Pain, anger, and frustration surround the struggle with alcoholism.
Can I ever get out of this? Maybe you’ve tried to overcome but have relapsed so many times you’re close to quitting. Words like relapse prevention techniques, coping mechanisms, detoxification systems, and support groups now seem abrasive.
Maybe you’re realizing for the first time that you might struggle with alcohol and have no idea how to overcome. Maybe you have a friend who is struggling, and you want to help.
Whatever the case, moving towards recovery can feel like a complicated process. So many factors influence each situation, and it is vital to realize each situation is unique. The situations cannot be harshly stereotyped and shamed, as motivation can be incredibly difficult to maintain and change can feel like anything but easy.
However, positive change is possible. Practical steps can be taken towards progress if you can remember, replace and re-engage.
This isn’t about remembering your mistakes. This isn’t about dwelling on the pain you feel. This is about remembering two key elements that can help you see the situation more clearly (and get out of the situation more quickly):
Remember where you are.
Being able to see where you are can help provide clarity for your personal situation when you consider the next steps of overcoming your struggle. Utilizing questions can help you more accurately assess the situation.
What do you think about the amount of alcohol you consume? Do you think drinking is a borderline issue for you, or have you seen this undesirably affect your life? When was the last time you remember not consistently drinking?
What have others said about your drinking? It can be difficult to determine how severe your personal struggle with alcohol really is; many struggle to accurately depict their own situation. Have other people commented on your drinking? What can you learn from their words about how chronic your situation may be?
Being able to more accurately identify where you fall on the spectrum of alcohol addiction can help you see what treatment options might be most practical in your unique situation.
Depending on the severity of your addiction, maybe alcohol detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment, or partial hospitalization program would be effective in your case.
Engaging in a holistic approach by incorporating emotional healing through means such as art therapy, recreational therapy, or even yoga could help your process of overcoming. Receiving motivational interviewing could provide the aid you are seeking.
Remember how you function.
However, one of the most important factors in being able to determine which treatment options can be most helpful for you to overcome alcoholism is thinking about how you are: how you function. This is not about how you are feeling today but about how you generally respond.
Are you highly social? Maybe getting plugged into a community would strengthen and encourage you. Based on your interests, maybe one of the following options is most appealing: counselors or therapists, community health centers, or secular or religious support groups.
It’s easy to focus on replacing the habit of drinking with another habit. This is a very necessary step, but it can be emphasized to the point that another vital aspect of overcoming alcoholism is neglected: the importance of thoughts.
Alcoholism often brings negative thoughts not only about yourself but also about others who do not seem to be treating you how you think they should. Negative thoughts even about the difficulties of overcoming the struggle, pessimism towards past failures, irrational fears, self-condemnation over previous actions, and helplessness to feel like change is possible can be serious detriments to motivation.
They can make it more difficult to keep pushing towards complete overcoming. With such prevalence of negative thoughts, people put forth that a “mental detox” is just as vital as a physical one. Indeed, anxiety and depression along with other mental illnesses are often coupled with alcoholism.
Finding ways to identify your negative thoughts can be extremely beneficial to making progress.
- When do they occur most frequently?
- Do certain people or places trigger them?
- Do you have a negative thought followed by an intense urge to drink?
These can be hard to identify, and seeking help in identification from an outside source can greatly aid this process. (If you feel like you have no one to provide assistance, support can be reached by calling us now and we can aid you in your process. You don’t have to do it alone.)
Once negative thoughts are found, then replacement is necessary. If a negative thought is coupled with an urge to drink, a positive thought can replace that negative thought.
If it seems like no progress is being made and all you see is failure, you can replace it with focusing on the positive progress that you have made (no matter how small it may feel) and let that fuel your process of overcoming.
More insight into a psycho-therapeutic approach – such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectic behavioral therapy – is available.
However, since negative thoughts are often coupled with the urge (and action) of drinking, then positive thoughts should be coupled with action. Finding a stress outlet to replace the tendency to drink can greatly aid your overcoming process. Exercise or various other relaxation techniques have been found helpful in moving towards positive change.
Finding an organization or community group in which you can give back to other people can greatly aid your overcoming process. This can be extremely beneficial as it can provide an outlet for your mind to be freed from consumption with your struggle and the focus derived therein.
Serving others – even if it is not with a volunteer organization but simply to co-workers or family members – can be an effective action that can not only benefit others but also aid your process of overcoming.
No matter how complicated and difficult the process towards full recovery may seem, change is possible. Remembering, replacing, and re-engaging are simply three ways to aid you on your personal road to overcoming the struggle.