The Impact Of Drugs And Alcohol On Your Family

Impact of Drugs and Alcohol on Family

It’s no secret that addiction tears into people’s lives, leaving them physically and mentally ill, and at times fighting for their lives in an emergency room. Yet beyond the impact of drugs  on the individual struggling with the addiction, every case of addiction is bound to affect other people, including friends, strangers, and most significantly: family.

Anyone who knows an addict or has personally battled with addiction understands that a chemical or emotional dependency on a drug changes a person and brings them into a state of mind they would normally never reach. They begin to think and do things most people would never do due to the impact of drugs – including hurt those they love, lie to those they care about, and break the trust and friendship of those whom they have given years of their life to.

Beyond the household and the inner circle, impact of drugs affects society in general. Addiction and drug use plays a role in a great number of tragedies, from traffic accidents to domestic violence. While impact of drugs itself does not cause someone to get violent, they may take greater risks and cross certain legal boundaries to get to the next high. In other cases, addiction may amplify other mental health problems, or make an already violent person more prone to lashing out against others. Regardless of how addiction manifests itself, it causes problems not only for the addict, but for everyone around them.

Yet those who bear the greatest brunt of the trouble from the impact of drugs are those closest to the person:  their family. If you’re in a family struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone. Help is out there, and there are better days ahead.

 

How A Child With Addiction Affects The Family

Acknowledging your own child’s addiction can be a difficult thing – as can be convincing them that their problem is one that needs to be addressed, for their own good. In families with multiple children, it can create an upset in the balance of things. A previously neglected child might turn to drugs due to outside factors, including perhaps peer pressure or emotional pain, and the family’s attention is focused on supporting them through recovery, or convincing them to get help.

Parents must divide their attention between all their children in such a way that each child grows up healthy and emotionally stable. With addiction in the picture, this becomes a near-impossible challenge. Aside from feelings of worry and blame – such as one child blaming the family for their sibling’s problems, or blaming their sibling for their bad choices, out of frustration – parents will often feel like failures, either placing blame upon themselves or looking desperately for other factors.

Negatively focused thinking from the impact of drugs will tear a family apart. When a teen reveals an addiction, it’s important to pull together and think as a family unit – not as individuals undermining one another.

If you recognize that the impact of drugs is clouding your loved one’s ability to think straight – regardless of whether you’re a parent, sibling, uncle or aunt – consider seeking a councilor or therapist.

 

How The Impact Of Drugs On A Parent Affects The Family

When the impact of drugs affects a parent, children are often left to fend for themselves, or have to rely upon a single parent, who may be overwhelmed with supporting their partner on top of supporting a family. Sometimes, children will seek to distance themselves from their family unit and “grow up faster”, quickly taking on certain characteristics to isolate themselves from others or create as many bonds as possible to avoid a feeling of loneliness and run away from inner insecurities and anxieties.

It is important, again, to pull together as a family. The impact of drugs will force each member to go their individual path – only by pulling together and supporting one another can the family stay whole and provide support in their parent’s recovery.

 

The Impact Of Drugs Across Generations

Addiction in the family is a risk factor for more addiction, but the exact reason why is debatable. In some cases, it might be the fact that being exposed to addiction at a young age can leave some people susceptible to it later in life. For others, the emotional trauma of an addicted family member might contribute to their troubled coping mechanism.

For others, it might be a little bit of column A, and a little bit of column B. In any case, solving the impact of drugs is more than just helping one loved one – it’s about helping an entire family, and generations to come.

 

Getting Help

When families think of getting their loved one some help, the first thing that springs to mind is an intervention. While these can be useful to help someone in denial understand the extent of their disease and have them sign into rehab, it’s best to first just talk things out, and present rehab as an option (or a necessity, if the situation is dire).

If your loved one has become completely unresponsive and irrational, there are legal tools to help you get them some help for the safety of the family. But ultimately, recovery only works if the addict wants to get clean – and acknowledges that they have a problem. Sober living after recovery is a great option in those cases.

When talking alone doesn’t do the trick, interventions can help.

 

Support Systems And Family Therapy

Regardless of what treatment plan you or your loved one chooses, addiction is a long-term fight. Temptations exist in every recovering addict’s head, triggered by memories, sounds, smells, sights. Over time, they fade – but for a while, they can be powerful, and difficult to resist in times of stress and negativity.

It’s important to come together and form a strong support system. Families make for ideal support systems, because that is their natural function. Parents support one another, they support their children, and their children help them live on. Through trust, love and commitment, a family can stay together and continue to beat addiction together.

But if secrecy, anger, and pettiness seep into the cracks between families and destroy their relationships, then the support disappears, and loneliness grows – even in cohabitation. Keep your bonds strong, nourish the family, and resolve conflict with rational conversation and compromise – not through anger, fear, and fighting.

Family therapy may be the ideal way to rebuild trust and relearn crucial communication skills while in recovery. If you find that your family cannot stop fighting, and that the negative atmosphere is tearing you all apart, then it’s important to consult a professional and see if there’s any way to come together.

