Has anyone ever accused you have having an drinking problem? Perhaps it was a well-intentioned friend or colleague who made a “joke” that felt like it was directed at you, or a family member who outright called you an alcoholic?
Addiction treatment programs in the United States follow many of the same foundations and principals, but because there are not mandatory certifications, accreditations, or training you can’t expect that you’ll receive the same level of service or professionalism regardless of where you go for treatment.
Liver disease. Impaired coordination. Damage to the stomach lining. There are many effects of alcohol on the body that we know about and have perhaps felt ourselves at times. In addition to these physical effects, prolonged alcohol consumption wreaks havoc on our bodies including many serious short and long-term effects on your brain and mental functions.
There is a common misperception that some addictions are more “serious” than others, that alcohol addiction isn't as serious as an addiction to heroin, crack, or methamphetamine.
Common stereotypes paint images of alcoholics getting drunk at home and heroin addicts as engaged in criminal behavior, unemployed, homeless, or giving up on life. After all, alcohol is a legal and socially acceptable substance here in the U.S. Thus, it is perceived as less serious.
Substance abuse typically occurs along with other mental disorders. The co-occurrence of two or more disorders complicates recovery as one can make the other worse. If conditions are not treated together, then recovery is unlikely.
There is an unwritten rule against dating during addiction recovery. Recovery programs commonly recommend abstaining from dating the first year. Recovery is all about healing and learning how to live without substance use, and that first year of sobriety can be a challenge. Navigating the dating scene or starting a new relationship while working through recovery is a recipe for disaster.
Tips For Dating in Recovery
Learn to Manage Emotions
At the beginning of a new relationship, we are inundated with emotions — thrilling highs and lows. Learning to manage emotions is one of the greatest challenges of recovery since drugs and alcohol are typically used to numb emotions.
Choosing the Right Partner
The rush or highs of dating can be intoxicating, literally. Those fresh out of recovery may be susceptible to that intoxicating feeling which can lead to substituting one addiction for another. Infatuation can be mistaken for love. Thus, someone could fall victim to the pitfalls of dating because they have not fully resolved their emotional issues of seeking things outside themselves to fill a void within.
Developing an unhealthy attachment to someone can also derail recovery efforts. Within that first year of recovery, one is still emotionally unstable and unhealthy. If you are emotionally unhealthy, then you are likely to attach to other unhealthy people. People in recovery often look to others to rescue or fix them. It can be especially burdensome to put your emotional baggage on your partner, making forming a healthy relationship impossible.
Once you have successfully completed treatment and waited a year, you will have a better chance of picking the right partner. Recovery programs help people to develop coping skills and to seek comfort within themselves rather than with drugs or relationships.
Denial is often the greatest obstacle to alcohol dependence recovery. After all, it is not only difficult to identify the problem, but also to admit you have a problem.
When a loved one announces that they plan to start the New Year sober, it can be an enormous relief. However, cutting back on drinking is just the first step. Recovery is an ongoing process and the support you offer your loved ones is often invaluable during their New Year's resolution.
Mental health and substance use disorders go hand in hand. At times it is difficult to separate one from another. More often than not, each condition exacerbates the other. More than 50% of those suffering from a substance abuse disorder have what is considered dual diagnosis. The term dual diagnosis is more commonly referred to as a co-occurring disorder .
For anyone struggling with substance use disorder, the stress of the holidays can be overwhelming, but those diagnosed with co-occurring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can find it especially challenging.