.
Whilst this line of thinking is very understandable and in some sense reasonable, there are dangers to it.
SIGNS OF ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT
One particular danger is that of essentially shipping and adolescent or young person off to rehab, often against their will, because someone else believes they might have a drink problem.
Sadly many rehabs encourage this type of intervention, and will use the parents fear as a way of engineering a perceived need for some type of alcoholism treatment.
Any type of intervention of this nature, at any age, can quite literally do more harm than good.
In many ways, if a parent is in recovery from alcoholism themselves, or there is this issue of generational altruism, then the family would be much better encouraged to attend meetings of Al-Anon and Al-Ateen, where the individuals will be exposed to the reality of our close as it has affected them.
In addition they are likely to attend open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and overall come much more educated about the nature of alcoholism, both within their family and potentially within themselves.
This is probably the best type of preventative treatment – education.
Alcoholism and addiction often lumped together as being the same thing, with alcoholism simply being an addiction to alcohol.
Anyone trying to understand the nature of alcoholism for several reason, will quickly understand that whilst an addiction to alcohol is certainly part of the nature of alcoholism, the term itself encompasses an illness that is much more than simply a physical addiction craving for alcohol.
There is much medical debate, still, about alcohol, alcoholism, alcohol dependency etc. What is much more pronounced in terms of recovery is that there is a lots of help available, either through cost at programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, through residential treatment centers and rehabs and a number of outreach alcohol and drug recovery teams in local communities.
The idea of alcoholism being an illness was first put forward in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and has become widely accepted in the recovery movement as being true.
What is less widely accepted is what the nature of that illness is.
As with a lot of illnesses, if you want to have a real picture of what alcoholism is, then the best place to go is to an individual who suffers from it.
In this context talking to someone who is an alcoholic in recovery is likely to give an insight into some of the traits and behaviours and thought processes that lie beneath a very obvious drink problem of which the alcoholic is very often in active denial of.
ALCOHOLISM and ADDICTION
Going to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous would allow someone to hear a wide variety of different experiences of alcoholism, all of which would have points that were very different from each other, and all of which would have points that were in some ways markedly similar.
The thing that perhaps is most important to realise is that for the majority of alcoholics, at some point in their drinking they see alcohol has been the solution to their problems, rather than the problem itself.
The majority of alcoholics will deepen this belief and lead a life that effectively protects alcohol as they increasingly believe it is the only thing that is holding them together both spiritually, mentally and physically.
Many people are familiar with the term counselling, and also with the term alcoholic or alcoholism, but there can still be some confusion about both terms, especially when they are linked together.
The definition of alcoholism, or trying to decide if someone is an alcoholic or not is in many ways often an irrelevant issue.
if someone has a drink problem and needs help, then focus on that and not arbitrary definitions of what an alcoholic is or isn’t.
The terms counselling and therapy often interchangeable, and there are quite literally a wide variety of different types of therapy and counselling available.
Anyone entering into therapy or counselling of a general nature for any reason, is likely at some point to alert the counsellor that they have a drink problem.
Any reputable therapist or counsellor will have had some part of their training directed towards what is normally referred to as substance abuse, and they should be able to detect that alcohol is an underlying problem, or is the main issue behind the person’s problems even if the individual themselves cannot see it.
A good therapist or counsellor will focus on this and try and direct the individual to obtaining help for their alcohol problem, either by going to Alcoholics Anonymous, entering some type of residential rehab or treatment center or some other method.
In addition, many therapists and counsellors will effectively advertise themselves as alcohol recovery councillors, and they may well be what name as recovering alcoholics themselves.
This means that they are individuals who once drank alcoholically, have got sober and stayed sober, and direct their counselling or therapy schools towards people specifically who have drink and or drug dependencies.
The other context in which alcoholism counselling can come up is in the area of residential treatment centers and rehabs.
