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Five Tips to Help your Recovery from Alcoholism

SupportInAddictionRecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous is the most well-known recovery group for alcoholics. However, the emphasis on God, or a higher power, in these meetings can be offputting to a lot of people who do not share these beliefs. But a support group of some sort is often necessary for recovering addicts to maintain their strength during the really tough times, and the SMART program may be more helpfil than AA in such situations.

The Self Management and Recovery Training program gives the support of other addiction recovery programs. It is structured so that people can give each other tips and advice for overcoming their addictions, as well as share their stories and offer one another assistance and a non-judgemental atmosphere. It is this support that is key in any recovering addict's success, if they are not accessing an alcohol rehab clinic.

Unlike AA's basis in religion, the SMART program was developed out of current research that has been done in addicition, as well as being based on cognitive and behaviour strategies. Meetings are led by an recovering addict that has the training to act as the group facilitator.

One of the main differences between SMART and AA is that when attending a SMART meeting, there is no need to put a label on yourself. Any addict can attend the meeting. It's not just limited to alcoholics. Furthermore, since you don't have to state the nature of your addiction, many people feel more comfortable attended, particularily if their addiction is something that they fear they will be mocked for, or that others just won't understand. Many people find that they don't like to be labeled, as being refered an alcoholic may, in their eyes, reduce them to only being an alcoholic, when all addicts are so much more than their addictions.

Not only does the SMART program have face-to-face meetings worldwide, but they also host online meetings for people who may not be comfortable in crowds, or who may not have a physical meeting near them. Unlike AA's twelve steps, SMART focuses on four points to help addicts recover from their addictions.

These points are as follows:

Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
Point 2: Coping with Urges
Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
Point 4: Living a Balanced Life1. Put Yourself First.

While this may seem selfish or counter-productive, it is very important that while you are trying to recover from alcoholism that you put what you need to quit first. Alcoholism is an illness, and like every illness if you focus on trying to please everybody else and concentrate solely on their needs, you're going to burn out and it will take you far longer to recover. It's also important in this time that you need to keep in touch with professionals who know how to help you. Don't feel like you're being a bother, because this is what they are trained for.

2. Remember Recovery is a Process

Like anything that takes time and hard work to accomplish, you are going to have days when things are really tough - this is natural, just remember to take it one day at a time. Even when things look their bleakest, it will get better eventually. Sobriety is worth it, both for you and the people who love you. Since it is a process, it's something that you are always going to have to work at. Don't let negative thoughts overcome you, and remember that your past doesn't have to dominate your future.

3. Join a Support Group

Giving up alcohol is hard. A support group can give you tips and advice on how to get through the rough patches, and the stories of people who have been successful in their goals can help inspire you. As the old cliche goes there is strength in numbers, and this is true for mental battles as well. The hardest part of giving up alcohol is dealing with the urges, even after the physical withdrawals have ended. Having a support group to encourage you to fight those urges will be of a tremendous help.

4. Improve your Diet and Exercise Routines

Health is a major part of being able to quit drinking alcohol. Improving your health by making sure you eat the right food and get enough exercise will do wonders. Not only will you be able to handle stress much better with a healthy body, but you'll also feel much better physically. If you need help, seek out a professional dietician or personal trainer. Changing habits is an important part of giving up any addiction, and you'll be surprised by how much mental strength you gain through a good diet and exercise routine.

5. Work or Volunteer

Keeping busy is very important while you are recovering from your addiction. By being productive at your job, or volunteering your time and efforts for a cause that you are passionate about will keep you occupied and away from temptation. In addition, by accomplishing goals in work, or giving yourself to a good cause, you will have a wonderful boost in self-esteem, which will in turn help you to work through the hardships of giving up your addiction. Remember, though, that you also need time for yourself, and don't work so much that you stress yourself out trying to accomplish everything.

By focusing on these points rather than having a step-by-step process that often needs to be started over from the start, SMART gives individuals the flexibility of focusing on one difficulty at a time, and it highlights the most important things for recovering addicts to remember and work on.

It is important to remember that recovery programs are not mutually exclusive. Some may work better for a certain individual than others, but the first goal of all of them is to help addicts recover, not to promote their own methods above another method. Many times individuals will participate in more than one support group. This is a wise decision, as each group will offer a different type of support, and that will help the individual gain the strength they require to overcome their addiction.

