Alcoholism is a major problem plaguing Australians today. Alcoholism is a socially accepted drug that decreases your inhibitions and can makes you dependant on it. It can lead to diseases like cirrhosis, stroke and heart disease and has been observed to be a contributory factor for many accidents, suicides or acts of violence every day. This habit not only harms you but also affects your loved ones and the community as a whole.
Around 90 percent Australians have tried alcohol at some time in their lives while 8% consume alcohol on a daily basis. You might drink for pleasure, social acceptance, relaxation, habit or to fight boredom. You may even drink to seek escape from your problems and sink into a deeper abyss.
Many forms of therapies and help groups have been developed over the years to help bring those that have developed a dependence back to life. One of these is the 12-step recovery program which has helped a great number of alcoholics across the world. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon has helped alcoholics and their loved ones combat this curse.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a group for men and women who wish to curb the self-harming habit of alcoholism. This group has only one criteria: the person must be willing to get sober. By sharing their personal experiences, feelings and problems during the process, these people help support each other during the process of recovery. Along with the sole pre-requisite being the desire to attain sobriety, this group does not demand any fees or contributions from its members as it is a self-supporting group.
How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?
A.A. sees alcoholism as a disease that gradually impacts your system causing the alcoholic to harm their bodies and minds. Alcoholics have a hard time stopping drinking and the condition gets worse with every drink they consume.
If you are sneaking drinks, lying about your habit and drinking excessively at social gatherings or at your workplace, then it is about time you seek help for your habit before it gets worse. By making the pledge to stop drinking the new members take care of the first step of the path towards sobriety, but in order to remain alcohol-free, they must have a healthy mind and healthy emotions that will help them stay focused on their decision. The help of older members who have recovered from alcoholism provides this encouragement.
A.A demands that the new members focus on giving up alcohol for the moment and focus on staying sober ‘today’ rather than worrying about tomorrow or forever. They implement these theories in the 12-step recovery, which helps alcoholics recover step by step.
12-Step Recovery Groups
Once you have admitted that you are suffering from a problem, you have stepped on the path towards recovery from alcoholism. In order to reach your destination of sobriety, you will require persistence, support and a strong will power to help you through. The members at A.A prove to be great support and help share experiences and hurdles on the way.
A 12-step recovery group has been planned to make recovery easier on you. It has the following twelve steps:
1. Honesty: The first step on the path will be to accept that you are suffering from a problem and it needs to be dealt with.
2. Faith: The second step will be to arouse the belief that you have the strength within you to fight the problem and that you will get help from a Greater Power.
3. Surrender: Once you believe that you have a Higher Power assisting you, you need to turn over the condition completely in His care.
4. Soul Searching: You need to seek the strength from within you by keeping a moral check on your wrongdoings.
5. Integrity: This would mean coming out in the open and acknowledging that you have a problem to everyone. This is normally the toughest step of the process and once this is established, the recovery process is hastened.
6. Acceptance: This will involve accepting all your faults and expressing the will to fix them.7. Humility: This would involve realising that you are helpless in certain situations on your own but instead of giving up you should ask a Higher Power for help.
8. Willingness: It involves the desire to make amends and making a list of the people that you have hurt or harmed.
9. Forgiveness: This involves asking the people that you have hurt for forgiveness.
10. Maintenance: The ability to maintain a spiritual connection and progressing during the process is very important.
11. Making contact: It is essential that you seek help from a Higher Power through meditation and improving contact with God. Through meditation and mindfulness you will seek the power to help you through.
12. Service: Always remember that it is your fellows who supported you through the process of recovery, therefore it becomes your moral duty to help other alcoholics recover. You should also ensure that you practice what you learnt in your daily life.
Al-Anon Family Group
The people most affected from the alcoholic’s drinking problem are those close to him. They require help to recover from the hurt they face because of alcoholism. Al-Anon is a group of family members and friends of the alcoholics. The purpose of this group is to help these people recover from the effects of a loved one’s drinking problem. All of the members have similar experiences to share and a certain topic selected by the chairperson is decided at the meetings conducted 7 days a week. Despite this, the members are free to share whatever they are feeling.
It has been impossible to develop a preventive therapy to stop alcoholism once you start drinking. You might be caught unaware when a seemingly harmless social drinking habit emerges out as a serious addiction.
Do you or someone you know suffer from alcoholism or alcohol dependence? If so, Australia Counselling links you with professional alcohol abuse counsellors and psychologists in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and country areas of Australia. Visit our Addictions- Including Substances page to find an alcohol or addictions counsellor near you.