Loving an alcoholic is hard work. Whether you’re married to an addict in recovery or dealing with a teen trying to beat addiction, it’s essential to show your support.
Alcoholism is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world, affecting millions of people worldwide. Whether you love an addict or you are one, this does not have to define you. This article offers some practical tips for alcoholics in recovery and relationships and living well with a recovering alcoholic.
Family support is often the most important factor in long-term recovery.
Before we dive into the details it might be best to answer one simple question first: What is a recovered alcoholic? Unfortunately, the term itself is kind of a paradox.
Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease requiring a lifetime sobriety commitment. It’s not a weakness or a moral failing but a medical condition that requires ongoing treatment and management. Recovery requires developing new coping mechanisms and learning to live without the crutch of alcohol and requires a willingness to face past mistakes and make amends, as well as maintaining a dedication to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
One thing to keep in mind is that being a “recovered alcoholic” does not mean that someone is cured of addiction. It simply means they have learned to manage and live with their addiction. It’s important to treat them like a normal person, without judgement or stigma, and to respect their ongoing journey.
Basic tips for helping your loved one on their recovery Journey
- Understand why recovery takes place over a period of time. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms while trying to kick their drinking habit. These include nausea, vomiting, headaches, sweating, tremors, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Encourage self-care. When recovering addicts begin to take care of themselves, they become less likely to relapse. Try to encourage them to eat well, exercise regularly, and sleep enough.
- Listen without judgment. One of the best things you can do for a friend or loved one is to listen without judgment. This includes hearing their problems, concerns, and fears.
- Offer encouragement. A recovering addict needs positive reinforcement. Tell him/her that you believe in him/her. Remind them of their strengths and accomplishments.
Dealing with Extreme Mood Swings in Early Recovery
When someone with alcohol use disorder starts sobriety, it’s common to experience extreme mood swings. You might go from being completely fine one day to feeling terrible the next. The recovery process is not linear, so be prepared for some setbacks.
If you notice your loved one experiencing extreme mood swings, don’t worry — here are things you can do about it.
- Don’t panic. Mood swings won’t last forever, and they usually pass within days.
- Take care of yourself and encourage your loved one to do the same. Make sure you both eat well and get enough rest.
- Encourage your loved one to talk to someone. If they can work out what’s bothering them, they have a better chance of dealing with mood swings or low mood.
- Try meditation. Meditation helps people deal with negative emotions, anxiety, and depression.
- Get support. Find a support group or recovery program online or in person.
Our rehab facility provides outpatient treatment services in San Diego. By working together, we can help your loved one prevent relapse and regain control over their life.
If you’re not in San Diego, you can still enroll your spouse in our Virtual Outpatient program. These services are available to all California residents. Contact us today to find out more!
What Causes Mood Swings in Early Recovery?
Long-term sobriety is a journey, and in early recovery, people often experience severe mood swings. The recovering addict might feel irritable, anxious, depressed, angry, sad, guilty, ashamed, or even euphoric. These feelings can come out of nowhere and cause problems for those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Some people call it the “honeymoon period,” while others refer to it as “the honeymoon blues.”
The most common side effects of early recovery include anxiety, depression, angry outbursts, guilt, shame, and low self-esteem. Most of these unpleasant emotions are expected and normal behavioral symptoms at this stage. Recovering alcoholics and mood swings can be difficult to deal with but we are here to help.
Physiological Changes That Occur in The Brain Once Someone Stops the Abuse of Alcohol
Excessive drinking affects the frontal lobes of the brain, impairing judgment, aggressive behavior, Frustration, , compulsive behaviors, irrational thinking, and lack of impulse control. As you stop drinking, your frontal lobe regenerates, leading to better judgment, rational thinking, and improved impulse control. This regeneration of the frontal lobes occurs over several months after you stop drinking. Here are a few changes that will occur in your brain once you stop drinking.
- Increased ability to make decisions
- Improved memory
- Better problem-solving skills
- Less anger and aggression
- More empathy for others
Heavy drinking over long periods of time has serious consequences – it can cause permanent changes in your brain. These changes include the shrinking of certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory formation. Other areas of the brain that can shrink include the prefrontal cortex, which helps regulate emotions, and the amygdala, which controls fear responses.