Mutual Aid Groups In Addiction Recovery

MutualAidRecoveryAddictionSupport is essential for a recovering alcoholic. While it may be tempting to try to lean on your own strength, the fact is there are going to be periods when things are really hard, and having somebody else to talk to and get advice from will do wonders in the long run. You may think that family and friends are all you need, but since they are close to you, it puts enormous pressure on them. It's not fair to them to be your only support system, especially if they have never suffered from addictions, and so don't really know how to help you.

Mutual-aid support groups therefore are a pivotal piece of the puzzle when it comes to recovering from alcoholism. There have been numerous studies that clearly demonstrate a link between attending mutual-aid support groups and long-term recovery. Quite simply, you have the best chances of giving up alcohol for good if you have the support of a group behind you.

There are many benefits to attending support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Self Management and Recovery Training program. Not only do you have the support of being in a group going through a similar struggle as you, but the others in your group can give you advice for dealing with certain situations, and tips on how to deal with urges to go back to alcohol. They can also help you with understanding the underlying causes of those urges.

The biggest reason support groups work is that they create a community that is all working together towards the same end. Often individuals that join support groups express a feeling of finally finding someplace they fit and feel at ease in their own skin. Since you are all working through similar problems, the people that you will meet there aren't going to judge you, giving you a safe place to express your feelings and hardships.

Since mutual-aid groups are voluntarily attended, the people who attend them are looking for support and seeking to give support. Just by sharing a sense of community, you can build a network of people to turn to if you are having a really hard time. They are non-professional, meaning that it is experience based and you will not be offered treatment or 'cures,' just support. It's am essential part to social and emotional recovery.

Not all support groups are the same, and it's very important that you don't decide against going to a group because of one bad experience. If the first meeting you attend doesn't suit your needs, look into other groups. They each approach the matter in a slightly different way, meaning you can find the way that helps you the best. Furthermore, you don't have to stick with just one group. Being a part of multiple support groups just means that you have a wider network to fall back onto when you are having trouble.

Remember that support groups exist to help you overcome your addiction. They are designed to make a difference in your life, and when you find a group that you feel comfortable with, it will make more of a difference than you can realize.

SMART Groups vs Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well-known recovery group for alcoholics. However, the emphasis on God, or a higher power, in these meetings can be offputting to a lot of people who do not share these beliefs. But a support group of some sort is often necessary for recovering addicts to maintain their strength during the really tough times, and the SMART program may be more helpful than AA in such situations.

The Self Management and Recovery Training program gives the support of other addiction recovery programs. It is structured so that people can give each other tips and advice for overcoming their addictions, as well as share their stories and offer one another assistance and a non-judgemental atmosphere. It is this support that is key in any recovering addict's success.

Unlike AA's basis in religion, the SMART program was developed out of current research that has been done in addiction, as well as being based on cognitive and behaviour strategies. Meetings are led by an recovering addict that has the training to act as the group facilitator.

One of the main differences between SMART and AA is that when attending a SMART meeting, there is no need to put a label on yourself. Any addict can attend the meeting. It's not just limited to alcoholics. Furthermore, since you don't have to state the nature of your addiction, many people feel more comfortable attended, particularly if their addiction is something that they fear they will be mocked for, or that others just won't understand. Many people find that they don't like to be labeled, as being referred an alcoholic may, in their eyes, reduce them to only being an alcoholic, when all addicts are so much more than their addictions.

Not only does the SMART program have face-to-face meetings worldwide, but they also host online meetings for people who may not be comfortable in crowds, or who may not have a physical meeting near them. Unlike AA's twelve steps, SMART focuses on four points to help addicts recover from their addictions.

These points are as follows:

Point 1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
Point 2: Coping with Urges
Point 3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
Point 4: Living a Balanced Life

By focusing on these points rather than having a step-by-step process that often needs to be started over from the start, SMART gives individuals the flexibility of focusing on one difficulty at a time, and it highlights the most important things for recovering addicts to remember and work on.

It is important to remember that recovery programs are not mutually exclusive. Some may work better for a certain individual than others, but the first goal of all of them is to help addicts recover, not to promote their own methods above another method. Many times individuals will participate in more than one support group. This is a wise decision, as each group will offer a different type of support, and that will help the individual gain the strength they require to overcome their addiction.

