Alcoholism Recovery Rules, Tips and Help
So let's start getting down to the nitty gritty about alcoholism recovery. How do you recover from alcoholism successfully?
I've already said to you on the main drug and alcohol addiction recovery page that having a genuine desire to rid yourself from the throws of your addiction underpins everything you do in your alcohol addiction recovery attempt. (Go read that page now if youhaven't already.)
Having that desire and being committed to your recovery are the foundation on which you build everything else. If that foundation is flaky, what kind of results can you expect?
I remember how desperate I was to do anything and everything to ensure I stayed away from the drink and drugs. The pain of going through all that again was too much to even think about so my attitude was that I'll do whatever it takes.
I can't magically give you that desire. That's something you either have - or have to find within yourself. Because having that desire will drive you onto doing the work you need to do to stay clean. And like I've already said to you, there is work involved. It's not just going to happen by itself.
So what is this work? What does recovery from alcoholism take?
These are the Rules for Alcoholism Recovery:
Alcoholism Recovery Rule 1: Association
Association is everything! You simply have to follow this rule if you hope to stay in recovery and prevent relapse. Your alcoholism recovery depends on it. So what is association?
In 'everyday language' it's simply hanging with the right people and avoiding the wrong places. In addict speak it's called people and places. You can forget about staying away from alcohol and drugs if you still associate with addicts and hang out at old using and drinking joints.
Let's start with the people part of the equation ...
With alcohol this principle is a bit more difficult to follow than with drugs because alcohol is such a big part of social culture you're not going to be able to stay away from everyone that drinks.
However, if you're also a drug addict you can make a conscious decision to stay away from all your drug using 'buddies.' There is just no way you'll be able to stay off the drugs for long if you still associate with addicts.
In self help literature, there is a big principle that says you become the kind of person like the people you most spend your time with. So if you want to become a healthy, happy person, those are the kinds of people you predominantly need to spend your time with.
And I totally agree with that because the people we spend time with influence our thoughts, actions, beliefs etc. mostly in a sub-conscious way. Spend your time with successful and loving people and soon you will begin to reflect those qualities.
Walking away from addict 'friends' can seem like the hardest thing in the world to do. It's what you know. Where you feel safe. But you simply have to, to maintain your sobriety.
Now as I touched on initially its more obvious to do this with drug using friends and acquaintances. However when it comes to alcohol, I'm guessing most people you know drink alcohol on a purely social basis. You'll obviously need to be staying away from old alcoholic and binge drinking friends that will most likely influence you.
For the rest, you just have to be sensible and choose where you go and who you hang out with more carefully. Genuine friends, even if they are social drinkers, will look out for you and respect you not drinking. Make sure in your own mind that you only spend time with people who you feel safe with and where you won't feel the urge to pick up or drink.
With the places part of the equation, you've got to stay away from your old using and drinking haunts. Firstly, because a lot of the people that go there will be the people you should be looking to stay away from and secondly because those places will trigger all your drinking and drug using memories.
You don't want all those old memories (flashbacks) being triggered because they'll put you into the wrong emotional state and create the urge for you to pick up or use and totally ruin your recovery program.
Alcoholism Recovery Rule 2: Find a Mentor and Support Group
This is another crucial alcoholism recovery rule. Working this rule also fills the association principle because it will mean you're spending time with the right kind of people.
The most effective addiction recovery support group for you to join would be AA or NA. Going to meetings regularly will see you experience tremendous growth extremely quickly. If you're really committed you'll try and do as close to 90 meetings in 90 days after you finish your treatment.
The reason I believe that NA and AA meetings are so powerful is that they're essentially spiritual programs and if you work the program you'll undergo a massive transformation from the 'inside'- out. And that's essentially what you're trying to do with your alcohol addiction recovery process ...
Now I don't mean spiritual programs in a religious sense. They teach you to find your own Higher Power to relate to, however you choose to do that.
But what you're essentially doing is creating a 'new' you ... the real you actually ... someone who doesn't depend on alcohol or drugs to get by. And that involves tremendous internal growth and change where your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes all will change.
But most importantly - how you see yourself ... your relationship with yourself will transform because you'll begin to value yourself far more and won't want to ruin your life with alcohol and drugs.
It's difficult to give the exact reasons for why meetings work. I think a lot of it is down to you spending time with the right kind of people (there you are 'associating' again). People who are going what you're going through, who you can relate to, and who you feel comfortable with.
The fact is NA and AA meetings work. They underpin the whole alcoholism recovery and drug addiction recovery process. As I mentioned in the drug and alcoholism addiction treatment area of this site, I know of people who have used NA and AA as their alcoholism/drug addiction treatment and recovery methods rolled all into one.
In other words they haven't gone to rehab, but by going to regular meetings have managed to stop drinking and taking drugs, and continued going to meetings to maintain their recovery.
Now I don't suggest you do it this way. Going into a treatment program like Rehab should be your first option. But that does tell you how powerful going to regular meetings is.
It's not always about understanding why. Just try it - and with time see the results for yourself. So have a little faith and give it a go.
The other part to this is finding a Mentor. Typically most people that go to NA or AA find a sponsor, someone who's got some solid recovery time under their belts that can support and mentor you in your recovery from alcoholism and drugs.
You can also consider using a Professional as your mentor, someone like a Life or Recovery Coach. Someone like this can give you a different perspective on your life, not always from an addicts perspective which can sometimes be refreshing.
At the end of the day, the more of the right kind of people you surround yourself with, from sponsors to coaches to other people in recovery - the easier and more fulfilling your journey is going to be.
Alcoholism Recovery Rule 3: Cross-Subsidization does NOT work
As an addict you'll generally have your drug of choice. That drug of choice may be alcohol, it may be heroin, it may be cocaine - it's your preferred drug and the one you use most regularly.
In your recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, you have to realise that you have to stay off everything. It usually applies mostly to drug addicts because they think if they've come clean from the drugs, having a drink is still okay.
Forget it! As an addict, alcohol is a drug, and even if you were only using drugs, thinking that having a few drinks will be okay is not on. What do you think will happen? You'll replace your addiction to drugs, with an addiction to alcohol. But more likely you'll simply just end up back to using drugs.
So can you see where I'm going with this cross-subsidization principle? Moving from one drug to the next or from drugs to alcohol just doesn't work because you'll just end up where you started and ruin all the hard work you've put in.
Just because you're no longer using your drug of choice, be it alcohol or some kind of drug, you have to be vigilant about staying off EVERYTHING. Your alcoholism recovery and addiction recovery depends on it!
Being a tea-total may seem boring, but boring is a lot more fun than addiction, I promise you that. And soon you'll find so much to do that doesn't require being drunk or high, that you won't miss drinking or taking drugs.
Once you get a period of sobriety under your belt, your senses will begin to heighten and you'll begin to see the world through a whole new set of eyes, making your journey into recovery really seem worth it. Just hang in there and be patient with yourself.
The above alcoholism recovery and drug addiction recovery principles are absolutely non-negotiable. Commit to making them work and your alcoholism recovery and addiction recovery process will progress smoothly - with all life's normal ups and downs thrown in of course. At the end of the day I can only lead you to the water ... its up to you to decide whether you want to take a drink (note I said water, so don't get any funny ideas:)
There are also further recovery tips on the drug addiction recovery page so make sure you go on and read that. There are some powerful ideas there that will really enhance your recovery.
Recover from alcohol addiction in an alcohol rehabilitation center that has experience treating alcoholism professionally, effectively, and in comfort.
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