Curbing Alcoholism

Alcoholism means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in one’s life and they feel they’re unable to function without it.It might be surprising to hear that you don’t always have to be drinking to extreme levels to become dependent

How To Help A loved One With Alcohol Addiction- The Dos and Don’ts

Have you ever looked at your loved one, be it your friend or family member or your special someone struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and felt a sense of helplessness? Seeing your friend or family member go through alcohol addiction can be a highly distressing experience. As much as it unnerves you, the truth is that they are enslaved to alcohol and they need your help.

One must remember that being stuck in this quandary may cause emotional and psychological stir ups, both for you and the person stuck in the agonizing cycle of addiction. And as much as your intentions are grounded in goodwill, you must not forget your own wellbeing.

It is imperative to remember some key points while approaching this precarious situation. We have listed some of the relevant points for you to remember.

Dos

– Recognizing the signs of alcohol dependence and behavioral changes are important and timely intervention is vital.

– Get started by reading about it, they say ‘knowledge is power’ for a reason. Gather information about alcohol addiction. Do a thorough research and arm yourself with all the required information that you can gather.

– Talk to them in private. Being concerned alone and remaining quiet isn’t going to be of much help, neither waiting for them to ask for help would aid them. It is important to take initiative and broach on the subject with caution.

– Express your love and offer support. Let them know that you are there to help and are willing to support them in their fight against addiction.

– Encourage and support recovery. Seek medical advice and offer to accompany them to support group meetings.

– Have patience. The road to recovery from alcohol addiction is not a one day event, it is a long process. Your friend or family member will require a ‘strong’ support system through this process.

Don’ts

– Don’t be judgemental ! Understand where they come from, try to learn the possible reasons that lead to addiction. Very often there are underlying emotional causes that compel people to take to alcohol as an escape route.

– Do not accuse or use emotional blackmailing tool. Do not pity them and do not shame them. The person you’re dealing with is already suffering with addiction and guilt tripping or disgracing them is not the most positive thing you can do for them.

– Do not get into arguments when they are under the influence of alcohol. Trying to make them see your point and pressing them to accept their dependency ‘when’ they are drunk is only begging for unnecessary and unpleasant drama in your life. In extreme cases, it can also lead to physical abuse.

– Do not be guilt ridden if you are unable to help them the way you intended to.

– Don’t blame yourself for their addiction.

– Don’t overpass your safety and well being.

It should be noted that you must approach the person and the issue with mindful consideration. Also bear in mind that even though you may harbor good intentions, the person you’re dealing with might get defensive and completely fence off. You can stage an intervention with your intimate group of friends and family members. Maintain a forbearing and respectful attitude towards your loved one because they are in great anguish. Remember you cannot save someone. However, be compassionate and give it your honest shot.

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What Leads To Alcoholism?

Beginning with a perplexing question- what is alcoholism? In simplest terms the answer is that ‘alcoholism’ is the severest form of alcohol abuse, it is an individual’s dependency on alcohol to an extent that going through day to day life sends the chilliest shivers down the spine, when the mind and body cannot function without gulping down those glasses of alcohol. If your life centers around alcohol, it is a sign that alcohol is slowly consuming and reigning your life. It is also the time for a wake-up call to buckle up and see it for what it truly is- alcohol addiction.

Drinking in moderation is one thing but giving in to alcoholism is altogether a different matter. Alcohol as a substance abuse is a serious problem which has inflicted the world irrespective of the caste, creed, gender or age. Now, what leads to alcoholism, one may wonder. There is not one factor that can be branded as a culprit, multifarious factors play a collective role in influencing a person’s drinking habit.

Nobody is a born alcoholic, right? Well science says there is a genetic connection to it but again, let’s not blame any single mean gene here. There is a concerted group of genes in our DNA which acts as predisposed trigger leading to alcoholism. However, an individual wouldn’t be justified in taking to alcohol addiction because the parents and forefathers were alcoholics. The reason being that hereditary alcoholism is avoidable. It has been observed that hereditary risk factor leading to alcoholism may be prevented and curbed to a considerable extent provided that a person’s environment is good. So, wait before you blame your inherited genes for your addiction because genetic factor is only one half of the entire picture as there are a host of other social and environmental factors which impact an individual’s drinking habit. These factors include stress, peer pressure and social acceptance, coping with personal or financial loss, need for feel-good factor.

Alcohol is a known depressant which affects the central nervous system by slowing it down and many people drink alcohol to ease out stress or anxiety. It may seem like a perfectly soothing stress buster initially, however alcohol never really solves the purpose in the long run. It only acts as a short-term coping mechanism by suppressing the other underlying emotional and psychological causes temporarily.

