Tag Archives: alcoholism

sober during holidays

Staying Sober During the Holidays

Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again. This time of year brings about many joyful opportunities for gathering together with friends and family members to enjoy food, fun, and laughter. However, for many who were once addicted to alcohol or other substances, the holiday season can prove to be a difficult time as well.

It can be difficult for many people who were once addicted to harmful substances to remain sober during a time when stress and many temptations abound. However, with a plan of action in place, it is possible to fight off temptations and remain sober during this trying time of year. The following tips have been gathered to help you remain sober during the holidays and get your new year off to the best and healthiest start.

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What Makes the Holiday Season Difficult for Many People in Recovery

The holiday season is something many people look forward to. It is a time of excitement, cheer, and happiness for most of us. However, there are certain things about this time of year that can trigger a person in recovery to drink or use a substance again. These temptations might include the following triggers or events.

Added Stress During the Holidays

Shopping for gifts for loved ones, making last minute travel plans, and having a house full of loud relatives can add to the already present stress of everyday life. Add in grocery shopping and cooking an elaborate meal for close friends and family and you have the recipe for a very stressful period of time. Handling stress and not letting it build up is an important part of maintaining control of the situation and your reaction to the events that occur. Sometimes controlling how you react to the situation is all you can do, so it’s vital to have proper ways in which to manage stress to help prevent relapse.

Running into Negative Associates

Whenever someone who is addicted to alcohol or other substances seeks proper treatment, part of the recovery plan usually involves creating a new circle of friends and avoiding those they once abused substances with. While attending holiday parties and other gatherings, it is possible that you may run into people you once spent time with when you were actively abusing alcohol or other substances. For many people, this may bring back memories that can create a strong desire to engage in those negative behaviors once again. Having a plan in place for proper ways to handle these temptations before they occur is an important part of triumphing over them.

Temptations at Gatherings

Holiday parties and gatherings usually include both food and alcohol. Just the mere presence of alcohol can be a reminder of the sensations you experienced when you were consuming it regularly. Therefore, it is important to realize ahead of time that these types of gatherings will almost always include alcohol. A support system that you can rely on to distract you from temptations can be helpful. Knowing your limits and weaknesses can also be beneficial. If you feel being confronted with the temptation of alcohol at parties will be too strong, it may be best to avoid attending them at all.

Tips for Remaining Sober During the Holidays

Having a proper plan in place for dealing with the previously mentioned temptations is an important part of overcoming them. The following tips can give you a good idea of different ways to start formulating a plan for remaining sober this holiday season.

Keep Your Distance from Negative Locations or People

Bumping into people you once spent time with while you were engaging in destructive patterns of drinking could potentially set off emotions that can create temptations to drink again. If you know the areas that these people tend to gather, it is best to avoid them altogether. It is even better if you can arrange to spend time with new friends that help you fight the temptations to drink.

Create New and Healthy Traditions

Replacing old patterns of destructive behavior with new and healthy holiday traditions can help you overcome memories and fight off temptations to engage in these actions again. Starting new traditions will give you something exciting to look forward to each holiday season as you create new memories with your loved ones.

Attend Support Meetings or Groups

Support groups can be a huge blessing during the holiday season. It can be very helpful to associate with others who have overcome their addictions just like you. These individuals know firsthand how hard it can be to fight off temptations during the holidays. Their empathy and understanding can go far towards helping you feel a level of support that will prove encouraging all season long.

Create a Network of Support

Creating a strong network of individuals who understand the temptations this season can create will be beneficial for you as well. Knowing their support is just a phone call away can offer the strength and peace of mind you need to have confidence in your ability to remain sober.

Get Adequate Sleep

Adequate sleep, along with the support provided by nutritious foods and moderate exercise, can go a long way toward strengthening your resolve to stay sober. Sleep deprivation, while common during this time of the year, can weaken your resolve to decline tempting activities, events, or invitations. Taking care of the physical needs of your body and mind is an important part of remaining emotionally strong.

Start the New Year in Continued Recovery

You fought long and hard to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction. You probably attended a treatment program, completely changed many aspects of your life, and endured the difficult time of detoxing your body from the effects of alcohol abuse. Remember the things that you have gone through and how hard you have fought to achieve sobriety. Keeping this journey fresh in your mind can help you fight temptations and remain strong this holiday season and all the ones still to come.

never drinking again

Another Sunday of “Never Drinking Again?”

