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Alcohol Recovery: You’re Worth the Effort

My personal journey to sobriety wasn’t a smooth road. I hit roadblocks along the way. My first experience in rehab made little difference to my recovery, partly because the clinic practiced a “one-size-fits-all” approach to rehab, and partly because I wasn’t ready to commit to the journey. I can attest, from firsthand experience, that alcohol recovery isn’t easy. You will experience times when you want to quit, to run back to the artificial comfort of alcohol. You may experience guilt and shame or feel overwhelmed. You may relapse after treatment and find yourself back at the alcohol detox center. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? I don’t want to sugar-coat things: alcohol recovery is a tough process. But in the end, when you’re sober, you attain clarity. You reclaim your life. You reclaim yourself, and you truly live again.

Handling Detox

Alcohol abuse causes serious withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Don’t try to ride these symptoms out yourself as they can be extremely dangerous —even deadly. You may have heard of people who successfully quit cold turkey without help. These people are the minority. You need help, and you’re going to want help. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are best treated at a detox center, where staff can make you as comfortable as possible and help reduce symptom severity. In many ways, detox is the hardest part of rehab. Once you’re through it, you can start focusing on your life-long recovery.

Finding Yourself Through Therapy

While therapy isn’t physically grueling, a productive session can leave you feeling drained. You’re exploring why you started drinking, what triggers your drinking, and how alcohol affects your life. You may find yourself remembering behavior you aren’t proud of. You need to find peace with your previous actions. Many rehab clinics now offer holistic treatment options. Take advantage of these. Rediscover a forgotten talent with art and music therapy. Allow yourself the luxury of the simple pleasure of a walk in the garden. Part of alcohol recovery is regaining a sense of enjoyment in life, not just confronting the mistakes you’ve made. We’ve all made mistakes, whether or not we abused alcohol. Be as compassionate toward yourself as you can.

Returning to Life

The period after rehab is a stressful time for recovering alcoholics. Back in the “real” world, you risk exposure to the events and stressors that triggered alcohol abuse in the past which can lead to relapse in the future. Relapse is not a failure, only an obstacle. Seek medical help and stop drinking as soon as possible. Thousands of people recover from relapse, and go on to lead sober lives. Alcohol recovery isn’t easy. Speaking as someone who underwent detox and the recovery process, however, I can say with certainty sobriety is well worth the effort. (Photo via)

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