Dopamine Levels Begin to Normalize, and Serotonin Production Increases
Alcohol addiction causes an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain called dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA. This imbalance triggers depression and anxiety, among other things. After you stop drinking, your brain begins to normalize and returns to its natural state.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and sleep patterns. In addition, it plays a role in regulating appetite, emotional challenges, and more.
The Best Diet for Recovering Alcoholics
Eating a healthy diet is essential for a recovering alcoholic. Eating foods with low glycemic index, such as fruits and vegetables, can help to keep blood sugar levels stable and minimize alcohol cravings. High protein foods can also be beneficial, as they provide energy and help to reduce fatigue during an alcohol detox. Additionally, foods rich in vitamins and minerals can help support the body during the recovery process. Staying hydrated is important as well; drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins from the body and reduce food cravings. It’s natural to want to replace alcohol with binge eating but do your best to avoid going on a blood sugar rollercoaster, which can negatively affect your mood and mental health.
As the Body heals, so will the Mind: Sobriety Brings Emotions to the Surface.
When someone stops drinking alcohol, they are forced to deal with some very uncomfortable feelings. Feelings they may have used drinking as a coping mechanism. The person will likely feel guilty for being weak, ashamed, scared of the future, angry, or even relieved. These emotions are hard to face alone, so many people turn to friends, family, or professionals to help them work through them.
Group therapy allows people to talk openly about these issues and learn how to develop healthy coping skills. In group therapy, everyone shares similar experiences and learns together. For example, one person might tell the group about how he feels like he failed his children because he couldn’t keep his job, while another person might tell the group about how she felt like she had no control over her life because she could never find steady employment. By sharing these stories, both people learn that they aren’t alone and that there are others out there who understand what they’re going through.
Living with Sobriety, Another Beginning
In addition to learning how to manage these emotions, group therapy teaches participants how to handle stressful situations better. If someone gets upset at work, they don’t have to bottle up their anger; they can express themselves freely and safely. They can also ask questions without feeling judged. This gives them a chance to practice coping skills they learned in rehab.
Involving Family in Therapy: Opportunities for Growth
Family therapy works because it involves everyone. As a group, they are able to speak about painful emotions and underlying issues in s safe, guided environment. Everyone can work toward a successful recovery and help their loved one live a sober life. The journey of recovery is one for all involved, and chances of success drastically increase if everyone in the family is on the same page.
Proper Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Mood Swings
A dual-diagnosis treatment program can help patients struggling with both an alcohol abuse problem and another mental health issue (co-occurring disorders). There are several types of programs that address addiction and mood swings (including mood disorders and anxiety disorders). Some of these programs focus on one specific type of substance use, while others offer comprehensive care for multiple substances. In addition, some programs treat both conditions simultaneously.
Dual diagnosis treatment often involves medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety drugs, and anti-alcohol agents. These medications can reduce symptoms of primary psychiatric illness and improve overall functioning. They may also prevent relapse into heavy drinking.
The most common form of dual diagnosis treatment is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT teaches patients how to cope with negative thoughts and emotions. This type of treatment is effective because it focuses on changing unhealthy behaviors rather than simply treating the underlying causes of those behaviors. For example, someone with a gambling problem might learn how to manage urges to gamble by practicing techniques that allow him or her to resist impulses.
Group therapy is another important part of dual diagnosis treatment. Patients who participate in groups tend to feel less isolated and experience better social support. Groups provide opportunities for patients to discuss issues related to their addictions, such as triggers, cravings, and coping strategies. Group members can also receive peer support from each other.
In addition to medication management and group therapy, many dual diagnosis programs involve individual therapy sessions. Individual therapy provides patients with the opportunity to explore personal problems without being judged by peers. Therapists can work with patients to identify and resolve emotional conflicts contributing to problematic behavior.
Another component of dual diagnosis treatment is family therapy. Family therapy is particularly helpful for families whose members suffer from both alcoholism and mental illnesses. Family members can learn about ways to communicate effectively and develop healthier relationships.
