Alcoholism Symptoms and Recovery Options
Are you or is somebody you know suffering from alcoholism? Are you at a loss as to how to stop or how to help a loved one quit drinking alcohol excessively? Here are some facts about alcohol addiction and what it takes to recover.
The Problem of the ‘ISM’
The most basic truth about alcohol abuse is that excessive use of this mind-altering chemical is but a symptom of a much deeper problem. It’s a problem with living life on life’s terms. Far from being the actual problem for alcoholics, alcohol presents a solution to life’s difficulties. It’s not a healthy solution, mind you. It is a solution, however. The ‘ism’ of alcohol abuse has been referred to as a disease of ‘I, self, and me’.
Generally speaking, alcoholics are driven by countless forms of fear and self-delusion. Most alcoholics report that they have never felt comfortable in their own skin, and these feelings reportedly began at a young age. They feel as though they missed out on the handbook to life, and they seek to escape these feelings of confusion, fear, and inadequacy through beer and/or liquor. Once they find this escape, a peculiar obsession forms, and the power of choice of whether or not to continue drinking is lost completely.
Fortunately for alcoholics across the globe, there is a solution. The most recognized and widely accepted solution to alcoholism is one of a spiritual nature. For some atheists and agnostics who have an intolerance to spiritual principles, this poses a problem. There are many alcoholics in recovery who once felt that they could not believe in a power greater than themselves; so if you have a problem with the mention of God or other spiritual terms, please do not let that deter you from taking into consideration the following steps which has helped millions of people recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind.
The first step in recovering from alcoholism is an admission of complete powerlessness over alcohol. You must be convinced that – once you take the first drink – you are unable to resist the temptation to continue drinking. You must be willing to take a look at your life. It’s imperative to not only review the unmanageability of alcohol, but also the unmanageability in all areas of your life from personal ambitions and relationships to resentments and work-related issues.
The third tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” If you have a desire to stop drinking and you accept that – in and of yourself – you are unable to quit, you may be a perfect candidate for Alcoholics Anonymous.
When you attend Alcoholics Anonymous, you will hear people offering suggestions. These suggestions include things like going to 12 step meetings, getting a sponsor, being of service, working the 12 steps, and praying to a God of your own understanding. “God of your own understanding” is an extremely important phrase, especially for those of atheist or agnostic temperament. There are many recovering alcoholics who needed to make the group of Alcoholics Anonymous their higher power as a meager beginning. They found a group of people who had found a solution to life’s problems that wasn’t alcohol. In recognizing this, they were able to recognize and accept that this group was a power greater than themselves. There are those who refer to G.O.D as a ‘group of drunks;’ and this was their beginning of developing an understanding of God.
The second and third steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are about recognizing that God as you understand Him can restore you to sound mind. They are also about making a decision to turn your will and life over to the care of your own conception of God.
The steps that follow are about ‘cleaning house’. You have the opportunity in steps four and five to list your resentments and the parts you played in them, and you find a person you can trust (generally your sponsor) with whom you share your inventory.
In steps six and seven, you become ready for God as you understand Him to remove your shortcomings, and you ask Him to take away your defects of character. Once you have made it to these steps, you are ready to make a list of all the people you had done wrong in your addiction. Perhaps you owe emotional amends, or perhaps you owe some financial amends. Either way, you list all the people you had hurt in step eight. Then, in step nine, you take action and you make amends to all these people.
The aforementioned steps are extremely important. They are a means of ‘cleaning up your side of the street’ so that you are open to receive God’s grace and have Him completely remove the obsession to drink from your mind.
Steps ten through twelve are maintenance steps. In step ten, you continue to monitor your behaviors and promptly admit where you have been wrong. In step eleven, you enrich your spiritual life with prayer and meditation.
Step twelve is perhaps the most important step. In step twelve, you “carry the message to alcoholics still suffering.” Helping other alcoholics is the best way to keep sobriety yourself. There is a certain freedom in sharing your experience, strength, and hope so that other alcoholics may acquire sobriety.
Scores of alcoholics have scoffed at these steps. Unless they have truly hit rock bottom in their disease of alcoholism, they may not be willing to take the actions suggested. Hopefully, there comes a time at which every alcoholic who has been introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous at which he accepts that he can’t muster the power to quit drinking on his own. His only hope is to take advantage of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous .