We often reach for a drink because we want to change the way we feel. Maybe we want to relax, to celebrate, or simply forget our day at work. We might just enjoy the taste of it. It’s true that alcohol can have a temporary positive impact on our mood but if you see yourself being in desperate need of it to get through the day, then you are in for some serious trouble, especially if you continue to be dependent on it, in spite of facing harmful consequences.
You may not sense it, but the reason you are turning to alcohol so often is to overcome several underlying issues, that have not been resolved as yet. You might drink to alleviate anxiety or depression, or to come to terms with a past traumatic experience. We drink when we have a bad day at work, a turbulent relationship, to help with grief or guilt, and at times, to shed inhibitions such as shyness or being introverted. But, alcoholics will drink to survive life.
The brain of an alcoholic is inevitably addicted to alcohol as a result of natural dopamine deficiency. This is because it relies on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which can disrupt that chemical balance, affecting your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you consume alcohol, you become relaxed due to the chemical changes in your brain because dopamine mediates pleasure in the brain. Thus a deficiency in dopamine, makes alcohol consumption a necessity to feel good or at times, even normal. The reason a drink helps you feel more confident or less anxious is because the alcohol not only depresses the part of your brain which is associated with anxiety, but balances out the lack of dopamine. Over time, that reliance turns to dependence on alcohol.
■ Aggressive and reckless behaviour
These are commonly known as withdrawal symptoms which start kicking in when alcoholics stop drinking. If you find yourself facing these dangerous symptoms in the absence of a drink, then you are addicted to alcohol. These withdrawal symptoms surface because your brain depends on alcohol to work.
Alcohol is the mess, not the solution!
Did you know alcohol uses up the natural chemicals in your brain? These chemicals are vital to reducing anxiety and lifting your mood. So you can easily be trapped in a vicious cycle of drinking, believing that it is a pleasurable experience without realizing you’re probably just making the problem worse.
Alcohol lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Additionally, instead of restoring your vital organs and cells while you sleep, your body has to work harder than normal to break down all the alcohol in your system. When alcohol interferes with your normal sleep patterns, your energy levels will sink. Your moods will start fluctuating as a result of drinking since alcohol directly depresses your central nervous system.
Furthermore, it is important to know that when you drink, you narrow your perception of a situation. If you are prone to anxiety and you notice something that could be interpreted as threatening in the environment, you will hone in on that and miss the other less threatening or neutral details. For example, you might focus on your partner talking to someone you are jealous of, rather than noticing all the other people with whom you have been chatting to that evening. Hence, your perception and clarity of reality becomes somewhat warped.
Soon after drinking alcohol, your brain processes slow down and your memory becomes heavily impaired. After large quantities of alcohol, the brain stops recording into the ‘memory store’. That’s why you wake up the next day with no recall of what you said, did, or even where you were. This short-term memory loss is called a ‘black-out. It does not mean that your brain cells have been damaged, but that frequent bouts of drinking can have long-term effects on your memory. Even on the days when you are not drinking any alcohol, recalling what you did yesterday, or even where you were earlier that day, becomes difficult.
To understand how alcohol affects every organ of the body, click here - http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body
There are only two options you could face, if you find yourself addicted to alcohol but are unwilling to do anything about it: You could either die from alcoholism or go to jail. There are no happy endings with active addiction to alcohol. However, if you wish to do something about it, you could visit an institute: a hospital or a rehabilitation center. You would perhaps say that coming to us is equivalent to going to jail, but at Solace Sabah, we treat you, not punish you.
We teach you to derive pleasure out of the simple things in life and not obtain pleasure from abusing alcohol. We stabilise the artificial reward system of your brain and make you realise that you don’t need intoxication to be happy. The problem you face is your inability to naturally perceive pleasure and Solace Sabah corrects exactly that by exposing you to fun, sober activities so that you can learn to recognise the pleasure in normality. We practice fun - we will take you to meet your inner child, send you sailing, snorkelling, and rock climbing. We will find you a sport or hobby that you enjoy. All of this will help return your pleasure system to function normally much in the same manner that physical rehabilitation returns speech and movement in stroke patients. We will not only help you arrest your addiction, but use spiritual, creative art, music, and various other therapies, which will bring you closer to your carnal being - we will basically introduce you back to yourself.
You must be worried about how you would handle your withdrawal symptoms - for they could be traumatizing to deal with. Yes, the first few initial days will be difficult for you to abstain from alcohol, but with our extremely effective and scientific detoxification method, we guarantee you will feel stronger, saner, and healthier than ever before as you slowly recover.
As we said earlier, the reason you are turning to alcohol is because of underlying issues about yourself which have not been resolved. It could be childhood trauma, anxiety related disorders, or bipolar syndromes, to name a few. At Solace Sabah, through our spiritual and psychological therapies, we make sure that these issues, which form the foundation of your addiction, are resolved. We help you learn to love yourself.
Addiction is a multi-faceted illness, and hence a multifaceted therapy is required which is what we practice at Solace Sabah. We understand that healing needs to be a holistic and complete experience. Which is why we don’t just treat you medically, but work on you emotionally, socially, and spiritually as well.
To understand more about our model of treatment at Solace Sabah, read this: http://www.solacesabah.com/rehab-addiction-primary-treatment
At Solace Sabah, we believe that achieving sobriety is not the solution, but keeping it is. This is why we make sure you maintain the sober life you have discovered with us through an 18-month special aftercare program, which has been researched to be the most important period in early recovery. Even after you leave us at Solace Sabah, we will hold your hand to help you settle into a life and a world without alcohol. At Solace Sabah, we believe in healing you, not just treating you of alcoholism by allowing you to learn from your mistakes, allowing you to grow and discover a side of yourself you never knew existed.