Dual-diagnosis treatment is typically offered in outpatient settings. However, some programs require patients to live in residential facilities where they receive 24/7 supervision. Residential treatment centers usually offer long-term care and intensive monitoring.
We’re here to help you with your recovery, call Sober Life 619-304-3014 today.
Recovery is a journey, not just a destination. You don’t wake up one day and decide to stop drinking or drug use. You start making changes and slowly progress towards sobriety.
There will always be relapses. If you’ve been sober for a while, it doesn’t mean that you won’t slip up again. But there are ways to deal with those slips. They aren’t failures; they’re opportunities to learn how to cope better with life without drugs or alcohol.
You might think that you know what to do if you relapse, but you really don’t. You could try to hide the fact that you drank or used drugs, but that makes things worse. Instead, talk about your slip-up openly. Tell people you trust what happened. Ask for help. And most importantly, make sure you take care of yourself.
If you’re struggling with addiction, we want to help. Call Sober Life today at 619-304-3014. We’ll connect you with local treatment centers near you.
Preventing Relapse and Addiction Recovery
Many different factors influence whether someone will relapse into addiction. Some people are prone to it, while others aren’t. But there are things we can do to help prevent relapse.
The most important thing is to recognize that recovery isn’t permanent. You’re not cured forever. People who’ve been clean for months, even years, still face risks. And sometimes, those risks lead to relapse.
If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, don’t give up hope. Your chances of getting better are good. If you want to keep improving, here are some ways to avoid relapse.
Make sure you can recognize the warning signs for alcoholic relapse.
These educational programs may help families stay together and learn the best ways to support their loved ones during recovery.
Recovering Alcoholics and Mood Swings are Common.
Alcoholics are known for being emotionally volatile people. They often experience emotional turmoil after sobriety. This is because alcoholics have been conditioned to suppress their feelings. As a result, they don’t know how to deal with strong emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, etc., without drinking. In fact, many alcoholics end up relapsing into alcoholism due to their inability to cope with life’s ups and downs.
In early sobriety, it’s important to recognize that there will be a lot of emotional turbulence. You’ll likely feel angry, anxious, fearful, guilty, ashamed, confused, sad, frustrated, depressed, etc. If you’re experiencing any of these things, make sure to take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the intensity of your emotions. Instead, try to understand what triggered them. Learn to manage your emotions better. And most importantly, learn to live with them.
Living with a recovering alcoholic, especially after enduring the challenges of their active addiction, can be a tough journey for any junkie couple dealing with substance abuse and drug or alcohol addiction. It’s important to understand that recovery is a lifelong process. Providing unwavering support and nurturing healthy relationships are key components in helping a raging alcoholic transition into a recovering individual.
It’s heartening to note that many alcoholics do recover, and the path to recovery often involves dealing with extreme mood swings, emotional upheaval, and the need for understanding and empathy. By embracing a holistic approach that encompasses not only medical treatment but also family support, therapy, and self-care, individuals and couples can navigate the challenging terrain of addiction recovery. For a junkie couple or anyone living with an alcoholic, this journey may be difficult, but with the right resources, support, and a commitment to healthier living, there is hope for a brighter, sober future, all while maintaining healthy relationships.
Take Care of Yourself
Alcoholism affects most people around it. Codependency is the desire to care for others even though we neglect our own needs. Support groups like Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous or AA/NAA can help us cope with both issues and to brace yourself for personality changes after getting sober.
Living with a recovering alcoholic can be a challenging experience, but it can also be rewarding. Seeing someone struggle and grow stronger every day is one of the toughest things a person can face. It takes patience, understanding, and emotional support for someone who is working to overcome addiction.
It’s important to remember that a former alcoholic even if they have been sober for a long time, is still in recovery (there is no such thing as an ex-alcoholic). Recovery is a lifelong process, and the person will need strong support and encouragement every step of the way.
Providing emotional support for a recovering addict is not always easy, but with patience, understanding, and love, you can help someone overcome addiction and live a happy, healthy life.
At Sober Life San Diego, we are dedicated to giving your loved ones the care they deserve, contact us today.