Posts tagged with "alcoholism"

Six Ways to Cut Down on Alcohol

by Tara Yombor, LMHC and clinical director at Pathway to Hope, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility.

Social (moderate) drinking, binge drinking, alcoholism, tolerance, and dependence. This is the typical pattern of progression for drinking that leads someone to think of him or herself as needing to cut down on alcohol. Some might think they are prone to alcoholism. Within that progression, the time for someone to cut down on drinking is based on the individual’s idea of what is causing dysfunction and unmanageability in their life.

Why is it so easy for someone to become addicted to alcohol, and what does it mean to have
an alcohol use disorder?

First of all, alcohol does not have an adverse social stigma, which makes the dependence for it more likely, and the consumption of it more acceptable. Alcohol is typically used to celebrate happy events and sooth the sad events in life. Think about a celebration. What do most people imagine? Alcohol, champagne, and a “toast to the New Year!”

During times of mourning or stress, alcohol can be used to ease the emotional pain of a loss or as a stress reliever. Social (or moderate) drinking is seen as a normal and perfectly harmless way of socializing, relaxing, or a form of celebration.

A binge drinker is defined as a man who drinks more than four to six drinks in a two-hour period, and a woman who drinks more than four to five drinks in a two-hour period. Someone with alcohol use disorder is typically a person with a long-term addiction to alcohol. This person is typically unable to control how much they consume or when to stop drinking and spends a lot of time thinking about the next drink.

It can be easy for someone to transition from a social drinker to a binge drinker to having an
alcohol use disorder. A binge drinker is someone who has more than the above allotted
acceptable drinks in a short amount of time.

Someone who is a binge drinker or struggling with heavy alcohol use may find that people close to them begin to notice negative patterns of behavior during times of drinking. Friends and family may start to become worried about the person’s drinking patterns and negative outcomes that have begun to arise from their drinking. A person who begins to engage in
binge drinking may find themselves calling out of work the day after drinking due to a hangover; they may miss important deadlines, get into arguments with their loved ones, or lose track of daily responsibilities.

Tolerance for alcohol means that a person needs more and more alcohol to feel the desired effect than they previously would not have needed. Someone who has a pattern of binge drinking may find themselves drinking even more alcohol in a short time to feel drunk.

Once tolerance increases, the possibility of dependence increases. Dependence can be defined as relying on alcohol to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, a person is controlled by their need to ingest alcohol to feel “normal.”

During any of these stages of alcohol use, someone may feel the need to seek treatment. The need for treatment varies for each person based on how dysfunctional or unmanageable their life has become due to their drinking.

Here are six things you (or anyone) can do to cut down on alcohol. Most of these mean a change in behavior.

1. Acknowledge the problem – in order to stop the behavior, you must first acknowledge what the negative behavior is and make a conscious effort to commit to changing that behavior. Also, put the goal in writing and make a list of reasons why you want to cut back on drinking. For example, if the behavior is drinking too much during celebrations, you have to determine what “too much” means to you and, next, set a goal to decrease the amount you are drinking during celebrations.

2. Set a realistic goal for drinking alcohol – if you struggle with binge drinking, set a realistic, and achievable goal. The next time you’re out during a social event, make it a goal to cut back to three to four drinks in two hours instead of five to six. Or perhaps instead of going to a happy hour on Friday or Saturday night, pick one night to go out and stay in the other night. Cutting back by making realistic and achievable goals will keep you on track and make you feel better about the fact that you are keeping your goals.

3. Write it down – make sure to keep a journal of the times you drink, how much you drink, and any negative outcomes related to the times you drink (for example, drinking and falling down or making an inappropriate comment to a friend). By keeping a journal, you will hopefully be able to see patterns of behavior. You can also share this journal with someone you trust and ask them to look out for any patterns you may have missed.

4. Don’t keep alcohol in your house – it is easier to come home after a long day of work and pour a glass of wine rather than going out to the bar on a Wednesday when you may have other obligations at home such as taking care of a child. When you don’t have alcohol in the house, it eliminates the desire or temptation to drink.

5. Stay busy – by having non-alcohol related activities to engage in, you are more likely to say no to drinking, as you’ll want to be present for the activity. Do things that keep you active, such as riding a bike, hiking, going for a walk as the endorphins from engaging in exercise may eliminate the desire for alcohol.

