It’s not always easy to see when your alcohol intake has crossed the line from moderate or social drinking to problem drinking. But if you consume alcohol to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, you’re in potentially dangerous territory. Drinking problems can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism and take steps to cut back if you recognize them. Understanding the problem is the first step to overcoming it and either cutting back to healthy levels or quitting altogether.
Issues with retention and completion rates. Despite how ingrained the 12-Step program is as the standard for alcoholism recovery, the hard numbers tell a different story. According to several studies, the 12-Step Program has been found to be effective for about 20 percent of those that try it, with the other 80 percent usually stopping after just one month. At any given time, only five percent of those still attending AA has been there for a year.
Although the concept of an intervention is pervasive in popular culture – even leading to the development of a reality television show – there are types of interventions that are more helpful than suddenly accusing a loved one of struggling with addiction. Family and friends may create an intervention – which requires a plan, including specific requirements and consequences – or a therapist, doctor, or other healthcare professional may conduct an intervention. Often, these are brief interventions, which occur after a person has been hospitalized due to side effects from drinking too much or after a person is diagnosed with a chronic illness due to problem drinking.

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We have found in clinical treatment that the 12-Step philosophy is a vital part of permanent sobriety. When a person maintains a 12-Step practice, including getting a sponsor and working with others, recovery is about more than relapse prevention – it is a pathway to an existence that is happy, joyous, and free. The 12-Step program a gateway into longterm recovery. By focusing attention on the 12-Steps, we set our patients up for long-term success. We engage patients in this paradigm because:
At secular meetings there is generally much more acceptance of medication-assisted recovery, much less emphasis on deficits in "moral character," and no prayer.  The focus is present-centered, avoiding "war stories," and pragmatic:  "how am I staying sober today?  What tools am I using?" Participants are also generally not required to label themselves as addicts or alcoholics, which can be refreshing for many people new to recovery.  In LifeRing, "crosstalk" is a key element of meetings, so folks in recovery are sharing their strategies for success.
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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Whether you need help getting rid of an addiction or live with a teenager who does, our phone line is ready to take your call, around the clock, and is manned by friendly advisors, there to discuss the best-quality inpatient prescription and street drug recovery centers Cheyenne, Wyoming offers. You can review the specifics of one month addiction recovery clinics versus sixty or ninety day ones and make sure the treatment clinic you decide on is going to give you or your family member everything you need to triumph over addiction.
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Jump up ^ "HEALTH AND ETHICS POLICIES OF THE AMA HOUSE OF DELEGATES" (PDF). June 2008. p. 33. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015. H-30.997 Dual Disease Classification of Alcoholism: The AMA reaffirms its policy endorsing the dual classification of alcoholism under both the psychiatric and medical sections of the International Classification of Diseases. (Res. 22, I-79; Reaffirmed: CLRPD Rep. B, I-89; Reaffirmed: CLRPD Rep. B, I-90; Reaffirmed by CSA Rep. 14, A-97; Reaffirmed: CSAPH Rep. 3, A-07)
The long-term effects of alcohol use disorder can be devastating and even life-threatening. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect virtually every organ system. Specific examples of alcohol-use disorder effects on the body include everything from general effects like poor coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition, cardiovascular effects like hypertension and irregular heartbeat, reproductive effects like impotence and irregular menses, as well as gastrointestinal problems like jaundice, cirrhosis of the liver, and pancreatitis. Alcohol-use disorder complications that involve the brain include, but are by no means limited to, strokes, confusion, and amnesia. Thiamine deficiency that is associated with alcohol use disorder can progress to the point that the sufferer develops vision problems, confusion, and trouble walking (Wernicke's encephalopathy), eventually followed by trouble caring for themselves and memory problems that the person tries to cover for by making things up/confabulating information (Korsakoff syndrome).
I am surprised that along with the detailed description of the utility of CBT in aiding recovery from addictions that no mention was made of the SMART Recovery Self-Help Network. The SMART Recovery Program (Self-Management And Recovery Training) which is grounded in CBT along with several other evidence-based tools. There are about 1,500 free SMART Recovery meetings available in communities & prisons around the world. smartrecovery.org is an interactive website which receives about 120,000 unique visitors per month and has over 135,000 registrants. 30 online SMART Recovery meetings per week are available online. 160 SMART facilitators per month are being trained via an interactive online program; many are professionals. About 1/3 of regular SMART Recovery participants also attend 12-Step meetings, at least occasionally, There have been >25,000 SMART meetings in MA where 2/3 of participants are professionally referred and the majority of meetings occur in hospitals. SMART Recovery has no objection to appropriate, medically-prescribed pharmaceuticals being used in the course of recovery from an addiction.