The majority of treatment centers and rehabs will employ a number of clinical staff as well as a number of modern clinical staff in various capacities. The clinical staff should include a number of trained therapists and counsellors, as a large part of the treatment centers addiction treatment program will focus on a combination of group therapy and individual counselling on a one-to-one basis.
The nature of alcoholism can sometimes be debated in a theoretical sense, the most common debate being between nature and nurture.
There is a place for this debate, but for the majority of people are causing is best understood either by those who have it, those who are in recovery from it and those who are otherwise widely affected by it i.e. family, friends, employers and society generally.
The belief that alcoholism is an illness is relatively recent in medical terms, and is generally accepted although there is some dissent in certain countries.
Whilst this is important, what is more important is to get people who have a drink problem that is destroying their lives and the lives of those around them any type of help that will work, will help to get them sober and more importantly keep them sober.
Most people assume that if someone has a drink problem the starting place for their recovery is a treatment center or a rehab, where they will go for a residential stay normally of up to 28 days, and then when they come out 10 meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and stay sober that way.
This is certainly one route, and certainly a common one for many people.
ALCOHOLISM OUTPATIENT RECOVERY
What is also true is that there are many many more millions of people who go directly to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and never go near a rehab treatment center, either residential or outpatient.
This is not to knock treatment centers or rehabs, simply to make the case that there are many ways people can use help that is available in order to get sober.
People can certainly go to a rehab or a treatment center, people can do to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step fellowships or a variety of what are commonly referred to as secular organisations which tends to use it on end as life skills to help people get sober as a posed to a 12 step program.
There are many residential treatment centres and rehabs which also offer outpatient help, either as an extension to a resident’s addiction treatment program once they have left that we have, or simply as a form of outreach work to the local community.
There are many people who use different types of recovery who are able to carry on working at the same time, who simply would not be able to either take the time or do not have the money to go into a residential rehab.
Alcohol poisoning is not often talked about in the context of rehab or treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse, but is a hugely important part of the recovery process.
The issue behind alcohol poisoning is twofold.
Firstly is the reality of where someone who has been drinking alcohol for a long time has got to, in terms of the damage they have already done to their body and mind, and the need to recover from it.
Secondly is the potential damage that alcohol can do to an individual, whether they are a heavy drinker or an alcoholic.
The key to helping people understand about alcohol poisoning is education.
This is not to say that simply educating people will free them from alcoholism or heavy drinking, but it will help to create an environment where people can understand much more readily the issues behind why people drink, and what help there is available for them and their loved ones.
Anyone who has had dealings with an alcoholic or heavy drinker will be well aware of how difficult it can be and usually is to get them to see that they have a problem.
In the understanding of alcoholism, it is generally understood by people who are themselves recovering alcoholics and people who work in the field of alcoholism, that the extent of denial that most alcoholics have of the problem is essentially a defence mechanism.
It may be a bit odd to call it a defence mechanism, but for most alcoholics call at some point becomes the solution to their problems, rather than the problem itself.
This may be in stark contrast to the reality of the life of an alcoholic, which may well be in total chaos, both internally and externally.
It requires a level of experience of alcoholism to fully understand this, but it is also widely accepted that the mind of the alcoholic is often as abnormal in this record as is the body of an alcoholic in terms of how they react to alcohol.
Alcohol poisoning can be a real and substantive threat to individual who drinks too much, be they an alcoholic or not.
It is hugely important that people educate themselves and others, both formally and informally as to the dangers of alcohol and alcoholism, and hopefully this will begin the process of making a significant contribution to the problem.
An alcoholism detox is possibly going to be needed in the event of anyone who is an active alcoholic, or even someone who has been drinking heavily for a long period of time but would not technically be considered an alcoholic.
Sometimes there is much debate between what is alcoholism and heavy drinking, but in the issue of recovery from alcoholism, and in particular the need for an alcoholism detox, it is a fairly irrelevant issue.
Anyone who has a serious problem with alcohol is likely to need help, whether they admit that themselves on what.
