April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and together we can bring real change to those who need it.
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Living with alcohol addiction is hard.
It can mean legal troubles, poor health, and even death. But in many ways, the most severe impact of alcohol use disorder is a life unfulfilled. Strained relationships, missed opportunities, and the constant push-pull of shame and the desire to feel better.
While opioid use has skyrocketed in the past two decades, and deaths due to drugs like fentanyl and tranq are capturing the nation’s attention, alcohol remains the most used substance and is the fourth leading cause of preventable death.
Why is it so difficult to recover?
Recovery from any substance use disorder is hard, whether or not you receive help from a qualified treatment provider. But alcohol use is unique in many ways that can make achieving lasting recovery especially challenging.
Alcohol use is everywhere in America. People drink when they’re happy and when they’re sad and for every reason in between. Over 78% of Americans have used alcohol in their lifetime; 133 million have use alcohol in the past month.
Alcohol is also seen as an acceptable coping mechanism for stress. Jokes about "needing a drink" to deal with daily life happen everyday. We learn from an early age to associate drinking with both good times and bad.
The stigma of alcohol use
When “everyone drinks” it is easy to think that quitting is a matter of willpower. People might say, “I drank a lot in college and was able to quit. People who can’t aren’t trying.” or “It’s easy for me to stop after one glass of wine with dinner; if you can’t, you’ve got no willpower.”
The widespread use of alcohol coupled with the stigma associated addiction means fewer people seek treatment. Less than 10% of those who need help with addiction get it.
But recovery is possible.
There are resources available that can help you or a loved one. Whether you are looking for information, treatment, counseling, or 12-step programs – there are so many options that can help on the journey to recovery.
- Are 12-step programs right for you?: 12-step programs can be an invaluable resource for people in recovery, especially when combined with other treatment services.
- What types of addiction treatment are available?: As with any chronic illness, finding the right treatment is the first step to managing your disease and improving the quality of your life. Addiction is no exception.
- How to pay for addiction treatment (with or without insurance): Paying for treatment can be complicated, but understanding your rights and options can help.
- Podcasts, Books, and Movies that Can Teach you More about Addiction: During your recovery journey, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Check out these pieces of media to learn more about addiction, treatment, recovery, and loss.
Recovery changed everything for Shelby, Grant, and Lorri.
"Alcohol addiction was a devastating experience for me. With the right support, I was able to break free from addiction and live a healthy life in recovery."
"I had some ups and downs after my first treatment experience. But it helped plant the seeds of recovery and provided me with tools I use to this day."
"The deep shame I felt, and the terror that I would be found out, meant that any confrontation about my behavior likely would have been met by denial and anger."