Alcoholism is serious disease that affects many people. While stopping drinking is difficult enough, not starting again is an even bigger challenge. The following guide can help former drinkers avoid alcohol and rebuild their lives on a better foundation.
Go to Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program that offers alcoholics a way to gain control over their drinking by interacting with those going through the same experience. Every participant has a sponsor, who acts as a mentor and a support system when the person feels an urge to drink. Meetings are open to everyone at every stage of recovery, and many who complete the 12 steps go on to be sponsors themselves.
Go to Rehab
In some cases, AA meetings may not be enough to overcome alcohol addiction, and a person may have to enter an alcohol addiction rehabilitation center. In-patient rehab generally lasts for 28 days, although longer stays are sometimes required. The person will need to go through a detoxification process, then move on to group and individual therapy where more positive thought patterns and coping skills are learned. Out-patient therapy may continue after release.
Make New Friends
Those who struggle with alcoholism often have friends who also drink heavily. A large part of recovery is recognizing the negative influences and removing them, which means making new friends. The new people should be responsible, upbeat and engage in activities that do not involve drinking. This helps the person in recovery to move on to a better phase of life.
Find New Activities
Taking up new activities is an excellent way to not give in to drinking urges. Exercise will aid the body in becoming more fit and healthy, while taking up a hobby or visiting a museum will expand mental horizons. Doing new things opens up opportunities to meet other people who enjoy life without alcohol.
Alcohol dependence often begins as a form of self-medication for an underlying issue, such as depression or post-traumatic stress. Seeing a therapist can bring these problems out into the open, where they can be addressed with compassion and released without shame. Relieving internal stress is a large part of alcoholism recovery.
Following the tips above can help a recovering alcoholic find a positive life. Those struggling with dependence should consult a doctor before starting any treatment program to ensure there are no other serious health problems.