Some families communicate uniquely – if that involves friendly banter and teasing, then a little “fighting” or “bad language” is nothing to worry about. What truly matters is what’s between the lines – the feelings, worries and bonds between parents and their children, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands.

A family is a complicated thing, and addiction can be like an acid-coated wrench thrown indelicately into the mechanism. Working out the kinks afterwards can take months and years, but it’s critical to do so for both the survival of the family, and the continued sobriety of your loved one.

Mental Health Month: Why Drinking While Depressed Leads Downhill

Depression & Drinking - Transcend Recovery Community

The great English poet G. K. Chesterton wrote: “drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” More than just a saying, there is a profound and applicable truth to this, even in the modern day. Depression and drinking go hand in hand, and one makes the other worse. It’s a terrible relationship, one you would never want to entertain – and just as abusing alcohol can make you miserable, abusing alcohol because you’re miserable will only make both worse.

Alcohol is a common coping mechanism for the simple reason that it does, to a degree, make us happier. To be more precise, it makes people worry less. As an anti-anxiety drug of sorts, alcohol soothes the mind and calms the spirit – but at a cost. Not only is alcohol addictive, but it is poisonous. Too much at once, or over one’s life, will kill you.

And despite alcohol’s ability to make you forget for just a moment, nothing will have changed once you wake up. The way out of misery – the way out of depression – is by fighting through the pain and pushing against the problems. Therapy and treatment are in preparation of these two things – and drugs like alcohol will present you with setbacks in your depression, and other problems. Here’s why.

 

Alcohol And The Brain

Anyone who’s had more than a few drinks knows that alcohol clearly has a perceivable effect on the brain – one that does not take long at all to kick in. From slurred speech to difficulty thinking and slower reaction, the consensus between all drinkers is that it makes you slow – regardless of whether you are a happy drunk, a sad drunk, or an angry drunk. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and reduces anxiety, with the specifics differing from person to person based on their history with alcohol, and their genetics.

Outside of the effects of a single binge drinking session, alcohol also leaves lasting effects on the brain – negative ones. Alcohol slowly eats away at the brain and at several of your organs, primarily your heart, liver, and kidneys. But in the brain, rapid and severe drinking will lead to memory loss, slowed cognition, and increased risk-taking – followed by problems with decision making, caused by a combination of nerve damage and grey matter damage.

 

Why Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

This all goes hand in hand with mental health issues, as alcohol not only induces brain damage, but worsens the effects of depression by increasing feelings of guild and helplessness and presenting a risk of addiction.

The damage is long-lasting, but not permanent. Abstinence can give your body enough time to heal, but the process takes years. Just like the battle against alcoholism, improving your brain and organ health after excessive drinking takes time.

 

Finding The Motivation To Do Anything

Depression is more than occasional sadness. Sometimes, it is defined as the inability to feel joy or pleasure. To paint a picture, people struggling with depression are fighting an existential battle that, from an outsider’s perspective, is completely invisible. They struggle with thoughts of suicide, and some days, getting out of the bed can seem like an impossible task – let alone getting a change of clothes, taking a shower, or cleaning up.

There are ups and downs for everyone, but for people with clinical depression, the downs slip far below the limits of the chart, off the board, into unseen realms.

Telling someone with depression to simply feel better is asinine, but the ultimate goal of treatment and therapy is to make this very task possible. Fortunately there are treatments for depression available, including new depression treatment methods like TMS, that can help without feeling the need to drink due to depression. People with depression sometimes lack the motivation to do what most would consider the most basic things – and they feel all the worse for it. Friends or family may tell someone with depression to just do it – regardless of whether it means getting dressed, walking the dog, doing the dishes, or making coffee – and finding themselves unable to, the feeling of worthlessness grows, and the disease becomes crushingly difficult to shake off.

There are days when things are better, and the depression is not as dominating. Days when a person might wake up and have just enough energy to start the day.

These are the most important days, especially if your depression is coupled with a dangerous habit like drinking. When you wake up, make it a goal to immediately jump up and out of bed. Summon as much visceral vigor as possible to complete the most basic and fundamental task of the day – before your mind can find a way to talk you out of it. In most cases, depression manifests as a long list of self-defeating thoughts and voices – by starting the day quickly before the voices can take hold, you can get dressed as hurriedly as possible and get to the first task of the day.

That task should always be something therapeutic. Exercising, walking in sunshine, listening to music, or starting your day with a comedy podcast are all quick and easy ways to achieve an initial mental boost, right out of the gate. Choose something depending on how you feel that day and make it a morning ritual to infuse your day with a spark of joy.

With time, you can set up a more complex schedule, and draft some goals. It can start with something like completing two chores in one day, or folding laundry faster. It may be something like increasing the time you spend walking, finishing a project for one of your hobbies, completely reading a book, or progressing to a harder exercise. Accomplishing things – no matter how small they might seem – can feel like adding notches to your belt, as well as improving both your physical and mental health. There may be times when motivation is harder to come by – but in the long-term things will get better if you work at it, and get help for addition and mental help.