It is sometimes much more obvious to people around them, be they family, employer, co-workers or simply friends.
Whether or not help is offered and / or accepted can obviously be a difficult issue.
Assuming that the person who has a drink problem is willing to accept some sort of help, then the issue of an alcoholism detox is likely to occur.
Anyone who has been thinking heavily is likely to have been hiding that in some way from people close to them.
People who have a drink problem increasingly grow protective of alcohol, and the need to prevent other people taking alcohol with from them, or stopping them trying to drink.
In addition, it is quite possible that people who have a drink problem, or who are alcoholics, have either in the past of currently been using some type of narcotics or drugs.
The issue with all of this, is that it is quite unlikely that either the alcoholic admits to a lot of this, or that people around them will know the full extent of their drinking and possible drug use.
For this reason it is really important that anyone seeking help for a drink and/or a drug problem is assessed by medically qualified personnel to see if they need a medical detox, and if they do for that detox to be overseen and undertaken by medically qualified staff in a safe clinical environment.
If the individual with a drink problem is entering a rehab, then it is important to check that the rehab has access to such staff and facilities, either in-house, or with a local clinical facility such as a hospital.
An alcoholism or treatment center normally refers to a rehab, a residential rehab, where someone who has a problem with alcohol and, either considers themselves, or is considered by other people as an alcoholic, can go to get help and treatment.
The terms treatment center and rehab are pretty much interchangeable, although the extent of services and help available in either one can vary quite widely.
An alcoholism or treatment center will invariably treat people who not only are considered to have a drink problem, but may also be addicted to cortex and /or description drugs, and possibly other addictions such as gambling etc.
One of the main obstacles to anyone entering an alcoholism treatment center is the sense of denial that the alcoholics themselves will have about their drink and possible drug problem as well.
One of the main issues behind alcoholism, and the inability to help an alcoholic, is the fact that alcoholic will quite blatantly either live or try and hide the true extent of the problem.
The practical consequences of this denial can be pretty horrific, both for the alcoholics themselves, and for people close to them, especially if those people are trying to help them.
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT CENTER
Alcoholism is more understood today than perhaps it has ever been, but still presents huge issues in terms of helping both the alcoholic and those close to them.
Perhaps the main value of any treatment center or rehab that courts to offer addiction treatment programs is that it can create a safe place where someone with an alcoholic can mod any seek help, but can begin to explore the process of their relationship with alcohol, and why it seemingly affects the way it does.
Any rehab or treatment center that offers help to alcoholics is likely to employ a wide range of clinical and non-clinical staff.
They are also likely to employ a number of alcoholics who are themselves in recovery, either as clinical or non-clinical staff.
When people talk about an alcoholic in recovery, they are generally referring to someone who has been an active alcoholic and has stopped drinking and has stayed sober since then.
The value of a recovering alcoholic working in a team of center or a rehab, is that in addition to the skills they bring as an individual, the hope is that they can give the residents in a rehab a sense of hope and purpose for their own future, as they are showing that they themselves can stay sober and rebuild their lives.
An alcohol detox is perhaps one of the most important elements of recovery from alcoholism, that is generally either not given the amount of attention it should be, or is otherwise completely ignored.
There is a bit of a myth among some people that simply stopping drinking does not present any dangers of itself, and can simply be a bit uncomfortable in terms of withdrawal symptoms.
For some people this is obviously true, however the risk is that coming off alcohol for someone who has a serious problem with it is an unknown quantity.
Anyone entering a rehab or treatment center for treatment connected with an alcohol or drug problem needs to be properly assessed by medically qualified personnel to see what the risks are concerning withdrawals, and whether or not appropriate medical detox under medical supervision may be needed.
The risks of withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism can be severe, and in some cases life-threatening.
At that very definite possibility that someone who is an alcoholic has been drinking heavily for many years, has quite possibly been using various types of narcotics as well, is probably generally fairly unfit, and that diet if any will be fairly spartan.
