Of all the addictions in the world, alcohol can be the most debilitating. Yes, heroin is bad. Crack is a nightmare. But alcohol withdrawal is the most commonly fatal of all of them. And on top of that, consuming alcohol itself will be far more impairing than something like heroin.
Heroin basically knocks you unconscious. A person on heroin is not going to drive recklessly, they are going to drive five miles per hour. A person with an alcohol dependency can still drive. They will just be far worse at it. Reactions will be stunted, and muscle control will be lesser.
This is why dealing with alcohol dependency is such a “fight”. To help you with your struggle, here are ten things you can do to make your battle against addiction easier.
Water Down Your Alcohol
Let’s start with a highly practical tip. Watering down your alcohol does not have to be done in an exact manner. It is highly up to what your body can tolerate, as well as your taste. Obviously, the goal is to satisfy your crave to drink while actually consuming less alcohol.
But at the same time, you are trying to walk a fine line. It is possible to drink so little that you enter a sort of withdrawal anyways. So, do not always water it down entirely.
Find a Therapist
That last tip has some people confused. It is clearly telling you to avoid drinking, but also telling you to water your drink down less if you enter withdrawal. Why? Well, because fighting addiction is a slow process. And dealing with that slow process means dealing with a lot of emotions.
Every addict should get into contact with a therapist, but recovering addicts need one most of all. It takes a lot of work to deal with the emotions of fighting addiction.
When most people set a goal, it is usually something nebulous, like “Get totally clean or die trying.” This is when they set a goal. Many addicts want to get clean but have no plan at all.
Setting goals will help you plan out your process in such a way that it does not overwhelm you. This will help manage those emotions mentioned earlier. Fighting addiction takes time and trying to set unreasonable goals will not help you. So, start with avoiding drinking on weekends.
Take it in Steps
Related to the previous point, you should try to make your plan of action in as many small steps as you can. This helps you keep from getting overwhelmed in the moment. For instance, if you were to schedule out your whole day, it might look like this:
- Wake up
- Get out of bed
- Don’t drink
- Brush teeth
- Eat breakfast
- Don’t drink
All of these steps do not take much time. But starting the day can still be overwhelming, even if this is all you end up doing. So, take it slow and small so you know how to act at any given time.
Don’t be Judgmental
This is generally a good idea, but it is literally lifesaving for an addict to not be judgmental. Obviously, you should avoid passing judgment on others. But withholding judgment on others is mostly a matter of building a habit of non-judgmental behavior in yourself.
Because the worst thing an addict can do is start to judge themselves as well. That will just result in your piling more and more negativity on yourself until it is impossible to escape.
Attend Group Therapy
As we mentioned earlier, therapy is important. But not everyone is a fan of one-on-one therapy. One of the advantages of group therapy is that the social setting makes it feel more worth people’s time. This is no one’s favorite psychological effect, but it is very real.
It also helps addicts feel less individually pathetic. If everyone deals with the same issues and makes the same mistakes that are so easily called “obvious”, then it is not so bad.
Keep Track of Who You Spend Time With
A big part of any addict’s addiction will be who they hang around. People who drink will continue to encourage you to drink. People with more diverse methods of socialization will make it easier for you to avoid drinking. In a way, this can be one of the hardest things to employ.
Eat and Exercise Regularly
It is so much easier to fall off the wagon if you are lacking in other areas of your life. Healthy food, consistent exercise, these are the things you are able to focus on through consistent effort. That is to say, they are much harder to include in your life if you are not doing them consistently. For that reason, focusing on them is much like focusing on recovery.
This also means that it pays to have easy diets to follow, make simple meals, and do exercises that do not ask a lot of you. You can build up to healthier eating, actual meals, and real exercise eventually. But like before, starting simple with your plans is usually better.
Have a Support System
This can be one of the most difficult things about fighting addiction. Having a support system means having people you can rely on, and those are in short supply these days.
They can be close friends, or professional help. But sometimes you just need to call someone to talk you down from going somewhere stupid or drinking something you shouldn’t.
Support Yourself at Every Turn
It is important that, to the best of your ability, you love yourself unconditionally during this process. That is a tall order for any addict, as one of the biggest issues with dependency is the damage it does to your self-esteem. But you are not going to get anywhere without it.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is equal parts internal and external. You have to have the right mindset, but you also need to make use of resources like intensive outpatient programs.
Try your best and be prepared for the long journey ahead.