Spending Another Saturday or Sunday Hungover? Weekend Binge-Drinking Is a Serious Issue

“Ugh, I feel awful. I’m never drinking again.”

How many times have you mumbled something similar after waking up with a hangover? You have good intentions when you claim you’re never going to drink again, so you believe your declaration of sobriety. Unfortunately, you find yourself dealing with the hangover/hungover cycle again next weekend…and the weekend after that.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can break your weekend binge-drinking habit with help from supportive, compassionate people who understand your situation.

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What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to heavy drinking that quickly raises a man or woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to a percentage of 0.08 grams or higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this usually occurs when a woman has more than 4 alcoholic beverages or a man has more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period.

Binge drinking is common at parties, bars, and events centered around alcohol. Some adults mindlessly consume multiple drinks as they socialize, dance, or snack on appetizers. Other folks intentionally down alcoholic beverages during drinking games, such as beer pong or Quarters.

Does binge drinking each weekend make me an alcoholic?

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics. The CDC states that approximately 90% of heavy drinkers do not have an alcohol use disorder. (Alcoholism is an example of an alcohol use disorder.) However, that does leave approximately 10% of heavy drinkers that DO have an alcohol use disorder.

Why is binge drinking bad?

There are numerous risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, including:

  • Vehicular crashes
  • Abnormal and/or inappropriate behavior
  • Injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning

Drinking heavily may lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in activities you would normally avoid. Some potential side effects of excessive drinking, such as liver damage and memory issues, may not appear immediately.

Can a teen have a binge-drinking problem?

Binge drinking affects people of all ages, including teens and preteens. One out of every 5 drinkers are under the age of 21, and 13% of underage drinkers admit they have had recent episodes of binge drinking.

What should I do if someone I love is a weekend binge drinker?

It’s difficult to watch a loved one battle hangovers or other unwanted side effects caused by binge drinking. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s drinking, don’t lecture her or criticize her actions. Invite her to attend alcohol-free events with you, and let her know that you’re happy to lend an ear if she ever wants to talk about her drinking. Don’t press the issue; you don’t want to push your loved one away.

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

Ask trusted friends or family members how they feel about your drinking, but keep in mind that some loved ones may sugarcoat potential issues to avoid conflict. Make a list of how your drinking affects your life. It may help to track what, how much, and when you drink on a calendar.

After tracking your alcohol consumption, do you notice a pattern of hangovers, fights with your significant other, or missed shifts at work? These are all signs that your weekend drinking habits are impacting your life in a negative way.

If I have a problem with binge drinking, does that mean I have to give up drinking forever?

This is a common concern that people who consider giving up alcohol completely. It’s difficult to imagine an alcohol-free life, especially if your social outings or business meetings frequently involve alcoholic beverages or if those around you would not be willing to cut out alcohol during gatherings.

Some binge drinkers become dependent on alcohol, so they decide it’s best to adopt a sober lifestyle. There are also people who successfully modify their drinking habits without permanently giving up alcohol. An alcohol abuse specialist can help you decide if you should limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.

You can have fun without alcohol, but adjusting to sobriety takes time. If you decide to quit drinking, make sure you surround yourself with encouraging people who support your path toward sobriety. You deserve a happy, healthy and rewarding life.

happy life not hungover

impact of addiction on family

The Impact of Addiction on Family

How Addiction Affects a Family

Addiction affects not only the life of the person struggling with addiction but also the lives of everyone he or she cares about. Families can suffer the effects of addiction emotionally, financially and even physically. In some cases, family members may be inadvertently contributing to an individual’s addictive behaviors. By learning to understand how addiction can impact a family, you can be prepared to offer your loved one the support he or she needs while protecting yourself and the others you care about.
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How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Family Ties

When a person is struggling with addiction, getting the next fix becomes their top priority. The disease of addiction can lead a person to do things that are otherwise out of character, and these behaviors can put a serious strain on family relationships.

In pursuit of feeding their addictions, addicts may:

  • Lie or fail to keep promises
  • Borrow or even steal money from family to pay for the addictive substance
  • Be unreliable and struggle to meet family commitments
  • Forget about important duties or become distracted
  • Engage in illegal behaviors

Addicts may struggle to maintain employment as a result of their addiction, leading to additional financial strain for themselves and their families. Addicts may also suffer mood swings and other uncharacteristic behavior as a result of a substance’s effects or the effects of withdrawal if they cannot get a regular fix.

