Alcohol addiction is one of the most common and destructive forms of addiction. Alcohol is legal and easy to access, and it's easy to forget that it can be addictive. And many times, that addiction can be even more difficult to recognize than drug addiction, because the consumption of alcohol is normalized in society, whereas people are more inclined to sense a problem if they see drug use.
But alcoholism is a very real disease, and it remains the most common substance treated in rehab centers across the entire country. You may think you just drink to have a good time, or that you don't have a problem because you don't do the harder drugs. But if you're a frequent drinker of alcohol, and you find it increasingly difficult to feel like yourself without a few drinks, it may be time to give us a call and determine if you have a problem that needs treatment.
The starting point to overcoming alcoholism is to first understand it. Too often, discussions about alcoholics devolve into victim blaming. That isn't helpful, and we understand that. Some of the most well-balanced, stress-free people in the world can fall victim to alcoholism under the right circumstances, and it isn't their fault.
Addiction, including alcoholism, is the result of a series of chemical reactions in your brain. When exposed to mind-altering substances like drugs or alcohol, your brain and body adapt to the new substance and attempt to make it "normal" for you. If you keep drinking, eventually drunkenness will be what your body considers "normal," and it will do everything it can to get you to keep drinking to get back to that state.
Often times people fall into alcoholism just because they're part of a social group that frequently consumes alcohol, and so they simply associate heavy drinking with having fun with friends. It doesn't have to be a cascade series of problems for addiction to arise.
You don't just suddenly wake up and know you're addicted. Alcoholism is usually gradual and slow. There are warning signs, but they often present themselves to the people around you before you ever notice them. So the first thing you should be aware of is your friends and family. If they've been trying to suggest that you might have a problem... well, maybe you owe it to them, and yourself, to listen to them and find out.
It's easy to be in denial about whether you have a problem. It just feels like you're going out, having fun, loosening up a little. Why would it be a bad thing that you're enjoying yourself? That's what you think as you slide further and further from "wanting" to drink to "needing" to drink.
To say nothing of the damage it can do to your liver, it is the substance with the most dangerous, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of any substance, legal or illicit. That makes trying to give up the bottle one of the most difficult things you'll ever do.
Now, the first step of admitting the problem is especially difficult for alcoholics, because alcohol use is normalized and legal. With drug use, the use of the drugs themselves is generally seen as bad, even if it's just on occasion, and addiction isn't yet a problem. On the other hand, alcohol use is celebrated in the media. Commercials show people having a great time while they're drinking. Beer commercials are some of the funniest and most recognizable on TV.
And sure, consuming alcohol in moderation can be just fine. But nobody talks about when it goes too far. You'll see "please drink responsibly," but nobody actually bothers to tell you what that is. Nobody advertises what "irresponsible drinking" looks like, aside from a few PSAs about not drinking and driving.
That's good advice, but drinking and driving and alcoholism are two completely separate problems that are only occasionally related.
The way alcoholism works, you don't feel bad when you're drinking - you feel bad at all OTHER times. The state of being sober is the one that hurts, and the state of drunkenness is the normal one. So your body and mind draw the logical conclusion to solve the problem of feeling bad with more alcohol.
That compulsion gets stronger and stronger, until it feels like you can't function at all without alcohol. It happens gradually, and often people don't recognize it until it's too late. That's what addiction is, what alcoholism is.
Of course, it is possible to catch alcoholism before it gets out of hand. There are a number of common warning signs for alcoholism, to point out when you've crossed the line from recreational drinking to compulsive drinking. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has a quiz to help you determine if your drinking is compulsionary or recreational.
You can also call and consult with us if you think you or someone close to you has a problem.
There's no one right way to go through rehab, but there is a right way for you. Choosing the right rehab facility for you is almost as important as making the choice to go to rehab in the first place.
Every rehab facility has a different approach, a different philosophy, a different way of approaching similar issues. Gathering information is the best place to start. Some alcohol rehab facilities are likely to be a great fit for you, and some maybe aren't.
