Alcoholism: Insight and Treatments

This time in my life was quite difficult, and thinking back on it, it still stirs bad memories and pain I had to deal with. This difficult time involved alcoholism. This time has long passed, and I overcame the need for alcohol. However, there are currently 17.6 million alcohol dependent people in the United States. I’m hoping to offer some insight to alcoholism, and a couple treatment ideas to those who are alcohol dependent or have a loved one using alcohol. This will hopefully get someone struggling started.

My drinking started after I turned 19. I had thought once I lost all my weight after being overweight so long, and recovering from an abusive boyfriend that I was actually going to make it. I was thinking about college. But, little did I want to realize that emotionally, I was not “ok”. Our family was very stand-offish when it came to being close or being there for each other. But, there was that part of me that really wanted someone to talk to me, and tell me they were on my side. Instead, my parents were standing farther away from me… Being in a wheelchair was enough to deal with, but my issues were growing beyond just being handicap. Emotionally, I felt alone.

When my sister started taking me on the weekends to parties with her friends, I was so happy. They were very accepting of me, and would push me around. But, then I would drink a little. The buzz was great. Then, I would wait for the weekends asking my sister if there was a party, jumping on the opportunity to go. I would make a promise to myself that I would not get drunk. When we arrived, I would start out slow and after getting buzzed I would push myself a little further until I finally achieved my drunk. The first time was easy, and after that it was no problem. Getting sick the next morning however, was not that great, especially when my mother would yell and scream because she had to give me a bath. There was a part of me though, that really did not care about the consequences.

Many who drink carry specific signs, many signs I even denied. When I was very much into drinking, I became very moody. It seemed I was angry at everyone, and often there was no reason. Other things often deteriorate such as not caring if looks are presentable, or if work gets completed. At this time I was wanting to attend college, but looking for a school and filling out paperwork took a back seat to my addiction… One of the scariest signs of alcohol addiction is blacking out, which I did and one night stopped breathing…

At 21 I hit rock bottom hard. For me hitting rock bottom, dragging my sister down was enough to make me want to stop drinking. I was lucky that I was disabled and couldn’t drive and lived in the country in the middle of no where, how could I drink unless I went out with my sister? But, how did I know saying no to going out would be so hard? My sister still asked, and even though my parents knew I drank, they thought I should go and just control myself. There was no way I could. It hurt my soul to say “no” to my sister, but I could not trust myself. I had only myself to answer to, and the detox to suffer.

My detox took weeks. I suffered shaking, vomiting, loss of appetite. For many others who suffer through withdrawal can have more severe symptoms that can include convulsions, seizures, or even delirium. If this occurs then medical attention really needs to be sought. Emergency rooms can be a scary place, but a great resource. Often they can contact caseworkers that can assist a patient in finding treatment programs. But, please keep in mind, not all treatments for alcoholism work for every person. A treatment needs to be chosen based on need. Also keep in mind, that unless an alcohol dependent person admits they need help, treatment can fail.

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One of the most widely used treatments for alcoholism is a residential treatment facility. Residential treatment facilities offer a safe environment that can ensure no alcohol is in the near vicinity. With that a person can be guided through detox with any needed medication, and if complications arise, medical staff is readily available… Many many of these facilities not only treat the detox but offer therapy and educational programs to guide a person when they leave the facility.

However, there are many out there who do not possess the insurance or private funds to enter a treatment facility. For many they need to seek outpatient treatment such as AA. AA assists members by allowing each other to share their stories and experiences. They work together to help one another stay sober. This type of program really requires drive and a person’s desire to stay sober. Sobriety is achieved by avoiding drinking one day at a time. The one feature that appeals to me is that their program is completely anonymous. A member’s name nor information can ever be revealed to the public. This assists those who worry they could compromise job or family.

I wish I had more time and space to offer more treatment ideas. I’m just really hoping what I offered here will touch those struggling with alcohol, or a loved one who is struggling. It starts with just really looking in the mirror, or at your loved one…

I’ve been sober 17 years. I truly would have loved having a treatment option behind me… Detoxing alone is hard and was very hard on me…

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