All of these issues can quickly compound to create a hostile environment at home.

The Impact of Addiction on Children

Addiction has an especially powerful effect on families when the addict is a parent. Children require care and attention, but the disease of addiction can take away a parent’s time and ability to care for his or her family.

Parents struggling with addiction may forget to take care of their own needs and the needs of their children. This may include missing meals, forgetting to pick kids up from school or failing to keep up with laundry and other chores.

Additionally, it may be unsafe for the children to be around the addicted parent. Mood swings and poor judgment can lead to explosive outbursts, and a parent caught up in the effects of drugs or alcohol may not be alert enough to protect children from dangers around the home. Sadly, there is also the risk that the parent may overdose in the presence of their child, putting their child in serious danger as well.

If only one parent is an addict, the other parent may experience significant stress while trying to deal with family responsibilities alone. This can put stress on the marriage, creating domestic turmoil at home that may affect the children as well.

For these reasons and more, children feel the impact of family addiction very strongly. Kids growing up in these conditions are more likely to face drug and alcohol problems of their own later in life.

Getting Help for Addicted Family Members

Most people who struggle with addiction do not want to hurt their families. However, they may be unable to break the habits and behaviors on their own. Similarly, family members are poorly equipped to handle the realities of addiction on their own.

Love is not enough to overcome the power of addiction, and loving family members run the risk of enabling the addiction further by continuing to provide financial support or shouldering the consequences of an addict’s actions. For this reason, it is important to seek the help of qualified professionals outside of the family.

A professional intervention followed by drug treatment can help your loved one get the help he or she needs without putting further stress and risk upon your family. Together, you can work toward healing and recovering from the addiction and its effects on those you love.

SOURCE:

drugabuse.gov

How Drinking Too Much Can Affect Your Finances

How Drinking Can Impact Your Finances

Many people do not realize the extent of their drinking problem until it begins to negatively affect other aspects of their lives. Consequences like lost work, strained family relationships and damaged health are common side effects of alcoholism. However, another common and frequently overlooked problem is the effect of drinking on your finances.

You may not realize that problem drinking is negatively impacting your financial wellbeing until the effects have become severe. If you are a frequent drinker, it’s worth looking at both the obvious and hidden costs of too much drinking.

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drinking impacts finances

How Can Drinking Impact Finances?

The first and most obvious expense associated with frequent drinking is the cost of alcohol itself. If you go to a bar to drink socially, you can usually expect to pay $5-9 per drink. If you get two drinks per night, three days a week, you’re looking at $120 to $216 a month. If you drink more frequently or tend to binge-drink with four or five drinks per sitting, this number can easily double.

Even staying home and drinking can quickly become expensive. A six-pack of beer may cost around $5 to $15, depending on the brand, and you may go through two or three of these per week. Hard liquor, wine and other beverages can cost more.

As you can see, the occasional drink won’t break the bank. However, making a habit of drinking regularly or drinking too much can snowball into a much larger bill.

Drinking too much impacts your finances in other ways as well:

  1. You may be tempted to spend unwisely while under the influence. You may purchase rounds of drinks for friends or strangers in the bar, or you might order extra food and snacks. People drinking at home may be tempted to make online purchases or other expenditures that they otherwise would not have considered.
  2. Your work productivity can suffer. People who drink frequently are more likely to call into work or show up sick or under-slept. These can damage productivity and, over time, affect overall job performance and opportunities.
  3. Your medical expenses may rise. Alcohol can affect your immune system, leaving you more prone to getting sick. Alcohol-related problems, including issues with the liver and pancreas, can build over time and lead to costly medical expenses.

Excessive drinking also impacts the community. The CDC estimates that excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. These costs were attributed to:

  • Lost workplace productivity
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Criminal justice expenses

The primary culprits in the study were binge drinkers, or those who drink more than 4 or 5 drinks per occasion. One in six people binge drink, and binge drinking accounts for 76 percent of costs associated with excessive drinking. 

Is Drinking Affecting Your Wallet?

