When alcohol abuse hits home

 

At one stage or another, most adults in America have had a few beers, wine, hard liquor or something else to enjoy socially or calm their nerves for a certain occasion. A moderate drink here or there is totally acceptable and not even deemed harmful, even though alcohol is still a dangerous drug.

However, after you move from the stage of social or relaxing drinking to over-consumption and aggressive drinking habits, this drug becomes a lot more dangerous to the user. There are a lot of people throughout America who have to fight battles with themselves to keep their alcohol consumption to a minimum on a daily basis.

But when the binge drinking habits start to get the best of them, they could start to become a prolific alcoholic.

A lot of families do not know exactly how to deal with an alcoholic if they are part of the family, such as a son, daughter, mother, brother, spouse etc. They can have a hard time figuring out what the best way to help with their alcohol problem is. This is where making sure you have the right knowledge to handle this situation is crucial as you want to be able to have a positive impact and not create a more negative one.

How can you help someone with alcohol abuse

There are a few different approaches one could use that could eventually help a family member that is in desperate need of a life turnaround. Typically, someone who is an alcoholic or drug abuser would be in denial of their situation and would not want to admit to any faults or wrongdoings in their life. This is the first main obstacle you have to overcome in the recovery process, as coming to the realization that something has to change is the first step before that change can actually occur.

One way to help a family member realize this is to try and track their alcohol consumption in a very objective manner; the facts and figures of the matter would not lie. You would be able to present them with true numbers of how much alcohol they are consuming on a daily and weekly basis which would hopefully help them come to the realization that they do indeed have a problem. This entails that you do not let them out of your sight for very long as people with these types of issues typically tend to try and drink secretly as to not arouse suspicion from close friends and family that something is actually wrong.

Another way to try to get involved and help them change for the better is to have a family intervention, whether it is help for a spouse, a mother who consumes too much alcohol, or a son who parties too much and has turned into a binge drinker, a family intervention is never a bad idea; this is especially true when the intervention is well thought out, well planned out, and has a clear and concise point that comes from it.

The imperative reasons for stepping in and trying to get the family member or loved one out of their slump is to stop the addiction before it is too late. Many further issues can arise from substance abuse, the worst one being a fatality. However, other things such as liver disease, cancer and mental health issues can occur along the way. Acquiring a mental health issue from substance is common and can happen if the addiction is not stopped in time.

Dual diagnosis and what to do

If someone in your family has had an addiction for a while and has started to show signs of mental deterioration, it could very well stem from their bad habit of substance abuse. Once these signs are prominent, it is definitely advisable that you take them to a specialist who knows how to deal with an alcoholic or drug addict and get them on the path to recovery as quick as possible.

Drinking a lot of alcohol can put a lot of stress on mental functions and eventually can have an irreversible effect on the brain causing mental health issues that could last a lifetime. The longer this is left to happen, the worse the damage can be.

The best solution

In these types of situations where the damage is irreversible, there sadly never seems to be the best solution or an optimal outcome that can change the past, but it is the utmost responsibility of the family to make sure the issues do not get any worse.

When you see a family member intensely suffering from these issues or something else, make sure you are there to step in right away to lend a helping hand or put your foot down.

Never think that it is “too late” for someone to receive treatment or get help. There are times when it can be tough, but dealing with the headaches and arguments for a period is better than having to live your life regretting how you never stepped in.

Once a graduate always a graduate

Many times when a person graduates from rehabilitation they think that is the end of the road, that they will be clean for the rest of their life without having to put any effort in.

In fact, this type of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth; from a study conducted, it was found that around 40 percent of people that complete a rehabilitation program and achieve sobriety end up relapsing shortly after. This stat shows that there is a high chance that someone who graduated is still very susceptible to the lure of the substances they were previously using.

Why does relapse happen?

There are endless possibilities as to a particular individual’s situation and why a relapse would occur.

Firstly, a specific event could have triggered a relapse. This could range from something negative happening, experiencing something traumatic or even just a general change of circumstance. Any of these scenarios could lead someone to relapse as they feel that drugs is a way for them to get through this pain and these issues.

Even though they currently are not using the drugs, they have had an intimate history with substance abuse and therefore can easily fall back into that trap. Subconsciously they know they relied on drugs before to help them through situations, thus if something comes up again it can spark them wanting to use again in order to feel comfortable again.

Another reason relapse could happen is simply the addictiveness of the substances involved. For example, socially drinking alcohol sometimes is considered fine. However, if someone with a previous binge drinking disorder started to socially drink it could initiate the process of them relapsing.

Even though alcohol is seen as socially acceptable and it is a legal drug, it is still a drug nonetheless. Therefore, when someone wants to drink minimally, sometimes their bodies will just not allow it. They can become completely addicted again and before they know it they are back into their old habits they know all too well.

This same idea can be applied to drug users who went through a rehabilitation program, once becoming clean if they were to go back to hanging out with the same peer group then this could eventually lead to a quick relapse.  People always want to try and fit in and not be the odd one out, so if their peers are still heavily into using drugs then there is a good chance they would go back to using pretty quickly to not feel left out.

