Alcoholism and drug addiction affects every part of a person’s life. It determines the things they do, the people they see and the places they go. It influences who they associate with, their preferred social outings, even their daily activities. To fight alcoholism it is important to not just identify which people, places and routines are driven by alcohol and drugs, but to gain the skills and determination to avoid these situations or people.
Living a life free from addiction is a challenging but rewarding existence. When someone has been living a life that is influenced by alcohol or drugs, their life can have an emptiness when they stop. Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts often describe fear at changing their life because they will not have the same friends or do the same things they used to. It can be daunting to face a whole new life. However, individuals can find comfort in the knowledge that their life will be more rewarding and successful when they are not drinking or doing drugs.
Identifying the people, places and routines that are high risk is an important step in the recovery process. Some individuals may find that people they associate with, social events they attend, or even work stresses will be times when they have a desire to drink alcohol or do drugs. Once these triggers are identified, the next step can be to make plans to avoid or deal with these high risk people, places or routines. Armed with skills to not only identify but avoid these problems will help increase the success rate for recovery.
Alcoholism and drug addiction often lead a person to develop destructive and harmful relationships with other people. Sometimes they are harmful relationships where the other person is also struggling with alcohol or drug problems and they support each others negative and hazardous behaviors. Some addicts engage in relationships that can be considered enabling relationships. These relationships have long-term negative impacts on a person who has a problem with alcohol or drugs. The alcoholic or drug addict will rely on this other person as a source of financial, familial and psychological support for their drinking and drug use. A person usually does not realize they are an enabler, as their support is well-meaning.
For some to give up addiction and change their life and begin to live a sober one, they often need to assess their relationships and make some hard decisions. Some relationships will be able to change and grow as the alcoholic begins the road to recovery. These relationships are supportive, helpful and the other person wants the best for the recovering alcoholic or drug addict. Other relationships will not be as helpful. These negative relationships are ones that encourage drinking and negative behaviors. Unfortunately, in this case, severing the friendship should be encouraged if the addict is to successfully stop drinking.
In today’s society, alcohol is available at most food establishments, social functions, work functions and available around the clock at bars and clubs. For an alcoholic, that means they can access alcohol at any time of the day and in many places. Alcoholics often participate in drinking at a certain place. They might always stop off for a few drinks after work, or after dropping children off to school they might pick up a bottle of wine. Certain places will foster abuse of alcohol – a bar tender remembering the drink of choice, a friend’s home always with a bottle open, the work restaurant with a bar tab. The same is true for the drug addict with their well-known locations to find and use drugs, some nearly as prevalent as others.
Avoiding places that serve alcohol is not a realistic solution for the alcoholic when alcohol is available nearly everywhere. However, avoiding places that the alcoholic regularly and habitually drank alcohol should be done. Breaking the destructive pattern of drinking alcohol in a certain place will help an alcoholic on the road to recovery. Avoiding the bar or restaurant at lunchtime, changing the place where you shop or hang out with friends can help to break the addiction.
Recovering alcoholics can help this process by changing their life pattern. Pick a new place to meet friends or family, go for a walk at lunchtime instead of simply sitting in a bar, go to the gym or watch a movie after work rather than going to the local club. These small steps can make a difference and increase success when going through therapy for alcoholism.
Routines can influence an alcoholic or drug addict to drink alcohol and do drugs, even without them realizing. Routines are often embedded into a persons mind and they follow the routine without even thinking. This may be to engage in binge drinking a number of pints after work or to always stop at a bottle shop on the way home from work, or to have wine at lunchtime every day. As with any addiction, certain routines will spark a craving and remind the alcoholic that a certain event, situation or person is when they have a drink.
Breaking the routine of drinking and drug abuse can be a challenge. It requires commitment and strength to change lifestyles and the activities. It also is important to remember that the recovering alcoholic and drug addict may feel bored, depressed and become complacent about staying away from alcohol or drugs and some of the negative influences. Engaging in other activities is the best way to break routine. Keeping busy and away from the places and people that encourage or support drinking and drug use will bring positive effects into the recovering alcoholics life.