Alcoholism is a disease and like many other diseases it can be cured. There are ways and means to overcome the craving for alcohol but there is one important first step. The person with the alcoholic problem must want to be cured. All the techniques and medical help in the world will not work unless and until the drinker chooses to quit.
The next step is to join a self-help group known as AA or Alcoholics Anonymous. As the name suggests, members are known only by their first name and everyone present has agreed they wish to give up drinking alcohol. Meetings are held regularly and consist of members telling how they are coping in their daily battle to never drink alcohol again.
Each member is allocated a sponsor, a person they may contact at any time should the need arise. It is not unusual for a recovering alcoholic to find themselves in a difficult situation where it is likely they will start drinking again. In these situations the AA member should contact their sponsor who can provide advice and guidance even if via the telephone.
The medical treatment usually consists of the drinker becoming an out-patient at a clinic – often as part of a hospital – which exists to help the patient dry out. Being an out-patient means the now sober individual is able to continue their normal life going to work or whatever while attending the clinic at night or on weekends.
In most cases the ex-drinker attends the clinic voluntarily although there are times when a court will order a person to attend. This is usually because the drinker has been charged with driving a vehicle while intoxicated and a condition of their sentence is that they attend a drying-out clinic.
The expression ‘cold turkey’ which means giving up without any preparation or substitute drug, is often used with recovering alcoholics. Unlike heroin users turning to methadone, an alcoholic does not drink low-alcohol drinks in order to wean themselves off the drink.
There are steps a recovering alcoholic can take. They can visit their family doctor for any medication to help their frayed nerves while the craving for drink continues. They can write down all the reasons why they want and need to stop drinking and refer to this list every day if necessary. And they can certainly remove all supplies of alcohol from their residence.
There are residential treatment centers for alcoholic dependency. They are expensive and generally effective but it is vital that once they leave the treatment center, the recovering alcoholic must join a self-help group and rely on their sponsor to see them through the tough times.
People who successfully stopped drinking often point to a change in lifestyle as being a significant factor in their new life. They join clubs or groups where drinking is not a part of the activities and keep themselves busy. Sitting at home and feeling miserable is a surefire way to fall off the wagon. Millions of people belong to AA and remain members because they have effectively stopped drinking alcohol.
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