All these reasons and ways for a relapse to happen is why it is so important for drug rehabilitation graduates to be as positive as they can and keep their mind and body feeling healthy. It is and can be a continuous battle, and does not end when the program ends, the more they realize that the easier it can become for them to fend off a relapse.

Activities that can keep a relapse at bay

Staying sober after detox is the next main goal for people who have overcome a large hurdle in their life and ended their addiction for a period of time. Once they have moved on from the addiction recovery center and re-enter normal life, there are many activities that someone could enjoy to keep their mind on the positives and to keep their body healthy.

One of the main activities that a recent graduate could get involved in is exercise. There is a multitude of exercise classes that someone new to fitness exercise could get involved in. These range from spinning classes, martial arts, general body pump and boot camp classes and yoga. A lot of studies have been conducted on the benefits of excessive and the positive effects it can have on your body. It can keep your mind young and active and especially important for recent graduates is that it releases certain chemicals throughout your body that can produce feelings of happiness and positivity. These chemicals can hopefully replace the ones given to them previously by the drugs and alcohol.

One other benefit of these classes is it can bring a calmness to your mind and refocus you. This is especially true for yoga and there are so many positives that come from doing yoga.

Benefits of yoga for men range from relaxation, strengthening of the body and mind, a positive way to use time that could be used doing something else, and finally the social aspect of meeting new people.

This is also another opportunity for the ex-addict to find new social circles; hopefully, these new friends will help them become further removed from drugs.

What to do if relapse occurs

If, for any reason, a relapse is maybe in the process of occurring or it is on the horizon, do not be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help and guidance, and to also seek medical help again. There is nothing wrong if that happened, it can happen and do not feel embarrassed to have the problem revisited. 

These situations can be life or death, so saving your own life or a loved one’s life is nothing to be embarrassed about.

 

Is there a perfect time for a drug intervention?

A lot of families across the United States are faced with the issue of having a drug abuser in the family. According to national figures, a little over 10% of Americans regularly use illegal drugs – which equates to 22 million people. This means that a lot of people are either related to a drug user, know them intimately or could be friendly with them.

So as someone who cares for that person’s well being, you would naturally be thinking to yourself, should I be stepping in? Could I be doing more to help their situation?

The answer is yes, however delicate the topic may be, and attempting to hold an intervention and start them on the path to sobriety is the best thing you can do.

The do’s and don’ts to an initial intervention

A drug user’s circumstances can vary depending on their current situation. Sometimes a sudden loss or traumatic experience can trigger something that causes them to start using drugs to numb the pain.

Other times, they feel they are unimportant and want to escape from the life they are currently living. They do this by using drugs to have outer body experiences and be less in touch with who they are, attempting to lose themselves in the drugs.

Others may be trying to kill themselves slowly as they hate who they are or the life they lead.

No matter who the person is to you or what you think the reason may be, you should never come into an intervention with a judgemental mindset. Without being able to see life through their eyes and walk in their shoes, we do not know some of the deep struggles one may be going through. Attempting to belittle them for their drug abuse and putting all the blame of them can make someone reject an intervention and actually lead them to become more dependent on the drug.

If they feel a close loved one is judging them and putting them down, they are less likely to cooperate or even contemplate the thought of quitting. They will turn more to their addiction as they may see it as the only way to cope with life if the loved ones around them are beginning to resent them.

Instead of taking this course of action, you want to take a more sympathetic approach and listen to what they have to say about their addiction and listen to their thoughts on it. This can be a much easier starting point for an intervention when you are able to understand better what this person may be dealing with.

Another thing to remember about drug abuse is that it is an extremely addictive substance, so this person may already be trying to quit but is struggling to do so due to its addictive nature. Always listen first, then try to work from there on a specific intervention plan.

Timing an intervention effectively

There really is no perfect timing for an intervention. Understanding the nature of drugs and that as time passes a person can become more and more reliant on them means that the perfect time is the soonest time. The longer you let someone fuel their drug addiction, the harder it can be for them to stop.

Planning a family intervention comes down to the people who want to be involved and making sure that there are not too many people as you do not want to intimidate them and make them feel like an outcast for a family. Interventions can come in many shapes, it could be as simple as a one-on-one talk about options to quit and the benefits and rewards it could give that person in the long run.

Also, maybe showing them some statistics on the dangerous effects of drugs could make them want to change their life path and get back to being healthy and drug-free.

Having your thoughts ready

Sometimes interventions can be tough, so creating a drug intervention letter prior to beginning the talk can sometimes make it easier to stay on your train of thought. When it is a close loved one being affected, conversations and interventions can become heated when met with resistance. Having a plan of things that you want to convey to the drug user can help you stay on task throughout the intervention and give your message more clarity, rather than it turning into an argument.

Family interventions, when it comes to drug abuse, can be very hard. If you feel like you want a specialist to help guide you through the process then seeking out an interventionist could be a great plan of action. They give specialized help to families in this situation who are stuck on how to get their loved one back on the path to sobriety.

When it comes to lethal drug addictions, it is not something to take lightly, and getting the help you need is a must in these life or death situations.