Making the choice to beat alcohol addiction is a decision that can ebb and flow like the tides; you can experience moments of weakness and frustration as well as moments of triumph and joy. Whether you’re surrounded by support at one of your local alcohol rehab centers or you are struggling on your own, these cycles in development are perfectly natural. Here are some important tips for success in rebuilding your freedom and your future.
The first glimmerings that you have a problem can be so painful that you quickly submerge them in a drink. You might be unhappy in your relationships, your family, your career, or your community, and it’s common for individuals to blame every other external condition while ignoring and invalidating the inner pain that drives individuals to seek relief. This is called denial; it’s human, it’s natural, and it’s an obstacle that can be overcome with acceptance.
The very first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program is to make this statement; “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” On its surface, it may seem like this is an admission of guilt, but in reality, it’s a demand for freedom that grows in urgency inside of people until they have no choice but to face their fears. Many people never realize just how heavy the burden of denial was until they finally begin to feel it lifted from their souls.
Acceptance is the first stage in healing addiction, and while rehab centers can help provide you with the tools to cope with this new reality, the companionship of understanding strangers at Alcoholics Anonymous can also have a profound impact.
Forgiveness and empowerment
Moving through the process, bringing more forgiveness and empowerment into your life can help you overcome the urge to drink. Learning forgiveness takes subtle changes in perspective and understanding. In 1968, Dr. Stephen Karpman distilled human relationships down to three major roles symbolized by what he called “The Dreaded Drama Triangle.”
Understanding these roles, that of the Victim, the Persecutor, and the Rescuer, is one of the keys to finding more empowerment and emerging from the hopelessness and despair that can drive people back to the bottle. David Emerald has worked extensively in bringing Karpman’s creation to the masses with his program called The Empowerment Dynamic; the Power of TED, which provides individuals with the tools to fundamentally shift their lives.
Build your support network
Once you become determined to beat alcohol addiction, surrounding yourself with like-minded people will be crucial to your success. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to exclude the people that once triggered you from your life. Instead, adding new friends and acquaintances to your social circle can raise the balance of positive interactions and help you cope with the unpleasant times.
Most importantly, you cannot retreat into isolation when the going gets rough; friends you’ve made in rehab or at meetings can become your new support network, replacing the perceived comfort the bottle once used to give.
Build new habits
When you can’t continue with the old habits you once associated with drinking, be it places you used to frequent or groups of friends you used to drink with, you may start to feel lost. It’s important to remember that psychology suggests to break an old habit by replacing it with a new one. Remember that you and your loved ones are worth the effort, and spending time on new hobbies and friendships might just provide your life with the purpose you may feel you’ve been missing.
No matter what part of the process you’re in, don’t give up and don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, just remember to take it one day at a time, falling back on the support of friends, family, and medical health experts.