 

Addiction By The Numbers: What Alcoholism Costs You

Addiction Issues | Transcend R

Alcoholism is more than sitting back and enjoying a few beers on a Friday night. Like any addiction, it’s an emotionally and socially crippling disease that robs you of the freedom to drink in moderation, and instead forces you to drink or drown in pain. Alcoholism is one of the more dangerous addictions, because the alcohol is legal, widespread, often a big part of any social occasion, and can quickly kill.

Up to one in six Americans binge drink every week. While not immediately a sign of alcoholism, binge drinking presents a massive risk of alcohol poisoning, which can be painful and fatal. Up to a fourth of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 engage in the behavior, with twice as many men as women.

Yet alcoholism is more than binge drinking. If the average binge drinker consumes about seven drinks per binge, four times a month, that racks up to nearly $1,500 per year at an affordable cost of $4 per drink. And that’s only counting the binge drinking sessions, and not the rest of the year. Meanwhile, an alcoholic will often consume much more.

 

Doing The Math

The top ten percent of American drinkers – that is, the ten percent of the population that drink the most – consume on average 74 drinks per week. That’s more than ten drinks per day, a statistic about 24 million Americans contribute to.

At a cost of about $4.61 (the average bar cost of a beer in LA) per drink, that’s over $300 per week, and $16,780 per year. If the drink costs more, then that cost rises exponentially. For reference’s sake, you can buy a car with that. You can also buy yourself a house in certain neighborhoods. Finance the creation of two wells, providing clean fresh drinking water for over 600 people.

With over $16,000 you could pay for a month’s gym membership, over 330 times. You in a family of four could live off that money in groceries for about 70 weeks if you spend liberally. That’s over 16 months. Or, you could take a cruise ship around Europe, easily getting a family of four over the pond in just over $10,000.

You can easily check for yourself exactly how much you’re drinking, by monitoring yourself for a week and averaging it out. The amount of money you may be spending on alcohol might astound you – and while you’ll have to invest a lot of that money into recovery, the long-term savings are insane. If you drink an average of ten drinks a day at $4.50 per drink, or five at $9, then going sober for ten years will save you $163,800. That money could, over the course of your sobriety, go into home improvements, tuition fees, good and healthy food, gym memberships, memorable vacations, and much more.

Even with a more conservative cost of about $2.05 per drink, you’re still looking at nearly $7,500 per year at ten drinks a day.

But if you don’t quit, then your addiction will ruin you. Aside from costing a boatload over the course of an addict’s life, the cost of addiction is much more than just the cost of the booze itself.

 

More Than Just Alcohol

The money you lay down to support your alcoholism is only a small slice of the pie. Excessive alcohol consumption has costs that go way beyond the booze itself – with a total societal cost of $249 billion a year, nearly $82 billion of that are lost purely due to a loss of productivity caused by drinking.

In states with heavy drinking statistics like California, the hidden cost per drink to the nation and its people is $2.77. Multiply that by the drinks you’ve had this week, and you’ll know exactly how much your habit has cost the economy.

Going back to personal consequences, however, it’s not just the American economy that gets tanked by alcoholism, and addiction in general. It’s your finances, as well.

 

Healthcare Cost Of Alcoholism

Studies in the past have shown that heavy drinking leads to significantly higher healthcare costs, even when accounting for other factors. This is logical, as heavy drinking presents a great risk of hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, and brain damage.

Furthermore, alcoholism worsens the risk as it usually leads to progressively higher alcohol consumption, on top of the risk of alcohol poisoning and the medical costs associated with surviving and recovering from an ER situation after a binge.

To understand just how widespread the issue is, a quarter to 40 percent of all US general hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from the consequences of alcohol-related problems. Overall, the cost of health care due to excessive alcohol consumption is $28 billion a year.

 

The Cost Of Lost Time

Aside from money spent on healthcare and booze, you lose an incredibly amount of time drinking. It’s not just the act of having a drink and getting drunk. It’s the broken sleep schedules, the debilitating hangovers, the blackouts and frequent lapses in memory, the consequences of bad cognitive skill and decision making due to excessive alcohol consumption, and much more.

Like any addiction, alcoholism can steal a person away from their jobs, their families, and their lives. It can turn a wonderful person into someone disagreeable and incoherent. But it can be treated.

 

Life Without The Addiction

Aside from the thousands saved simply not drinking, quitting will also give you newfound time and energy, and give your body time to heal and recover, cutting your healthcare costs and hopefully massive improving your quality of life. You’ll feel stronger, you’ll feel better about yourself, and with the right support, you’ll have a chance to lead a meaningful and productive life full of adventures and memorable experiences without a single drop of alcohol.

The best part? It’s more than just make belief. You can get help – and you can get better. Addiction treatment and sober living has come a long way, and we understand more about alcoholism today than every before. While it isn’t easy, the path to long-term abstinence and successful sobriety is extremely rewarding.

 

What Makes Los Angeles Drug Abuse So Notorious?

