Traditional 12-step programs are helpful for many, but they aren’t right for everyone. Read on to learn how to beat alcoholism with alternative treatment.
Addiction is when you no longer desire a drink but need one. Alcoholism, as known as, AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) affects more than 15 million people in the United States alone.
Unfortunately, few receive treatment.
12-step programs are a great start to treating and recovering from AUD, but not everyone benefits from it. There are alternative methods available on how to beat alcoholism.
Let’s walk through some safe and healthy substitutes about how to beat alcoholism without a 12-Step Program.
Being True to Yourself Is How to Beat Alcoholism Without a 12-Step Program
Honesty is the first step to admitting you have an addiction. You can’t admit your addiction to someone else until you can first admit it to yourself.
Low-points–rock bottom moments–are when people realize they have an addiction. These moments are different for everyone.
Near-death experiences – Near-death experiences are awakenings. They’re incidents when people realize, in their self-centered moments, they still have something to live for–something to be grateful for.
Isolation – When people find themselves hiding from their friends and loved ones to feed addictions is when they awaken to the fact that they have a dependency–a destructive habit that’s causing them shame.
Family Loss – Divorce can be a wake-up call. When a spouse throws in the towel or when an AUD sufferer realizes they’ve broken their family, reality sets in, which leads to admission.
Low points come to make addicts face themselves. Allow these moments to bring out the honesty in you. Admit you have a problem.
Know Your Triggers
Triggers can be situations or things that force an emotional reaction, which then alters a person’s behavior–causes them to drink.
Know your trigger(s) and then avoid them all together.
AUD triggers can stem from negative childhood experiences to indulgent adult behaviors.
Abuse, low self-esteem, peer pressure (yes, this happens to adults too), and constant social drinking are triggers.
Distance yourself from associates who drink heavily or encourage you to drink. Remove all alcohol substances from your home and do away with secret stashes.
Keep away from social gatherings that have alcohol present. There no such things as social drinks when you’re learning how to beat alcoholism.
Abuse is a sensitive subject. Seek professional help for abuse to uncover the specific trigger causing the desire to drink.
Not everyone is successful at stopping cold turkey. Moderation is key.
Cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume may help you realize you’re drinking too much.
Avoid happy hour. Most happy hours come with a two-for-one. Three drinks can easily become six. Instead, stop at a grocery store, buy something to eat, and one drink–a beer, or a split (single-serve bottle of wine).
Don’t attend social gatherings where there will be booze during the week. Stick to one social event per weekend, then taper off. Stay for a short amount of time–enough for one drink, then leave.
Avoid a second drink. Second, third, and fourth drinks become social drinks. Social drinks become triggers that lead to alcoholism.
SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a not-for-profit organization that helps people with drinking through a self-help program.
This is much different than traditional 12-step programs.
SMART recovery works on a system that focuses on behavioral therapy–different ways to cope with life’s problem other than drinking, and keys to personal change like increasing motivation, neglecting urges, and designing a healthy lifestyle.
Find your reasons for drinking and weigh them against your reasons for quitting. The value of life alone is usually a good reason to quit.
Change the way you believe about your reasons for drinking. Alcoholism is not an incurable disease; you can get help.
SMART further teaches individuals to balance their emotions and behavior. By figuring out emotional triggers, people can alter their behavior. Instead of drinking to cope, engage in healthier behavior.
Take the holistic approach. Try holistic rehab.
Holistic rehab has to do with balancing the mind, body, and spirit. By balance these three, the whole person is treated rather than the traits of addiction.
Holistic rehabilitation uses the following alternative methods:
Acupuncture – A technique that involves piercing the skin with needles to stimulate different areas of the body.
Yoga – Yoga is used to balance the body and mind through posture and breathing.
Meditation – An an experience that teaches a person to channel their emotions and feelings in a positive direction.
Holistic rehab is a self-approach on how to beat alcoholism.
Find a Mentor
Addiction mentors are referred to as Recovery Coaches. Recovery coaches, usually former addicts, assist those suffering from alcoholism through a process of recovery coaching–teaching addicts to focus on their strengths to overcome addiction.
They’re available to those not looking to participate in a traditional 12-step program.
A recovery coach’s goal is to help their mentee set realistic goals and encourage them to push beyond them by backing them with the right emotional tools and support.
LifeRing is a recovery support organization that focuses on sharing experiences to help those battling with how to beat alcoholism.
The program steers clear of the usual 12-step and allows its participants to find peer help through different channels–Online, face-to-face, or through materials purchased from their bookstore.
Recovering addicts can use LifeRing’s location database to find a peer located near their zip code and request a face-to-face meeting. Peer meetings serve as moments for individuals to share personal action plans on ways to remain sober.
Alcohol sufferers are allowed to join private email groups where they can share their personal struggles and receive help, resources, and encouragement.
LifeRing also has its social network where recovering addicts are allowed to share and read testimonies and communicate in a large network.
There’s also a 12-step-free forum and an E-Pal service that allows one on one communication by email or personal mail.
Resources are made readily available in the online bookstore to assist those who prefer hands-on instructions.
Never be afraid to admit you need more help. Medication may help.
Medication is not a cure-all, and no one pill will ever fix alcoholism. However, there are a few that will help with managing alcohol cravings and withdrawals.
Drugs like Antabuse, which hinders the body’s ability to soak up alcohol, and Naltrexone which blocks pleasure receptors to the brain, forcing addicts to dislike alcohol, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration are available as a form of medical treatment for alcoholics looking for ways on how to beat alcoholism.
Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) is a nonprofit network that helps people attain and maintain sobriety through help from local professional groups.
James Christopher (Founder and sober alcoholic), started this program to empower recovering addicts by equipping them with the proper tools to quit and rewards them by giving them the credit for their success.
Rational Recovery is an information and counseling program aimed at helping addicts recover through abstinence.
Through the use of AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique), addicts are encouraged to reject their addictive voice–that inner-voice that calls them to drink–and maintain permanent abstinence.
Online Support Groups
Confessing sins of addiction to total strangers is not only intimidating but can be embarrassing to some. The absence of Anonymity is a factor as well.
But people are telling their stories and they’re telling their stories on the internet.
Online support groups offer a small plethora of benefits to recovering addicts searching for how to beat alcoholism.
People like to know they aren’t alone in their struggle. Hearing and reading stories similar to theirs, encourages addicts to fight harder against addiction. They also feel less judged, which is why most people steer clear of 12-step programs.
They control the process. Recovering addicts control how much and when they want to share. They have the power to hold themselves accountable, becoming stronger through the process.
12-step programs require constant verbal activity. In online support groups, alcohol sufferers control their options. They can read testimonies or fellowship with other addicts, reducing the anxiety of being forced to participate.
You Can Do It
12-step programs are not everyone’s cup of tea. Take alternative steps, and learn how to beat alcoholism.
AUD and alcohol abusers who wish to quit much be proactive. Admit you have a problem. Don’t allow a near-death experience be the game-changer.
Low-points are eye-openers, but they are also end-all points–job loss, family loss, and sometimes loss of self-worth.
Find your triggers. Identify what encourages you to drink and walk away from those things permanently. Then practice moderation. Cutting back on a little alcohol is a step towards cutting back on much.
Hold yourself accountable. Get support. Recovery coaches, online support groups, and non-profit organizations that support alcohol abstinence all help you single out your addictive voice so you can squash it and get on the road to recovery.
Check out more of our articles on health and fitness to find how to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy and fit are also great tips for how to beat alcoholism.