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Alcohol Addiction Recovery Timeline

alcohol addiction
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What You Need to Know About Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a legal controlled substance with pleasurable effects such relaxation and euphoria, along with lowered inhibitions, loss of coordination and slurred speech. While not everyone who drinks alcohol is an addict, it can lead to dependency and addiction when a person no longer has control over their addiction. Also known as alcohol use disorder, alcohol addiction is marked by the craving for alcohol and inability to stop drinking despite several negative impacts to a person’s life. Alcoholism is a chronic disorder that requires comprehensive treatment programs to overcome.

Alcohol use disorder does not happen over time but is rather a slow process caused by continued and frequent alcohol misuse. When a person drinks in excess repeatedly, they begin to build a tolerance, needing more alcohol to get the same effects as before. This can lead to physical and psychological dependence which causes the person to develop withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop drinking or significantly reduce intake. Individuals with alcohol use disorder will often continue drinking because it is the easiest way to control cravings and withdrawals. It is important to note that alcohol withdrawals can be dangerous and even life threatening without professional medical supervision. Underlying issues such as co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression are also a major driver for alcohol abuse.

Alcohol addiction exists on a spectrum from mild to severe. While a person may start off with mild addiction or as a high functioning alcoholic, addiction is a progressive disease which will only get worse without proper intervention. Signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Drinking more than intended.
  • Unable to quit drinking, even when wanting to.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.
  • Building a tolerance to alcohol.
  • Drinking has begun to negatively impact different areas of a person’s life including work, school, interpersonal relationships, and mental and physical health.
  • No longer interested in activities once enjoyed because of drinking.
  • Spending more time getting, using or recovering from alcohol use.
  • Feeling cravings for alcohol.

Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime.

How to Seek Help with Alcohol Addiction

If you are thinking about asking for help for alcohol addiction, you have already taken a huge first step in the road to recovery. Realizing you have a problem controlling substance abuse and wanting to get help has already put you on track to gaining back control of your life. There are several ways you can reach out for help with alcohol addiction, including:

  • Asking a Loved One for Help. A parent, spouse, family member, colleague, teacher, or close friend can be a great place to start. Talking to them about how you are struggling with substance abuse and would like to stop, can provide you with support. They can help you research treatment centers and keep you accountable in the long-run.
  • Talk to Your Doctor. Any board-certified doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist can help point you in the right direction on where to get professional addiction treatment.
  • Call Your Employee Assistance Program. Many workplaces have employee assistance programs that can help you in times of crises, including substance abuse or mental health issues. Your call is always confidential and they can provide you with the right resources for getting addiction treatment.
  • Attend an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting. There are thousands of AA and NA meetings across the country and an early search will provide you with a long list of meetings in your area. You can go to one to find resources plus ask others in recovery for help who can also provide you with the next steps to take.
  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is a free, confidential, around the clock helpline you can call at 1-800-662-4357. They do not offer counseling but can connect you with a trained specialist who can refer you to local treatment centers, support and community-based groups.
  • Call a Recovery Center Near You. An online search will bring up hundreds of recovery centers in your state. You can do your own research on which treatment programs fit your needs and call them to get more information about how to get started.

A Recovery Timeline for Alcohol Addiction

The recovery timeline for alcohol addiction will look differently for each person. It is important to remember that alcoholism is a chronic disorder and there is no cure. However, there are certain stages of the recovery process which will help you get to a point of self-management. There is always a possibility of relapse, even with the best programs, but remember, if you were able to reach recovery at one point, you can do it again.

Not every person will go through each stage of recovery. Successful recovery programs are personalized for each individual with a plan that may include some or all of the following stages of treatment programs:

Alcohol Detox. The first step is ridding your body of all harmful substances through detoxification. This is the stage of recovery where you may experience withdrawal symptoms. However, medical detox programs can provide you with medications, around the clock care, and other services to reduce uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. It can help you enter alcohol rehab with a clear body and mind.

Residential Inpatient Treatment.  Inpatient treatment can provide an immersive experience to cement a solid foundation in the recovery process. You will live full time at the treatment facility where your days are highly structured around a variety of individual and group therapy sessions, as well as down time and outings. Programs can last between a few weeks to several months.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). The next step down is PHP and can help you transition back into the real world. PHP requires you to attend addiction treatment 5 to 7 days a week, but you will go home or to a sober living facility at the end of the day.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is another step down in treatment intensity. Instead of going almost every day to the treatment facility, your treatment program will be scheduled three to five days a week and will include about three hours of therapy. IOP allows you to go back to school or work full time with enough support.

Outpatient Treatment. As you complete IOP, your treatment program will be much less structured and will require less weekly hours in treatment.

Aftercare Program. This is the last step in helping reintegrate back into day to day life and gaining full autonomy in your sobriety. Aftercare programs will set a plan on how you will self-manage your addiction and may include individual therapy, group meetings like AA, and provide you with other resources such as sober living housing.

Recovery is a process that lasts a lifetime.

Achieve Recovery from Alcohol Addiction Today at Magnolia

Magnolia Recovery offers personalized treatment plans for alcohol addiction and other substance use disorders. We provide a safe and healing environment for those who wish to gain control over their alcohol abuse. Our aim is to help each person explore and address the underlying causes of their alcohol use disorder and find the right tools to replace unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms.

If you are struggling with alcohol or another substance, we are available to take your call and answer any questions you may have about the recovery process. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help, call us today at (818) 431-2224.

  • As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.

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Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. Before making any decisions on your physical or mental health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Magnolia Recovery Center will work with our patients on a custom diagnosis and care plan. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients while in our care.