People who have experienced alcoholism and drug addiction each have their own story as to how they became addicts, why they turned to the drug as a medication, and what they experienced before finding alcohol rehabilitation centers. In some cases, a childhood trauma or adult tragedy led to the need for escape through alcohol. A common theme is that they lost their family, spent time in jail, or at the least, their actions were disapproved of by the people closest to them. Such concepts are addressed in alcohol rehab centers in order to bring the addict back to reality and prepare them for a life of sobriety.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
It goes without saying that some people drink more than others, some people are heavy drinkers by any standard, but that in and of itself does not define the alcoholic. The first sign of alcoholism is not how much a person drinks, but rather, the way in which they drink. The heavy drinker tends to drink socially while the alcoholic drinks in order to feel normal. A heavy drinker may “drink away” a hangover, which is a sign there may be a drinking problem, but the alcoholic drinks away their sobriety. It’s such a subtle nuance which can be difficult to explain, but therapists are aware of it and understand it only slightly less than the alcoholics themselves do.
Stages of the Disease
For the alcoholic, the disease always starts with social drinking. The signs of alcoholism are there immediately, whether the alcoholic is 12 years old or 25 when they start, but usually, go unrecognized. For one thing, it’s commonplace for alcoholics to hide the amount they really drink. Alcoholics are clever, they’ll drink with one friend one day and another the next, so nobody realizes the person was drunk for two days straight.
Drinking consistently leads to disruptive behavior because of a lack of understanding the social norms sober people take for granted. There will be arguments or even fistfights, and often the alcoholic wasn’t the cause but was provoked in a way which sober people would ignore but the alcoholic allows to progress. Such situations, in turn, lead to jail or court cases for minor offenses.
At the same time, the alcoholic begins to see other problems arise. It may be heated arguments with a wife or parents, or problems at work. There might be a more serious legal charge such as DUI or larceny, possibly being fired from a job, or domestic abuse. In a perfect world, this is when the alcoholic should receive help and address the disease, unfortunately, it’s not exactly “rock bottom” and the alcoholic’s friends don’t yet realize the problems stem from alcoholism.
Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox
Eventually, hopefully as soon as possible, it does become clear to everyone around the alcoholic the problems are drug related. Again, alcoholics are clever and will make up all sorts of stories and excuses to explain their behavior in other terms than a need to attend alcohol rehabilitation centers. When the inevitable finally happens, the alcoholics will strike out with hurtful, even hateful attacks against the people who love them.
Recovery That Lasts
In spite of the problems they caused, alcoholics tend to be a strength within their family after sobriety is realized. The same traits which led to addiction become a passion for life while the situations the alcoholic experienced lead to an interesting perspective on life. Although a loved one who is alcoholic may be difficult at the moment, they bring a distinct quiet strength back to their families and relationships after finding sobriety.
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