It is very important to understand that alcohol does not have to be taken every day in order for someone to be an alcoholic. The most important characteristic of alcoholism is not how often someone drinks but what happens to them after they have taken the first drink. If they are unable to stop once started then that is a serious sign that they may be an alcoholic. If there are negative consequences as a result of drinking, that also is a serious sign that the individual may be an alcoholic.
Many alcoholics can “function” during the day in their jobs and drink at night. Many alcoholics only drink at weekends. Many alcoholics drink after the children are in bed. Many alcoholics don’t drink in public. BUT ALCOHOLISM IS A PROGRESSIVE ILLNESS, identical to any addiction and eventually, if not treated, the amount that is drunk will increase. The individual will build up tolerance to alcohol and will in time, have to consume more, just to avoid experiencing withdrawals. The alcoholic eventually finds themselves in a place where they are drinking, with the sole purpose to avoid withdrawals. They will find themselves lying to family members, friends and colleagues. They will start to hide evidence of how much they are drinking. They will make excuses in order to go out to get alcohol. There will be constant preoccupation with drinking and how to get the drink.
Alcoholism is a family disease and many significant family members will be affected by the users drinking. A support group is a lifeline for the family members and so vital when dealing with alcoholism.
Getting into recovery starts a process of learning how to cope with life without resorting to drinking. It offers freedom from the feeling of being chained to the bottle and it provides healing from the shame and guilt that is so prevalent with alcoholism.
“I entered group therapy in 2008 aged 25 out of sheer desperation to do something about my alcohol addiction. I had cut myself off from my friends, lost a number of jobs, was awaiting sentencing for an assault charge and had tried to take my own life…I had tried to stop drinking alone…but all to no avail.At the start I had very low expectations of what could be achieved in group therapy, however, I was shocked by how much I had in common with others….Rochelle encouraged me to look at all aspects of my addictive behaviour….gradually with the help and gentle persuasion of Rochelle…my trust grew and I was able to face up to having another addiction.With the help of the group and Rochelle I was able to challenge and eventually change my way of thinking and behaving. I have finally been able to stop the alcohol and the bulimia.Entering group therapy was the best decision that I have ever made, I cannot thank Rochelle…enough…I can look people in the eyes today and be proud of who I am.”Christine