As defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a disease that disrupts brain chemistry and circuitry, which in turn impacts willpower, reward, memory, and motivation. The first step calls for individuals to accept that they are unable to control their drinking and/or drug use and that their willpower and motivation have been compromised. When someone struggles with addiction, they are no longer able to manage how much and how often drugs and/or alcohol are abused. Recognition of this loss of control and admission of being powerless over addiction is the first step toward recovery.
Al-Anon and Alateen. Al-Anon is an organization comprised of support groups targeted towards friends and family of individuals suffering from alcoholism. In these groups, family members and friends are able to share their personal experiences, discuss difficulties and find effective ways to deal with problems—regardless of whether the alcohol abusing individual in their lives have completed an addiction recovery program. Alateen is a fellowship that is specifically targeted towards younger Al-Anon members, particularly teenagers.

In order to effectively recover from an addiction, professional help in the field of substance abuse is only part of the equation. Often times, recovering individuals additionally need the support of others who are also recovering from addiction. This is where support groups can provide a critical element needed to bring success to an individual's recovery process.


There are three oral medications that have been FDA-approved to help people remain sober: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. They are prescribed for those who have indicated their intention to abstain from alcohol but require some reinforcement. Disulfiram causes unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and flushing with any amount of drinking. Naltrexone limits the cravings a person may get from drinking but can cause severe withdrawal symptoms in people who are also dependent on opiates. Acamprosate helps reduce the craving for alcohol. An injectable, long-acting form of naltrexone is also available. All of these medications are meant to be used in combination with counseling.

Signs that indicate a person is intoxicated include the smell of alcohol on their breath or skin, glazed or bloodshot eyes, the person being unusually passive or argumentative, and/or a deterioration in the person's appearance, judgment, or hygiene. Other physical symptoms of the state of being drunk include flushed skin. Cognitively, the person may experience decreased ability to pay attention and a propensity toward memory loss.


The effects of alcoholism are far reaching. Alcohol affects every body system, causing a wide range of health problems. Problems include poor nutrition, memory disorders, difficulty with balance and walking, liver disease (including cirrhosis and hepatitis), high blood pressure, muscle weakness (including the heart), heart rhythm disturbances, anemia, clotting disorders, decreased immunity to infections, gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation, acute and chronic problems with the pancreas, low blood sugar, high blood fat content, interference with reproductive fertility, increased risk of cancer of the liver, esophagus, and breast, weakened bones, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. About 20% of adults admitted to the hospital (for any reason) are alcohol dependent. Men are more than twice as likely to be alcohol dependent than women, and smokers who are alcohol dependent are much more likely to develop serious or fatal health problems associated with alcoholism.


Alcohol dependence is also known as alcoholism; however, health professionals tend not to use this term because of its potential to increase stigma and discrimination of the condition. Alcohol dependency is the most common substance use disorder in Australia. Individuals who are alcohol dependent tend to prioritise drinking alcohol over other activities (including seeing friends and going to work). However, alcohol dependency is not an all or nothing condition. It occurs on a continuum ranging from mild to severe. Individuals with a mild dependence on alcohol may crave an alcoholic drink when it is not available and find it difficult to stop drinking after a couple of drinks. Individuals with severe alcohol dependence suffer physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms (e.g. vomiting, anxiety) when they do not consume alcohol.