Spending a lot of money on alcohol does not necessarily make you an alcoholic, but it is often a warning sing that your drinking has become problematic. It’s a good idea to sit down with your bank statements or receipts and tally up the real cost of your drinking. Consider:

  • The cost of drinks purchased in bars or consumed at home
  • The cost of purchases made under the influence of alcohol
  • The cost of cab fare or other related expenses

Also take an honest look at your recent work history. If you have had to call into work in order to nurse a hang over on more than one occasion, that could be another sign of excessive drinking.

If your drinking has led to problems with your finances or is otherwise impacting your lifestyle but you don’t know how to stop, it may be time to seek professional assistance. We can help. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

SOURCES:
http://theweek.com/articles/457336/how-drinking-much-sabotages-finances
https://www.cdc.gov/features/alcoholconsumption/

Hormone Research May Provide New Avenues of Treatment for Alcoholics

hormone treatment for alcoholicsThe brain has increasingly been a point of interest for researchers when it comes to studying addiction. In the last several years it has been discovered that areas of the brain responsible for self-control and rewards are most affected by addiction. Scientists have also found evidence of the long-lasting effects of drugs and alcohol on the biology of the brain. And now, a team of researchers from multiple universities and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have released information about a potential cause for alcoholism.

One of the major functions of the brain is to release and regulate hormones. Hormones are an essential component of life, dictating to the body when it is time to grow, eat, sleep, and even think. One major hormone is called aldosterone. Aldosterone is an essential hormone because it regulates kidney function and ensures that the body maintains a water and salt balance. There are two parts to a hormone pathway, the hormone itself and the receptor it binds to.

The researchers of this study found that there could be a link between the aldosterone receptors and alcohol use after it was observed that the receptors for the hormone are located on areas of the brain traditionally linked to alcohol use disorders. The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex are areas of the brain that have proven to be associated to alcohol use disorder and therefore the researchers are indicating that aldosterone and its receptors could be beneficial for future medicinal trials to prevent or treat alcoholism. The findings can be seen in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“We believe that this target might be particularly promising for those individuals who drink excessive amounts of alcohol to cut their stress and anxiety – this is technically what we refer to as the ‘withdrawal/negative affect state,’ [and] it is a domain for which we do not have approved targeted medications,” commented Lorenzo Leggio, MD, PhD and one of the authors of the study.

Other research indicates that increased drinking produces a higher level of aldosterone levels in the body. Upon closer examination, patients with higher aldosterone levels and history of alcoholism report stronger cravings, according to the study.

The research has not yet produced any new medication geared to aldosterone receptors as a way of handling alcoholism, but scientists are hopeful that this next step will be taken soon.

Alcohol Consumption Continues to Increase for Older Women

Alcohol Consumption WomenBinge drinking is a phenomenon most often seen among college students and younger adults. It is usually classified as having 5 or more drinks in a single setting for men, and 4 or more drinks for women. It is extremely dangerous as it increases the chances of alcohol poisoning and risky decision making, which can have a very wide array of consequences, including death.

Now a new study suggests that older women are increasingly participating in binge drinking behavior and are now at a greater risk of developing a dependence on alcohol and suffering from alcohol-related disorders.

Researchers at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) looked at data collected between 1997 and 2014. They found that men consumed alcohol at much the same rate throughout these seven years. However, the amount of alcohol consumed by women increased roughly 4% each year. They also found that older women were more likely to increase their alcohol consumption.

This is especially troubling because of the health risks associated with excessive alcohol use among women. “We know that, overall, women are more sensitive to the negative health consequences of alcohol than men. These consequences include liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and cognitive impairment – serious problems – and addiction to alcohol is possible as well,” commented Dr. J.C. Garbutt, medical director of the University of North Carolina Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program.

While there isn’t a reason that has been given for this increased consumption by older women, it uncovers a hole in alcoholism prevention that shows additional populations that need to be reached. There should be no end to the help for substance abusers, from prevention and intervention to treatment and aftercare support. This study shows that we cannot assume that it is only younger people who have binge drinking problems.

If you are wondering if you have a drinking problem, make a confidential call to speak with a counselor at Desert Cove Recovery today.

Study: Drinking During Pregnancy can Increase Chances of Alcoholism in Multiple Generations

alcclinexpScientists have discovered yet another powerful reason why mothers should not consume alcohol while they are pregnant. In addition to potentially causing birth defects, learning disabilities and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, babies who are introduced to alcohol while in the womb are more likely to have problems with alcohol in the future, according to new research.

