Anyone with experience will know the battle of fighting alcoholism. Fortunately, no one has to fight alone. There are practical tips to help alcoholics in recovery succeed.
Alcoholism is a disease that affects people from all walks of life, not discriminating by race, income level, or gender. For some, years of gradually escalating abuse leads to addiction. Others see it passed through the generations of their family and are hooked after a short time. By its nature, alcohol is both a stimulant and depressant, prone to bring on high highs and low lows. Despite this, millions of people have made the choice to seek help and eliminate alcohol from their lives. Recovery is extremely possible, but it requires work, discipline and support.
If you or a family member or close friend is new to recovery, first and foremost: congratulations and welcome! There are many paths to maintaining sobriety, and everyone must make their own choices. Here are a few suggestions that many find helpful as they live their newfound alcohol-free life.
Visit a Physician
Many people underestimate the powerful withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting alcohol altogether after years of abuse. For this reason, it is always recommended that you seek a medical evaluation as part of your recovery plan. Some people come to this conclusion on their own, while others receive an intervention from loved ones. Others still become legally obligated as a result of criminal drunk driving, working with the justice system and DUI lawyers. Whatever the circumstance, be sure a doctor evaluates and monitors you over the first few weeks of sobriety.
Recovery can be a lonely road, and the temptation to relapse is literally around almost every corner at bars or liquor stores. For this reason, joining a community of sober people in recovery is incredibly useful. Many free programs have chapters throughout the country, filled with people of various backgrounds with common ground: the desire to stay sober.
Take Care of Your Body
Nutrition and exercise are often a great help to recovering alcoholics. After long periods of abuse and empty calories, newly sober people often find themselves feeling more energetic and losing weight. Many use this as a jumping-off point to start a new diet or fitness routine. These are great ways to release endorphins and positively reinforce good habits. Walking or running outside can help bring feelings of peace from connecting with nature and taking in fresh air and sunshine. Deep-breathing and stretching disciplines like yoga or Pilates can help encourage mindfulness and calm. Time spent lifting weights at a 24-hour gym can serve as a fulfilling replacement for bars. The beginning of recovery is a reset, and therefore the perfect time to start something new and good!
Be of Service
A tenet of most recovery support communities is the directive for members to be of service. This can take on forms both large and small, from visiting with, listening to, or counseling others in recovery to volunteering for community organizations. This is a win/win for people beginning a sober lifestyle because it gives a grounded sense of purpose as well as a sense of worth. While alcoholics’ circumstances range from highly functional lives to complex misfortune, this is a net positive regardless of what brought them to the point of entering recovery.
Be Compassionate Towards Yourself
There are certainly dark days in recovery. While removing an addiction to an unhealthy substance or behavior will certainly improve an addict’s overall quality of life, it does not automatically solve all their problems. Consider that people who have never touched drugs or alcohol have stressful and depressing periods in their lives. Recognize that these feelings are usually situational and temporary. A mantra in recovery is to take one day at a time. You shouldn’t focus on a lifetime of change, positive as it may be, but get through the hard days knowing that the next one may be better.
It takes strength to face any personal problem, and alcoholism can be one of the toughest to overcome. It can be done and leave a person much better for both the process and the result. These practical tips to help alcoholics in recovery succeed may assist with both.