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Located in the heart of Casper, Wyoming, Wyoming Recovery takes a personal approach to your rehabilitation process. With a quaint 17-bed facility, we take a one-on-one approach to your recovery. While we use the 12-step program for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency, we have an effective and reliable holistic approach to all forms of recovery in the Casper, Wyoming area.
In the United States and Canada, AA meetings are held in hundreds of correctional facilities. The AA General Service Office has published a workbook with detailed recommendations for methods of approaching correctional-facility officials with the intent of developing an in-prison AA program.[79] In addition, AA publishes a variety of pamphlets specifically for the incarcerated alcoholic.[80] Additionally, the AA General Service Office provides a pamphlet with guidelines for members working with incarcerated alcoholics.[81]
AA says it is "not organized in the formal or political sense",[25] and Bill Wilson called it a "benign anarchy".[26] In Ireland, Shane Butler said that AA “looks like it couldn’t survive as there’s no leadership or top-level telling local cumanns what to do, but it has worked and proved itself extremely robust.” Butler explained that "AA’s 'inverted pyramid' style of governance has helped it to avoid many of the pitfalls that political and religious institutions have encountered since it was established here in 1946."[27]
Alcohol withdrawal can occur when alcohol use has been heavy and prolonged and is then stopped or greatly reduced. It can occur within several hours to four or five days later. Signs and symptoms include sweating, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, problems sleeping, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, restlessness and agitation, anxiety, and occasionally seizures. Symptoms can be severe enough to impair your ability to function at work or in social situations.
Of the over 16 million people in the country who have a potential AUD, 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women respectively have a diagnosable AUD. About 10 percent of children in the US have at least one parent who struggles with problem drinking, and about 31 percent of driving fatalities in the US involve a drunk driver. Unfortunately, very few people every year seek treatment for AUD despite physical, mental, social, financial, and legal ramifications.
The Sinclair method is another approach to using naltrexone or other opioid antagonists to treat alcoholism by having the person take the medication about an hour before they drink alcohol and only then.[137][138] The medication blocks the positive reinforcement effects of ethanol and hypothetically allows the person to stop drinking or drink less.[138]
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS). SOS is presented as a secular alternative to the more spiritual 12-step addiction recovery programs (such as AA and NA) that encourage people to reach out to a higher power. The program targets substance abusers who would like to separate sobriety from spirituality and religion. The organization credits the individual for maintaining sobriety as opposed to crediting a higher power. SOS is comprised of a network of autonomous local groups that help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. The organization has meetings in many cities across the United States. In SOS, sobriety is presented as the number one priority for individuals suffering from alcoholism or addiction. It emphasizes the use of clear communication and scientific knowledge in choosing the most rational approach to living a sober and rewarding life.
Easy access: There appears to be a correlation between easy access to alcohol — such as cheap prices — and alcohol abuse and alcohol-related deaths. One study registered a significant drop in alcohol-related deaths after one state raised alcohol taxes. The effect was found to be nearly two to four times that of other prevention strategies, such as school programs or media campaigns.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections.

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Many newcomers who attend 12-step meetings find personal validation in the stories of other addicts. Substance abusers who have been isolated by their disease have the opportunity to relieve their pain by sharing their experiences with others. Alcoholics who have lost their jobs, families, and dignity can recover their self-respect and restore broken relationships with the help of the fellowship and the 12 steps.
The cause of alcoholism seems to be a blend of genetic, physical, psychological, environmental, and social factors that vary among individuals. A given person's risk of becoming an alcoholic is three to four times greater if a parent is alcoholic. Some children of alcohol abusers, however, overcome the hereditary pattern by not drinking any alcohol at all.

I'm sober since 1999, with AA and by the grace of my Higher Power. No religion for me. Meetings, sponsor, litterature and 12 steps every day if possible. I live a wonderful life, quiet and stable. My only enemy is my ego. He often try to bring me back to the "Old Me"... but AA, my sponsor, my sponsees and other members are always there to help me. And I'm there for them.
With Step 9, individuals are apologizing for their actions while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or for the damages their addiction has caused. Individuals may then attempt to offer restitution and seek forgiveness and reconciliation but need to be aware that they may not receive it. Working through Step 9 helps to set things right so everyone can move on.
If someone you love has a drinking problem, you may be struggling with a number of painful emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. The problem may be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will be more damaging to you, other family members, and the person with the drinking problem.
Jump up ^ Morse, RM; Flavin, DK (August 1992). "The definition of alcoholism. The Joint Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine to Study the Definition and Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism". JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 268 (8): 1012–4. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490080086030. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 1501306.