6. Ask for support/Talk to someone – tell people you trust about your goals and ask them to help keep you accountable during times when you may be struggling or find yourself surrounded by temptation. Also, there are therapists who specialize in alcohol/substance use who you can talk to that can assist you with your goals and process through any underlying emotions that may be related to drinking.

Remember that the above tips may not work for everyone. Some people may be into the stage of alcohol tolerance and dependence. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol dependence, reach out for help from a professional or call a treatment center in your area. Alcoholism and dependence look different for everyone.

Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

The Truth About Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

by Mallory Neuberger

Wendy Williams made headlines last week when she revealed that she’s living in a sober house; but less than one week later she left work, checked out of the facility, and went on to drink alcohol until she was hospitalized. So, what went wrong?

Sobriety is not something that we can pay for. As a recovering cocaine addict, I had to admit that I was an addict and that I was ready for a drug free life. In essence, I had to hit my bottom. Some people die before they find the willingness to get sober. Others need to end up in prison, homeless, or selling their bodies and souls to feed their disease. And many, like myself, don’t lost their homes, cars, jobs or families, but find themselves spiritually void and miserable, with their drug of choice no longer providing the relief that it once had.

Wendy Williams is going through difficulties in her marriage. Her husband is rumored to be cheating on her, and his mistress is pregnant. Despite appearing on television daily, living in a sober house, and paying a sober coach to keep tabs on her 24/7, she still couldn’t handle her heartbreak and to alcohol to numb her pain. The next day she was back on TV. In my opinion, she isn’t ready.

Ethical sober houses keep residents safe by breathalyzing and drug testing them. They have guidelines to provide structure, including curfews, chore checks, and mandatory attendance at 12-step meetings like A.A. or N.A. There are organizations that certify sober houses as good operators, so it’s important to be sure that you are choosing a place that truly has the residents’ best interests at heart.

Sober houses offer a sense of community. They are filled with residents and staff who are all trying to stay sober and meet life head on. There is always someone to talk to, so we are never alone. In my sober houses we emphasize healthy living, encouraging good eating habits and exercise. We practice yoga and we meditate together. We offer fellowship where we eat, laugh, play games, make crafts, listen to music, and sit by the pool. We celebrate together, helping one another get through birthdays, holidays and anniversaries without picking up. We are houses filled with sober women and we are like a big family filled with surrogate mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. We cry together, and more importantly, we laugh.

Putting down drugs and alcohol seemed like the only way I could live, but what kind of a life was it going to be? I feared that I would be socially awkward without my expensive wines or a frozen margarita with salt. I didn’t think I would be able to stay awake without my beloved cocaine. I was losing my best friends – drugs and alcohol – how would I ever have fun again?

The sheer happiness that I have found as a sober woman is greater than any high that I ever experienced. I wake up every morning without a hangover or user’s remorse. I dance whenever and wherever I can, even while trying on clothes in stores, or at parties where nobody else has hit the dance floor. I run by the beach, singing out loud, without worrying that I may die of a stroke due to last night’s excesses. I practice yoga and can actually “be” on the mat for ninety minutes, breathing freely through my once stuffed nostrils.

I have a disease, and that disease is called addiction. I am no longer ashamed and hiding behind it. Addiction is not a weakness or a character defect. It is a debilitating disease without a medicine to cure it. Money cannot buy my recovery, but working a daily program can keep me sober, one day at a time. Every day I go to a 12-step meeting. I remind myself that I’m an addict in recovery and I reset my brain and ask for the strength to remain sober just for today. I am of service to others in recovery, showing them that this simple program works. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. My worst day sober is always better than my best day high, because I am authentic and free and living the very best version of myself. I hope that Wendy Williams hits her bottom soon, and without any terrible consequences. I would love her to live in one of my sober houses.

About Mallory Neuberger

Mallory Neuberger, MS, CRRA, author of Sober.House (My Story), is the executive director of The Frog Pad, a safe and structured holistic healing house for women in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After struggling with her own addiction, Neuberger has dedicated her life to helping others find sobriety, volunteering at drug recovery centers including Hazelden IOP, The Addiction Institute in NYC, Gods Love We Deliver, and soup kitchens. She was also employed at Behavior Health of the Palm Beaches before opening her first sober house.

