Things You Need to Know About Alcohol Abuse – Part 2

As a trained professional in the field of substance-use recovery, a practicing recovery coach, and more importantly, a person in successful recovery from addiction for over 26 years, I have some knowledge to share and lots of hope for anyone who’s ready for change. 

This, the second in a series of articles that you will find helpful and informative, picks up where I left off at the end of Installment 1. My goal is to provide you with a comprehensive and holistic understanding of alcohol abuse and most importantly, a way forward for you to self-access your condition or that of a loved one who may be struggling with alcohol-use disorder. 

Objective One

I am writing this series with two objectives, number one is to hold your attention through a full exploration of alcohol use and abuse so that you can be prepared to make potentially critical decisions concerning alcohol in your life or the life of a loved one. As I mentioned in the previous article, through many years of experience I’ve come to know that people who investigate and seek information online are self-driven to identify immediate solutions to problems and issues they face. That’s certainly not a bad thing, however in the case of alcoholism or addiction, a very high number of these “problem solvers” are ill-prepared for success when they leapfrog over what I know to be vital foundational understanding of the illness. Sadly, these people are part of a large group who ultimately fail in their efforts to solve the alcohol problem and eventually return to old behaviors. Some use the term “relapse” to describe this. 

Objective Two 

For true healing to occur, people suffering with alcohol abuse or “alcoholism”, must reach an honest conclusion about their status. My second objective is to lead the individual to a place where their choices narrow to one of two conclusions. We have all heard the old adage “information is king”, right? I believe the information in this series is critical in the following ways. First I’ll drop this metaphor into the mix, most, if not all people have no more idea how to successfully end an alcohol abuse problem than they have the knowledge to assemble a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle without an image of the finished product. Attaining and maintaining a sober life absolutely requires an understanding of each element of the alcohol-abuse problem and an instruction guide or navigation map to a successful resolution. 

It is my hope and desire that you will digest and consider all of the information in this series of articles so that you become fully prepared to reach an honest and educated conclusion about actions in your future that affect your health, happiness, and the lives of those who care for you. 

Here’s What’s Next

At the end of the first installment I presented a number of emotional and behavioral signs of alcohol abuse for your review. If you gave those items thorough and honest consideration you likely identified some familiarities to your own life or the life of a loved one. 

Now I want to present a little more on the “how” part of this puzzle. By the way, I will get to the ever-gnawing explanation of “why”, which is usually swirling in our heads at this point in the discovery process. But first, you need to know that alcohol, in its own chemical makeup, is a highly addictive substance. A point that I will continue to make throughout all my presentations about substance-use is that people suffering through alcohol-use disorder are NOT bad or immoral-minded people-period. They are simply people who have consumed a highly addictive substance and due to certain conditions, have become addicted. 

Alcohol, especially when consumed in higher quantities within a short period of time, becomes even more addictive. The complete cycle of alcohol addiction usually occurs in several discernable stages. The cycle, or process of addiction to alcohol may begin with the very first drink and may be hastened by both physical and mental factors. 

Focus 

Stay with me here and remember that “information is king”. Like any “mood-altering substance”, or drug, alcohol affects the brain’s chemistry and the brain responds by releasing chemicals that are already part of it’s natural make up. These are called endorphins and they are responsible for signaling pleasure and reward within us. (Think back to my chocolate cake example) The rush of endorphins after consuming alcohol is why people feel happy, boisterous, and silly when they drink. 

Here It Comes  

In a short while after consuming alcohol the effect wears off, meaning the feelings of happiness and pleasure caused by the endorphin rush goes away. It’s no secret that in the mind of the alcohol abuser the solution to this loss of pleasure is to drink more. This is where the “how” is really revealed in this cycle. Let’s assume that you had 4 drinks over a couple of hours last night, you reached a state of pleasure and your inhibitions were replaced with a feeling of fun and excitement. An hour after the last drink the positive effect began to wane so you decided to have another drink or two to regain that happy state. What just happened was that you began the process of building a “tolerance” to alcohol. This means that over some period of time it begins to take a higher quantity of alcohol to achieve the same effect. Herein lies the explanation of severe intoxication, what I mean is that even though you needed to consume more alcohol to achieve that sought after endorphin rush, you were already intoxicated physically – and legally I might add, when you decided to have more drinks.

I hope that you consumed these small bites of truth about alcohol abuse and that you will continue to follow the release of my articles on this subject. Each installment going forward is of extreme importance and necessity for gaining a clear understanding of this serious problem. I intentionally keep these articles short and direct to encourage all who suffer, or those who care for someone they believe is suffering from alcohol abuse, to receive this crucial foundation that will become part of the healing that lies ahead.

The solution to the problem that most likely landed you on this page is a simple one. However it is a journey, one marked by some difficult twists and turns on the trail of self-discovery, honesty, and open-mindedness. The journey requires an experienced navigator, one that knows the landscape and the footholds along the way. The destination is what I call the “summit of recovery”, a place only reachable by a willing explorer with the appropriate tools and provisions for the journey.

I will present more of what I know to be critical information for your consideration in the next installment.

Be safe and care for one another.

Coach Chris, CPRC – Creator of AddictionFreedomCourses.com

 

The Recovery Journey to Addiction Freedom Online Course is Now Available as a Fully Digitized and Interactive Program Experience on All Mobile Devices and Computers.

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Asking for Medical Help

If you or someone you know exhibits withdrawal symptoms, psychological problems, or any signs of self-harming behavior, contact your medical professional, call 911, or reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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