Los Angeles Drug Abuse | Transcend Recovery Community

Blow, crack, booze, weed. There are countless names for countless drugs in America, and in the eyes of many, Los Angeles drug abuse is about as common as it gets. Yet despite its notoriety, the City of Angels is not exactly the worst place in the country when it comes to drug abuse – although some could argue that it’s the most well-known.

Behind all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the homes of the upper class, Los Angeles is a city like any other, built on the backs of hard-working families, forged in the sweat of countless generations.

Millions of Americans inhabit and coexist on the streets of LA, throughout the different neighborhoods, soaking in the same California weather, living on the same little spot in the Golden State. Yet the disparaging differences between wealth and poverty can sometimes be jarring, and like any big city, crime is a major problem in LA.

But before you get the wrong idea about this city and its history with drugs and drug abuse, it’s important to take a look at the bigger picture and realize the sheer scale of drug usage and damage in the USA, across all 50 states.

 

Addiction Is Everywhere In America

Illicit drug use has been increasing nationwide, mostly due to a worsening opioid crisis that has been gripping the US for several years – the amalgam of bad medical policies, an influx of drugs from both abroad and at home, and a lagging healthcare system that struggles to help people, and educate them on how to get help.

Since the early days of addiction as a medical condition, to the era of the prohibition, and the last few decades of psychedelics and cocaine use, drugs have been a major problem in America for generations. Illegal drugs as well as alcohol have been the cause for thousands of drug-related deaths, from homicides and suicides driven by addiction and drug crime, to overdoses, accidents, and psychotic episodes.

Among Americans over the age of 12 back in 2013, about 9.4 percent of the population has recently used an illicit drug – and the number has been steadily rising these past five years. And contrary to some belief, Los Angeles drug abuse is not at the center of attention for addiction issues.

Statistics show that, regarding the recent and extremely volatile opioid crisis, the highest addiction rates come from prescription and heroin usage in the southern states, especially Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama. Per capita, alcohol is more of an issue within the states of Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Delaware and North Dakota than anywhere else. The top five states for marijuana usage are Alaska, Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. And methamphetamines, notorious for being easily made at home, while flowing from Mexico, and producing more drug-related offenses than any other illicit drug, is most pervasive in the south and Midwest in states like Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Montana.

Where does the notoriety come from? From drugs. They do exist, and there is Los Angeles drug abuse – as well as drug-related crime, which is a common issue for law enforcement. Explaining the prevalence of drugs and general notoriety of Los Angeles drug abuse requires a look into the factors that make drug use more common in a society.

 

A Populous City For Los Angeles Drug Abuse

Los Angeles is one of the most populous cities in America, with more than 4 million people, and all the trouble that comes with such a large population. Dense urban environments exist due to a demand and supply of work, and the hustle and bustle of LA is no different from any other metropolis, with the added caveat of unbearable heat at certain times of the year.

This also creates a problem with poverty and homelessness, which continues to be an issue in LA that fuels the use of drugs. Furthermore, a lack of comprehensive and wide-reaching drug treatment programs throughout the city to help young homeless people stay safe and get off drugs compounds the issue, and a lack of peripheral programs, such as needle exchange programs, creates more problems.

Policy is a major issue – the US lacks the healthcare system to deal with major diseases like addiction in a poor and uninsured population, and the impact made by charitable organizations is minimal.

Aside from the struggles of being an urban area, California’s proximity to the southern border and existing history of crime further leads to the presence of cartels in the state, and the result is criminal activity in the state on massive levels.

 

Glitz, Glamour, And Dope

Aside from drug use, Los Angeles is notorious in other ways – most notably the existence of Hollywood, and the glitz and glamour of the American entertainment business. However, it’s not all glamour – countless Los Angeles drug abuse scandals and more recent allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse have shown that, generally speaking, showbiz has its fair share of skeletons in the closet.

The pressure and stress of the business don’t help – people become commodities. A lack in ability or willingness to perform in the ultra-competitive environment of show business might lead to failure, so many push themselves to the edge and beyond trying to reach stardom, or maintain it.

The pressure of celebrity gets to most in one way or another, and some cannot deal with it in a healthy way – further contributing to Los Angeles drug abuse, and the city’s overall notoriety.

 

Stress Is the Number One Killer

The entertainment industry is not the only industry in Los Angeles that demands massive amounts of commitment, dedication, and hustle.

As any large city, “making it” can be difficult – and part of the stress of living in LA is living with its costs. As the country’s second-largest city, a tourist attraction for countless visitors, and a magnet for talent in every form, almost everything in LA is more expensive than in most other parts of the country. Rent alone sits at an average of over $2,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, and a little less the further out you go from the city center.

Stress from a combination of factors that all come together in this one city contributes greatly to rampant Los Angeles drug abuse issues that are difficult to address fully. Sober living communities and Los Angeles drug abuse treatment centers are doing their best to aid people in the struggle against addiction and make a difference in the lives of those in LA.

