Early on the path of alcoholism seems quite normal. It appears to be harmless and unequivocal. You’re not likely to be able to distinguish motivational change until you actually move through the stages.
At any point, in any stage personal recovery from alcohol is possible. The first and most significant recovery decision is when you come to realize where you are in relationship to alcohol use.
Let’s see what characteristics identify the stages.
Alcohol consumption is primarily for enjoyment and pleasure. It’s a social experience. The subtle difference here between the person addicted to alcohol and the one who isn’t is difficult to recognize for most individuals.
Drinking more than a few drinks at a setting and being relatively unaffected by the alcohol. Appearance of less intoxication effects from the quantity of alcohol consumed.
You may be described by others as being able to ‘hold his/her booze’. This is often meant as a complement but it may be the first indication alcohol could be a problem.
When the personal motivation changes this should send up a red flag (it usually doesn’t).
In this stage alcohol use is generally because you need to relax, you’ve had a rough day, you deserve a drink, or you really could use a drink. The key here is the shift has occurred that alcohol consumption is no longer for pleasure it’s because you ‘need’ it.
At this point you probably could quit with a minimal amount of outside help. Why would you when alcohol is such a support for all of those rough days and circumstances where you need that little something to help, booze.
When motivation shifts from relief to maintenance there’s a big difference in what takes place. Often denial about the effects of alcohol and the toll it takes is apparent to everyone around but you, addicted to alcohol are oblivious to it.
This stage is characterized by the use of alcohol to just be okay or normal. There may be episodes of drinking early in the morning and throughout the day. Physical responses from being without alcohol may occur such as trembling.
These responses seem to calm right down when a little alcohol is used. Ah, finally back to normal. The state of being at this point is further from normal than you want to believe. It has become what is expected in the maintenance stage of alcoholism.
The final stage of alcoholism is where alcohol use is so pervasive there is little else in the world of greater importance. Reality isn’t important, but the next drink is necessary. Physical harm may manifest as a result of alcohol use, Family and friends my have given up and abandoned any hope of change on your behalf, yet use continues without abandon.
There are three alternatives when considering the stages of alcoholism:
- 1. Recovery -Treatment options include hospital based, residential, outpatient, and self-help groups. There are many paths you could take toward recovery, but there’s only one recovery for each person.
- 2. Insanity – In the Alcohol Anonymous groups they refer to doing the same thing and expecting a different result is a definition of insanity. Losing your sanity to alcohol can be very real. There’s a para-logical thinking that occurs for many who are addicted. It goes a little like this: I don’t have enough money for the rent. I guess I’ll get drunk. Then there’s REALLY no money for rent. Priorities, values, relationships, ability to make sound decisions, along with overall deterioration in spirituality, emotional stability and mental functioning decay as the stages of alcoholism proceed.
- 3. Death – The most sobering fact is alcoholism often leads to death. Physical complications continue to intensify in the later stages. Death from alcohol isn’t always directly from the bottle to the coffin. There are a series of poor decisions that lead to that fateful end.
If you find yourself with one of these stages don’t be discouraged. There’s support and programs to help you along the way into your own recovery.
You may find yourself in one of these stages of alcoholism. If you have further questions about whether you’re addicted to alcohol please take the test to find out for sure.
For additional support visit: www.tipsforsobriety.com
Source: Articles from Ezinearticles.com
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