Alcoholism Advice

July 29th, 2010

There is no shortage of Alcoholism Advice on offer from a wide variety of sources, the Internet, health professionals, public and private bodies. When looking for advice on such an emotional and stigmatised condition as alcoholism there are a multitude of simple, easy answers to be found. Unfortunately not one of them is right!

One of the most common misconceptions about alcoholism rehabilitation, and I hear this all the time when call me for advice, is that the alcoholic has to want help for any treatment to be effective. This is simply untrue. Read more about alcoholic ambivalence here. The alcoholic’s current condition renders them incapable of seeing the full picture, how could we expect them to make sound judgements? The very nature of their condition, their disease, is one of delusion and if you wait for them to have a ‘moment of clarity’ or some other seminal awareness they may never get into recovery from alcoholism. The fact is that most alcoholics are cajoled, squeezed, pressured and forced into rehab by family, friends, employers etc and these forms of external pressure have been proven to be useful in getting the alcoholic into treatment and maintaining poressure ensure that ther ecoering alcoholic stays accountable.

For Alcoholism Advice regarding the best private rehabs, please call one of our trained addiction counsellors today. We are waiting for your call. Alcoholism is frequently misunderstood by health care professionals, therapists and lay counsellors alike and there can be confusion regarding the best way to help those who appear to have problems with alcohol. One common mistake is to treat underlying issues like self esteem, depression etc. Alcoholism is a Primary Illness and until the patient is in stabel recovery from alcoholism none of the other issues will improve.

Conversely, once the alcoholic is in contented sobriety, many of the other issues simply disappear. The only appropriate time to diagnose and treat other disorders is once the alcoholism is dealt with. It is commonly accepted by professionals who specialise in the treatment of alcoholism that the alcoholic is suffering with a disease and should be treated accordingly. Treatment that involves this understanding has long proven to be the most successful form of treatment for the alcoholic. It is therefore crucial that any individual seeking alcoholism advice does so from experienced addictions professionals who have a working knowledge of alcoholism and a comprehensive treatment process.

Alcohol is a powerful drug and it is vitally important that a medically supervised detoxification process (detox) should be the first stage in any treatment. The detox is best undertaken in a Residential Primary Care Rehabilitation Facility (Rehab). A registered alcohol rehab will have a multi disciplinary team of medical and psychological professionals available to supervise this delicate period and ensure the safety and comfort of the patient.

Once the detox process is complete (3-7 days), the patient is in a position to respond to both the ongoing physical and psychological treatment offered and to assimilate the alcoholism advice given in treatment. Often the perceptions of family and friends can do wonders to bring home the harsh realities of active alcoholism to the patient who’s trying to stop drinking. It’s important that this is done in a loving and gentle, non-judgemental way and that it’ supervised by the alcoholic patients focal addictions counsellor.

The majority of registered alcohol treatment centres throughout the UK and South Africa today incorporate the 12 Step program of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship and encourage attendance of AA meetings as an integral part of aftercare. These meetings can represent the best source of ongoing alcoholism advice including suggestions aimed at maintaining sobriety and enjoying a sober life in recovery. The key piece of alcoholism advice that seems to have the most positive results is to “ask for help”. It’s something that anyone who’s made the transition from active alcoholism to an active recovery understands the value of.

If the alcoholic trying to sober up, is doing so alone their chances for a successful recovery are greatly diminished.  If the recovering alcoholic has the ability to ask for and be open to help from those around them, both informal help from the likes of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and more formal counselling from professionals they greatly increase their chances of putting some of that good advice to practice. Professional counselling for alcoholics is useful at providing guidance and exploring the the best ways to stop drinking and to better understand the disease of alcoholism and its effects.

Oftentimes telling alcoholics what to do is met with huge amounts of resistance. It’s crucial that the advice given to an alcoholic is framed in the correct light and best if laid before them to pick up on as though it was their own idea. Doing so helps the recovering alcoholic to take ownership of their own treatment plan and to take responsibility for their longer term recovery. After all if the alcoholic can’t see the sense in it, it’s not going to last very long. Stopping drinking, as any alcoholic will tell you is easy. I had one patient who said that he stopped several times a day! Staying stopped is another matter entirely. Staying sober requires a level of commitment to recovery related behaviours and attending support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) & NA (Narcotics Anonymous) where others  that have made the transition from alcoholism to recovery can be immensely beneficial.

There are really three layers of people at these 12 step support groups. Newcomers who, like you, are trying to make some changes and live a comfortable life without the use of drugs and alcohol. People who have attained some stability and are trying to pass on what they’ve learned thereby cementing the changes for themselves. The old timers, those who’ve been around so long and doing recovery behaviours so long that they’re purely there to pass on the solid experience.

It’s important to remember that these 12 step fellowships and support groups are entirely non professional and as such you need to take responsibility for your own recovery and safety at these meetings. Many people attending these meetings have problems much more severe than yours and you would do well to ‘stick with the winners’. A second critical piece of alcoholism advice is contained in the cliché, “nothing changes if nothing changes.” Stopping drinking and staying stopped is all about change. One of the acronyms for AA is “altered attitudes”.

These changes can start with a rejection of the alcoholic stereotype and continue in mental, physical and practical actions. Changing habits and environments that are not conducive to sober living, often referred to as “people, places and things” is a good example. Rediscovering old neglected interests and developing new ones together with other recovering people can be fun. So change and the willingness to change can be seen as accepting and acting on good alcoholism advice. After all, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting! Yes, the 12 step programmes are full of advice your grandmother gave you.

Asking for advice, getting and accepting help and being willing to change can summarise the spirit of recovery from alcoholism. Maintaining change requires support of others who understand the nature of alcoholism, its problems and what it’s like to have some experience of life in sobriety. As discussed above, detox and rehab are a great start on this path in terms of introducing the concepts necessary to maintain a sober lifestyle. A registered rehab will ensure that the alcoholic has as many of the basic tools and advice to understand of the concepts of ongoing recovery. The better alcohol rehab centres provide the full continuum of treatment programmes including outpatient counselling and an aftercare programme.

Most importantly introduction to the 12 step program and the early suggestions of integration into a 12 step fellowship will enable the recovering alcoholic to continue to access the most relevant and helpful type of alcoholism advice available, that of the combined experience of recovering alcoholics.

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