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While consuming alcohol is, by definition, necessary to develop alcoholism, the use of alcohol by itself does not predict the development of alcoholism. The quantity, frequency, and regularity of alcohol consumption required to develop alcoholism varies greatly from person to person. People's response to alcohol may be affected by their size, age, general state of health, and by the medications they are taking. In some, fewer drinks can still cause health problems. Since there is no known "safe" alcohol level for pregnant women, the Surgeon General advises women who are, or are planning to be, pregnant to abstain from drinking.
I disagree. The underlying premise of "recovery" is not hope, but wellness. Becoming well. Staying well. By AA's own statistics, only 10.4% of participants continue with the program after the first year. What about the 89.6% that don't continue? According to AA, they failed. It's their fault. They weren't "working" the program. Or, they're "constitutionally incapable of being honest." If one defines normality as what the vast majority of people do in a given situation, then it is "normal" for people to fail in AA.

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) : Alabama • Alaska • American Samoa • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Federated States of Micronesia • Florida • Georgia • Guam • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Marshall Islands • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Northern Mariana Islands • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Tribal Areas • Utah • Vermont • Virgin Islands • Virginia • Washington • Washington DC • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

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“Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
Problem drinking in women is much less common than it is in men, and the typical onset of problem drinking in females occurs later than in males. However, progression is more rapid, and females usually enter treatment earlier than males. Women more commonly combine alcohol with prescription drugs of abuse than do males. Women living with substance-abusing men are at high risk.
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.
Heart. Small amounts of alcohol cause a drop in blood pressure, but with increased consumption, alcohol raises blood pressure into a dangerous range (hypertension). High levels of fats circulating in the bloodstream increase the risk of heart disease. Heavy drinking results in an increase in heart size, weakening of the heart muscle, abnormal heart rhythms, a risk of blood clots forming within the chambers of the heart, and a greatly increased risk of stroke due to a blood clot entering the circulatory system and blocking a brain blood vessel.
Jump up ^ Agrawal, A; Sartor, CE; Lynskey, MT; Grant, JD; Pergadia, ML; Grucza, R; Bucholz, KK; Nelson, EC; Madden, PA; Martin, NG; Heath, AC (2009). "Evidence for an Interaction Between Age at 1st Drink and Genetic Influences on DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence Symptoms". Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 33 (12): 2047–56. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.01044.x. PMC 2883563. PMID 19764935.
Support groups provide people with understanding peers and ongoing support, in church basements, community centers, and public facilities scattered all across the country. Here, people can come together to discuss addiction’s difficulties, and they can meet with other addicted people to gain support and insight. Alumni groups are similar, in that they link peers together to discuss addiction, but these groups contain people who all worked within the same facility for help.
The long-term effects of alcohol use disorder can be devastating and even life-threatening. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect virtually every organ system. Specific examples of alcohol-use disorder effects on the body include everything from general effects like poor coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition, cardiovascular effects like hypertension and irregular heartbeat, reproductive effects like impotence and irregular menses, as well as gastrointestinal problems like jaundice, cirrhosis of the liver, and pancreatitis. Alcohol-use disorder complications that involve the brain include, but are by no means limited to, strokes, confusion, and amnesia. Thiamine deficiency that is associated with alcohol use disorder can progress to the point that the sufferer develops vision problems, confusion, and trouble walking (Wernicke's encephalopathy), eventually followed by trouble caring for themselves and memory problems that the person tries to cover for by making things up/confabulating information (Korsakoff syndrome).
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has not approved, endorsed, or reviewed this website, nor is it affiliated with it, and the ability to link to A.A.W.S.' site does not imply otherwise. No copyrighted material shall be purposefully posted herein without the express permission of those individuals or institutions possessing ownership of said copyrights. Alcoholics Anonymous®, AA®, and The Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. The Grapevine®, and AA Grapevine® are registered trademarks of The AA Grapevine, Inc.

