When this former patient was 14 years old she drank for the first time. This experience would be the beginning to a life of poor choices and unhealthy living. The young teen quickly fell prey to alcohol.
Most would argue that experimenting is a part of growing up. But, when alcohol becomes addictive and a priority for a child in their developing years then he or she is sure to take a big hit on their well-being.
It is almost predictable with what will happen to those who at a young age allow drinking to be the main focus on one’s life. Drinking usually starts out as a once a week thing or even once a month.
Next, it’s every weekend and then before they know it drinking occurs whenever possible.
The next phase is a change in attitude. Parents or teachers usually are the first ones to notice this change.
Maybe a slip in grades or lack of effort towards basic things that used to be a “given”. For instance, cleaning a bedroom, waking up on time or taking care of one’s appearance.
Other things begin to change as well. A child’s behavior becomes riskier. They begin to push the limits and have a belief that they are invincible.
This feeling might also push them to try other substances. One former patient indicated that he never would have tried marijuana or cocaine but that the alcohol buzz gave him the courage to do something that normally in his right mind he never would have done.
Later on, in his years of abuse this would also be true for trying heroin for the first time.
So, for those who think experimenting with alcohol is a part of growing up, maybe it shouldn’t be. You just never know when something so innocent can turn into a life of misery!
For optimal success after addiction treatment, I was told several things.
” People in recovery must often make radical changes in their habits, relationships, environment and life in general. Think about what helped you most in treatment.
It is often the readiness and willingness to change; the improved communication via openness and honesty; the structure and routines of the treatment day; the encouragement and support; the changes in thoughts, beliefs, and movement towards your true values; the beginning of hope”.
How did I and many others continue this trend after receiving addiction treatment? These are the steps to take…
- Follow through on your scheduled aftercare appointments – with your counselor/therapist, psychiatrist or family doctor. Be honest with what has really gone on with you.
- Identify and practice new hobbies, interests, outlets, and activities. It’s important to activate new neural pathways. Consider music, art, social events, educational classes, etc.
- Avoid isolation by attending meetings, developing new supports, exploring spiritual outlets.
- Remain active. Go to the gym, walk daily, practice yoga, swim, hike, play golf, shoot hoops, etc.
- Pay attention to your emotions and what your body is telling you. Practice stress management. Let out your emotions in healthy way (talk to a friend, journal, cry)
- Continue to be open to self-discovery and be mindful of all-or-nothing thinking. Work on self-compassion and forgiveness.
- Continue to maintain communication with recovery supports, healthy relationships and family members.
- Continue to identify your strengths and discover new ones by getting out of your comfort zone in reasonable ways.
- Ask for help whenever you feel overwhelmed, lost, helpless, and apathetic.
- Show gratitude and appreciation often. Help others, but balance it with self-car.