More than 18 million Americans are battling a problem with alcohol. There is hope, and we are here to help you. Learn more about alcohol and how to get sober.
With widespread use of alcohol in the 50 states, beer, wine, and liquor addiction exists in every community. Sadly, out of the millions of addicted to alcohol, very few are able to find long-term freedom and lasting sobriety. While we believe 12-step programs can be helpful in connecting people with a community of support, we know evidence-based approaches to alcohol addiction play a key role in long-term success.
Individuals benefit greatly from having licensed and experienced addiction therapistshelp them build the skills and tools needed to be free from alcohol for the long run. If you or a loved one is suffering from the alcohol addiction, there is help available. Please call us today and get a private consultation with one of our addiction treatment specialists.
When does a drink become more than just a drink? When you can’t stop at just one. When it suddenly takes five or six drinks to make you feel the way one drink used to. When your life seems to be spent getting those drinks, drinking those drinks, and recovering from drinking those drinks.
It might sneak up on you.
Don’t be fooled. Being an alcoholic doesn’t mean you’re falling-down drunk every day of your life. It could look very different.
I’m not addicted… am I?
Many, many people who have a drinking problem simply don’t realize how much they drink, how often they drink, or how many problems in their lives are related to alcohol. Our best advice? Ask your family members and close friends to be honest with you about what they see, and listen to their answers. It may be the hardest, most important question you ever ask.
I drink. I can’t help it.
For lots of people, substance abuse began as a means to cope with some problem, pain or situation. Drinking is no different. What made you feel so awful that you started drinking in the first place? At Desert Rose, we invest a lot of time and love into helping you heal from those hurts.
It’s a symptom.
Research has confirmed that substance and alcohol abuse are influenced by genetic factors. This doesn’t mean you are definitely going to become an alcoholic if your mother or father was … just that your risk is greater.
I can hold my liquor.
A tolerance for alcohol doesn’t protect a person from becoming an alcoholic. In fact, it can work just the opposite. People who can “hold their liquor” tend to drink more, hang out with heavy drinkers, and need more and more alcohol to get a buzz. The more you drink, the more harm you can do to your internal organs – especially your brain, your liver, and your heart. And if you don’t feel drunk (even if you are drunk), you’re going to get in your car and drive home. You could kill yourself. You could kill someone else.
How much is too much?
Want to see some numbers?
Here’s what the government says for women:
You have a low risk of developing alcohol use disorder if you have no more than 3 drinks on any single day or no more than 7 drinks per week.
Here’s what the government says for men:
Low-risk drinking means no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
Here’s what we say:
Every person is different. You don’t fit into a box or a formula, and you could have a drinking problem even if you don’t hit the NIH numbers. Their research shows that “only” two out of 100 people who drink within those limits have alcohol use disorder. We think that’s two too many. That’s why our team works with every person individually, to understand their habits and triggers and help them overcome.
What can go wrong?
Pretty much everything, with a person’s brain, body and life. Here’s a very, very incomplete list of what can happen (and has happened, to far too many people):
Drunk-driving deaths and accidents
Liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer
Damage to other internal organs, such as the stomach lining and pancreas
High blood pressure and risk of enlarged heart, stroke and atrial fibrillation
Complications with diabetes
Paralysis of the eye muscles
Miscarriage and fetal alcohol syndrome
Weakened immune system
Greater-than-average risk of mouth, throat, colon, and breast cancers
Thinning of the bones
Tendency to bruise or bleed
Fatal interactions with prescription medication
Loss of relationships with children and friends
Poor performance at work or school
Inability to get or keep a job
Greater risk of committing a violent crime
Greater risk of being the victim of a violent crime
Greater risk of HIV
Greater risk of sexually transmitted disease
Greater risk of becoming the victim of rape or sexual abuse
Addiction to illegal drugs or prescription drugs
How do I know for sure?
We (and all reputable treatment centers) use the same diagnostic manual to determine whether an individual suffers from alcohol abuse disorder. Here are the 11 criteria; the severity of the disease depends on how many of the following are true; if a person can say yes to six or more, their disease can be diagnosed as severe:
The person can remember drinking more, or drinking longer, than they intended.
They repeatedly tried to (or wanted to) cut down or stop drinking, but couldn’t.
They spend a lot of time drinking, being sick, or recovering from the aftereffects.
They experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink.
They report that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of their home or family, or caused trouble at work or school.
They continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with family or friends.
In order to drink, they gave up or cut back on activities that had once been important to them and gave them pleasure.
More than once, they have placed themselves and others in danger because of their drinking (while driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
They continue to drink even though it caused depression and/or anxiety or contributed to another health problem, or continued to drink after experiencing a blackout or other memory loss.
They find they must drink much more than they once did to get the same effect, or that their usual number of drinks have much less effect than before?
They have withdrawal symptoms (trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating) or have sensed things that were not there.
I want to stop, but my friends don’t want me to stop.
The faster you can say no, the better. It’s your decision, not anybody else’s. But knowing what you’re going to say before you have to say it? That’s huge. Think about it now, before you have to think on your feet. What are you going to say when someone pushes a drink at you?
I want to stop, but I don’t know how.
The NIH initiative, Rethinking Drinking, has some great common-sense suggestions to help get you back on track. They suggest a 2- to 3-month trial period; if you still can’t cut down or quit, that’s a good indication you need professional help. Please, get it.
Here are some strategies they recommend:
Avoid triggers. We stress this all the time. You know the situations, people, and places that make you want to drink. Steer clear.
Eat. Having something in your stomach to help your body absorb the alcohol more slowly.
“Know your no.” Seriously, have a script. You don’t have to share your whole life story. You just need to be able to tell anyone an instant, firm, “No, thank you.”
Find something else to occupy your time. Distraction works. Try something new, preferably something that keeps your hands busy or gets you far away from places where alcohol is available. When you find your “thing,” you’ll be shocked when hours have passed and you haven’t thought about drinking.
Keep track. People who want to lose weight keep track of what they eat. People who want to stop drinking keep track of how much they drink. It’s a pain in the neck, for sure. But how else are you going to know whether you’re making progress?
“Pace and space.” You’re at a party, and everybody has a drink in their hand. Who cares what’s in your glass? Don’t have more than one drink an hour, and make every other beverage something non-alcoholic.
Calculate the cost. Where’s your money going? Wouldn’t you like to have it back? Rethinking Drinking offers a whole slew of calculators to help you figure out the cost of your drinking, in dollars and calories.
I feel all alone.
We understand. We love you, and we don’t want you to feel that way. Let us walk beside you.
We’re here. Call us right now at 561.459.8951, and we’ll tell you what you can do right now – before you lose the nerve – to begin to rebuild your life.
We feel passionate that all you need to do when you arrive at Desert Rose is to start getting better. That’s why everything is already in place for you to walk in the door and begin your recovery.