The study, which appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that not only are those babies at greater risk for alcohol problems, but so is the next generation after them. While this is the first research study that explores this phenomenon, it does continue to illustrate the danger that alcohol poses to mother and the baby and to future generations.

“Our findings show that in the rat, when a mother consumes the equivalent of one glass of wine four times during the pregnancy, her offspring and grand-offspring, up to the third generation, show increased alcohol preference and less sensitivity to alcohol. Thus, the offspring are more likely to develop alcoholism. This paper is the first to demonstrate trans-generational effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on alcohol-related behavior in offspring,” commented Dr. Nicole Cameron, lead author of the study.

In order to conduct the study, researchers examined pregnant rats that were administered alcohol. After they gave birth the babies were examined, and then when the babies were old enough to have babies, those offspring were then tested for alcohol sensitivity as well. These rats also showed a tendency to want to consume alcohol compared with rats who were never exposed to it. Children who are born to mother’s that drink alcohol are being set up for a life that alcohol has the potential to be a real problem.

While there are mixed opinions on whether genetics or environmental factors have greater influence over future substance abuse, it is clear that people can be born with a low sensitivity. This information presents one more reason why women who are pregnant should abstain from alcohol completely.

True Blood Actor Reveals Past Alcoholism

chrisbauerChris Bauer plays Andy Bellefleur on the popular HBO series True Blood. Recently, Bauer has started opening up regarding his past alcohol and drug use. He states that it wasn’t until he shot the pilot for the show that he finally got clean from his substance abuse. Like many addicts, it took an intervention from his family and the threat that he would lose his wife, son and daughter. Bauer decided to share his story now that True Blood is coming to an end.

Bauer began drinking at the age of 14 and didn’t stop until he was 40. According to the actor, he could never have just one drink and always sought out more alcohol. This is a common characteristic of an alcoholic and Bauer believes he was out of control from the first drink. He said he started noticing that he was drinking more than anyone else around him. Towards the end of his addiction he was attempting to hide his drinking and unable to go to functions because he was too intoxicated.

Like many alcoholics, Bauer had convinced himself that he really didn’t have a problem. He would make his children breakfast every morning – so that meant he was a good father. He would attend industry functions and book gigs – so that meant that he was a good actor. Drinking and doing drugs is seemingly a common occurrence in Hollywood, so much so that Bauer had himself convinced that he was just doing what everyone else was doing. Obtaining drugs is not hard to when you are a working actor, but Bauer always felt himself doing more drugs and drinking more alcohol than his associates.

One morning, after a particular heavy drinking binge, Bauer woke up with his clothes still on from the night before and his five year old daughter standing in front of him. He realized he had been saying something to her but had no idea what it was. Bauer knew that something had to change. His wife, Laura, eventually made it clear that she would not stay with him if he kept drinking and doing drugs. With the help of sober friends and meetings, Bauer managed to get sober and has not touched a drink or a drug in seven years.

ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas Talks About Her Alcoholism

evargasLongtime ABC News correspondent Elizabeth Vargas sat down with co-worker George Stephanopoulos to talk about her battle with alcoholism. Vargas, 51, stated that she started drinking heavily late in life in an attempt to deal with her anxiety and daily stress.

Despite what she said was her exhausting efforts to hide her problem, she revealed that her husband, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, knew better. “You have a problem. You’re an alcoholic,” he told her, which she said made her “really angry, really angry. But he was right.”

It usually takes family members to say something and intervene on someone’s substance abuse problems. In this case, Vargas eventually agreed to get help and entered a treatment facility for several weeks last fall. She said she still continues with her recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Vargas claims that she is “learning to accept that I’m human, that there’s nothing wrong with failing, that there’s nothing wrong with feeling anxiety.”

When she took her leave of absence to get help, an ABC spokesperson stated, “We are proud of the steps Elizabeth has taken and are pulling for her recovery. We look forward to having her back home at ABC News, where she has done so much distinguished work over the years. Elizabeth is a member of our family, and we will support her in every way we can.”

Vargas seems to have a lot of understanding and support from her co-anchors as well, and she says she is now ready to get back to work. Hopefully, her courage to admit her problem, seek appropriate treatment and then share her story will prompt others to get help as well.