 

10 Signs of Alcoholism

signs of alcoholism | Transcend Recovery Community

Recognizing alcoholism isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Alcohol, unlike a lot of harder and illegal drugs, is a pervasive part of Western culture. Whether it’s enjoying a glass of wine, having a pint at the local bar with some friends, or enjoying some champagne for New Years and eggnog for Christmas, a little bit of booze here and there isn’t an uncommon sight at nearly any adult social gathering. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any obvious signs of alcoholism – and recognizing these signs can be the difference between helping a friend in need and finding your friend in the ER.

Please note that these are simply common signs of alcoholism, and they do not denote a definitive diagnosis of an addiction. It’s best to let an expert gather all the information before making an informed call, and even then, an addiction can’t be treated or even properly addressed until the person struggling with the problem acknowledges it to begin with.

However, knowing these 10 signs of alcoholism can help you not only identify if your friend needs help but if you might have a problem with your drinking habits. Alcoholism does not just target people with anxiety or depression issues, and neither is it a sign that things are going badly in your life. Some people just happen to slip down the slippery slope of addiction through a cascade of decisions, and getting back out of it before realizing how far you’ve fallen can be exceptionally tricky without some perspective.

Without further ado:

 

Signs Of Alcoholism: Hiding The Habit

The absolute biggest tell regarding alcoholism – or any addiction, for that matter – is when someone is hiding their behavior. This doesn’t strictly mean that they think they have a problem, though. It simply means they know that what they’re doing looks like an addiction – and they rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that they’re still in control of their actions and that they’re simply taking precautions to protect their reputation, rather than expose themselves as actual addicts.

This is because struggling with addiction is a serious stigma. That’s not exactly ground-breaking news, but it does make it harder for people to admit to themselves that something is wrong – because no one wants to acknowledge something’s gone wrong if they can’t help it.

If you’re finding yourself going through extreme measures to hide your drinking, or if you find someone sneaking alcohol into places they shouldn’t, and drinking at times they shouldn’t, then it’s the first major signs of alcoholism.

 

Unexplainable Mood Shifts

Addiction can quite dramatically mess with a person’s brain, and the constant influx of drugs – including alcohol – can change the way a person feels drastically, and affect their mood in both the short-term and long-term.

Alcohol is a drug that lowers a person’s inhibitions, cognition and anxiety. It quite literally makes you a little braver, by diminishing your risk management skills, decision making abilities and fears. This, however, can result in erratic, thoughtless behavior, including sudden aggression, sadness, inexplicable bursts of joy and anger. Excessive alcohol can increase depression and anxiety, too.

There are underlying triggers for most of these emotions, although sometimes, alcohol just simply causes mood swings that don’t have anything to do with being an exaggerated emotion of your own. Experiencing these mood shifts may be one of the signs of alcoholism.

 

You Feel Guilty

If you feel guilty about your drinking habits, then you’re likely well on your way to an alcoholic status, or have already reached that point. Guilt isn’t just a negative emotion – it’s the denial starting to crack under the pressure of reality, and it can be very painful as one of the signs of alcoholism.

Guilt is not something you’re meant to live with, but you are meant to overcome it – and if you feel guilty about how much or how often you’ve been drinking, then that is one of the good signs of alcoholism that show you should seriously consider getting help. You can try and quit on your own, but depending on how far your addiction has gone, getting help is the better option.

 

Drinking Despite The Consequences

Drinking alcohol, like most other mind-altering substances, has its consequences. Drinking a lot of alcohol is even worse, as the drug acts like a poison in the body, creating massive headaches and overwhelming feelings of nausea.

But beyond the physical consequences of alcohol consumption, the hardest consequences to deal with are the social, psychological and emotional ones. Excessive drinking can be expensive, can cost you entire relationships and friendships, and can even end your career.

If you’re starting to strain your relationships with those around you due to your excessive drinking and showing signs of alcoholism, you need help.

 

Escaping Any Situation Through Alcohol

Alcohol is not a constructive coping mechanism in the slightest. It does not effectively relieve stress, simply masking it, and it does not benefit your mind or body in the slightest way – the opposite, in fact.

On top of that, excessive drinking tends to make things worse when you need a little bit of an escape. If you absolutely need to unwind with some friends and have never had a problem with moderate drinking, that’s another matter – but if binge drinking is your answer to dealing with loss, grief, or frustration, then you’ll be doing no one any favors including yourself. The signs of alcoholism are there when you’re binge drinking away your feelings.

 

Requiring A Drink To Get Through The Day

If alcohol is your go-to brew in the morning, afternoon and before bedtime just to deal with your every day life, then you’ve got more than just signs of alcoholism to deal with.

Alcohol is not a problem solver, it only creates more problems. Relying on it to coast through a rough time in your life will make things worse – but by getting help, you won’t only find a way to deal with your new alcohol habit, but you can get the help you need to get your life back in order and address the major trigger of your addiction: stress.

 

Getting Aggressive And Defensive Over Your Drinking

Mood swings caused by drunkenness can often include aggression. When a person’s inhibition is lowered, this includes their natural inclination to avoid conflict. Getting blackout drunk means you probably won’t be able to think straight, and you can easily be provoked – or provoke others around you.