Alcoholism formerly called alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, is the more severe end of the alcohol use disorder spectrum. It is a destructive pattern of alcohol use that includes tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, using more alcohol or using it for longer than planned, and trouble reducing its use or inability to use it in moderation. Other potential symptoms include spending an inordinate amount of time getting, using, or recovering from the use of alcohol, compromised functioning, and/or continuing to use alcohol despite an awareness of the detrimental effects it is having on one's life.
Jump up ^ Terra, Mauro Barbosa; Barros, Helena Maria Tannhauser; Stein, Airton Tetelbom; Figueira, Ivan; Palermo, Luiz Henrique; Athayde, Luciana Dias; Gonçalves, Marcelo de Souza; Da Silveira, Dartiu Xavier (2008). "Do Alcoholics Anonymous Groups Really Work? Factors of Adherence in a Brazilian Sample of Hospitalized Alcohol Dependents". American Journal on Addictions. 17 (1): 48–53. doi:10.1080/10550490701756393. PMID 18214722.

Support in sobriety and in attaining long-lasting recovery is found in 12-Step practice and regular participation in 12-Step programs and groups. These groups are designed for the addict, the alcoholic, and the family members of those with addiction. The philosophy is based on developing a relationship with a Higher Power and a helping fellowship that encourages an honest mindset and self-sacrifice. 12-Step fellowships facilitate a daily practice for sober and healthy living.


To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Under DSM–5, the current version of the DSM, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives a diagnosis of AUD. The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.
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Smith and Wilson left the Oxford Group in 1937 to focus on developing Alcoholics Anonymous, and by 1938, they had successfully brought the message to almost a hundred alcoholics in the Ohio and New York areas. Looking to capitalize on their momentum, they decided to document the group in a book. Wilson took the lead on the project, naming the resulting publication, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. He included 12 guidelines that, if followed, would grow the individual’s spirit to the point of overcoming the temptation to drink, and help the person make reparations for all the damage done during the days of drinking. These became known as the 12 Steps, and the book’s popularity led to Wilson’s group adopting the name of the book itself.
Dr.Miller, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be discussing the issue at all. I have experienced both sides of the fence so to speak. I've been the guy in the back of the room who couldn't put 24 hours of sobriety together, life in shambles, family gone, and without the ability to function in society.   On the other hand I have worked in the treatment field, worked the program in every aspect of my life, as well as sponsored countless people.  The sponsorship is where I have the "BEGINNING" of difficulty, not that it's all bad. Especially when it comes to forth step.  A person who has resentments should be made to see their part in their resentment. All to often though the addict is made to blame.  A sponsee of mine was raped in jail and he had put it on his forth step.  So he had sexual issues, self worth issues, ECT.  I deferred to my sponsor on how to deal with such a resentment. He and his sponsor both told me to tell the kid, yea, it was bad, but you put yourself In jail, so it your fault. I've taken enough psychology to know you never under any circumstances  tell a rape victim it's their fault that they were raped. I told him to defer to a mental health professional, and for a time he improved. Later after being forced back into AA by the legal system he was again told on a fourth step that it was his fault for being raped. But this crazy "tough love", "it's your fault"  "now learn some humility and fix it", kind of thinking permeates AA to it's core.  The kid did stay sober, his determination was so strong the police found him with both barrels of a shotgun in his mouth and the back of his head splattered against the wall. Next to him they found and unopened bottle of wiskey and a note saying "this is how bad I don't want to drink". You see, he had floundered in AA and so of course the finger was pointed  at him for failure, by his family, by the program, and most people he knew. This is just one of countless horror stories. If you look at the founder. I realize that most believe AA  was co founded by Dr. Robert Smith M.D.  In reality, Dr. Bob was the first person to have tried the program and had any success. Everyone Bill Wilson tried his program on previously failed miserably. But looking at the heart of the origins of the program, and I dont mean the Oxford groups of whom Bill Wilson would derive his 12 steps from their 6 step program, I mean at the thinking of Bill Wilson himself. He says in his biography that he had a literal disease that left him virtually powerless over every vice and compulsion he indulged in.  AND I don't say this to degrade In anyway the hardworking and caring people of AA. Heaven knows, the vast overwhelming majority of AA's have their hearts in the right place, but the whole thing is based on an excuse. The idea of having a disease took the heat off of Bill.  The program  slowly built up around that notion that there's a disease to blame. After 20 years of life experience, and a lot of academia,  I believe the problem lies in unintentional conditioning. Really a learning disorder to put it in other terms. Susceptible individuals, usually because of one form of trauma or another seek out relief. By repeated chemical administration the brain slowly starts to think that chemical is necessary for survival. Probably because the instinctual systems become involved. When a compulsion is more powerful than a individuals desire for oxygen, and food ECT.  Words are useless, consequences will have no effect. Mostly because a person can't directly access the sub conscience.  But you can unlearn something. Email me for the real solution
When a health care professional is caught or suspected of diversion, the nursing board, board of pharmacy, attorney general, or another regulatory agency may require admission into IPRP. This may also result in local, State or Federal investigations and charges. IPRP is required to be transparent with all participating agencies if admission is mandated, thus potentially having a much greater negative effect on the professional's career. 
Alcoholism can also lead to impotence in men, damage to the fetus in pregnant women, and an elevated risk of cancer of the larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, stomach, pancreas, and upper gastrointestinal tract. Because heavy drinkers seldom have adequate diets, they may have nutritional deficiencies. Heavy drinkers typically have impaired liver function, and up to one in five develops cirrhosis.
When a person struggling with problem drinking or alcohol dependence decides to get help, it is important for them to consult with a doctor regarding how serious their physical condition may be. Gauging the severity of withdrawal symptoms is important, as quitting alcohol suddenly can lead to seizures, which may be deadly. Racing heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, vomiting and related dehydration, and fever can also be dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Each person will have their own idea of who or what the higher power is to them, and in Step 3, individuals are asked to turn their lives over to this power for healing purposes. Steps 1 and 2 are all about reflection, learning that alcohol (or drugs) is a driving force in life and that a higher power is needed to recover and remain sober. With Step 3, individuals are called to action and to a willingness to change moving forward.

