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How to Get Help with Alcoholism and Begin Recovery

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Finding the right support for alcoholism can be challenging, but you’re not alone. This article will assist you in exploring options on how to get help with alcoholism, offering step-by-step guidance from recognizing alcohol misuse to building a sustainable recovery network. Start your journey today with the knowledge and resources we’ve gathered to empower you towards a healthier, alcohol-free life.

Key Takeaways

  • Acknowledging Alcohol Use Disorder and its symptoms, such as uncontrolled drinking and persistent use despite adverse effects, is a critical first step toward seeking help.
  • Recovery begins with consulting a primary care doctor, understanding the range of treatment options available, and safely managing withdrawal symptoms with professional help.
  • Creating a comprehensive treatment plan, building a supportive network, mastering coping skills, and engaging with aftercare programs are essential for long-term sobriety and relapse prevention.

Recognizing the Need for Help

Many individuals on the path to recovery first acknowledge their personal struggle with alcohol misuse, a form of substance abuse. Alcohol use disorder (AUD), which causes severe distress and harm, impacts more than 14 million American adults.

The initial stage involves acknowledging the symptoms of AUD and the fact of alcohol dependence.

Identifying Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Recognizing AUD symptoms marks the beginning of the help-seeking process. These symptoms include:

  • difficulties in controlling drinking
  • persisting with alcohol use despite adverse effects
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon cessation or reduction of alcohol consumption.

The psychological symptoms may encompass anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

How to Get Help with Alcoholism and Begin Recovery

Accepting the Reality of Alcohol Dependence

Recovery from AUD necessitates the acceptance of alcohol dependence, a process that often includes stages of:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

Recognizing alcohol dependence can elicit a range of emotional responses, from shame and guilt to relief, signifying the need for help.

How Long is Detox from Alcohol

The duration of detox from alcohol typically ranges from a few days to about a week. This critical phase allows the body to eliminate alcohol, and individuals may experience varying intensities of withdrawal symptoms. The specific length of detox from alcohol largely depends on the individual’s drinking history and physical health.

Starting the Journey: Initiating Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Doctor talking to patient in a clinic


Initiating treatment for alcohol-related issues, such as a drinking problem, requires comprehending the available options and identifying the suitable one. The journey starts by consulting a primary care doctor for an evaluation of your health and referrals to suitable treatment options.

It’s equally important to comprehend the diverse treatment options at your disposal.

Consulting a Primary Care Doctor

A primary care doctor is instrumental in diagnosing AUD and directing patients to suitable treatment. They screen for alcohol use, offer brief advice and interventions, and make referrals to treatment when necessary.

Exploring Professional Treatment Options

Comprehending the diverse treatment options for AUD marks the beginning of the recovery journey. Some of the options available include:

  • Outpatient counseling
  • Support groups
  • Therapy sessions
  • Sober living arrangements

These options can provide individuals with the support and resources they need to overcome AUD.

Understanding Alcohol Withdrawal

Person experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms


Comprehending alcohol withdrawal is key to safely maneuvering the recovery process. Alcohol withdrawal varies in severity and can include physical reliance on alcohol, discomforting symptoms, and potentially life-threatening symptoms such as delirium tremens, a severe consequence of withdrawal.

Navigating Withdrawal Symptoms Safely

Safely dealing with withdrawal symptoms often necessitates medically supervised detoxification and prescribed drugs to prevent drug abuse.

Detoxification serves as a pivotal initial phase in attaining long-term sobriety and overcoming addiction.

Seeking Support During Withdrawal

During withdrawal, reaching out for support is crucial. This support can be in the form of:

  • Emotional support
  • Gaining insight into the effects of alcohol on mental health
  • Involving loved ones
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health issues

Support can come from healthcare providers, counselors, and fellow individuals in recovery.

Creating a Tailored Treatment Plan

Therapist conducting a behavioral therapy session


Formulating a customized treatment plan forms a key part of the recovery journey. This plan often incorporates behavioral therapies and medications to treat alcohol dependence.

Behavioral Therapies and Their Role

Behavioral therapies, like Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) and family therapy in the form of Marital and Family Counseling, are crucial in skill development, goal setting, and trigger management. These therapies can significantly enhance motivation and family relationships, which are crucial for successful recovery.

