Sobriety may seem like the biggest decision you’ll make all year, but it’s more achievable than you may realize. When alcohol becomes the centerpiece of our lives, for a while there it feels like everything is fine. We go out more, we have fun and socialize, and we drown out any of the pain that we’re experiencing internally. No apparent problems seem to exist – after all, we’re happy, right? The problem with addiction is that is creeps into our lives so quickly and, once we’re actively in it, it’s much harder to get out if we don’t have the right resources. We may think that we can slow down on drinking, or that we can stop temporarily, but that rarely works – and that’s because addiction has a firm grip on the mind, body and spirit.
The Harmful Effects of Alcoholism
What we don’t realize amidst this cycle of addiction, however, is that we’re beginning to lose key areas of our lives that were once appreciated, protected, and secure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that just in the short timeframe of drinking excessively, we open ourselves up to a number of risks – such as alcohol poisoning, violence, vehicle accidents (or harming someone else through an accident), unprotected sex, miscarriage and more.
Over time, these concerns become even greater as our bodies become more deeply impacted by our drinking habits. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and other digestive problems are likely to develop, and the potential to develop cancers of the mouth, throat, liver and more is greater. Learning and memory problems begin to show themselves, increasing a person’s chances of developing dementia and making a person even more vulnerable to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
One person shared their personal story of struggling with alcoholism via AA’s website. Here an excerpt from their story: “I stole time from my employers or only worked at 25% if that, due to being hungover or still drunk or they couldn’t rely on me to turn up. I stole my parents’ hopes and dreams as well as their peace of mind because I couldn’t be honest as long as I was still drinking.”
Even those who are seemingly able to maintain their addiction while carrying out school, work, or family responsibilities find that it becomes more and more difficult to manage; productivity is often lowered, relationships become strained and more time is taken out from doing one a person once loved to do, to finding ways to drink.
When to Seek Help
If you’re reading this, it’s possible that you already know you have a toxic relationship with alcohol, and that it’s time to seek help. This year, make the decision to seek help by taking an honest inventory of yourself. Consider the following questions:
- Have you had friends, coworkers or loved ones express concern about your drinking patterns?
- Do you usually find that you wind up drinking more than you’ve originally intended to?
- Is your alcohol use causing you problems at school, home, or work?
- Have you tried to stop drinking, but couldn’t?
- Do you drink in order to deal with painful emotions, such as sadness or anger?
- Do you find yourself lying about your drinking habits to yourself or others?
If you said yes to any of these questions, it’s time to seek help. Around 14 million adults in the U.S. struggle with alcoholism each year, so you’re not alone.
This Year: A Year of Sobriety
The first step towards healing is recognizing that you have a problem. Acknowledge the fact that alcohol has taken up a huge portion of your life, and it’s caused you distress in many areas that were previously flourishing. 12-Step programs help those in recovery acknowledge this by emphasizing that has humans, we don’t have as much power and control as we think we do. Addiction truly does cause our lives to become unmanageable, and that’s when we find ourselves in this whirling cycle with no apparent exit. By seeking out help, you are not only taking a stand for your health and wellbeing, but also for your friends and family who need you more actively in their lives. You are opening up space for enriching life experiencing that fill you with purpose and meaning, rather than distracting you from a life that’s meant to be lived.
The Fix provides some excellent reasons for why sobriety should make its way into your life:
- You’ll be able to create more meaningful memories
- You’ll finally be able to repair relationships that have been damaged by alcoholism
- No more hangovers
- More years will be added to your life because you’re taking better care of your health
- You’ll feel (and look) different
- More money will be saved, which means that you’ll be able to reach towards some of those bigger goals you used to dream about
- And so much more
Don’t wait any longer; begin the journey towards recovery today. Hope is not lost, and healing is right around the corner.
This is the year to change your life from suffering due to the disease of addiction to thriving in the sunlight of the spirit of sobriety. As the world’s first 12-Step treatment center, established in 1939, High Watch Recovery is dedicated to educating patients on 12-Step principles, actions, philosophies, and lifestyles, preparing them to live a happy and healthy sober life after graduating. For information on our continuum of clinical care and our compassionate approach to treatment, call us today: 860.927.3772.