In this day and age, it is not unusual to turn to the Internet for answers. However, the Internet is just one tool and often an unreliable one at that. You will find sources that suggest your drinking is a problem and treatment is needed, and sources that tell you it’s manageable on your own, and it is easy to choose to believe the answers you want to hear and ignore those you don’t. As The Everything Health Guide to Addiction and Recovery shares, “While online self-evaluation quizzes can be informative, interesting and sometimes fun to take, they cannot take the place of a professional evaluation, diagnosis, and/or recommendation for treatment….A physician or mental health professional who is knowledgeable and experienced in the treatment of addictions could work with you to confirm or deny that your substance use or compulsive behaviors are the level of abuse or addiction.” The Internet is a tool, but it is not the only tool, and it is not a particularly good one when it comes to addressing drinking. Raising awareness of a potential problem is an essential first step, but problem drinking is a complex disease marked by denial and minimization, and awareness alone is not enough to create change or even determine if change is needed. Treatment will help you accurately determine how drinking affects your life and how you can keep it from continuing to do so.
You don’t have to commit to not drinking ever again before you enter treatment. You don’t have to wait until rock bottom, for divine –or for a more corporeal– intervention. You can enter treatment to find the motivation and willingness to fully participate in that treatment. Various aspects of treatment address attitude towards recovery. Addiction Counseling Review: Preparing for Comprehensive, Certification, and Licensing Examinations explains that one way motivation is addressed and denial is overcome is through group therapy, “Group therapy can be an effective tool for two basic reasons: first, the substance habit is typically maintained by…the addict’s massive wall of denial…When you group several addicts together in a therapeutic atmosphere, they can call one another’s bluffs even as they provide an encouraging recovery community…Some counselors run self-evaluation group for clients who are not yet ready to commit to abstinence and need motivation enhancement.” You will not be the only one questioning your desire or even need for change, and group therapy will help you better identify and address that attitude without succumbing to alcohol-induced denial. These group meetings will not be the only source of motivation, as Motivational Interviewing and other motivation-based forms of individual therapy will be offered. Treatment provides the tools you need to pursue an alcohol-free life, and motivation is one of those tools. You don’t have to develop it on your own before you enter treatment to begin addressing your drinking and the effects it has had on your life.
Your drinking may not seem like a problem that warrants treatment, but Addiction Counseling Review shares, “60 percent of males and 30 percent of females report having had one or more alcohol-related adverse life events resulting from an episode of consuming too much alcohol.” If you are researching reasons to enter treatment, you have most likely experienced multiple negative life events related to your drinking. These events do not have to be large or involve the court system because of a DUI or other drug-related charge. Saying something you didn’t mean while drunk or being unable to remember what happened while drinking are adverse life events, and they are directly related to drinking. Entering treatment can mean never having to experience even the smallest consequence of drinking again.
If you enter treatment before you feel you are “ready,” you will not be the only one there in that state of mind, willingness and preparedness. You will not be alone in a sea of others with different mindsets or attitudes. In fact at no stage of treatment or recovery will you be alone, because drinking problems affect people at all ages and from all backgrounds. You may feel your drinking situation is unique, but you will find peers in recovery and stories of drinking that closely relate to your own. Drinking and using drugs become lonely activities, even when they are done in seemingly social settings. Your drinking may cause you to isolate yourself from former friends and family members, or it may convince you that you can only hang out with other drinkers or must struggle alone and in silence because no one will understand what it is you are experiencing and dealing with. Treatment is a time and place to speak up and out, to learn that you are not alone. The NAADAC Association for Addiction Professionals shares that “mechanisms of change” include, “social support that offsets the influence of pro-drinking social networks; helping others with [alcohol or drug] problems; exposure to sober role models and experience-based advice on how to stay sober.” Treatment provides all of these, and recovery comes with true, deep connections to others with whom you can share the fun, the victories and the benefits of recovery together.
One reason to enter treatment is that it is easy and simple to do so. Treatment may even be covered by your insurance! Call our helpline to learn more about your options and about the types of programs available. We can offer a free assessment and match you to the motivational resources or other treatment options you need. All phones services are free and confidential, and we are here 24 hours a day.