How do I start dating again?

You probably had high expectations for marriage but things happened,and you called it quits. It has been five years since you went on a date and are wondering can I date again. This is a question that many people who have gone through breakups, divorce or their partners have died often ask.

Certain aspects of dating have changed since over the years. Gone are the days when dating included coffee dates or meeting at the movies. We now have many online dating sites,and the probability of meeting someone online through various social media platforms is high.

If you plan on getting out there and dating there are several things that you need to consider.

List what you want from a partner

It is essential that you make a list of what you would like from a potential partner. While finding the perfect partner is a cliché there are qualities that you are not willing to compromise on. Your past relationships should guide you on what you do not want or what you liked. It is also vital that you stop comparing your future partner with your past. It is essential that you avoid people who are on drugs like tramadol addiction or alcoholism. This is because you do not want to deal with all the drama that comes with addictions too soon.

Have fun

Don’t be so engrossed in finding the right partner that you forget to have fun. Dating is supposed to be fun; look for activities that interest you and your partner. It is easier to fall in love when you are not so tense. Instead of this person being the perfect match try having fun without being judgmental. Avoid going to places that remind you of your ex; be creative and discover new places. The date does not have to be romantic and does not mind finding a new friend. You can choose to download one of the several dating apps available online. Look for one that is genuine and begin by creating friendships.

Work on yourself

Relationships can drain you and leave you with notime for yourself. This single period is the ideal time to finding and doing things that you are passionate about. You can decide to hit the gym and work out on your image. Do this for yourself and besides you might find someone new. As you invest more time inyourself, you find qualities about yourself that you have never discovered. Travel and expand your horizons, learn a new skill or language, take cooking lessons or simply change your wardrobe.

Change your attitude

A break up can change how you view relationships. You probably have negative preconceived ideas on different genders,or you probably have the attitude that all relationships hurt and lead to break up. It is good to take some time and grief your previous relationship. Find and focus on the positive. Avoid generalizations – what happened in the past is in the past. You have a high chance of finding love if you maintain the right attitude.

Do not be too “picky.”

There are those who approach a new relationship with a list of qualities that they are looking for; when you look at the list, you realize that it is impossible for one person to be that perfect. While we are not telling you’re to lower your expectations; we are encouraging you to be realistic about your expectations. Give people a chance and do not focus so much on their weakness. Not every person you come across will have the same qualities as your previous partner.

Take your time

Do not rush to get into a relationship. There can be pressure due to age to get married,but you need to go in your pace. Go for more dates and try different types of people. This will give you a wide variety of choices. Dating should be fun so relax and try out new things. While on a date take your time to ask meaningful questions. Where does your date expectations? Where do they see themselves in the next five or ten years? Questions also keep the conversation going.

First date

Avoid shifting the conversation to your ex or past hurtful relationships. People, like being valued and cared for and talking about your ex continuously,makes the other party feel unappreciated. First impressions matter; wear something that makes you feel comfortable. Take care of your grooming, apply some perfume and make every effort to be gorgeous. A shower is a must. For the first date select a place that you are familiar with. Always carry some extra cash in case your date cannot drop you. When choosing a place for the date, avoid a place you will constantly be bumping into your friends. This will create distractions; the date is about the two of you.

Guys your confidence matters; while it is normal for you to be a bit tense take short breathes and avoid overthinking. Do not take alcohol to cure your nerves; this can make your conversations odd and besides your date may not be into alcohol. Keep the conversation fun and maintain eye contact. One party should not do all the talking,but you should give your partner the opportunity to ask you questions and interact. Listening is an important skill that will earn you points. Nothing is annoying as someone who is constantly on their phone. It passes the message that you do not matter. When on a date be polite by turning off your phone. If you are a guy offer to pay on the first date. Make a follow up on your date to find out whether they got home well and how they are progressing after the date. You can then request for another date.

Conclusion

Dating can be a nervous time for some people. But, it is also an exciting time to meet new people. Focus on the conversation and having fun and do not make it too serious. It might take going for several dates before meeting the right person buteventually you will meet someone you like.