With a U.S. economy inching laboriously back from recession with a flagging job market in tow, we should be sensitive to hidden costs of this “lifestyle choice.” In a perfect world, we would weigh the right to drink excessively against the $94.2 billion in tax dollars that we spend every year to pay the costs of alcoholism. We should weigh the collective choice against the 1.9 million public school teachers we could hire with that $94.2 billion — or the million public parks that money could build for communities across the country, or the million students we could put through school. And we’d think hard about what cultural shift could moderate this “lifestyle choice” before it becomes disease.
Q. Alcoholism Steve 26 yr old suffered with bi-polar and the related drugs that eventually lead to his over dose. He died in where he felt a connection to the intellectual environment. After suffering with Steve for so many years, I am convinced that this disease is genetic; his grandmother also suffered with drug addiction and a mental disorder, but had that gene that must have been inherited by Steve. Any one in the area of mental health and genetic engineering Research? We want to set up or get involved with public awareness on the devastation of this disease which kills 100+ thousands in this country each year; yet society treats it as a social problem -- The advancement of mental research has been slow almost medieval -- Please help. No one, no family should have to suffer the way my beautiful son suffered and who had so much to give to humanity.
There is a group of physicians within ASAM who are concerned that twelve-step recovery is not being taught to new physicians entering this field (most physicians currently enter addiction practice in mid-career, rather than straight out of residency training). Referring to themselves as “Like Minded Docs,” they communicate regularly among each other, leaning on each other via email for support and guidance, and occasionally reaching out to ASAM regarding policies of the Society. One of their stated concerns is that continuing education programs for physicians newly involved with addiction or considering a mid-career switch into addiction medicine have more content on pharmacotherapies and less content on psychosocial therapies, and that Twelve-Step Facilitation therapy and twelve-step recovery overall are at risk of becoming ‘dying arts.’
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A long-term study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that, after eight years, people with alcoholism who were part of both inpatient treatment and an AA group had a better chance of staying sober for the first three years of study. By the end of the eight years, those who received both had a much higher rate of abstinence. The researchers at NIAAA concluded that regular attendance at AA meetings had a notable impact on the viability and longevity of recovery.
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