Most of us have experienced alcohol’s negative interference into our lives or the lives of those around us whether as drinkers or not, or as wives, mothers, sisters or friends, employers or employees. Perhaps we have felt our own use slipping out of control, or been affected by others, or tried to figure out what we might do to help those we love. Regardless of our involvement, most of us have felt confused and uncertain about how to help ourselves or anyone else. Alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction are health matters about which little is said and much of what is believed is wrong. Because of this, it is easy to start down treatment paths that result in more frustration than relief. It is, however, possible to work one's way out of the alcohol induced fog, to assist another in doing so, and to redirect life to new and productive goals.
As with any complicated and difficult task, in order to succeed, it may be necessary to seek out qualified help. As in most areas of personal growth, (and yes, I consider working your way out of alcohol abuse to be the ultimate in personal growth), it's easier to accomplish with the encouragement, expertise, and the motivation that a good guide will provide. Think of it in the same way you would when hiring a personal trainer, a coach, a doctor, weight loss specialist, or psychologist. Remember too, as in all areas of personal change, nothing works for everyone. Indeed, most alcohol treatment programs work for less than 10% of those who try them. So to maximize your success when looking for a program, keep these tips in mind:
Seek help that is not committed to a single approach: Look for professionals who specialize; Discuss different outcomes (moderation vs. abstinence, for example); Look for educational diversity in staffing backgrounds (being an alcoholic does not confer any special ability for helping others). As in most of life, your success with easing your own problems, or in helping others, will be achieved through motivation, optimism, good planning, and consistent effort. Humor will also be required. So will a willingness to give new things, activities, and people a chance. Begin thinking of change as an adventure, not a sentence inflicted on you. Yes, adventures usually involve some discomfort and a little fear and homesickness for the way things were. They can also discover new faces to you and your life, new behavior, pleasures and skills.