The overall health of an individual who enters rehab needs to be seriously looked at, both physical and mental.
Assessing an individual regarding an alcohol detox is a crucial element of their recovery.
A rehab or treatment center should have medically qualified personnel available who are able to oversee such a process, both in terms of the assessment and the actual detox itself.
If a rehab or treatment center does not have such qualified personnel, then they should have arrangements with a local clinical facility such as a hospital who can undertake both the assessment and detox themselves necessary.
People sometimes refer to a home detox in terms of withdraw from alcohol and drug use. This can be a highly dangerous process and is usually ill-advised.
Anyone entering a rehab treatment center should be aware that the process of recovery begins with an alcohol detox assessment, and is generally followed by a certain period of time, normally a total of a month or so, where a variety of therapeutic counselling techniques will be employed to help the individual begin the process of understanding their alcoholism and / or drug addiction.
It is sometimes surprising to people that the word alcohol only appears once in the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, given that this program is regarded as the main recovery tool in the field of alcoholism and addiction work.
It is something of a paradox, that it is a realisation of powerlessness and alcohol triggers a willingness to move in a different direction internally, and create a world that is based on a reality of real-life, rather than a fantasy world that an active alcoholic can live and feel safe in.
Any reading of the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous will give people an understanding of the process, even if the enormity of what it means in reality can only really be understood by someone having an experience of the order that working through the 12 steps tends to produce.
An admission of being powerless over alcohol should not be taken as an admission that is not true.
The wording of step one in the 12 step program is designed to be read as a statement of experience, not as a belief system or as a guide, or as advice to other people as to what they should or should not do.
The early members of Alcoholics Anonymous were very clear that they felt they had a solution that works for them, and they were very happy to share that solution we are the people who felt that they had a similar problem.
The early members of AA also very clear that they would not force and did not want to force this solution on anyone either did not want it, or who felt they could solve their alcohol problem in their own way, or who could drink, even quite heavily, and yet somehow manage it themselves or keep it under control themselves.
It is probably inevitable that people have lost sight of this principle that th this 12-step program is a statement of experience, and should be regarded as a source of freedom, rather than a source of either trapping people or forcing people into believing things that are not true.
Alcoholism treatment programs are normally part of a rehab’s addiction recovery process, and will normally be made very broad sense therapeutic in nature, and are likely to in some measure be based on the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Treatment programs in a rehab can vary widely as to what they do and do not include, ranging from highly focused step on work and treatment programs, through to treatment programs that cover the first five steps of a recovery program.
Alcoholism is generally recognised in people by their behaviour and denial rather than a recognition of what is going on inside someone’s head.
A rehab has a number of tasks and opportunities to have its treatment programs may be, but perhaps one of its main ones is to help the individual feel safe enough to begin to understand the complexity of their illness, and to begin the process of piecing their life back together again.
Most people will spend a relatively short period of time in a rehab that his residential, normally about 28/30 days.
Some of this time may be taken up with a physical detox is needed, the rest of the time is likely to be taken up with a combination of personal therapy, counselling, group work and possibly life skills work as well.
Most of the therapeutic type work will focus on the treatment program at a particular rehab administers, likely to involve some understanding and reflection on the principles of the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous.
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Alcoholism can take many forms, and is still in many ways not fully understood by most people, including many who suffer from the illness themselves.
The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to a certain number of types of alcoholic, based largely on the experience of the work of the early members.
It is probably fair to say that people would now recognised that many more types of alcoholic than were recognised when the book was written, and alcoholism can present itself in many different types of individual.
What is perhaps important is to give an individual freedom to come to the conclusion themselves that they have a problem with alcohol, and need help to deal with it, rather than trying to fit any individual into a particular box or label.
Any understanding of alcoholism and the recovery process can only really take root when the individual has both experienced enough problems both internally and externally to both make them see that they have a problem with drink, and at the same time relies that the nature of the illness makes them believe that alcohol is the only solution to any such problems that they may face.