The first step in recovering from alcohol addiction is always admitting that you have an addiction. After that, you need to go through the recovery process, which can take some time. In order to truly deal with your addiction, there are a few things that you need to know. Many people have been through this process, and are willing to help you along the way. Just keep these things in mind.
You May Have to Find New Friends
Unfortunately, the friends that you had when you were drinking may not be willing to support you and your new sobriety. Many won’t want to change their habits, which could include drinking around you and hanging out in bars. Rather than forcing them to change their ways – or giving in and joining them in those bars, where you’ll run into quite a bit of temptation – you’ll have to find some new friends. The first place to look for them is in your addiction meeting. These people will have gone through the same things as you, and they’ll be committed to remaining sober.
Addiction Is a Disease
People who have no experience with addiction are quick to label it as the addict’s fault. They claim that the addict chose to live an addicted lifestyle. This couldn’t be further than the truth. Addiction is actually a disease of the brain. Studies have shown that the reward center of the brain lights up when an addict uses their drug of choice, even if that drug is alcohol. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a choice in the matter and should consider using your drug of choice, in this case, alcohol. No, it just means that you need to treat your addiction like you would a sinus infection. This involves following the 12 steps and living a sober life.
Watch Out for Substitute Addictions
Many addicts go from one addiction to another. It’s not unheard of for someone with alcohol addiction to turn to gambling, smoking, or something else once they’ve gone through treatment. These substitute addictions can be sneaky, so before you know it, you’ll be caught in the throes of one. However, once you realize that you’re addicted to something else, you need to be strong enough to go through the recovery process again.
You’ll End up Grieving for Your Old Lifestyle
The recovery process involves making drastic lifestyle changes. You won’t be able to hang out in bars with your old friends. You might have to start frequenting different stores because the old ones will bring up memories. You won’t know how to behave in public as a sober person. You’ll be uncomfortable. All of these changes can be sad. Your entire life will eventually change for them better, since you’ll be sober. But first, you’ll need to grieve for that old lifestyle. Only then will you be able to move on.
Begin to Help Others When You’re Ready
The best part about recovering from alcohol addiction is gaining the ability to help others who are going through the same process. You can mentor them, be their sober companions, and talk to them when they’re having a weak moment. You can volunteer to help and make a difference in people’s lives. Just make sure that you’re ready. You don’t want to get involved in these sorts of volunteer activities too soon. Otherwise, you’ll endanger your own recovery. However, when you’re ready (and you’ll know when you are), you can attend meetings and reach out to the people who are just starting their recovery process. You’ll be glad that you did.
Your addiction has no doubt wreaked havoc on your health. Many people with alcohol addictions end up with damage to their livers, they may have gastric ulcers, and they are more than likely out of shape after spending years drinking and eating an unhealthy diet. Part of dealing with your addiction involves living a healthy lifestyle. While you don’t want to make a lot of big changes at once, you do want to start making small ones. You should start with drinking more water and exercising a little. Then, branch out and start eating healthy again. Getting a full physical from a doctor will help you with this as well. You’ll be able to stop any potential health issues before they get worse.
It’s Okay to Relapse, But Not to Give in Completely
Relapsing, that is giving in to your addiction, is a part of recovery. Some people never relapse, while others suffer from one or two minor relapses throughout the process. However, the thing to remember is that you need to get right back up again and go to your meetings. You can’t let that one small bump in the road derail your entire recovery. That’s not how the process works. Don’t be afraid to admit that you gave in.