How Alcohol Rehabilitation Can Help
If you’re a person who has struggled with the effects of addiction to alcohol, you’ll know that sometimes it feels like a secret we have that we’d rather not keep. In fact, we’d like it out of our lives.
Filling the Gap
And there’s good news about that desire to open up and free up our lives. It’s very possible, especially with the right attitude and determination. Many people before you have felt the same way. Even individuals who seem to have it all — wealth, fame, every opportunity in the world — find that alcohol offered something they didn’t appear to get elsewhere.
The Three Blind Men and the Elephant
If you’ve ever heard the story of the three blind men and the elephant — one man feels the elephant’s leg, and tells the others that the object is a tree, another feels the trunk, saying the elephant must be like a tree branch; another man, after he feels the elephant’s tail, says the elephant is like a rope.
This story is a lot like the experience of alcohol addiction — in a way, alcohol addiction is a hard thing to analyze in oneself because we can’t see the whole picture. We see small parts of it. We remember the time when someone we loved got angry at us for drinking. We remember the time we thought we could do our work while drunk and ended up doing a bad job. We remember when we thought we could drink and drive — and maybe we even got caught doing so.
Seeing the Unseen
In other words, we often don’t see the alcoholism itself, only small parts of it. But after a while, we no longer think the object we’re “seeing” is not a tree branch, but the trunk of an elephant. We suspect that we didn’t get into that argument because our wife was just in a bad mood, but because our wife thinks we have a problem. And so does our boss. And so does the police officer who pulled us over.
In fact, we sometimes feel like we’re the only ones who think we don’t have a problem!
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction sometimes gets a bad rap in the media, but it’s much more akin to having an illness than it is a decision. Most of us are never given the option to “decide” to become alcoholics. We know that maybe we feel down, or sad and that at one point in time, alcohol took that feeling away (although it may now cause those feelings, and much more intensely).
Alcohol addiction is simply a term for when our bodies have become so accustomed to the effects of alcohol that it has become dependent on drinking to function. The bad news, however, is that this new type of functioning is often quite problematic.
What Alcohol Addiction Does
Simply put, alcohol addiction places alcohol as the primary focus of our lives. Because our bodies need alcohol — much like someone with diabetes may need insulin to function — life slowly begins to revolve around ingesting the substance. This might be an easier problem if we could only decide that we don’t like this state of affairs, and are going to quit, but in fact alcohol does something equally tricky: It makes it so that, however, many times we may resolve to stop drinking, somehow we find ourselves on the same path.
And the thing is, alcohol tolerance does not only “go away” when we haven’t had a drink for a week or two, we end up right where we left off. And when that point that we’ve left off is a train going off the rails, we jump right back aboard.
Why Going it Alone is So Difficult
Often the necessity of inpatient alcohol treatment is that we are often in need of someone else’s ability to monitor our behavior and to check with them about the state we’re in. Doctors, nurses and other practitioners can also help with the process of withdrawing alcohol from our system — a difficult process that can be made significantly easier with medical assistance.
How Alcohol Rehabilitation Can Help
After the alcohol has left our system, the next tricky part is dealing with the fact that our brains will often tell us that we ought to go right back to drinking. The brain is an organ that loves alcohol: After all, when we drink, we relax the cerebral cortex, shutting off the brain from having to deal with all the anxiety the process of living has taught it to sort out. And that isn’t good.
Staying off alcohol — and learning lessons from inpatient services on how to manage to drink in our lives — is another central part of getting better, and having our lives improve.
So for these reasons, alcohol addiction can be one of the most difficult problems we’ll face over the course of our lives. But the good news is that with the right mindset and a desire to change, quality of life can substantially improve.
Think of it this way: By learning to solve the problems that we once were able to banish away with those first few months of drinking, we mostly reach the same lack of challenges, but in this instance, with our health and private lives intact.
So if you’re someone who is considering treatment for alcohol abuse, remember that you’re not alone — many persons have struggled with the same problem, but fortunately there are good means of help.