I am an Alcoholic. Now What?
If you're thinking, I am an alcoholic, you likely need to seek professional help.
When your drinking is far past the line of responsible behavior, you usually know it on some level. On every other level, however, you are likely to be in denial; you probably wouldn't easily say the words "I know I am an alcoholic; what do I need to do?" to anyone.
Grasping at every straw to attempt to prove to yourself that you're okay is more likely what you do. These indignant defenses probably take up a good chunk of your day. If trying to think up ways to defend yourself against real or imagined criticism takes up a lot of your time, it's a likely sign that your drinking has gone over the line into addictive behavior.
What leads you to the-- I am an alcoholic --moment?
It's possible to look to many other unconventional signs that often reliably point to alcoholism.
You have two regular bars: You have two bars -- one to go to with your friends and one to go to when you leave, pretending to your friends to call it a night.
Your friends: Your drinking buddies are people you wouldn't introduce to your family or your real friends.
Your backup: You always plan to take liquor to a party just in case there isn't enough served.
Certainly, these warning signs of alcoholism aren't as bulletproof as withdrawal symptoms. In an informal way, however, they are signs that often make better sense to the mind.
Your first insight
There are any number of ways to finally get to the point where you can admit to yourself that you have a serious problem. For some, it happens through following the unimpeachable logic of doctors and addiction experts; for others, it happens when an interventionist gives them examples and other practical insights that finally move them.
When you see that you really have been drinking 30 units of alcohol a week, and that it's an awful way to live, it's time to take serious steps. Here's the first thing that you shouldn't do, however: you shouldn't consider quitting on your own.
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous to attempt DIY
When alcohol gets into your system and reaches the brain, it is able to pass itself off as a natural brain chemical. Alcohol is able to stimulate the brain's reward and learning center to produce feelings of pleasure, as well as to stimulate the formation of attachment or habit to alcohol consumption. There are two outcomes to these actions -- the mind begins to crave alcohol, and the brain learns to treat alcohol as a brain chemical, and adapts to its presence.
Adaptation to alcohol can be very hard on the brain when an addict tries to quit. When this chemical that the brain has adapted to goes missing, the brain attempts to readjust, a process that puts the brain through severe imbalances, and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Death through cardiac arrest and seizures occurs in 5% of all attempts not overseen by qualified addiction professionals.
Your first step is to find excellent rehab
It isn't a smart idea to take chances on brain chemical imbalances. While some people do succeed for short periods of time, failure is far more common. Rehab begins with medical detox, where qualified professionals oversee the withdrawal process with medications that help safely deliver you from the physical signs of alcoholism. Once the process completes successfully, psychiatrists and therapists take over to help ensure that you are equipped to deal with the aftermath, and the extremely challenging task of maintaining your sobriety.
Performing due diligence
Looking for CARF or JA certification of rehab competence is one important step to take while performing due diligence. Talking to the staff, the experts who will offer treatment and with alumni at each rehab, is another. When you take the right steps to find quality treatment, finding sobriety is not the challenge that it is often made out to be. You do need to do the research, however.