The stimulant in alcohol is what draws people to it like moths to flame. If taken in moderate to small doses, the stimulants in alcohol give an initial boost to central nervous system, which people identify as the ‘happy buzz’ or the ‘feel good factor’. The effect however doesn’t last for very long because alcohol as a drug type belongs to depressant class.

Peer pressure is a massive pain which has pushed many people to take to alcohol especially at the young and tender age. The need for ‘social acceptance’ plays a nasty role here. For many teenagers, this may be only a phase which gradually fades but some get stuck in the addictive cycle of severe alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism has destroyed many families and relationships and it adversely affects our mental, emotional and physical health. As enticing as the intoxication of alcohol may appear to be, it isn’t really the best remedy for the mind, body or soul. It must be observed and deeply absorbed that neither is alcohol an ‘escape route’ to a pain-free life, nor is it a secret ‘mantra’ for a ‘blissful’ life and it most definitely doesn’t make one the coolest person around! It is only an intoxicating substance which seems to provide a temporary and elusive ‘escape’. As they say, ‘moderation’ is the magical key which provides solution to most of human woes in the world. So, let’s be mindful and add ‘drinking in moderation’ to that list. Remember, ‘alcoholism’ is a weighty concern and whether you let alcohol consume you or not is always a choice which lies with ‘you’.

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When you are imprisoned on the ‘inside’, you cannot find escape outside

Alcohol is an escape from the drudgery of life- Or is it really? Does it magically make all problems big and small diminish or is it merely a stubborn denial to accept the woes of life as they are?

There is always an underlying psychological and/or emotional cause which leads to alcohol abuse. Causes ranging from stressful situations at work to challenging relationships, from deep rooted childhood issues or other traumatic emotional wounding, to name a few. Reasons to alcohol abuse may be many and may vary from one individual to another, yet the common thread which binds them remains the same- the need to escape. People try to find ‘escape’ owing to their inability to either solve difficult personal or professional situations or the complete refusal to confront the on-going or long forgotten traumatic events. What they do not realize is that in order to escape those inner demons, they land up at the doorstep of another poisonous devil- alcohol.

But the question is- can you really escape what you are running away from, whether they are relationship troubles or work related issues, or those emotional wounds which still haunt you, ‘without’ dealing with the issues? And if yes, then how far can you actually run away from the problems piggybacking on alcohol? The answer is –not too far and not for very long. Eventually you are going to stumble down on this addictive passage the hard way because the road to alcohol abuse only leads to a dead end.

Known as both- a depressant and a stimulant, what alcohol actually does to your brain is to slow down its functioning by affecting the central nervous system resulting in slurred speech, altered actions and thoughts. Initially it may provide you that ‘kick’ wherein you drop the inhibitions to ‘loosen up’ and feel ‘free’ when you socialize or it may give you that ‘Dutch courage’ to finally approach that love interest you couldn’t muster up the courage to talk to otherwise. In some situations you may feel that your problems have magically disappeared and life becomes good again as you guzzle down a drink or two whereas what alcohol actually does is only to suppress it temporarily. It doesn’t really provide you ‘freedom’ from your problems, in reality it only acts as bondage while you get hooked on to the self-destructive ‘buzz’.

It is essential to overcome the evil of alcohol dependency and have other alternatives to reduce stress before the scales tip over. The importance of realization and acceptance cannot be emphasized enough, it is ‘half the battle won’. The next brave and courageous step is to seek help, it is important to have a strong support system in your friends, family or AA support groups. Timely intervention is crucial here. Engage in recreational activities when you feel that stress creeping in, to calm you down. Talk to your friends and family to get that load off your chest- talking really helps. Write down those nagging troublesome thoughts, confront those deep emotional wounds and heal. Seek professional help- schedule that meeting with a therapist. Play with a pet –never underestimate the power of the furry beings, they are huge stress busters. Spend time in nature, meditate, take a break and go to the mountains or to the sea, if you please. Take charge of your life.

Alcohol as a means to ‘escape’ is like that devil which tempts you. It hampers your cognitive abilities, negatively impacts your relationships and can prove to be fatal for your physical health too. Without timely intervention it has the capacity to push you over the edge and take the reins of your life. It is that evil which isolates you and before you know it, it claws its way to gain complete control of your life – slowly and gradually. Would you want to be a mute bystander of your own life and let this poison deplete the joys of your life? Would you rather not summon the devil and deal with the problems head on as they arise and soak in all the blessings of this beautiful life?

This poison is never to be confused as that superhero which comes to your rescue, YOU are that hero of your life. There would be problems aplenty that may arise and your mind may get clouded to search for the answers to all those problems or you may feel the need to escape, but remember that alcohol is NEVER the answer. Break free from this self-destructive cycle and say no to alcohol abuse. Don’t let your problems and this poison squeeze out the joys from your life.  The key is to stop living in denial and recognize your own super power of ‘strong will’. Go, be that superhero of your wonderful life-story!

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