We want you to choose Northpoint Seattle, but more than that, we want to empower you to make the best decision for your recovery, whatever that may be. We want to give you all the facts so you can make the best decision for your situation. This recovery is your journey, and you deserve to have all the information you can before choosing where to take the first steps toward the rest of your life.
You can see some of the core elements of our treatment by checking out our intensive outpatient program page.
Individual therapy is the most important aspect of rehab for alcoholism, as it get to the root causes of your addiction and is completely customized to your unique situation. Addiction is different from person to person, so of course treatment should be as well. That's how Northpoint Seattle goes about helping people every single day.
We also place a heavy emphasis on group support. Having access to the informal support that comes from people who understand your suffering firsthand is crucially important to getting through the most difficult times. When you're struggling, it helps to know you're not alone, and group support puts you around people who understand your suffering, because they're going through the same thing as you. Even your addiction therapists can't quite understand what you're going through on the same level as another recovering alcoholic can.
Alcohol rehab in the state of Washington is important, and has shown to be the most effective method of recovery for alcoholics. In many cases (like the well-known Betty Ford Clinic), you'll live at the rehab center. Some programs (like Northpoint Seattle) offer intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) services.
With IOP, you live at home but go to rehab for several hours a day, up to five days a week. It's a great option for those who want the comfort of living at home and the support of their families, or for those who can't afford to take time away from work. Learn more about Northpoint Seattle's treatment methods here, including our intensive outpatient program.
On the other hand, inpatient rehab involves making the treatment center your permanent home for the duration of treatment (can be from a few weeks to several months, depending on severity). This is a more effective overall method in terms of measurable results, as it removes you from alcohol entirely and makes relapsing difficult.
But inpatient rehab is also more expensive, and forces you into a situation where you can't spend time at home or around your family. In addition, being forcibly removed from temptation makes the readjustment period a little more difficult.
However, if you're worried about whether or not you can afford treatment, check out our insurance verification form to see what your health insurance will cover of your alcohol recovery cost.
If you don't have health insurance, go to healthcare.gov and see how you can get some. There are ACA regulations in place to ensure you can get the help you need.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most popular and successful alcoholism support group in the world, and it is the origin of the 12-step program used in part by Northpoint Seattle. AA has helped millions of alcoholics overcome their problems, and can be a great supplement to a traditional rehab program, or even a great recovery plan on its own.
Alcoholics Anonymous employs a very spiritual approach to alcohol recovery, and while it does great work for a number of people, not everyone is receptive to the 12-step program. Many of those steps are about submitting to a higher power, and not everyone who needs treatment for alcoholism is receptive to that message. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a 30-year-old organization that provides an alternative path to recovery. SOS isn't as big a program as AA, but they have proven success, and are a great alternative if you want support that doesn't begin with prayer.
SMART is also a different kind of program than AA. It involves only 4 steps, not 12, and focuses on self-empowerment and reliance. Like SOS, this is a great alternative for those who aren't interested in AA's spiritually-based approach. There aren't quite as many meeting for SMART Recovery than AA, but you can still find weekly meetings all over Washington.
Many support groups like Al-Anon/Alateen of Washington, work with your family and loved ones to help them better understand what you're going through in your addiction. Why? Because your family is going to be one of the strongest support systems you'll have during your recovery. Providing them with understanding and some support of their own will make them better able to cope with the ways in which a loved one's addiction affects them personally.
Northpoint Seattle aims to provide the best alcohol rehab in the state of Washington, and we're not shy to say it. In fact, we want the chance to prove it to you.
But this isn't a competition. We're trying to beat addiction, not beat our competitors. It doesn't matter where you end up, as long as you find the right treatment for you and beat addiction. People aren't court-ordered into our program, we take people who are here voluntarily. We don't want you to be here because you feel like you have to be, we want you to believe we're the absolute best choice for your recovery.
We work to understand you, your problems, your background, the reasons you turned to alcohol in the first place. By understanding these things, we can better personalize your treatment plan and make sure you kick your habit and keep it kicked.
If you're ready to take that first step towards the rest of your life, contact us now. We're ready to help you take your first steps toward recovery and a new life of freedom.