You might just wake up the next day with more than a little head throbbing. In the long-term, these signs of alcoholism and resulting altercations can cause more than just a few bruises.

 

Taking Unnecessary Risks All The Time

Risky behavior is a trademark of being drunk – but if you’re struggling with alcoholism, then the risky behavior will become a trademark of your life. And regardless of how lucky you get, repeatedly taking massive risks means it’ll just be a matter of time before you lose, and too often, the loss can be tragic.

 

Blacking Out Often

Excessive binge drinking of alcohol causes black outs, accompanied by a lack of memory regarding what happened just before the black out. This isn’t just a short-term drawback – not only are you going to be missing out on entire hours and days of your life if this becomes a regular occurrence, but the constant blacking out can affect your brain and your capacity to remember things in general.

All drugs carry long-term deleterious consequences, typically for the brain. Alcohol is no exception. If you find yourself losing your mental faculties quickly, then you need to seek help with one of the most dangerous signs of alcoholism.

 

You Can’t Stop (Physically or Emotionally)

The final straw for determining alcoholism is the ability to stop – or lack thereof. If you can’t stop, either due to severe withdrawal symptoms or an emotional need (or both), then addiction treatment becomes a necessity.

Alcoholism is a genuine issue in America, although things have been getting better. By continuing to support each other and our loved ones, and offering help to all those who need it, we can further reduce the deaths alcohol claims on a yearly basis, and help people find a better life in sobriety.

What Are Some Drinks That Are An Alcohol Alternative?

Alcohol Alternative | Transcend Recovery Community

Alcohol is known as a social lubricant, because of its rich history of being the liquid centerpiece in many a party and gathering. Funerals, weddings, birthdays and sporting events – with the sole exception of baby showers, it’s fair to say that most of the time, when adults meet, it’s normal for a little alcohol to take part in the affair.

That’s not necessarily a terrible thing. Alcohol, as a drug, is poisonous to the human body in massive quantities. But when consumed moderately and responsibly by adults with non-addictive personalities, it usually isn’t a problem. Perhaps the greatest argument for drinking alcohol from time to time is history – alcohol and humanity are par for the course, and have been since the dawn of agriculture and civilization.

But not all of us enjoy a good pint now and again. Some people can’t hold their alcohol – others can’t control their consumption. We’re all different, and for some of us, society’s relationship with alcohol is more of a curse than anything else. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have a bit of fun, or fit in with the crowd. Thankfully, the idea of an alcohol alternative exists – both for those who need an alcohol alternative to curb their consumption of the real thing, and for those who just can’t stand alcohol but don’t want to be the odd one out any longer.

 

When to Cut Down on Alcohol

Alcoholism is the biggest issue with the drug – at the end of the day, alcohol is addictive, and some people are far more prone to its addictive effects than others. If you can’t stop despite wanting to, and can’t stay away from the booze without feeling sick, then you know you have a problem and it might be time to consider an alcohol alternative.

Outside of the realms of addiction, alcohol is also dangerous to a person’s health. An excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to liver damage, brain damage, and the general breakdown of the body (including cancer).

Finally, cut down on alcohol if you don’t like it or don’t want to drink it. Falling for peer pressure and having a glass or two because everyone else is doing it is no way to live your life. Of course, regardless of why you choose to stop drinking, the follow up is: what do you drink then? For some, the answer is nothing, or an alcohol alternative or water. For others, there are quite a few alcohol alternative options in the non-alcohol world while recovering on their own or in a Los Angeles sober living.

 

Non-Alcoholic Beers and Wines

Of course, choosing non-alcoholic beers or wines might not be a great idea if you’re trying to avoid the idea of alcohol altogether. However, there are a lot of options out there for beer and wine enthusiasts looking for the flavor and richness of a dark brew or a dry wine, without the alcohol.

Some people find that a non-alcoholic beverage that is traditionally alcoholic helps with the transition to a completely alcohol-free life. Others want to be more radical, cutting it out of their life completely and finding a full on alcohol alternative.

 

Pick Your Alcohol Alternative

We’ve all heard of club soda, tonic water and seltzers – but what’s the difference between the three, and are they completely alcohol-free? The answer to the latter question is yes. None of those drinks have alcohol him them. And the differences are subtle.

Seltzer water is carbonated spring water from a specific area in Germany. Named after said area, the water has a certain combination of minerals, giving it a unique taste. Club soda is basically any carbonated water with similar minerals added on – while it can’t call itself Seltzer water, it’s often almost the same.

Tonic water is a bit different. Named after the fact that its main ingredient used to be a “tonic” against malaria, tonic water is basically a club soda infused with quinine. This gives it a bitter taste.

Quinine was first discovered as an isolated compound in waters contaminated by the cinchona tree, which gave those waters the special property of healing malaria. British officers at one point combined their tonic with sugar and gin to make it more palatable, creating the gin and tonic. Today’s tonic water is not nearly as concentrated as the medicinal drink, and is instead flavored for a mild bitter taste. While quinine is dangerous in high amounts, it’s almost impossible to overdose on tonic water. Chugging tonic water will not cure malaria, either.

