Alcohol addiction is so common, and develops so frequently into a life-threatening problem, that no matter where you live, it’s highly likely that recovering alcoholics reside in your area. Simply talking to one of them, perhaps by attending a local meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, may help to give a sense of perspective and point a problem drinker in the direction of an effective alcohol treatment program. Sometimes, this will be AA itself or perhaps an alcohol rehabilitation center that is set up to handle the early detox stage of treatment.
Many people have a ready community around them in their religious fellowships. It’s a rare church, mosque or synagogue that doesn’t have some kind of outreach program aimed at connecting members with help for compulsions such as alcoholism. Whether it’s something handled within the context of the faith, or something as simple as a list of phone numbers and a friendly member of the clergy who wants to help, religious communities are frequently the shining gate to acknowledging a problem with substance abuse and to making the choice to begin a life of renewed sobriety.
Alcohol abuse isn’t a minor matter. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 18 million American adults have trouble with their drinking, while the Journal of the American Medical Association found that over 15 percent of American adolescents show signs consistent with a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Signs of alcohol addiction include:
• Cravings, as if you need a drink as opposed to having a more manageable interest
• Loss of control or an inability to stop after a single drink
• Dependence, where not drinking causes shaking, nausea and/or excessive sweating
• Increased tolerance, where people need larger volumes of alcoholic drinks to get the same effect