Alcoholism is a difficult and unique addiction. Unlike addictions to some other substances, identifying alcoholism generally requires a look at overall behavior patterns of yourself or loved ones. Drinking, in itself, is not illegal. In fact, drinking has become a culturally normative behavior for many. So how do you know how much is too much? When should you seek help? There is no shame in admitting that you may not be able to kick the addiction on your own. Here are a few of the factors you may consider when deciding if a 28 day program is a good fit for you.
There are many red flags that could indicate that you or your loved one could benefit from the help of a 28 day program. The presence of a factor or two may not mean that the individual in question is an alcoholic. However, the presence of several factors could mean that the individual needs assistance overcoming the addiction. We will break down some of these in more depth, but it is nice to have an overview of the behaviors that point to an alcohol addiction. These behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Lying about frequency and/or amounts of alcohol consumptiom
- Inability to hold a stable job
- Problems with personal relationships stemming from alcohol use
- Binge drinking
- Drinking to the point of blacking out
- Getting in trouble with the law involving alcohol
- Being drunk at inappropriate times or events
- Drinking alone
- Restricting social activities to only those done with other drinkers
- Spending money on alcohol over other priorities
- Apathy towards work, friends, and family
Alcohol and Relationships
One of the first things to look at when determining if a person needs help with alcohol is how alcohol has impacted their personal relationships. Do all of their friends drink? Do most or all of their activities seem to focus around alcohol? Have they had romantic or family relationships fail due to drinking? These are all warning signs that treatment may be necessary for recovery. Behavior is greatly influenced by who a person spends their time with. Eventually, most people tend to reflect the behavior of their friends.
Family and other loved ones will often notice these behaviors first. In many cases, you may see an alcoholic hide that they have been drinking. An example of this may be denying that they are clearly intoxicated. Another example may be hiding liquor or alcohol bottles. Because of the fear of judgement, many alcoholics will restrict their circle of people to just those that engage in similar behaviors. Therefore, one red flag is that the individual’s “sober” friends tend to fall away. Family becomes lower on the priority list, and most of the person’s time are spent alone or with people engaging in similar lifestyle habits.
Alcohol and Health
Heavy drinkers will generally notice a change in their body. Some of these changes can be identified by loved ones. Some, however, will be noticeable only to those suffering from the addiction. Some bodily changes may include drastic weight changes. This could mean becoming either much bigger or much smaller. Sweat and other bodily secretions may smell like alcohol. The individual will likely be sick more often than normal due to the toll of alcohol on the immune system. In some cases, extreme fatigue and passing out can come from the body’s inability to sustain hydration, an electrolyte balance, and proper nutrition. All of these are signs that the individual in question may be drinking much more than they admit to drinking.
Issues that the individual may notice include increased heart burn, kidney infections, blood in the urine or feces, irritable bowel syndromes, fatigue, and muscle weakness. There may also be cramping in the abdominal area or pain in the liver or kidneys. Skin, hair, and nails will also be negatively impacted by the lack of nutrition in the body of an alcoholic. These symptoms tend to be harder for others to identify, but they may be a sign that treatment for alcohol is needed.
Alcohol and Denial
Personality is something to always consider when trying to cope with alcoholism. It is natural for an alcoholic to be in denial. This is what makes the disease so dangerous. The mind of the addict will tell them that they do not have a problem. Rationalizations include a rough home life, stress at work, loneliness, or pain. This makes the person feel entitled to the drink they want to have. If you try to discredit that logic, the person will often get defensive or lash out. When attempting to stop the use of alcohol, the person will often reward themselves for small periods without alcohol by drinking. Small periods without alcohol feed into the person’s logic that they do not have a problem. They tell themselves that they must be fine if they were able to stay sober for a period of time.
This rationalization is one of the main reasons that a 28 day program may be right for a person that exhibits alcohol abuse. This treatment separates the individual from circumstances and people that enable them to rationalize their behavior. It also gives them the luxury of worrying about just their sobriety for 28 days. This treatment is not intended to end after 28 days. Rather, it is made to be a stepping stone to start the sobriety process.
If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol addiction, feel free to seek help. Call 866-754-9113 for more details and help navigating the struggle with alcohol abuse. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to seek help for a family member. Do not wait until the alcohol abuse becomes too much to manage! You can get help to begin rebuilding your life! Remember, sobriety happens one decision and one day at a time!