Beyond these drinks, there are other alcohol alternative options to consider. Ginger ale, root beer and bitter lemon are all classic non-alcoholic carbonated drinks that are widely available, and can easily be made at home.

Some people opt to replace their habit of sipping on wine or beer at home, with teas, coffee and hot chocolate. Tea is common alcohol alternative due to the massive variety of different teas and different options. A homemade seeped infusion of ginger and lemon can emulate the bite of alcohol, without the alcohol.

From there, choosing the right drink is a matter of context. Do you want something to drink at the dinner table? At home? At the club? Wherever you go, non-alcoholic options are all around you. Some bars even offer mocktails – non-alcoholic cocktails. But always be sure to double-check with the bartender that you’re getting offered a drink with less than 0.5% alcohol.

 

You Have the Power to Change Your Drinking Habits

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, you have the power to change  your life. No matter what bad habit you’re facing, including drinking and drug use, you can change it. No matter the unhealthy routine you’ve got in place – eating junk food, little sleep, substance use – you can make it different.

Here’s what Charles Duhigg has to say about habits:

“Hundreds of habits influence our days – they guide how we get dressed in the morning, talk to our kids, and fall asleep at night; they impact what we eat for lunch, how we do business, and whether we exercise or have a beer after work. Each of them has a different cue and offers a unique reward. Some are simple and others are complex, drawing upon emotional triggers and offering subtle neurochemical prizes.

But every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. The most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager.

However, to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives. You must know you have control and be self-conscious enough to use it – and every chapter in this book is devoted to illustrating a different aspect of why that control is real.”

First, it’s incredible to know that any habit is malleable. Any old habit can be changed. This alone can be a source of hope and inspiration – you’re not stuck with alcoholism or drug addiction for the rest of your life. It’s possible to change!

And if you’re ready and willing, then all it takes is some hard work. We all have habits that are not good for us – whether it’s drinking too much coffee, smoking, or not exercising – but knowing that we have the power to change them is what counts! Knowing that we are in the driver’s seat takes the powerlessness of addiction and throws it out the window.

What’s important to remember, however, is that we must be willing to accept the work that’s involved in changing . The author points out in the third paragraph above that it will take some commitment to notice the cues and rewards that drive the habit. It will take some perseverance to change our routines and find alternatives. For instance, if you were used to drinking every night when you got home from work, then it’s going to take some effort to change that routine – but it’s possible!

However, keep in mind that just because you’ve made a clear decision to change doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen overnight. You might become vulnerable to relapse. You might give in to your cravings. You might feel the urge to return to “the good ol’ days”. Yet, even with a relapse, you can turn it around and return to the program that’s helping you stay sober. You can continue to turn your life around. Even if you’re making 3 steps forward and one step back, at least you’re moving forward. Successful long-term sobriety is possible because habits are malleable. Just as the author says – The most addicted alcoholics can become sober. However, you must consciously accept the hard work that comes with it. You can do it!

 

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Alternatives to Drinking When You’re in Recovery

Just like any habit that you break, you’re going to feel an absence in your life. You’re going to notice the inability to do what you used to do, even if it was your choice to break the habit. For instance, if you’re used to biting your nails when you’re anxious, you may feel the tension of not wanting to bite your nails and needing to find an alternative way to cope with anxious feelings. And the same is true with drinking. If you’re used to drinking alcohol on Friday nights, what kind of experience can you have instead?

First, you should know that making the decision to quit drinking alcohol is an incredibly smart one. Despite the social expectations to drink, alcohol is nothing but dangerous. It creates car accidents, liver disease, contributes to crime, and can get in the way of relationships. There’s a good chance that if you’re in recovery, you know that your decision was a positive one. Now, the question is, what do you do with your free time? How do you celebrate your achievements, birthdays, and promotions at work? How do you connect with others if not through drinking?

Here are some alternatives for drinking that you may want to consider:

Learn to replace alcohol with another drink. You may want to have a chosen drink that you use to take the place of alcohol. This might be soda or coffee or sparkling water. Pick one and stick with it so that you’ll know what to say, especially if/when you’re caught off guard. The most common choice among many recovering addicts seems to be coffee. Although this has its benefits, caffeine is also an addictive substance, and a person may be replacing one addiction with another.

When in social situations, make sure to have a drink in your hand. This might be water, soda, or another non-alcoholic drink. By doing this, around you won’t be tempted to offer to get you a glass of wine or beer. At the same time, you won’t be tempted yourself.

Choose a special place to go or activity to do. Sometimes, for those in recovery going to an event where alcohol is being served may feel like too much of a trigger. Instead, choose a place that you enjoy where you will feel comfortable. This might be going to the movies more often, exercising on a regular basis, or visiting your favorite neighborhood park. Having a special place to go can be used as a reward each week you’re sober, as a comforting place to find relaxation and ease, or as a place to escape from the everyday stress of early recovery.

Throw a sober party every once in awhile. Everyone wants to have fun. The trick in recovery is learning to do so without the use of alcohol or drugs. You might invite your friends, family, and significant other to an event in which there is no alcohol. Simply enjoy each other’s company. You might have games ready to play, movies to watch, or a live band for dancing.