Tips for Helping an Alcoholic Recover

help for an alcoholicAlcoholism affects everybody, not just the alcoholic. If a loved one is struggling with this disease, you will probably feel helpless and scared. While it is impossible to force an addict to seek help or recover from their addiction, there are some things that you can do to help your loved one through their recovery.

The first thing to always keep in mind is that you cannot change an alcoholic's behaviour. The more you try, the more disheartened you will become. It may be difficult to accept, but the cold truth of the matter is that you probably will not directly change your loved one's behaviour, and trying to do so will only lead to frustration and anger on both sides. Instead, focus on your own behaviour.

If you focus on your loved one's behaviour, you run the risk of trying to manipulate them, even threatening them, to make them change their behaviour. This will not work, and will only isolate them from you, driving them deeper into alcoholism. Most alcoholics know that they are on a road to self-destruction, so manipulating or threatening them only means that they have one less thing to motivate them to recover from their disease.

Instead, show your support. Offer them help, give them information about local support meetings, and let them know that you will support their recovery. If they aren't ready to make the efforts themselves, nothing you do will produce results. It is also very important that you detach the disease from the person. Make sure that you understand that you love them, but that you hate the disease. Your loved one isn't alcoholism, they just suffer from it.

Now, there is a difference between supporting an alcoholic and enabling them. A good rule of thumb is if they land in trouble because of their drinking – say, they get caught drunk driving – then let them deal with those consequences. Also, if they are asking you to do something that they could do themselves if they were sober (except in such cases when they ask for a ride because they are drunk) then simply don't do it for them. It is also very important that you never give them money. Whether they spend it on alcohol, or need it because they spent the month's rent on alcohol, giving them money only enables their drinking habit.

It is very important that even when you are trying to help your loved one, you take care of yourself. While this may sound selfish, sometimes you really do have to put yourself first. This may include counselling, or attending a group for the loved ones of alcoholics. This is a difficult, emotional time for you, and you need the fortitude to get through it if you are to help your loved one. It may seem like a very lonely road to walk down, but with support from others who are going through similar circumstances, you can make it through.

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

hungoverFor the recovering alcoholic, there is strength in numbers and having a support group can help provide the necessary strength to continue the life-long process of recovery. There are many groups out there, but here I will be speaking specifically of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's perhaps one of the best known recovery support groups out there, and it is widely available.

The biggest benefit to Alcoholics Anonymous is that it provides a sense of community. In such a setting, you admit your problem in a safe environment, where nobody will judge you, because they are all going through a similar process as you. Through sharing your experiences and hearing about how other people are dealing with their alcohol problems, you don't have to feel alone. When things seem impossible, you know you have support that you can count on. Knowing that other people have made it through the tough times can also help to encourage you, and let you know that it is possible.

There are two types of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Open meetings include people who are non-alcoholics. These meetings are designed to help everybody to understand the process of the meetings, and it also allows for alcoholics to come and see what it is like without any pressure. Closed meetings are only available to alcoholics, and so they are more suited for people who are not yet comfortable with settings that include people who may not understand what they are going through. In addition to these types of meetings, there may be other meetings that are meant for more specifics groups, so that there is a closer understanding between members.

Since Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have a spiritual foundation, they start with a short prayer, which is followed by a short time of silence for members to meditate and become more focused on the present. Sometimes after this a passage from the alcoholics anonymous handbook is read. New members and visitors are welcomed then, and there is a period of time where sobriety anniversaries are celebrated. This is followed by a speaker, who shares their experiences, and there may be a discussion or advice given on how to make it through the tough patches. There is no rule that everybody has to speak, so if you attend you can absorb the support and community without feeling the pressure of having to speak. This is especially important for people who are anxious in social situations. Meetings are closed with a prayer.

In the meetings, people can share the tips and practical experiences that helped them to overcome certain situations, situations that you yourself may be struggling with. Sometimes sharing your struggles with other will help to ease the burden, at least for a little while.

Most importantly, there are no goals that must be achieved within a certain amount of time. Since it is run by recovering addicts, these meetings understand that everybody has different levels of progression, and there is no cookie cutter time frame to recovery. They are they to support you and advise you, not to judge how quickly or slowly you manage your addiction. That is the mission for Alcoholics Anonymous; to give support and lend a helping hand.