Many people have their beliefs about alcohol addiction. However, most of these beliefs stem from a lack of experience, understanding and perhaps tolerance. So let us correct some of these common misconceptions.
Myth 1: Addiction is only a bad habit and the only reason addicts can’t quit is because they have no willpower.
At the start of drinking, perhaps it could be a voluntary decision. Consider it a much needed respite from work, bills, relationship and all the drama. However, the more they choose to turn to it, the more dependent they become on it to relieve stress and in the end, they become addicted. This addiction happens because alcohol alters the brains and now the alcohol is in control of the addict.
Myth 2: Addicts are people with mental problems.
The statement is untrue. Addicts began as normal people who only started on one or two drinks to relieve stress. The more they seek this as an outlet, the more addicted they become. As we said in myth #1 alcohol alters the brain, creating a need in the user to be drinking all the time. This leads to bad life decisions.
Myth 3: Treatment never works. Look at how many people relapse
The public thinks, that it will be easy to quit alcohol cold turkey however it is not that easy. The rehabilitation of alcoholics or treatment for them is not a one size fit all. The programme has to be tailored to suit the needs of the alcohol addicts. Different individuals have different issues that they are dealing with and they also respond differently to various treatment.
Myth 4: The addict has to be willing to quit for treatment to be effective.
Most of the time, they do not want treatment. They only seek treatment because they were ordered by the court or they were referred by concerned family members. Wanting to quit has little effect on the effectiveness on the treatment.
Myth 5: Addicts are a lost cause once they relapse.
Getting off the addiction is easy. Staying off it is difficult. Relapsing does not mean hitting rock bottom. It could be used as a positive thing by analyzing why the individual relapsed, what trigger that triggered the event and learn to avoid it next time. These are a few of the myths of alcohol addiction. The knowledge of this alone will help you be a better friend to those in need.
You may have a problem with drinking but may be too embarrassed to enter an AA meeting. Here a few simple steps to help you kick the habit without going full turkey.
Firstly, as cliché as it may sounds, acknowledge that you have a problem. You need to first accept that you are an alcoholic. Then we can proceed to the next step. You need to understand why you drink. Do you start drinking when you had a bad day at work? You have an argument with your spouse? Identify the little triggers that set you off and have a game plan of what you will do when faced with that trigger. Be it, when having an awful day at work, going for a spa or a massage or calling a friend out for a coffee. Know your triggers and know yourself.
Secondly, commit yourself to the goal of ridding yourself free of alcohol. You are a smart human being who does not need alcohol to function. Yes, it may be difficult for you to get through the day at first. Do not listen to the little cravings or little commands that your brain sends to you demanding for alcohol. You are the master of yourself. You have lived once before and functioned perfectly well without alcohol. There is no reason you could not do it again. Make your mantra: I will quit for good. Repeat it to yourself every time a trigger presents itself to you.
Thirdly, learn to say NO. If a friend asks you out for a drink, be absolutely ready to be firm in your reply. Say no thanks, I’m quitting. Tell your friends of your intentions and tell them that you need them to be there for you. If you have to avoid your group of drinking friends for a certain period of time, do that. Tell them you are not burning bridges, you are just trying to quit alcohol. They will respect you for it and help you in your road to sobriety.
Fourthly, be patient. Enjoy your recovery from your addiction and do not be afraid if you relapsed. If you relapsed once, that does not mean you will fall all the way down and hit rock-bottom. It takes time and patience. Do not be hard on yourself if you relapsed after a certain period of time. After that relapse, say to yourself, I will try harder and this time I will succeed.
Most of all, remember that you are doing all these for yourself and your family. These should be the biggest motivation and inspiration of all to keep on moving forward.