Learning to live sober
For many people, the prospect of living without the refuge of becoming drunk can be daunting. By the time they decide they have to quit, many heavy drinkers have been dependent on alcohol for decades, often the majority of their adult life. Since no-one becomes a problem drinker right away, they have to go back even further to remember time when they didn’t drink at all. Alcohol was your friend when you were lonely, your comforter when you were down, your refuge when you were scared. Giving up alcohol is like abandoning your marriage or saying goodbye to your best friend. This is no exaggeration. Many alcoholics really would choose alcohol over their best friend; many actually do. If this is your situation, how do you even begin a sober life?
Alcohol and the brain
Alcohol has been with us since the dawn of civilization and plays a central role in most cultures around the world. Because of that we find it hard to think of alcohol as a drug that alters our brain, but that is exactly what it is. Drinking alcohol triggers chemicals that make us experience pleasure and blocks those that stimulate anxiety and worry. That’s why a glass of wine helps you feel relaxed after a long day’s work. However, after prolonged exposure to alcohol, the brain starts to compensate by releasing more of the chemicals that make you feel bad and less of those that make you feel good. Eventually, you need a fix of alcohol just to feel normal again. This is the experience of many alcoholics: you started drinking to feel good, but you keep drinking to stop feeling bad. Alcohol has become a false friend. The good news is that, if you stop feeding it alcohol, your brain can recover. Leading a sober life means learning to experience happiness, and endure sadness in a new way.
The path to sober living
Everyone suffering with alcohol dependency has their own path to recovery. The correct course of treatment depends on the how long you have been drinking, your family situation, other health issues, and even your genetics. There is also no single definition of what a sober life looks like. For some, it will include the occasional drink, but for others abstinence is the only option. Your destination will become clear once you break the stranglehold of alcohol dependency and discover the self that lies beneath. People who beat alcohol dependency go on to lead diverse lives. The common thread is the feeling of true satisfaction that comes from living life without a chemical crutch. At the Thalia Medical Center, you can expect treatment that is tailored to you, and utilizes the full range of treatment options that are appropriate. Reach out today and find out what your sober life will look like.