Alcohol affects virtually every organ system in the body and, in high doses, can cause coma and death. It affects several neurotransmitter systems in the brain, including opiates, GABA, glutamate, serotonin, and dopamine. Increased opiate levels help explain the euphoric effect of alcohol, while its effects on GABA cause anxiolytic and sedative effects.
The term “self-help” is often used to describe AA groups, but it is somewhat of a misnomer: it isn’t “professional help,” but it is more about listening and accepting guidance from a peer or mentor than it is about using “self” to move beyond active addiction. And while Twelve-Step approaches accept that addiction is a disease and isn’t simply a sign of “moral weakness,” there is a focus on values and morals in Twelve-Step Recovery, as the individual is encouraged to engage in a process of taking a “moral inventory” of one’s life and past actions in preparation for “making amends” to others, as indicated, possible, and appropriate.
Alcoholism is characterised by an increased tolerance to alcohol–which means that an individual can consume more alcohol–and physical dependence on alcohol, which makes it hard for an individual to control their consumption. The physical dependency caused by alcohol can lead to an affected individual having a very strong urge to drink alcohol. These characteristics play a role decreasing an alcoholic's ability to stop drinking.[25] Alcoholism can have adverse effects on mental health, causing psychiatric disorders and increasing the risk of suicide. A depressed mood is a common symptom of heavy alcohol drinkers.[26][27]
Twelve-Step Recovery addresses the psychology of the person with addiction as well as the individual’s spirituality--his/her values, his/her connectedness to others, and his/her willingness to engage with others and humbly ask for help. The process of change in Twelve-Step Recovery starts with an acceptance that when friends or loved ones point out that things are amiss in one’s life, they are likely correct, and things have likely become unmanageable. And while taking personal responsibility and accepting accountability for one’s actions are considered key steps, Twelve-Step Recovery outlines that excessive self-reliance and the firm stance that “I can get myself out of this,” and “I know what to do about this,” will be roadblocks to recovery from addiction. “Getting out of oneself” and recognizing that one doesn’t have all the answers, and humbly asking for help from another human being—from a health professional or from a lay person—are behaviors and behavioral styles that are promoted by Alcoholics Anonymous and related “Twelve-Step” programs of peer support.
The basic premise of the 12-Step model is that people can help one another achieve and maintain abstinence from the substances or behaviors to which they are addicted. They can do this through meetings in which they share their experiences with one another and support each other in the ongoing effort of maintaining abstinence. In research, as seen in a recent article from the journal Addiction Research and Theory, abstinence practices (as supported by 12-Step programs) can account for high levels of what experts call flourishing, which is positive mental health and can contribute to longer-term recovery. In the study, those who maintained abstinence were more likely to flourish in the long-term, with 40.7 percent flourishing after three months (as compared to 9.3 percent languishing) and nearly 40 percent flourishing after 12 months (compared to 12.4 percent languishing).
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Sponsors and sponsees participate in activities that lead to spiritual growth. Experiences in the program are often shared by outgoing members with incoming members. This rotation of experience is often considered to have a great spiritual reward.[30] These may include practices such as literature discussion and study, meditation, and writing. Completing the program usually implies competency to guide newcomers which is often encouraged.[31] Sponsees typically do their Fifth Step, review their moral inventory written as part of the Fourth Step, with their sponsor. The Fifth Step, as well as the Ninth Step, have been compared to confession and penitence.[32] Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, noted such practices produce intrinsic modifications in the person—exonerating, redeeming and purifying them; relieves them of their burden of wrong, liberating them and promising salvation.[32][33]
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