Alcoholism Articles

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?Interventions have become a household word for the general public, thanks to television shows such as “Celebrity Rehab” and “Intervention.” Although an intervention is not necessary in every situation, some situations benefit greatly from one. Every situation is different, but most interventions do follow a similar structure.

An intervention is a planned event where friends and family members face an addict about his or her problems. An intervention is carefully planned and provides a forum for family members and loved ones to confront the problem and express their concerns, in the hope that a person will enter treatment.

Not the Man I Used to Know

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Not the Man I Used to KnowEarly in my sobriety, I became friendly with a university professor who regularly attended my home group meeting. This person taught political science, and I enjoyed our conversations about current events, especially discussions around the Middle East, as Israeli and Palestinian tensions were peaking during this period. He was a supportive friend, and encouraged me to mentor another newcomer who later became one of my very best friends.

A short time into our friendship, the professor showed up late to our meeting and was disruptive throughout the hour. He stood up several times in the middle of other people sharing, washed his face in the small kitchenette sink, and had several coughing fits. It was odd, but I didn’t know enough to confront him or suggest he leave the meeting.

Returning to Work after Addiction Treatment

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Returning to Work after TreatmentEvery year, thousands of white-collar professionals enter treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs. In treatment they are taught new skills for living productive and fulfilled lives without mind-altering substances. After completing a 30- to 90-day inpatient program, possibly with some additional time in a less restrictive sober living community, they return to work.

In their absence, not much has changed back at the office; the expectations and associated stress have continued without a break. These newly sober professionals are inserted back into a culture from where they came and where they drank.

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in DenialHigh-functioning alcoholics might be one of the most dangerous types. They often are in denial about their alcoholism. They don’t realize how hard their drinking is on family members and friends, and since they seem to function normally, they don’t see a problem with it.

High-functioning alcoholics do not fit the “drunk” stereotype. They might reason that because they go to work and school, interact with their family, manage a household, and fulfill their everyday responsibilities, they can’t possibly have an alcohol problem.

10 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

We all know the importance of maintaining good physical health — we’re bombarded daily with ads for exercise programs, diet plans, and blog posts on what to eat and drink and what vitamin supplements to take or avoid. What’s not as frequently addressed, however, is mental health — but it’s just as important.

Household budgets are strained all across America, but even if times are tight there are plenty of ways to improve your mental outlook — and they don’t have to take a lot of time or effort.

On Rejecting the False Promise, 25 Years Later

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

imagesI used to think once you put down the drink you were fixed, that once you conjured up the courage to quit your addiction the hard work was over. But addicts are never really cured.

Like cancer survivors, they simply stay in remission for the duration of their lives. There is always a person, place, or thing in their horizon promising them the way to the land of unicorns and fairies, a detour from the painful stuff of life.

Introducing One Sober Life

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Introducing One Sober LifeGrappling with sobriety — and learning to live without alcohol in your life — is …

Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Alcohol and Mental HealthAlcoholism is common among people suffering from mental health conditions. People experiencing anxiety, depression, impulsivity, or other diagnosable mental illnesses often turn to alcohol to find temporary solace. Additionally, people who do not have a mental health diagnosis, yet are encountering a phase of overwhelming emotions, drink dangerously.

For example, while struggling with the aftermath of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, people drink to escape the pain. Alcohol is used as a coping mechanism for those enduring a great deal of stress or hardship, such as getting fired from a job or losing a loved one.

Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded.

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the HolidaysAs the holiday season winds up for its last big week before Christmas, here are a few spiritual tips to help you remember what the season’s all about. This is part two of a two-part article (part one is here).

4. Celebrate your truth.

I have a friend named Wayne who had an awful life. He was maybe 12 years old when, looking around the dinner table, he finally did the math that estranged him from his family.

You see, Wayne had four older brothers, each a year apart, and Wayne was born four years after the last. He knew immediately that he wasn’t supposed to be there; he knew immediately that he was an accident. Even worse, he knew that everyone in that household hated and resented his existence.

3 Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

3 Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the HolidaysAs the holiday season winds up for its last big week before Christmas, here are a few spiritual tips to help you remember what the season’s all about. This is part one of a two-part article.

1. The reason for the season.

I don’t care what religious denomination you call your own. The holidays are always about giving and giving back, which — if you really think about it — is the cornerstone of every thriving belief system.

For me, giving has a very specific look. It starts with hour after hour spent poring over the gift lists my wife and I have compiled, followed by standing in line after line at toy stores, department stores, and jewelry shops all over the city.

The Importance of Good Support Systems in Sobriety

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The Importance of Good Support Systems in SobrietyIn many ways, recovery is an individual experience. Moving through recovery means becoming well-acquainted with your own thought processes and tendencies.

It is a time when you become highly attuned to why you are abusing drugs and alcohol, and a time to find ways to become the person you want to be.

Although much of recovery involves your own individual journey, the value of support systems cannot be underestimated. There are several reasons they are vital to recovery.

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