If you’ve ended the habit of alcohol abuse, the above is a list of alternative ways to enjoy, celebrate, and appreciate life without the use of alcohol or drugs.

 

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Alcohol Hits Harder with Age

When a person is young, their bodies can more easily face the unhealthy effects of alcohol. There are times of course when a teen or young adult might drink excessive amounts of alcohol and suffer from alcohol poisoning. But for the most part, young people can handle the unhealthy ways that alcohol affects the body. As one gets older, however, the body handles alcohol differently, and this may be important for anyone over 65 years of age to remember.

The pressures to drink don’t stop with adolescence. There can be pressure to have a drink in your hand at business meetings, parties, and during retirement. According to U.S. News, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized a growing problem with alcohol abuse among those over 65 years of age. It’s an “invisible epidemic” SAMHSA called it.

One of the biggest problems is that because alcohol impairs the body in more significant ways with age, drinking can bring more serious consequences. Aging can lower a person’s body tolerance to alcohol. This can mean that older adults feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. And this can create incredible risks for an elderly person to experience falls, car accidents, and other forms of accidental harm.

To make matters worse, there are more and more people aging with the baby boomer population. For instance, the 65-and-older population is estimated to be at about 83 million people by the year 2050. And in 4 years – by the year 2020 – the baby boomers will help double the rate of those over the age of 50 who have an addiction, raising it from 2.8 million in 2006 to 5.7 million in 2020. Furthermore, the resources for providing treatment for addiction, especially among the elderly, will have to expand in order to meet the projected needs of those addicted to alcohol and drugs.

And when it comes to those over 65 years of age, it’s  not only treating addiction, but it’s also treating the illnesses that come with addiction – or that have been made worse because of alcohol use. For instance, drinking alcohol for a long period of time in one’s life can affect coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition. Alcoholism can lead to illnesses having to do with the heart, such as hypertension and an irregular heartbeat. It can also cause impotence, irregular menstrual cycles, pancreatitis, stroke, confusion, and amnesia. Other illness associated with chronic drinking include:

  • Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Gout
  • High blood Pressure
  • Nerve Damage

Furthermore, because many elderly men and women already have health concerns, they may be taking medication and undergoing forms of medical treatment. The mixture of medication and alcohol can also be a concern. In fact, it can create internal bleeding and heart problems, among other risks.

If you or someone you know is over the age of 65 and drinking alcohol on a regular basis, seek professional help. Without alcohol, those in the latter part of life can think clearly, experience less health problems, and have more energy. If you’re drinking, speak to your doctor or mental health professional for assistance.

 

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How to Help a Woman Who Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

When it comes to addiction, women and men are vastly different. Historically, treatment centers haven’t recognized these differences nor have they changed their treatment modalities accordingly. However, today, there are a wide number of sober living homes and addiction treatment centers that are catering to the different needs of men and women. If you are a woman or you know of a woman struggling with addiction, this article will address some key components to a successful recovery.

First of all, it’s important to know that men and women do not respond to stressful experiences in the same way. Typically, when men exceed their stress level, they tend to retreat into their cave, such as going into the garage to work on their projects. Yet, women who have gone beyond their stress level tend to do the opposite. They don’t retreat; they seek out someone to talk to. Women tend to want to talk out their thoughts and feelings. However, if women don’t find someone to talk to, they can be vulnerable to coping with their stress in different ways – including through the use of drugs and alcohol.

For those women who do choose to manage their stress through substances, they might eventually try to hide the fact that their drinking or drug use has become an issue. The stigma of substance abuse is a problem for many women struggling with addiction. In fact, the stigma and the associated shame keep them from seeking treatment. But in addition to the stigma, there are some very real matters that keep women from getting treatment. These include:

  • Fear losing custody of their children.
  • Can’t find a way to take care of their children while in treatment.
  • Can’t find a treatment center that can help them with financial resources.
  • Can’t find a treatment center that is culturally appropriate for them, as in having Spanish-speaking staff.
  • Don’t want to enter treatment while pregnant.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that addiction treatment centers and sober living homes should consider a woman’s needs, the severity of the addiction, and her financial situation. Studies show that once a woman enters treatment, she is just as likely as a man to stay in treatment. However, there are certainly factors that will keep her in treatment, such as the presence of childcare, a collaborative approach to treatment, and a supportive environment. Also, treatment centers that can help a women find work and can help with other areas of life tend to also help a woman stay in treatment. Studies show that women who are employed and have support systems will have fewer relapses and will be more likely to maintain their sobriety.

Also sober living homes and treatment centers that are for women only also show a high success rate. In these healing environments, women can be mutually supportive by relating to one another and sharing personal stories. And, SAMHSA recognizes important factors that play a role in the sobriety of women, which include having a support significant other, having a family that cares, being older, and having at least a high school diploma.

These are the factors that can help a woman get sober and stay sober. Perhaps educating women on these key points can facilitate their recovery from addiction.

 

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