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The Progression & Recovery From Alcoholism

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The steady path of disease progression

  • Drinks to feel better
  • Drinks to relax
  • Drinks to feel stimulated
  • Drinks for any reason
  • Frequency of drinking increases
  • Feels  lucky – can drink without getting drunk
  • Finds friends who can keep up with drinking
  • Has nausea in early day
  • Mild shakes that cure themselves
  • Daily drinking
  • Perspires at night; damp pillow
  • Drinks inappropriate amounts
  • Drinks at inappropriate times
  • Drinks at inappropriate places
  • Drinks with those who have more serious drinking problems than self
  • Is questioned by others about drinking. Gives convincing arugments.
  • Has firm beliefs about what causes alcoholism – willpower, weakness, etc.
  • Has definition of alcoholism that does not include self
  • Changes definition of alcoholism as symptoms worsen to avoid self diagnosis
  • Quits drinking for days or weeks in response to crisis
  • Resumes drinking after crisis with large amounts of consumption
  • Family or friends try half-measured interventions that fail
  • May suffer DT’s, seizures, convulsions,when attempts to quit
  • Loss of appettite
  • Digestive problems, heart racing, undetected medical problems, bruises easily
  • Feels remorse, may feel suicidal
  • Severe work, family, money or legal problems
  • Drinks with improved functioning
  • Has mild irritability the morning after
  • Insomnia blamed on stress
  • Preoccupied with drinking after work
  • Gets drunk more frequently
  • Feels bored if not drinking in PM
  • Thinks about drinking early in day
  • Begins taking sedatives for stress
  • Blames drinking on problems
  • May seek marriage counseling or psychological help
  • Finds medical experts that agree no problem exists
  • Attempts to diminish and alter times of drinking (ex: after 5PM)
  • Begins to experience slight tremors in finger tips but blames on nerves
  • Efforts to quit fail, Has blackouts
  • Short term memory problems, complains about lack of energy, Shakes increase
  • Increasing medical problems, colds, flu
  • Notices puffiness and swelling
  • Numbness, tingling in legs, night terrors in sleep
  • Pain in stomach area
  • Thinks about quitting someday, makes promises to quit in future
  • Notices blood in urine or stool
  • Broken blood vessels, Yellowing of eyes
  • Feels fearful about future
  • Seeks medical help, but wants to avoid quitting entirely
  • Gives up relationships of prior value
  • Life becomes unpredictable, legal problems increase, DUI’s
  • Lies about drinking, Loss of almost all relationships of value
  • Loss of control over drinking

The EAP can help. If you are concerned about yours or a loved one's drinking or substance use, confidential assistance is just a phone call away.

The steady path of recovery

  • Forced into treatment for medical problems, or coerced to admit self to treatment program by family, court or employer
  • Patient is detoxified
  • Medical condition is treated
  • Patient feels can stay stopped for good without further help
  • Patient feels guilty, angry & depressed over personal situation
  • Believes that drinking again may be possible
  • Looks for other worse off than self as way of denying severity of illness
  • Re-educaiton about disesase begins
  • Self-diagnosis, but minimizes severity of symptoms
  • Admits having disease of alcoholism without reservations
  • Learns how to treat alcoholism
  • Begins taking personal responsibility for changing behavior and thinking
  • Makes commitment to treat illness
  • Anger, depression & guilt subside
  • Begins working in groups to acquire new ways of thinking and emotional common sense
  • Attends AA Meetings
  • Sobriety becomes the most important possession
  • Accepts self as non-drinking alcoholic
  • Becomes hopeful about future
  • Helps others entering recovery
  • Non-drinking becomes unconditional
  • Severe psychological stressor may trigger relapse into drinking, but patient bouces back without problems
  • Maintains recovery program

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