●Compulsive use. If the alcohol is available, the person uses too much of it and uses it often.
●Impaired control. When the person tries to use, control is lost and usually a single use is followed by many more.
●Continued use despite harm or consequences. The person keeps using alcohol even when it causes health, relationship, job, or legal problems.
●Craving. The desire for alcohol can change in intensity from minute to minute. It can even seem to disappear during abstinent periods. But using even a tiny amount can wake up cravings and trigger continued use. People, places, and things associated with the use in the past can also wake up cravings.
●Denial. The person tends to minimize the use or its consequences.
Working through denial is usually the hardest part of the recovery work. Most people are coerced initially into getting help by family, loved one, or boss who are impacted by the consequences of their alcohol use. Recovery is a one-day-at-a-time process and requires a life-time commitment. Sobriety rests on the internal decision that you would do what it takes to make your life different.
Elements of a good recovery program:
●Avoid use. Addiction is a permanent brain change. Many people have relapsed due to the belief that enough time has passed for them to return to controlled use.
●Avoid triggers. Environments (people, places, things) associated with past use can bring back craving.
●Get professional help. Seek therapy to work out underlying issues like depression, anxiety, pain, and personal trauma that caused the problematic usage.
●Attend group meetings. Attending a 12-step or therapeutic group which allows you to reflect upon your own story while listening and learning from others. The group can help both to support and challenge you.
●Get a sponsor. Having another person (especially one who have gone through the program) who will help you keep accountable and work the recovery program.
●Engage in healthy passions and enjoyable activities. Start developing healthy lifestyle that includes things that brings fulfillment and happiness.