Medications to Treat Alcohol Dependence

Medications such as Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram can help reduce alcohol cravings and prevent relapse. These medications are non-addictive and work alongside other forms of treatment.

Building a Support Network

Group of people in a support group meeting


Establishing a support network is essential for sustaining sobriety and combating alcohol addiction.

A robust support system plays a vital role in ensuring long-term recovery.

Engaging with Mutual-Support Groups

Participating in mutual-support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can offer therapeutic advantages, shared experience opportunities, and learning from those who have successfully sustained sobriety.

Involving Family and Friends

Involving family members and friends in the recovery process can offer additional support and understanding. They can provide emotional support, encouragement, and motivation to the individual in recovery.

How to Deal with Alcohol Abuse

Addressing how to deal with alcohol abuse involves a comprehensive approach, incorporating therapy, support networks, and sometimes medication. Effective strategies include establishing clear goals, building a supportive social environment, and developing coping mechanisms for potential triggers. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol-centric settings and embracing healthy activities, are also crucial.

Developing Coping Skills and Relapse Prevention Strategies

Cultivating coping skills and devising relapse prevention tactics are key for sustaining long-term sobriety. Various techniques, such as operant learning, cognitive restructuring, and motivation building, can facilitate the transformation of negative behavioral patterns and enhancement of coping skills.

Mastering Stress Management Techniques

Becoming proficient in stress management techniques can aid in handling triggers, thus avoiding the use of alcohol as a coping tool. Some techniques to consider include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

These techniques can help reduce stress levels, stop drinking, and decrease the desire for drinking alcohol.

Crafting an Effective Relapse Prevention Plan

Designing a potent relapse prevention plan entails recognizing triggers, steering clear of high-risk scenarios, and ensuring a solid support system.

Strategies for preventing relapse in AUD include acquiring and applying relapse prevention skills and proactively planning to avoid situations that may pose a high risk for alcohol relapse.

Securing Ongoing Support and Aftercare Programs

Ensuring continuous support and enrolling in aftercare programs are crucial for preserving sobriety and averting relapse. Aftercare in addiction recovery holds significance due to its provision of ongoing support, prevention of relapse, and continuation of addressing issues related to addiction.

The Role of Aftercare in Maintaining Sobriety

Aftercare aids in maintaining sobriety through continued therapy, regular support group meetings, and persistent self-care practices. Aftercare programs often encompass activities such as individual counseling, group therapy, support group meetings, educational workshops, and leisure activities, all aimed at promoting healthy living and sustained sobriety.

Finding Resources for Long Term Recovery

Finding resources for long-term recovery can involve connecting with:

  • Local support groups
  • Therapists
  • Healthcare providers
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline
  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recovery resources.

Navigating Insurance and Financial Considerations

Understanding insurance and financial aspects is a crucial part of obtaining alcohol addiction treatment. Understanding what your insurance covers and exploring affordable treatment options can make the path to recovery more accessible.


In conclusion, overcoming alcohol addiction is a journey that involves recognizing the problem, seeking professional help, understanding withdrawal, creating a tailored treatment plan, building a support network, developing coping skills, securing ongoing support, and navigating financial considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most crucial step in the treatment of alcoholism?

The most crucial step in treating alcoholism is entering a reputable treatment facility, as it can significantly impact a person’s recovery.

What are the signs and symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

The signs and symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) include difficulties in controlling drinking, persisting with alcohol use despite adverse effects, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon cessation or reduction of alcohol consumption. Psychological symptoms may encompass anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders.

How can a primary care doctor help in the recovery from AUD?

Your primary care doctor can play a crucial role in diagnosing and providing referrals for treatment, as well as offering brief advice and interventions to support recovery from AUD.

How can behavioral therapies aid in recovery from AUD?

Behavioral therapies, like Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Marital and Family Counseling, can greatly improve motivation, coping skills, and family relationships, essential for successful recovery from AUD.

What role do medications play in treating AUD?

Medications like Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram can help reduce alcohol cravings and prevent relapse, working in conjunction with other treatment methods.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.