If you have a drinking problem, it's certainly been noticed by family and friends, and quite likely some of them have taken you aside and 'suggested' that you do something about it. Your response may have been the same as ours was back in our drinking days...usually some combination of "I'm just over tired", or "I didn't eat...empty stomach got me", or in later stages of your problem: "I know, I know! I'm sorry...I'm going to do something about it!"
Two things happen when you say "I'm going to deal with it":
• if you haven't used this line more than once or twice, you might buy some time from those folks that are concerned about your drinking...there's a point where this response falls on deaf ears
• you put yourself in a position to take the next step, and actually make a concerted effort to change your behaviours ...a chance to be honest with yourself, and, with no immediate outside assistance, put your drinking problem behind you.
Many people have successfully quit drinking on their own, but many more have tried to 'go it alone', only to find that old habits die hard, and alcohol has more of a stranglehold on their life than they realized. Many find out that dealing with an alcohol addiction can be a lonely endeavour, and that without the support of experienced treatment specialists and peers, the temptations can be difficult to overcome. That said, give it a try, and as we've previously mentioned, let your doctor know what you're planning on doing. Backing away from an alcohol problem is not without risks that should be assessed by a professional trained in dealing with alcohol withdrawal/addiction. Keep in mind that should the challenges of going it alone become overwhelming, there are other options that dramatically increase your chances for a successfull retreat from your drinking problem.
We strongly suggest that you take advantage of the mutual self-help available through visiting a support group focused on alcohol addiction. Check the Yellow Pages for support groups and organizations in your area...you can expect to find the group below in your phone book.
Following is the definition of A.A. appearing in the Fellowship's basic literature and cited frequently at meetings of A.A. groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
Alcoholics Anonymous can also be defined as an informal society of more than 2,000,000 recovered alcoholics in the United States, Canada, and other countries. These men and women meet in local groups, which range in size from a handful in some localities to many hundreds in larger communities. Currently, women make up 35 percent of the total membership.
Note: Millions of men and women have found answers, comfort and sobriety through the fellowship and support that can be found within the 12-step program offered by Alcoholics Anonymous. For more information on Alcoholics Anonymous® you can visit their website at:
As we said in our 'First Things First' segment, get yourself checked over...be honest with your doctor, and make sure that you inform him/her that you intend to quit drinking, and that you realize that withdrawal / detox can be dangerous...
If you're not comfortable that your doctor is the right support person to see you through the initial stages of recovery, or you don't have a doctor--and have no idea who to call, then check your Yellow Pages for a local Treatment Center or Addiction Counselor that can recommend a doctor that is trained to deal with your situation...get a doctor with addiction treatment experience on your side. Once your immediate support needs have been met, use your doctor as a resource for additional information regarding ongoing support in your area. If you're completely honest with your doctor, he/she can become--especially in the initial stages of recovery--one of the most valuable members of your support team. Remember...your doctor is not going to make judgement calls regarding your drinking problem. He/she is there to assess your present state, and make recommendations on how you could make positive changes in your behaviour. Along with a physical examination, your doctor will be asking some questons pertaining to your alcohol use...answer them honestly. Your health-care professional can only help you if you are completely open in describing the scope of your alcohol use/abuse, and any physical/mental symptoms you might be experiencing.
Go ahead...make an appointment, and keep it! You'll be taking another step forward, and after you've shared your desire to quit with a professional that can actually help you, you'll feel much more positive about your drive to sobriety.
Aside from who your doctor may recommend, check your local phone book, or online, for a list of counselors in your area. A qualified counselor is trained to focus on dealing directly with your addiciton issues, and will be acquainted with local support groups and services available to you. Addiction Counselling is a key part of both Outpatient and Inpatient treatment and your counselor is trained to assist you in assessing your use of alcohol, and get you involved in the process of recovery. Therapy may involve one-on-one and group sessions--or both, and your counselor will help you to:
Most Addiction Counselors recognize the value of mutual self-help groups such as Alcoholic's Anonymous, and it's likely that you'll be encouraged to take advantage of this type of ongoing support. Having a counselor that has 'been there ...done that' from an addiction standpoint--and is currently in recovery--can be a comforting aspect of your relationship with them.
You may find that while alcohol has become a major stumbling block in your life, you're managing to--more or less--handle the activities that keep you 'functional' as you go about your daily routine. Outpatient treatment is a measure that minimally impacts on your daily life, while offering you access to a wide range of Addiction Counselors, Doctors, Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists and Psychologists. Programs can be more easily tailored to your timetable, and many people find that they can achieve the level of support/counselling that they need via this option!
If you pursue this course of action, don't underestimate the vitally important role that Family/Friends and Support Program(s) will play as you step towards sobriety.
Before you say "No! No...not for me", we'll tell you that those of us that have been through an Inpatient program at a Treatment Facility/Alcohol Rehab had the same initial feeling as we grappled with our drinking problems. There must be another way, besides I can't:
• take time off work right now...it's our busy period!
• risk anyone finding out that I have a serious problem
• go now ... I've made some plans I can't change
...the list goes on and on. And we all had a list of our own, but in the final analyses, we realized that we were not succeeding in our attempts to resolve our drinking problem. All our promises to others, and ourselves, were being broken over and over again. Meanwhile, our problems got progressively worse--as the nature of the disease predicts. As for what other people think, believe it or not, people--beyond those that are closest you--have other things on their mind, and aren't really paying attention to what you're doing. One thing is clear though...you will be well-respected by those that know you've had the courage to eliminate your drinking problem. The courage to say 'yes' to positive change.
Take a look at your entire life...a mere 20 years represents over 1000 weeks of either quality living, or 'battling-with- booze' misery. Why can't you...why wouldn't you, invest a few weeks to get your life back on track right now? What a wonderful gift to yourself, and secondarily, to those around you!
Because of the extreme focus that an Inpatient program can bring to bear on your personal drinking problem, it's not surprising that this approach has proven to be a relatively effective way to address personal addiction problems head on, and get the personalized attention and program that can lead to successful strategies for a future really worth living!
An Inpatient Program may encompass/offer:
Don't be afraid to inquire about 'Aftercare' and 'Relapse Prevention'. Your stay in an Inpatient Treatment facility is just the another step to a healthier, more rewarding life.
As for our personal feelings regarding the effectiveness of Inpatient Treatment...while we initially shared your natural anxieties about 'going away' for treatment, we now realize that the short time we spent in rehab was, in many respects, the most rewarding period of our lives. While our life-saving stay in rehab fades into the past, we continue to reap the rewards of sober living, and a fuller, richer understanding or ourselves!
...don't be afraid. Think of the payoff...think of a 'new' future!
Sobriety...seize it, embrace it and cherish it! Seek out the help you need, and lean on those that can walk with you during your journey of recovery--and discovery!
Today, you can take a small step away from your drinking problem, and towards a vibrant, new life without alcohol. Yes…you can do it!